Early morning musings on what I learned about myself yesterday.
Here is my first day’s work on the felted bag I’m doing as an informal KAL with a friend of mine. She’s almost through with the first half of hers, and since I didn’t have any new projects yet, I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and start. It’s a Lion Brand free pattern, using their LB Collection Pure Wool. I’ve never worked with 100% regular wool before and the gauge is smaller than I usually work with. Also (here’s where you get a hint of why I’m writing this post), this is the second non-Greta pattern that I’ve used in years. (The first being the anemone hat, but I changed the pattern to include ear flaps.)
The first thing I did was to make a chart of the instructions. There are 32 rows in the pattern, but the instructions are rather convoluted as most of the rows copy the first few ones. My friend has had problems keeping track, and, since I have ADHD, I knew a visual chart would help me keep track of which row I was on and what to do next. Turns out when it is charted , the stitch pattern is very simple!
So, I started off. It’s got cables (which I’ve done before) and lots and lots of knitting and purling (which I’ve done before). I had a ton knitting time yesterday because not only did my daughter have her 2 1/2 hour acting class time, she had a 3 hour Valentine’s dance at church. Five hours for knitting?!?!? I figured I might get the first half of the bag done (maybe).
As you can tell from the above photo, I’ve not even finished with the first iteration of the pattern stitch. Why? Because it totally stresses me out. My shoulders started to cramp after a few rows. I stopped every 4 rows or so to read something, walk around, or generally wish I hadn’t started. Is it the cable pattern that was stressing me out? Was it the wool and how it slips more easily off my nickel-plated needles? Is it the smaller gauge? Could be.
Then, after the dance, my husband took me to see The Lego Movie for Valentine’s Day.
Not only did it make me want to run out and get enough Lego to make a huge, tiny metropolis in my basement, it made me realize why knitting was stressing me out when it should be the most relaxing, peaceful thing I do during the day (hence the name of my blog).
In the movie, the hero is someone who always follows the instructions. Then he finds a talisman that leads him to a group of characters who live outside structured environments and never follow instructions. Together they eventually thwart the villian (no spoilers for those who haven’t seen this charming movie). The way they succeed is to follow the instructions. Ah, ha! Light bulb moment!
Instructions! I’m used to making up my own or rearranging existing ones to be new and/or exciting. I haven’t tried to follow a pattern as written since I made my husband’s sweater the first (two) years we were married. I’ve always had a hard time matching gauge, and, with my ADHD, making up my own patterns, or adapting ones I like, help me keep the excitement in the project so I can stick with it enough to get it finished. That’s important with ADHD. (see any posts I’ve made about washing dishes!)
Also, it appears, I may have a little of the anxiety that plagues some members of my family. In the back of my mind, I’m worried that even if I do everything exactly right (never my strong suit), it won’t come out looking as good as the picture. I’ve never felted anything before in my life, and that is another big worry. What if I felt it and it sticks together so I have a nice wall hanging instead of a bag? What if it shrinks to a size that is useless for what I may want to put in it (most likely it will turn out to be a stunningly fancy knitting project bag … but I digress) What if the natural wool picks up some grime or dirt from my fingers and I end up with a spotted bag before I even use it? After all the time I spend making it, what if I toss it into my car and I accidentally get car grease on it from putting oil in my car, or some such activity. and forget to wash my hands afterwards? The list seems to go on and on.
I’ve come to a decision:
This is the ONLY felted thing I’ve ever been interested in enough to actually spend the money on the yarn and supplies to make. My KAL friend loves felting and I can’t wait to learn how to do it. Even if I never felt anything else again in my whole life. I actually like the feel of 100-% real wool and may convert to using more natural fibers (what I’ll do with all the acrylic and acrylic/wool blends in my stash I don’t know …. wait. Never mind). So, I will keep pushing the envelope and knit my way through my ADHD/anxiety barrier to finish this project, even though there’s a tiny, beginning knitter voice inside my head screaming that I can’t do this.
Also, I’m going downstairs, right now, and finding a chunky, acrylic/wool blend to make me a few more hats for this insanely cold winter. Maybe a garter stitch scarf, too. Then I can alternate a few rows of bag with a few rows of hat/scarf. That will make my ADHD happy.
And my head warmer.