February 6, 2012

A French beret

I knit myself a hat!

This is the first project I've knit for myself. And also the first project I have actually thrown across the room in frustration.

I was doing quite well, knitting in the round for only the second time, until I dropped three stitches out of my last six! I panicked, especially because I'd been knitting two together, which doubles the trouble for picking up the stitches! This is about the point where I threw the hat across the room, which of course caused my remaining needle to fly out, dropping my last three stitches...

After letting off steam, taking a short break and benefiting from a couple pats on the back from J, I gathered up the materials and kept going...Usually I ask my mother-in-law, who is a fantastic knitter, to help me with this sort of thing, but I wanted to try to do this by myself, because I don't really want to spend my whole life running to my m-i-l when I drop a stitch!

So, I figured out how to fix it! And also figured out, that before I close a hole in round knitting, I should make sure the ball of yarn and needles are on the right side...and that while i-cording is not hard, it also helps to do this on the right side of the project...but like I said, I fixed it!

In the end I let a few errors slide: one of the stitches I picked up is backwards, a purl in the midst of stockinette stitch, there's a stretched spot near the top where you can see a hole when you look through the hat at a light, and I didn't get to i-cord long enough for a knotted cord, because I had to cut the yarn due to its being on the wrong side, so I made it a loop instead.

Which brings me to the philosophical reasons for why I need to knit. Every time I knit something new, I'm practicing in a small way something that doesn't come easily for a planner/thinker like me - I'm starting something that I can't safely say I know how to finish. There are many times when I feel like giving up on a project, because it isn't turning out exactly perfect, but as this hat demonstrates, there are plenty of times* in life when almost perfect is good enough. Instead of stressing myself out by pretending my expectations of perfection are actually attainable** (if I just stress myself out enough...), when I knit I practice embracing the value of the creative experience as more important than the performance of perfect execution.

I'm just as happy with my hat of several mistakes than I would have been with a technically perfect hat, and now that I've finished it sooner than if I had corrected these mistakes, I can move on to another project and practice accepting more mistakes!

Next up: "Newfie mitts"!

*I still feel strongly that there's no point in doing a job if you don't do it well. And there are lots of important tasks in life where it's really important not to settle for less than your best. Knitting just isn't one of them.
**Isn't perfection a ridiculous standard? I know I'm not even close and never will be!

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