Daily Archives: August 13, 2010

Process Stories

I am having one of those weeks where, despite devoting a fairly consistent and dedicated level of effort to my knitting, the actual apparent progress is minimal. I am in one of those very necessary phases of design work where I am either doing lots of pre-work (conceptualizing in my head, making notes, flagging stitch patterns in my dictionaries, putting out yarn for the next projects “on deck”, etc), or a lot of process work involving ripping-out and re-knitting and fine tuning. And I’m not exactly a patient person, so this is the most challenging part for me, particularly when it leaves me wringing my hands thinking “but what will I tell the BLOG about? WOE.”

Aug13-Gloves1

This glove, for example, may look a lot like a cuff instead of an actual glove. But in my head, it is a glove. The design concept is actually pretty simple, and I’m very tickled with it, and I love the yarn (Indigodragonfly MCN Sport, which is actually more like a DK). In material reality, it has been knitted up to the hand once already and then ripped out again while I fine-tune stitch counts and things. Which is good, it’s what needs to happen, but it does wear at one’s patience a bit, particularly when the other main project on my needles has gone through the same thing about three times.

This shawl has done this to me too. It’s going to be great, I am sure of it now – there was a while where I was a bit nervous/terrified that I was going to let Michelle down and I would have to tell her that I was so sorry she had given me some of this beautiful yarn to knit a beautiful shawl with because I am actually secretly just a hack who can’t manage to come up with a triangular shawl pattern despite the fact that zillions (or at the very least dozens) of human beings have done this before me. But no, it’s going to be good now. Plus, she’s got a brand new little kidlet that just arrived a couple of weeks ago who’s now been given an extra dose of hospital care due to illness, so if I can soak up some karmic frustration on her behalf, then well, I am all on that for Michelle.

Aug13-Shawl

It’s been a matter of tweaking stitch charts to do what I want them to do (with triangular shawls there is, I have learned through this process, a rise-over-run factor of needing the increase rate to match up with the # of repeating stitches in the chart, but that’s the sort of thing that you don’t necessarily need to care about, because the designer gets to care about it on your behalf, so moving on…), and making sure it looks defined enough and pleasing enough to match up with whatever hairbrained idea I had when I started the project in the first place. Also, let me tell you about how much I adore lifelines. Those lifelines are my rocks. They are the line of cavalry ready to charge down the hill like an unstoppable force of security. I have used them to their full value and I love them and may consider writing poems about them.

Because I think, in the end, the most challenging part of design isn’t the technical aspects (but those really help a lot), or the conceptual work (but I really like having that too); It’s that there is always this x-factor of not being entirely sure what it is that is going to trip you up. There are moments of frustration and even sheer terror that you might, in fact, have gotten it completely wrong and that the design is not going to work or that it might even be terribly uninteresting in the end. But at some point, you just have to suck it up, feel the fear and frustration, and finish it anyway.

Now if I could just manage to successfully apply this wisdom to my real life, I’d be good to go.

Happy knitting, my blog friends! Knit fearlessly this weekend.

13 Comments

Filed under design