Friday, June 15, 2007

Competitive Knitting

I started knitting as a way to relax: it was supposed to be something to do with my hands when I got anxious about life. And, for a while, knitting was just relaxing and easy. I loved feeling the yarn between my fingers. I loved how clearheaded I felt when I was knitting. I loved feeling like I was just BEING rather than DOING something.

But, being a classic type-a personality, that feeling didn't last for long.

In recent times, I've looked at knitting as yet another thing at which I could fail. I kept challenging myself...more complex patterns, exotic yarns, color changes. I refused to knit something unless I thought it was going to be difficult. Because I felt like I failed at marriage, I used knitting to prove to someone, anyone, that I was good at something difficult.

I realized how bad it was when I was knitting my lacy wrap sweater from Fitted Knits. It wasn't enough that the pattern was moderately challenging. No, I made it more difficult by selecting the thinnest, scratchiest yarn available, and knit it on big needles to boot. It was like knitting with thread. While I was still happy because I was knitting, I was not enjoying what I was knitting. Instead, I looked at that project as another something I had to do, rather than something I wanted to do.

Adding insult to injury, my wrap sweater was knitting up much too small (lest you chide me for not knitting a gauge swatch, I did). For some reason, the yarn was not cooperating. My mother was the first person who told me that the sweater looked really tiny. I insisted that she was wrong, that she just wasn't seeing it the way I saw it. Unfortunately, most people who saw my project tended to agree with my mom: they liked the yarn and thought it was beautiful, but they also told me that the sweater looked really small (when nearly everyone looks at your project and asks if it is for your 22 month old daughter, there's a problem).

Despite the majority's doubts, I stayed with the yarn for a while, doggedly insisting that it was fine and that everything was going according to plan. But, in my head, I was really worried: I was almost at the end of the pattern, yet the sweater was only reaching the middle of my back (and it was not a shrug).

Then, something weird happened. When my LYS was closed the other day, I visited another knitting store called Unwind. It was so different from my LYS: different neighborhood, different people, different yarn. There I realized that even though I had tried really hard, my wrap sweater was simply was not going to work with that yarn. The yarn wasn't meant for the pattern. And, I decided that while I liked the pattern, I didn't like the outrageously-expensive-itchy-yarn in which I was making it.

The fix was simple: start the sweater over again with different yarn. But, as easy as that sounds, there's a lot of emotion attached to abandoning a project midway. I had spent a lot of time knitting this thing and it was in vain. But it just wasn't meant to be. So, I swallowed hard, and selected new yarn and started over again.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

I couldn't help but notice how this particular knitting experience paralleled my life at this moment. I am in the middle of a divorce. I really tried to make my marriage work, and because of this, probably stayed in it longer than I should have. Nearly everyone likes my soon-to-be-ex, but nearly everyone thought that we just didn't match each other. And, as hard as I worked at my marriage, as much as I wanted it to work, it just wasn't meant to be. While this really sucks, it is what it is, and I just have to start over again.

Luckily, I'm not starting my life completely from scratch. I do have two children who are beautiful, intelligent, and funny. So, while I won't be married anymore, I still got something really special out of the relationship. And, if this divorce is the price I have to pay for my beautiful babies, then that's ok.

So, even though I'm starting over (with my sweater and my life), I feel pretty good. I LOVE the new yarn I'm using: it feels good, it's in my favorite color, and the sweater is knitting up beautifully. I'm confident that this will be a really pretty sweater when I'm finished.

Here's hoping my life continues to parallel my knitting experience.

1 comment:

jq said...

You are just plain awesome. I love your writing - and your knitting!