Sunday, January 11, 2009

Knitting with cobwebs

I don't remember why I thought it would be a good idea to knit a giant scarf with yarn as thin as a cobweb. And not just any giant scarf - an intricate one with a delicate pattern and beads. This is the Secret of the Stole 2 (set up by the nautical knitter) I started well over a year ago. I'm 85 percent done. I was 90 percent done just two days ago, but after several weeks of ignoring it, when I went to pick it up I discovered I'd done something wrong somewhere and just couldn't fake it. So I went back a few rows. And then a few more... and then a few more!!! How distressingly easy it is to undo hours and hours of work! Zip Zoop Zut done (that's a tribute to the Froggy books, those of you with children might recognize). The reason the stole is still undone is that every row is agonizingly complicated and I know it's hours and hours from being finished. I keep setting aside for simpler projects that can be done quickly - like hats that can be done in a day :)

I'm left wondering if I am cut out to be a lace knitter. I wonder if there are just some things that some knitters aren't meant to knit. Should I just accept who I am and stick to hats and chunky scarves?

Here is what I don't like about this project:

1. There are 99 stitches in a row and every row (except for the purls) is different so there is an incredible chance for error.
2. There are 99 tiny stitches so each row takes an eternity, which means I can only get 10 (20 if you count the purls) done during an hour long show, if I don't mess up and have to tink back.
3. You have to make gosh darn sure you really love the yarn you've chosen because you're going to be spending a gosh darn long time with it. It would be tragic if half way through you start to think maybe it's not quite as pretty as you thought it was when you started.
4. The pattern is so complicated that when you mess up, it's nearly impossible to get back on track without going way back.
5. I'm still working on it more than a year after I started.

On the other hand - there is a good reason I haven't given it up - a bunch of them actually:

So here is what I love about this project:

1. It is drop dead gorgeous. I am unabashedly stunned at how pretty it is.
2. I discovered that adding beads to a project isn't that difficult and it really adds a lot of vavoom.
3. I have learned to read my knitting better.
4. I have gained patience with going backwards.
5. There is great satisfaction at reaching the end of row without error. I feel a little victory every time I get to the end with exactly as many stitches as I am supposed to have.
6. When I am finally done, I will have a wonderful, beautiful stole that will draw many comments and compliments.

I'm torn because there are so many projects I want to try that I tend to pick only things I can finish quickly. On the other hand, there is so much you miss out on if you don't take up longer projects. The problem for me is that unfinished projects hang over my head like a weight about ready to drop and I feel sort of frantic about needing to get them out of the way and not being able to. Maybe what I really need is a change in attitude. I need to accept that there are some things that are meant to just be worked on from time to time. They'll get done when they get done.

Here's my first draft of a serenity prayer for knitters:
Help me to finish the projects I should finish, give me the strength to give up on those that aren't worthy of my time and give me the wisdom to know the difference.


Janice said...

Keep on knitting.. you are an inspiration!! And I love the serenity prayer for knitters.. quite fitting!

Holly Jo said...

I think lace knitting is so hard for people who knit in spurts and bits. It takes concentration and focus. I know I put most of my lace stuff to the back of the stash for a while.

You know, if it is a weight around you, you shouldn't work on it. Life is filled with so many have to's. Knitting should not feel like one of them. :) Good news? Cables don't feel near as fiddly as lace but are still challenging. :)

Dorothy said...

I've been working on the Celtic Knot Stole for a while (although, it experienced a hiatus to get to Christmas knitting). Now, I have baby knitting to get to. My solution has been to assign one or two nights a week to the lace. All other nights are dedicated to smaller projects.

Bonnie D. said...

What the heck???? You tease us with no photos??? I want to see this little beauty!!

Danielle said...

I managed to finish mine and gave it away almost imediately. It is difficult not to give things away when they are really admired by someone (like my mom in this case) who really appreciates all the time that goes into a detailed project like this. :) Keep on working. You can do it!

Nautical Knitter said...

Ok, I just found this post and wanted to tell you that I, for one, am very proud of you!! Regardless of whether you finish your stole or not, you have learned so much through trying to do it.

Now, having said that, you are so far along at this point that I suggest that if you still like the project, put it away for a little while and work on some other things. You will be amazed at how fast the pattern will fly when you go back to it.

I hope you finish it and if you do, whenever that is, I really hope to see photos!! Good luck and congratulations on all you have accomplished thus far!

Fair Winds, NK