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03 February 2010

Musings on Knitting and Life


Remember this?  I started knitting this lace shawl/wrap thingy back in April last year after finding myself in Portland with nothing to knit and a fabulous yarn shop close at hand which sold lots of colours of Seasilk.

Well, here it is today, washed, pinned out and ‘blocking’.  And utterly and completely and totally FINISHED. It just needs to block and dry and then you can see it in all its glory.


It’s the first bit of true lace I’ve ever knitted and I must admit that it’s been somewhat of a struggle. The actual knitting wasn’t that tricky, though I did have to learn how to cable without a cable needle, but keeping track of where I was in the pattern was hard (the cable edgings had a pattern repeat of 8 rows and the diamonds in the middle in rows of 12) and managing laceweight yarn is a nightmare, with stitches dropping all over the place. It didn’t help that the main times I knit are either when watching TV, knitting socially or keeping an eye on the Minx. This job required FOCUS and tons of it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rip back to a lifeline, undo several rows or spend ages dropping back through the pattern to fix some silly little mistake I hadn’t noticed at the time (and being a Virgo I’m afraid I just can’t leave mistakes). On several occasions I had to abandon the project for weeks or even months on end, so fed up was I by the slow progress and the repetitive pattern.  On more than one occasion I wondered whether I would actually ever finish.

But I kept plodding on, picking it up after it had been abandoned, relearning the pattern, knitting a bit here and a bit there and forcing myself to tink back to fix mistakes.  In December last year I vowed that I wouldn’t start anything new until I had finished all my works in progress. I’m not normally so persevering, and this could so easily have ended up as a tangled ball at the bottom of my knitting bag, but the silk yarn was beautiful and expensive and I really wanted to wear the finished article.  And so I pressed on.

And it occurs to me that knitting is a bit like life – if you keep going; if you keep adding stitch after stitch after stitch; if you pick things up and start again however difficult things may seem; if you force yourself to go back and fix mistakes; if you keep doing the right thing however little progress you appear to be making, if you just take a deep breath and apply some focused concentration to the job in hand, then one day, instead of a tangled mess, you will find that you’ve created something special and beautiful, of which you can be very, very, very proud.

Proper pics soon. More details, as usual, on my Ravelry page.

Funnily enough when I was researching my family tree last year I discovered that I am descended from a long line of Spitalfields silk weavers. And here I am 200 years later, still ‘weaving’ silk.


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