Sunday, July 10, 2011

What It Takes

Ugh! I've just spent the last 15 minutes frogging everything I worked on all day.

Helen Hamann Ultrafine Alpaca in Raspberry Glaze
This happens. Sometimes it's due to a simple change of mind over the direction of a design. Sometimes it's due to inattention. Sometimes it's due to a mathematical error. Today it was the latter. No excuses. I've already put the work back on the stitches, but it's time for a breather before I return to the project after dinner. Today's little snafu, combined with the experience of leading a knitalong on Friday, leads me to ask, "What does it take to be a good knitter?"
So, here's my list:
1. Persistence. No further comment required. It's obvious.
2. Skill at basic arithmetic. Clearly, I lack this.
3. A talent for spatial thinking. This one is often overlooked.  EZ with her Moebius scarf comes to mind. It's why, I think, that boys are often quicker learners of knitting than girls.
4. Strong motor skills.
5. Some desire for perfection, but not too much. Good knitters are prepared to rip out and rip out again to get the result they want. But at the same time, they're not so uptight about their knitting that they become tense and frantic. I've seen these latter traits in beginning knitters who knit so tightly that their stitches can't move freely on the needles.
6. Perspective, i.e. the ability to recognize when it's time to quit a project and move on. There's no sense in completing something just for the sake of completing it. I don't think we should be spending our time knitting museum pieces that won't be used and enjoyed. For that matter, the knitting itself should be enjoyable too. So, if you're not enjoying the project, or you realize it won't be worn/used and loved, don't be afraid to let it go. Sell the yarn in a yard sale or online, donate it, frog it for another project, but don't spend your precious knitting time working away on something destined to live at the back of the closet or under the bed.
P.S. Feel free to add to the list.