Standing alone in Michael’s one night in October, I felt something that I can’t really verbalize. I needed to do something different. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I’m glad my eyes found the knitting section.
I didn’t think I’d be able to learn how to knit, and I figured I was probably wasting thirteen dollars on the knitting kit, but I decided to give it a whirl.
“Other people can knit. A lot of people can knit. I could knit if I tried if all those people can knit.”
That night, I sat on my bed and practiced casting on for about a half hour. The booklet taught me nothing.
Youtube saved me.
I spent the next two hours knitting. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it didn’t look right, so I undid all of my work and started again.
It took me about a week to finish my first mini, ugly, unusable scarf (can we even call that thing a scarf?).
I learned how to knit, though.
Since then, I’ve made nine scarves (not counting that terrible first try) and a Christmas Cape for Mogli.
I’m going to make three scarves this week as Christmas gifts, and then I’m going to start working on running headbands. I’d like to open an Easy store by the end of Q215 with customizable sizes and colors.
Aside from learning how to knit, I learned some lessons, too—especially in the beginning.
- Stay patient. When I first started out, I wanted to give up many times. I put the needles down and took a deep breath. Then I’d remember myself standing in Michael’s. I felt many pangs in my chest that first night, a lot of anger, but I got the hang of it. My first scarf (thing) was a disaster. I began working on my next scarf, and I had high hopes. I fought off the nagging feeling that I was going to screw it up, and I was patient. I made a lot of mistakes, and I had to undo a lot of rows to make it perfect. In the beginning, all the knitting looked boring. Then, I began the knitting and purling. I watched yarn become something. I watched my hands create a pattern. Once the first thirty rows were done (1/4 of the scarf/shawl), I marveled at my work. How did I do this? Was I going to really knit scarves?! I was excited. My patience wore thin often; I wanted the scarf to be done, already. I wanted to show off my great work. I apply patience like this: I have experiences that I’ve turned into stories. When I wrote Love, Ava, it was written all over the place. I jumped from the beginning to the middle, to different countries, to different people. When I put it all together, it blended. I didn’t see it happening, but it did. On my trip to Colorado this year, I wrote 30 pages of my new novel. Again, I wrote all over the place. I started at the beginning. Then I jumped around, because that’s how my life is. I remember things at inopportune times. I have to get things out of my system. Patience. I won’t write this novel as quickly, because I’m busy knitting, but believe me, this might be my favorite story to date. Patience.
- Time Management. Unless you’re an expert knitter, you’re not cranking out a scarf an hour. I can do an infinity scarf in about four hours and a full size shawl/scarf in about eight. I love to write. I love to read. I love checking tumblr for quotes. I love to run. I love to eat. I have a full-time job, and I go to bed every night at 11. I have to sacrifice things to do what I want to do. If I have to make three scarves for Christmas, I have a lot of time to work with, but if I want to make someone a scarf for Friday, I have to manage my time. There is a quote that says something like “getting what you want isn’t hard. Figuring out what you’re willing to give up to get it is hard.” You can have whatever you want in the world. I truly believe that (outside of people and tangible items that belong to other people—but even those may be bought). I can write a novel by the end of January if I want to. I would quit knitting for the time being, and I’d spend every night after work writing. I could do it. Do I want to knit instead? Do I want to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy while knitting? How important is it that I finish this novel? (It’s actually extremely important. I want this idea out of my head and gone for good.) Time management. You choose what’s important in your life.
- Creativity is everywhere. Yes, I do a lot of creative things, and let’s be honest, I’m more than happy with the creative bone in my body. I’m not a good artist, I can’t paint to save my life. I’m no poet, and I lack the ability to be fluid in any serious form of dancing. I can be awkward to the point of tears, but I’m flippin’ creative where it matters (to me). Knitting is creative. I’m creating things! Tangible things! Not only books that people can relate to (some people), not songs that people find funny and relatable (oh, September song, thanks for existing). I’m making something you can wear! When I wrap my white infinity scarf around my neck, I feel warmer knowing I made this. I spent hours working on it.
- Not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck. I’ve tried to do certain things with yarn that just won’t happen. It’ll come undone, or it won’t be the way I’ve envisioned it. I wanted to make Mogli a sweater. I looked at the directions for measuring him. I had to measure the rows, I had to do a lot. It was more than I wanted to do. I know there are some things I’m incapable of. I could’ve followed the directions, but it wouldn’t have been the correct length. At the end of it, I would’ve been annoyed about wasting my time. I know myself enough. So, I decided to stop the knitting and tie it. It’s a cape, and let me tell you, he looks fancier than your dog. Yeah. I didn’t expect to make him a cape, but I did. I’ve wanted a LOT of things in my life. I’ve even thought that I needed a couple (wow, yeah, let’s not go there). At the time, I thought I was being punished, but in time, I discovered it was a blessing. Sometimes it’s taken me years to understand things, but I’ve understood them. I’m more than at peace with them—I’ve forgotten them. They taught me things, and that’s what’s important. Even now, as I sit here, I think of the things that I still can’t attain, and I have to believe (I do believe) there’s a good reason for why I don’t have certain things. It will take time, but I’ll look back someday and go, “dodged that bullet.”
- Move on. You can’t dwell on things. Can I go back to my first scarf, unravel it and start again? Sure, and I’d probably make something nicer, too. I’m not going to do it, though. It taught me a lot. I poured my heart into that. I worked harder on that piece than I have on all of my scarves. That was the piece that decided whether or not I would continue to knit. Likewise, I can list things in my life that I could dwell on, but it wouldn’t change anything. I’m where I am, because of all of the things in my life. Truthfully, I’m not always happy with where I am, but I’m here, and I’m bettering myself every day. My goal isn’t to be better than anyone else, it’s to be better than the person I was yesterday. I’ll knit a new scarf. I’ll turn the page. I’ll start a new chapter. I can’t spend my life looking back longingly for something to change.
- Don’t rush anything. In knitting, you can sometimes get ahead of yourself and yank on the yarn too soon. You can miss a stitch. If you’re not careful, your work can unravel right before you, and there’s not much you can do, except start over. I read a quote about rushing things. It said you shouldn’t yank on a thread before it’s ready to go, because you’ll unravel everything. I read it over the summer, and I loved it. I thought I understood it, and maybe I did, but I genuinely understand it now. I apply this to my life often. There are times when I want to scream (and I never scream. I don’t think I’m capable of really raising my voice) with impatience, “why me?! Why cant this flippin’ work out for once in my life! WHY” I’ve done it before, too. With the right people (thank God), they’ve just looked at me and told me what I needed to hear, “it’s just not the time.” This has applied to me in more ways than I care to admit.
So, I’m glad I learned how to knit. If I can knit, you can knit, and if you have any inclination to do so, you should. You can do it while watching television (some animal shows on netflix are also my fav [in addition to GA]).
Anyway, I’m an unfinished sweater, and I have an incredibly long way to go.