This is a traditional time of year to reflect on the year behind, and think about what we would like to accomplish in the year ahead. Resolutions, goals, whatever you want to term them. This has been tying up my brain recently, what I want to accomplish, how I have failed at meeting personal goals in the past, and how to set myself up for success.
So, instead of talking about that, I’m going to talk about knitting.
A blanket (which happens to be what I’m working on at the moment), sweater, scarf, cock cozy1, whatever, does not spring off your needles fully formed.
Likewise with writing, a novel does not just spring into existence. Even when I’m in “the zone” and where the fingers cannot move fast enough to keep up with my brain, it is still happening one word at a time, brain to fingers to keyboard to “page.”
A house is built one board, one nail, one carefully-measured cut at a time.
And sometimes, mistakes are made. You miscounted, so you sneak in an increase or a decrease. Rows need to be ripped out because you should have split for the sleeves 3 inches ago, but got caught up watching Thorin and Bilbo make eyes at each other. Words, paragraphs, scenes need to be torn apart and put back together. Sometimes, you realize that the yarn is lovely, but totally wrong for the project you bought it for. Sometimes you remove paragraphs, scenes, or entire characters.
Sometimes this process of deconstruction is heartbreaking.
Sometimes it is so very fucking cathartic.
Every piece of knitting has a mistake in it. Any knitter who tells you they have made something mistake free is, IMHO, lying like a rug.
It is vastly important, however, to note that “mistake-free” is is no way a prerequisite for “perfect”.
That is so important, it needs saying again:
“Mistake-free” is NOT a prerequisite for “Perfect.”
I made several hats playing with color work. They were too tight and the pattern pulled. My brother asked for one, anyway. When I made a sweater for mom, one skein of the gradated yarn was wound weirdly, and striped differently than the others, and it happened to be a sleeve. It’s totally mismatched and she loves it, and wears it all the time. The neck of the sweater I made for me rolls and there’s kind of a gap at the point in front. I love that sweater because the neck is broad and doesn’t bug me on the days my throat doesn’t want anything around it.
All of them have mistakes.
They’re perfect anyway.
And I made each of them one stitch at a time. Some days I did one row, some days I did 6 inches. Some days I did nothing. But I never abandoned them. I kept going back, and picking them up, and working on them until they were done.
And that is a really important thing for me to remember.
Barring Zeus and that whole Athena business, creation does not happen in an instant. Progress does not happen in an instant. It takes time, and deliberately adding that next stitch, over, and over, and over again.
And eventually, you get something that looks like this:
This is the front side of that bumpy, loose-ends mess in the first pic.
It all happened one stitch at a time.
I think “one stitch at a time” is going to be my mantra this year. To keep in mind every time I don’t go for a walk, or eat from the cafeteria instead of bringing something from home, or do X thing that moves me closer to my goal. “Yup, I did not do that yesterday, but I can choose to add one stitch today.”
For example, this weekend is not going to end with all the dishes done and put away. But it is ending with me having updated the blog, with the laundry done and put away, groceries bought (even though I had to make an extra trip because I forgot something,) and soup in the crockpot which will be ready in the morning for me to take a healthy, homemade lunch to work (taco soup2).
Did I make all the “stitches” I intended to make this weekend? No. But I made some of them, and some of those stitches will set me up to make other stitches later in the week.
I’m excited to find out what I’ll make over the next year.
One stitch at a time.
Pattern is Wool Leaves by Jared Flood.
Cast on 141 stitches, planning on 11-12.5 repeats of pattern.
1: No, I have not.
2: My first time making it.
Originally published at Liam Grey. You can comment here or there.