Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There she sits.............and sits........

I analyze things. I'm perpetually wondering "why?", or "how does that work?", or something else along those lines. I like to understand things/people/etc. And what I don't understand, I feel driven to figure it out. For as long as I've known me, I've always been that way. So when I finished knitting the Summertime Tunic, set it down only needing to block it and sew the straps in order for it to be finished, and then didn't touch it for weeks.............I got to thinking. I do this often with a project. I work on it with enthusiasm until it's so very close to being finished, then I walk away from it. Sometimes for days. Often for weeks. Occasionally for months. And now I understand why I do it. I'm delaying the moment of truth. The moment I find out if a project is everything I'd hoped and dreamed it'd be. I've suffered my share of knitting and sewing disappointments, and, scratch that. Can I be completely honest with you? Can I admit something that I would be ashamed to tell a room full of knitters? {Deep Breath}
I've never been completely happy with any garment I've ever knit for myself!

There, I said it. Or blurted it out, rather..........................Wow. That wasn't so bad.........freeing, even. And nothing horrible happened. My monitor didn't start flashing red with the notice that I'd been banned from Ravelry, my blog suspended because I'm a knitting impostor, or my stash disappear in a poof of spontaneous combustion, melting all my needles into a molten blob in the process.

But it's true. I've never once put on a finished knitted garment and felt that swell of pride and excitement that comes with a job well done. I've made things for others and felt that way. I've made accessories and felt that way. But never a garment for myself.
Did you ever hear the expression, "Asking questions will lead not only to answers, but more questions as well?" I started to wonder why all of my personal projects ended in something less than elation. Yes, there were the standard variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) poor yarn substitutions, impulsive (and poorly thought out) changes made mid pattern, fitting issues, laziness, and freakish sleeves. But there was also one other reoccurring theme. I am incredibly critical of the things I make. Even more so of the things I make and then wear on my body. While I do see the upside to this quality (everything has an upside, right?) - it gives me the drive to continually improve, and insists that I only accept a certain level of quality, the downsides can't be ignored. I drive myself crazy. I forget to notice what is right about my project, because all I can see is the perceived flaw. I fail to recognize that for every mistake I've made, I've learned something. Which makes me a better knitter than I was before I cast that project on. I think it's time I told my inner critic to shut up. Or at least tone it down a bit. She's gotten too big for her britches.

It looks like a shapeless sack, says the crotchety nag who lives in my head.

But I'm going to have faith that once the finishing touches are added, and it's on a 3 dimensional body, I'll have reason to feel a little proud.


Marie said...

I completely understand. I haven't knitted a sweater in ages because all previous sweaters were dissatisfying. I have stuck to home decor items and shawls. Yet, I plan to tackle a knitted coat soon. I'm hopeful for a better outcome.
I hope you try on your tunic soon. Aren't you just a little bit curious?

a friend to knit with said...

oh, i know how you feel. i usually have that feeling when i knit tops too.
however.....when it comes to knitting sweater coats, i am always happy and those get the most use!
i did make this summertime tunic, and have worn it a few times. i really hope that you are happy. it is really cute, and i love it in the white.

Steph said...

Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one. =) I've never made a knitted coat before. I'm interested to see yours being knit up. I've favorited a couple a few coat patterns on Ravelry that I really like. The tunic is currently blocking, so it will be finished soon.

A friend to knit with,
I saw one of your recently knitted sweater coats, and it was gorgeous. I found your version of the Summertime Tunic on Ravelry when I was about halfway through knitting mine, and it made me wish I'd chosen Debbie Bliss Cathay - I love the fit and drape of the fabric on yours.

pamel said...

I scarcely knit for myself. Maybe it's because of the same fear. I did start a sweater for myself last winter but it sits only 1/3 finished and in a bag with the pattern. I found some lovely ribbon yarn to knit a cute bolero on sale for this summer. I didn't have the right size circs so I didn't get them for a week. My husband actually thought I would begin knitting it the moment I found the size circs needed. I believe he is a bit dissappointed I haven't (at least secretly since he was with me when I saw the yarn and said I have to have it to knit a cute bolero for myself--he agreed and bought the yarn for me). Then he drove me around to find the circs.
However, my excuses have been to finish a few things for an Autism Bazaar and then to knit for my Brother's Wedding and then to begin Christmas gift of which I've got a few done. Still haven't started the bolero and now the temperatures are in the 80's -- do I really need one now? Would it fit right too? Questions I ask myself as I bypass that beautiful ribbon yarn every time I go to get more yarn out for a new project. So I do understand as I've never actually knitted clothing for myself--scarves and throws yes....then I do have about four projects sitting unfinished.