Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Shameful Confession

Patience is bitter, but its fruits are sweet.
                               -Jean Jacques Rousseau

Some ancestral inheritance of a maudlin Puritan sensibility must linger in me, as I frequently experience bouts of guilt—or maybe I’m just like so many other working mothers who feel inadequate for not fulfilling all of their various roles to the exacting standards we set for ourselves.  Either way, I have a confession to make that has been weighing heavy on my spirit, highlighting my inferiority as a human being and as a knitter.  In the three years since I first learned to knit, until early this morning, I had not made a swatch. 

This isn't my swatch.  It's from
 http://microrevolt.org/reblog/archives/2006/01/index.html

My Noro Aya swatch (not washed or blocked yet).
Surprisingly enough, I haven’t many gauge disasters, as in general, my knitting tends to match the gauge printed in the instructions.  I did have one problem in the past with sizing, but I’m beginning to think that, in that case, the pattern was more to blame than my failure to swatch.  I had carefully selected yarns with identical gauges to the one listed on the pattern and used the suggested needle size, yet the results, using the same pattern, and two different yarns, yielded hats of enormous proportions.  But even if those two large hats are the only unfortunate experiences with sizing, I know that I can’t use this fact to rationalize my impatience to delve into projects before laying the groundwork.

Also, if I ever intend to progress enough to eventually create more than the most simplistic designs of my own, I have to swatch—an activity which for me until today seemed akin, in its appeal, to waiting for my nails to dry.  (On the rare occasions I give myself a manicure, I always end up with an ugly gash in the polish on at least one nail as the result of starting to do dishes, knit, or get dressed before the polish is dry.)    
Beulah Cardigan from Knitscene Spring 2012.
I made a swatch using Noro Aya this morning, in anticipation of knitting the Beulah cardigan that is in a special issue of Knitscene magazine I recently purchased. I love the cardigan that is shown knit up in a solid color with embroidery on the front, but I have some Noro yarn I received as a Christmas present, and I’ve been longing to handle it. 

Swatching with the Noro yarn this morning was actually quite painless, and the finished square I created measures 4 x 4 inches.  Now, I’m inspired to test out some lace patterns, gaining not only practice in various techniques but also acquiring a preview of how certain yarns will knit up into a garment. 
   
As an English teacher, in the classroom I’m always quick to harp about perseverance, patience, and completing all of the tedious steps to creating a piece of writing (even though I understand because I was young once, that most students write one draft, usually at the last minute, to turn in for a grade).  I can’t say that I’ve been any more mature or precise as a knitter (at least as a swatcher) than many of my students as writers, but, even though I’m no longer a teenager, like them, I am maturing and learning new things every day.    

2 comments:

  1. HA! Liz, we really do have a lot in common. I hardly ever sketch out my designs first. I just want to jump right in there and start gluing and cutting. hehehe...Cute addition.

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  2. "...most students write one draft, usually at the last minute, to turn in for a grade."

    [mock offense] I never!
    [sheepishly] Okay, yeah, I did...

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