Saturday, September 25, 2010

Frogging Without a Tantrum

Remember when I said that I was going to make mitts for me because I wanted to reclaim my crafting mojo? That totally didn't happen. Even after the knitting retreat last weekend I'm still in a major funk. My projects don't currently thrill me. There's nothing that I'm just dying to finish. It's a problem :-(

My plan for the knitting retreat was to finish Dragonflies (which I totally did and it's awesome and pictures will be posted eventually) and finish these mitts. I knew that cooler weather was coming, they'd be good to keep me warm at work, and mitts don't take that long so why not? It so didn't work like that. I worked on them all weekend when I wasn't spending time on the computer, swearing at the crappy wifi connection in our condo, or getting tips and practicing spinning.

I finished the ribbing and moved on to the cables. That's when I discovered that I left home without my cable needle. Apparently dark yarn in bad lighting on size 2 needles is not the right time to learn how to cable-without-a-cable-needle. Stitches were dropped, swearing occurred, then I realized I could use one of my interchangeable tips for a cable needle and I was good to go. After a few rows of the pattern, I discovered that I was having major problems with laddering going from needle 1 to needle 2 using magic loop because I broke up the stitches in the wrong place. Deciding that I really don't need to be a perfectionist and I can live with a bit of laddering if the rest of the mitts are awesome, I continued on.

I obviously didn't finish them on the retreat, and I didn't even finish one pattern repeat (needs two before I can even think about increasing for the thumb), but I brought them with me to work and knitting group to keep plugging along. I wasn't paying enough attention at knitting group and ended up crossing two of the cables in the wrong direction. I didn't discover it until three rows later and I wasn't willing to knit back three rows to fix it. Again I tried to tell myself that I don't need to be a perfectionist, and The Doctor would probably appreciate the unique quirkiness of the incorrect cables (I was telling myself anything at that point to be able to keep knitting without too much stress), so it's ok to ignore them and just finish the damn mitts.

The next day at work I planned on working on them at lunch, but I only got one row done because I kept looking at where I screwed up. This was not the quality I was used to, but my hands were freezing at my desk that morning and so I should just finish them, right? That night I just couldn't take it anymore. I reached the point at which I could choose to have a short wrist and start increasing for the thumb, or do another repeat and make them longer. I tried them on and contemplated my options, and then realized that I hated them. The pattern is beautiful, and I love the yarn, but they just don't work together. It wasn't what I wanted. I spent more time drooling over the awesomeness of how the colors played out on the back plain side than the intricate cabling. That's when I knew I needed to frog them (for those that don't know, "frogging" knitting term used when you rip out your work because you "rip-it, rip-it, rip-it"). You all know how much I hate knitting back to fix a mistake, and how ripping out a few rows (like on that lacy shawl I'm supposed to be working on but I'm still grumpy about it and refuse to touch it) makes me cranky, so the idea of frogging a week's worth of work on tiny needles made me want to cry.

But I didn't cry. I pouted a bit, but no tantrums were involved. The only time I swore was when I texted BFF that I was ripping them out and "f*** knitting - pointy ended sticks SUCK." Not the most mature of moments, but believe me that that's pretty good for me when it comes to frogging. By this point it was about 10pm on a Thursday, I knew I needed to go to work in the morning, but I also knew if I didn't fix them and start a new pair right away that I wouldn't ever finish them. I found a new pattern, started watching Boondock Saints on Netflix (because Irish accents and violence always helps), and began ripping them out.

I dug out a pair of size 1 needles (yeah, they're super tiny. 2.25mm) and started over with Koigu Wristers. I was only able to knit about 8 rows by time the movie was done, but I was feeling good about the new ones. The mitts fit so much better than the first pair. I was excited to work on them again at lunch yesterday, and even got them right out when I got home to continue working on them. Now I'm to row 20 of the ribbing and I'm excited to finish this post and get back to working on them. Maybe my crafty mojo is starting to return!!!

Thank you so much for reading this far. I know the entire story could have been taken care of with a simple blurb like "My Tenth Doctor Mitts suck so I ripped them out and started over. I didn't even cry or swear and now I'm working on new ones that are significantly more awesome." But that didn't convey the growth I went through for these. I am and always have been a crafty perfectionist. Just the fact that I didn't give up on them with the laddering problem was an amazing improvement for me. I've never ripped something out and started all over again. Normally I'd fight it to the death to finish it, or cut off the yarn and work on something else. The idea of frogging always seemed painful to me. I'm happy to say that I survived though. Maybe this means I'm growing. Or not.

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