Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Is it a learning curve or a slippery slope?

blog 009It may have already occurred to some of you that I'm not naturally intelligent. This is not to say I'm a total idiot. I mean, a total idiot implies that there are little or no moments of genius at all and that would be a patronizing and 'cutesy' way of self-deprecating that doesn't match the constant struggle I endure to grow and learn a thing or two. You know what I'm talking about. Just when you think your head is way open and you're ready to drink of the fountain of all things diverse and beautiful, you stumble upon yet another shred (or mountain, depending on the circumstances) of your doofery. Before I prostrate myself in the Hall of Doofs, there's been some spinning going on the last few days... which do you like better? The 'sari' sock batts, spun in a fingering wgt 2 plyblog 004

or the single merino roving I call 'Wood Elves' that I swiped from the shop because my neck has been acting up and I couldn't spin anything too complicated but needed to avoid becoming violent so had to spin SOMETHING! blog 017

Years ago, when I first started knitting, a woman who I'd personally witnessed having continued knitting success told me that if I bought one knitting book, it should be by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I was limited on funds and scoffed at the price on so many other knitting books, but smugly rewarded myself with the Knitter's Almanac. I started reading the PATTERNS (or pithy instructions) right away - a mistake I would later realize. I made the assumption I used to make about cookbooks, too. I mean, remember the old days when all cookbooks looked the same and you knew where and what to look for? You didn't expect the writer to know how to write, to be witty, to be interesting - you just expected him or her to know how to cook, and how to teach you not to turn the turkey into turkey jerky causing another smashing success at your feasting table. I didn't expect knitters to be very interesting, so I thumbed ahead to the instructions and promptly realized, "holy cow, this woman really knows how to knit". I was totally intimidated. Had I realized that the actual CHAPTERS were where a newbie like myself could glean the infinite wisdom of this impossible to describe with any proper amount of credit knitting goddess, I might not have given up so easily and put the book back on the shelf. I know, I know, many of you learned to knit with EZ and are probably thinking, 'man, if she can't understand the clear and beautiful direction of the greatest, she must be real dumb!'. To you, I can only say I've always been relaxed in entering into any wisdom or ability.

Take water slides, for instance. My grandparents used to live right next to the craziest water slide park in the country and would take us there at least a couple of times every summer. People, I mean it when I say that just climbing up the billionty flights of stairs to the massive slides was an athletic event. Never mind the bullies who pushed and scared you so bad you wanted to wet yourself. All to stand for eternity in line (have I mentioned you're in line and standing on stairs - real high up?)and then wedge yourself on a mat, which you will inevitably slide off of and scrape your arse all over the wet, hot, plastic and land in a warm equivalent of the kiddie pool - with said bully hurrying right behind so he lands on you and holds you under water for just a minute. I'd like to judge but, half the time, said bully was related to me in some way. I just didn't understand it. Every year, everyone would get all excited about another day of water sliding. I was mystified by how it was ever perceived as fun.

Then, I got bigger. And, being slightly pissed off and headed into the teen years, I seemed to be less entertaining for the bullies. I learned to swim. I learned to fall. And, having nothing left to fear, I learned to enjoy it. Only after that did I learn all the cool sliding techniques and daredevil tactics that would make grandma have to go to the car to have a cigarette.

A little while back, I pulled out the almanac and, having forgotten I had it, started reading it like I now know how to read a knitting book - like it is written by a real, genuine person - not a dictionary of patterns to be skimmed and taken lightly. One chapter into it, I knew my mistake. I now feel perfectly equipped to make a collared sweater, a pi shawl, some moccasin socks. I just wasn't ready, at the beginning, I guess, to take it all in. Now, it seems so simple, so beautifully constructed to help anyone take a first step. Of course, I didn't walk until I was almost two years old. This may be my destiny. Isn't that awful - I'm destined to be a doof? Really, it's not as bad as you might think. I mean, had I read it years ago, and not tried any of the patterns, I wouldn't have been driven to total distraction by the growing list of 'things I plan to make' in it, now, when I don't have all that newbie muddled terminology floating around my head. It's like finding an unopened x-mas present under the couch, with your name on it, in july. Your timing may be a little off, but that doesn't spoil the treasure.

etsy 001I've finished one moccasin sock for thing 3. This sock is a symbol. No, not of my doofiness, but of my previously hard-earned knitting wisdom. I know it's not even Halloween, and I hate to be the one to say it, but holiday gift-knitting, if you do that sort of thing, is upon us. A pair of socks, a sweater, and something to keep hands warm are my goals for things 1,2, and 3. This sock is my toast to you, knit hard/play hard! Course, it will be hard to knit my holiday gift schedule since I'm currently stirring the pot on some hand-dyed lace yarn that I'm planning to cast on as soon as it dries for the pi shawl. Please tell no one.

blog 015BTW, in the interests of following up (not really my strong point, eh?), I will, to the surprise of you all, be going to the party as a witch. Since costumes are mandatory, hubster must dress up, too. He's not exactly thrilled with the idea so he's left his costume design to me. I could dress him as a pirate since thing 2 is being one and he says he wouldn't mind a companion. But, then I started thinking - isn't a hubster supposed to be MY companion? Would it be mean to put a chain on him and a loincloth and take him as my egor? BWah ha ha ha! That'll be our contest this week. The prize is this set of lapis lazuli stitch markers. There's really no contest or requisite to winning (ya'll know I don't have the backbone to actually have to 'pick' someone so I just randomly draw names from the email account) other than to send me some ideas for how to dress this man - keeping in mind that he must be presentable to children at dyeingwitchATyahooDOTcom or leave it in the comments, here. No need to do both, that will just fuddle my already meager brain.