Sunday, July 26, 2009

Terrible Twos

I have heard that the phenomenon know as the "terrible twos" is a function of mental development exceeding language acquisition in children when they hit roughly the age of two, and the frustration created by this disparity.

As a knitter, I am totally there.

I have ideas in my head that I can draw on paper, but I have no idea how to knit them. I am really frustrated by my lack of comprehension of stitch and fabric manipulation. As I have knit many of my previous projects I have come across techniques which are clever and should be useful in making my ideas a reality. However, I have no clue as to how to choose the right technique for what I want, or how to apply it to my ideas.

As I have returned to sitting, I have returned to knitting. And I have realized something about my knitting. I excel at shapeless garments. Socks fascinate me, but their three dimensional nature is not beyond me only because of the glut of really well written patterns. Otherwise, we are back to great success with shawls and scarves.

Knitting is at once two and three dimensional, and I am lost to try to reconcile that in my brain. I am currently knitting a pattern for a little top that I had hoped would help clarify a few things for me, but I find myself struggling every step on the way to understand the pattern as written with no hope of learning enough about it to modify it or take away anything useful I could turn into design knowledge. Part of the reason is that the pattern is written with an enormous assumption that I know what I'm doing in the first place.

In the turn of the last century lots of patterns were written making these same assumptions. I have seen so many patterns that read like this: Using the chart, cast on as many stitches as needed for the border and knit 3 repeats, then continue with the sweater in the usual way. The assumption is that we all know how to knit sweaters, and in the time in which the pattern was written, it may have been a pretty safe assumption to make. But in our day and age, we depend on more experienced knitters to work out all the missing details and write them up in a form we will understand. This is why I buy Nancy Bush's version of the patterns instead of knitting directly from Weldon's Practical Needlework and its ilk. But I'm getting tired of knitting other peoples' designs. And my brain is not Nancy Bush's, and I'm cranky about it.

So I think I have at least identified why I am tending to knit a bit, then storm around my house throwing needles and yarn across the room, only to cast on something else I hope will help and, ultimately, throwing that in an ever growing pile of WIP dissatisfaction.

That pretty much wraps up the tale of my summer knitting.

Before I go I really want to thank everyone who send me good wishes for my surgery. After a few minor setbacks I am well on the road to full recovery, at least physically. All your comments really cheered me up when I needed cheering, and for that I will be forever grateful.