This post has been forming for awhile now and since I didn't get a chance to knit it seems perfect time wise. :)
Back in Feb. when I started the Master's Handknitting course I gathered my supplies and cranked out my first few swatches as fast as I could. I wasn't thinking or learning/researching. I was just cranking out squares based off what I already do. Not what I know but what I do on a regular basis. My default. I had about 3 or 4 swatches done andw as loading them into a binder when the 1x1 ribbing on one started bugging me. It looked sloppy and twisted. I tend to avoid 1x1 ribbing because of that. I knew it was a tension issue but it was something else too. I didn't have the issue on any other type of ribbing. I posted about it and someone suggested learning how to do a norweigan purl. I figured it couldn't hurt. I went to knittinghelp.com and learned the technique. I debated with myself over frogging the swatch and redoing it. It just seemed like so much work. After ignoring it for a bit and doing more swatches (with more consideration at this point to what I was doing) I decided to at least do a second one of the swatch and then decide which one looked better. In the end I kept the second one.
All that was a long way of saying be aware of what you are doing! The difference between my two swatches was so huge that even the non knitting spouse of mine could see it. The Master's course has made me aware of what I'm doing and have been doing. Mydefault cast on does not always work. My default bind off tends to look sloppy a good portion of the time because I don't care and bind off on the wrong side (not neccessarily the wrong side of the ending fabric but also the patterning). My increases are not always placed well. My decreases look like crap because I'm too stuck on one way of doing them and not doing them correctly. So what right? No big deal? As long as the item gets finished? That was my thinking. Last year I did something like 37 projects. I was thrilled. Look at me! I can crank out high numbers of hand knit items! Not that cool when they weren't done well. If you're going to do something do it right the first time right?
I'm a knitter and I take pride in what I make. I enjoy showing it off to people. I enjoy gifting it. I enjoy the actual process of it. It doesn't make sense, to me, to take pride in an item done sloppy. It doesn't bring me joy to gift something when I'm going to worry they will see the flaws I knowingly chose not to correct. I don't enjoy the process of it knowing that in the end it looks like I didn't take the time to do it well.
This year I havenn't knitted nearly as many things. And I'm ok with that. Happy even. Not because I was needing to slow down but because I'm thinking about it. I'm considering whether a ssk or k2tog will look better. I'm taking time to make my cast on and bind off show up on the same side of the item. I'm taking the time to make it look good. I'd rather have a couple excellent hats than a hundred flawed ones. Knitting, for me, isn't about quantity. It's about quality. Knitting is my meditation. On days when I am needing a break from life it is nice to know I can go sit down and just knit. I guess not thinking about it (and I don't mean mindless knitting) would be the equivalent to sitting down and really meditating with a radio blasting and a jackhammer going. Not the most condusive to real relaxation you know.
I've learned quite a bit from the course so far and I'm so excited about that. It's neat, to me, that I can look at something and pick it apart now and not just from an arrogant standpoint. My view on it all has certainly changed a bit in the last little bit and I like to think it's because I, myself, have grown up a bit. I'm not meaning for this post to be all self reflective but it seems to be going that way. When I say I've grown up I don't just mean in the physical sense. Various things have occured that I no longer see everything through rose colored glasses. I don't irrationally lash out/react in a way driven by pure, uncontrolled emotion. And as cheesy as that sounds I no longer do that in regards to my knitting anymore. It takes discipline (for lack of a better word) to consider all the aspects of something before making a decision and I'd like to think that I have finally reached some level of that.
Will I always view my knitting like this? Probably not. I'm sure in time the thinking portion will just become my default and that it won't seem as smart to me, as genius to me. Heck, I may even get back in quantity mode. But for now I'm content to sit here and think and ponder and learn from my knitting.
As it stands, the Feb. Lady Sweater is sitting on my dresser. I'm avoiding it. There are 297 stitches waiting to be gartered. It's a bit...ummm.....monotonous.