Sometimes there’s a project that just lingers on and on, despite your best intentions to finish it in a timely fashion. Life happens, other projects call to you, and before you know it, you look down and realize you’ve been working on the same project since before the start of this interminable election cycle for a really long time. I’ll admit that I’m not a “get ‘er done” kind of knitter. In fact, one of my favorite quotes (by the brilliant Douglas Adams) is “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Back in April, I blogged about my mother’s cowl-to-be, made out of glorious silk, and I think it’s time for an update:
Do you know what that is? That’s a darning needle with my final sheet of mawata threaded on it. That’s the finish line coming into view at long last! Yes indeed, I’m binding off, using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off for stretchiness. Ta-da!
This may not seem that exciting, but you must remember that I’ve been knitting on this project for years. I had almost started to wonder whether it would ever be finished.
Now, the end is in sight. Mim will get her Chiao Goo needle back (thanks, Mim!), my mom will finally get her Christmas gift, and I will get to choose a new travel project to stuff into my purse! Finishing something like this is bittersweet, a little like finishing a good book. You’re pleased to reach the end, but you’ve been immersed in it for so long, you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself once you’re done. Fortunately, in this case, Ravelry is here to help!
While I was photographing my Goldfish sweater today, the Jaws theme song popped into my head. I’ve only just got the top edge of my fish actually knitted, and I found myself imagining that if they had dorsal fins, they’d be ominously slicing through the water, ready to devour a hapless swimmer. Luckily, these are cute and cuddly goldfish, sans dorsal fins. You can just see their backs/heads and a tiny tip of each tail. It may not look like much yet, but I’m so excited!
There’s something very magical about watching a pattern develop. Whether it’s colorwork or a textured stitch pattern, or even just the basic shape of a project, I love watching something emerge from repetitive motions of yarn and sticks. It’s one thing to see it on a chart, but it’s an entirely different kettle of fish (haha) to see the chart translated into actual fabric. Now we just have to hope that my floats aren’t too tight. Cross your fingers!
I sometimes think that my spirit animal is a labrador retriever. I just want to help, whether it’s by fetching the ball, rescuing Timmy from the well, or getting you through a tough spot in your latest project. If I can’t help you, if I have to send you away disappointed or frustrated, I often feel disappointed and frustrated as well. That’s why this post is called “Help Me Help You”: I want you to feel happy, so that I can feel happy. Don’t you want me to feel happy?
Photo by Brooks Winner
Here at the shop, we offer drop-in help times (Monday and Thursday evenings from 5-7 pm for $15) as well as the option to book your own 15-Minute Mini Class (also $15) whenever it works with your schedule. I know that life is busy, so here are three tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your help session with us:
Bring your yarn and needles. If you’re already underway, bring your half-finished item. While I have occasionally helped a knitter over the phone, it is so much easier for both of us if we have the item in question in our hands. That way, we can see where you’re getting stuck, and set you on the right path before you leave the shop. If you’re anything like me, it’s better to try a new skill right away, rather than trying to hold it in your head the whole drive home.
Bring your pattern. If your dog ate your pattern, please make a note of the name of the pattern (and the designer, if possible) so that we can try to find a copy of it. Sometimes, the problem isn’t that you’re doing something wrong — sometimes the pattern has an error! Wouldn’t you rather know that right away, instead of beating yourself up over something that isn’t even your fault? If we can examine your pattern, we can also try to decipher the problem in context. Perhaps the designer just used an unusual turn of phrase, or perhaps we can veer slightly from what they wrote in order to find a more elegant solution.
Bring an open mind. This is just as important as tips 1 and 2. Whether it’s learning a new skill or fixing a mistake, you will have much better luck if you approach it with a positive, can-do attitude. The more worked up you get, telling us that you “can’t” do something, the harder it is for us to help you, because your brain doesn’t function as well when you’re in panic-mode. (Trust me, I learned this the hard way with my taxes.) Be kind to yourself, take a deep breath, and be willing to learn.
I really want you be happy with your project, and I certainly don’t want your knitting to cause you high blood pressure or depression. We all have moments where we need to consult a more qualified knitter, or just have another pair of eyes take a fresh look at a problem. It warms my little people-pleasing, labrador retriever heart to see a knitter overcome a challenge and complete a project that seemed out of reach. Here at Over The Rainbow Yarn, we want to see you succeed — help us help you!