Sunday, January 31, 2016

Learning Curves



Learning Curves


6 years ago I borrowed a friend's crochet hook while she was in Australia and taught myself how to crochet. There were more than a few hiccups along the way. After I figured out how to keep the same number of stitches in each row I tackled my first blanket.

I'm sure I didn't take a picture of it and I'm not even sure what happened to it (I've been known to frog a whole project for MORE YARN). I finished the entire thing and then realized I had crocheted through the back loops of the entire blanket. 
That taught me that it is important to be consistent. Nobody else knew it was a mistake. It is an actual technique after all. I guess I was accidentally ahead of the curve. 

This worked much better on paper.


My next blanket was only a touch 
more successful. I was making each stitch correctly but my sizing was laughable. 















Soon I had mastered REAL projects. full baby blankets with appliqu├ęs of jumping sheep that each required 16 ends to weave-in and then sew in place. I love that blanket but that's the only sheep blanket I will EVER make. 




Tail/Back legs/R Front/L Front/Head/Each ear
and body each had 2 ends








I would have loved to have made one more black sheep for my friend Amanda. She wanted one to sew on a pillow or a "jumper" for her little girl and it was a brilliant idea but I could not stomach the thought of even one more 16-ended sheep to sew on. Counting sheep became a bit of a nightmare for me after this project.  







Soon after, I started experimenting with knitting. It was NOT fun. I kept crocheting for another year or so after I taught myself to knit because it was adding stress to my life instead of relieving it. If anyone would ask which I liked better I ALWAYS said crochet. I explained how you could make all kinds of 3 dimensional shapes easily with crochet and tried to convince anyone who asked how superior it was to knitting. I don't think I would make the same argument today. 

Deep down inside, I knew that I preferred the fabric that knitting makes but It was daunting and I didn't want to put in the work to become good at it. Until I did. 

I thought I liked crochet but I became obsessed with knitting. I wanted to knit faster so I spent a whole scarf forcing myself to use the Continental Method and at the end of the scarf, you couldn't pay me to switch back to English. 

I'm trying to remind myself that there is an "other side" of any learning curve as our family made a major electronics purchase yesterday and purchased our first Apple computer. I can't get my son's swimming time-tracking spreadsheet to calculate his "percentage improvement" anymore because apparently C4 contains a date instead of a number. Umm that might take a while to solve. But I will keep reminding myself that deep down inside I know I will love an Apple world. I just have to put in the work to succeed. It still beats weaving in 16 ends x 9 sheep on a baby blanket. 

NEVER AGAIN







Monday, January 25, 2016

Sitch-by-Stitch

I may not have been blogging much lately but I'm still knitting. A lot. I have moved from South Korea to Germany. I traded rice for bread and Soju for Bier. I can't take the train down to Dongdaemun fabric market on a whim but I can take the train to Pfaffenhofen to the Wollmeise Sale twice a year.
Wollmeise Sale 2015
I miss Korea's food and my family has made it a point to check out Korean BBQ restaruants in Nurnberg, Munich, and even Budapest. We have also tried our fair share of German bread and spatzel, and butter bretzen (pretzels), currywurst, oh lord - I'm going to miss the German food when I leave here. It is so good and fattening. I have finally decided that something must be done to counteract the effects of overeating in Germany.

Luckily the local gym has a Lose2Win program with a very nice BMW bike as the prize. I am determined that I'm going to win that bike! There are so many triails to explore in Germany and I don't think my cute beach cruiser bike will handle the trails that are yet to be discovered.

Must have this bike!




I am trying to enjoy the weight-loss journey but it does not come naturally to me. I loathe every exercise class, every meal that does not include German bread, and every evening that does not involve a Radler (yummy beer/lemonade mix). I do think I will enjoy the results. And along the way I'm hoping that I come to love the energy and abilities I will have with my new body.


I imagine a lot of my knitting students feel the same way when they start. They want to be able to finish a fabulous scarf every weekend and have a wardrobe full of impressive pieces that they have made. The problem is - they want to be able to have the skills to make their dream accessories RIGHT NOW. Those that enjoy the process, the challenge of learning new stitches, new techniques, new patterns; those are the students who will become life-long knitters. One day they will pause and realize that they no longer find lace patterns frustrating and stressfull as they once did. They will not loathe ribbing as I loathe running. They will turn to it for relaxation after a hard day.

At this moment I cannot imagine turning to a nice long run for relaxation. I try to tell my students that knitting and crochet is about the journey. It is not about the finished product. If you do not enjoy the process of making the hat/scarf/sweater/blanket then chances are you will not want to make another one no matter how beautiful it is when it is done.

I want to win this bike. But I am also working hard to make sure that I enjoy my process. I want to want to continue after I have reached my goal. Otherwise I will not be able to enjoy my beautiful goal for long.