Monday, January 30, 2012

Knitting is Like Dieting

(I know the title sounds like a stretch, but bear with me here...)

I may have mentioned a time or three that I started knitting.  Well, I am getting close to being finished with the scarf (mainly because I'm running out of yarn), but I wondered if there was a standard size for knitted scarves, so I went to my trusty Google for the answer.  Huh.  Did you know there is not only a recommended length (scarf = height of wearer) but also a width?  That probably would have been a good thing to check before I started knitting my scarf...but oh well, I'm more of a "start now, ask questions later" type of person.  Kind of how I began my diet - I knew that I wanted to lose weight, so I started a diet, and over time, read up on how different people succeeded and adapted my own plan along the way.

Back to my scarf - I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out.  While I did drop a stitch twice, I caught it right away and thus avoided making a slanty, lopsided scarf.  It doesn't roll inward - pretty sure that has something to do with the basic "knit, knit, knit" pattern that I did.  I'm looking forward to making another one, this time with chunkier yarn and bigger needles.  I might even try to throw in some purl stitches!  Oooh, daring...lol.

So here's the thing:  I watched a YouTube video that showed how to knit a cap, and while it's way beyond my current abilities, the person demonstrating was so clear in her instructions that I can envision myself actually doing this someday.  Confidence level - high.

A little later, I went to a knitting website. I started reading the forums on knitting and got completely lost - there are abbreviations that I don't understand, and people were talking about patterns and all sorts of things that might as well be a foreign language to me.  I could feel myself shutting down, thinking "I'll never attempt anything other than a scarf" - and my confidence level went down to zero.

How is it possible to go from such a high to such a low in a matter of minutes?  Then I remembered how, when I was in the middle of my diet, I'd be feeling on top of my game - I was eating great, drinking tons of water, feeling not only good about myself, but just good in general - healthy, energetic, ready to conquer the world - and then I'd get a reality check in the form of a weigh-in that didn't show a loss, or in the dressing room, where clothes STILL didn't look great on me.  Amazing how fast my entire demeanor would change - I'd go from "heck yes, I'm DOING this!!!" to "I'll never get this, I'll never lose weight, I'll never ever ever change" - yet the only thing that had actually changed in that moment was my mindset.

It takes time to learn how to knit.  I don't possess great manual dexterity skills (just ask anyone who's watched me iron, chop vegetables, or sew), and I need a lot of practice to get the stitches right.  It got easier for me because I picked up the needles and yarn just about every evening and worked at it.  Starting a diet is similar - things feel awkward at first.  I'd set out with good intentions to eat right, but old habits, and sometimes just plain hunger, kicked in, and I'd find myself eating something that wasn't on my plan.  However, my diet eventually got to be second nature for me.  And even though something will throw me (knitting - casting on; dieting - stress eating), and shake my confidence (knitting - foreign language of patterns; dieting - when oh when will my blobby stomach EVER get smaller), deep down I know that I will continue to improve if I just keep working at it.  And that, my friends, is how knitting is like dieting!

35 comments:

  1. Oh Shelley I LOVE THIS!!
    and joke not it's a book ;)
    an ebook?
    something.
    such a great metaphor.

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  2. Well, I'm no good at knitting and I'm no good at dieting. I start off well, then drop the stitches, leaving a whole that can't be filled up, no matter how much I eat/knit! I love your words of encouragement though! Keep up the good work!

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    1. I bet you're better at both than you realize. :)

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  3. This is a great post Shelley. The thing I like about you is that wheather it's about dieting or about knitting: you follow your own plan. You adjust the plan till it's a plan that fits you.

    Reading your blog for almost 3 years I've noticed that I picked this up from you. I don't follow diets anymore but search what works best for me and do that, same with my running and other workouts.

    So thank you for being such a huge inspiration to me, every time again!

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  4. I know you are going to be a master knitter... just like you are a master maintainer.

    On that note, I'll take a shawl!

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    1. Ooh, a shawl! Sounds complicated...but one of these days I'll be up to it! :)

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  5. This is so great. Never ever give up. Not when you overeat and not when you drop a stitch. It's that simple!

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  6. I can see the analogy. Great one! I am 5'5".....just saying :)

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  7. Did you get that Sit and Knit brand all secured? Seriously...

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  8. great analogy...I tend to jump in and ask questions myself later! I am pretty sure though that knitting is not for me, the couple times I've tried I've done myself bodily harm.

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  9. At least there aren't pointy sticks in dieting :-)

    Let's hope my healthy living last longer than my knitting did!

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  10. I absolutely love the analogy of dieting and knitting! It's funny because when I was working out at the gym I was watching mogul skiing - I was fascinated by the skiers going over this tiny bumps all while keeping their legs together down until the bottom. It struck me that they obviously they trained for hours on end to get that good - and it made me feel confident that the more I run, the better I'll get too.

    You still are an inspiration Shelley! :D

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  11. I love this analogy.

    I don't knit, I crochet but I ignore the "standard" for scarf sizing. I just make it whatever size and length I want. If I've making a scarf for someone else, I make it as long as my armspan, then all I have to do to measure it is hold it up. Seems to work, I haven't had any complaints about them being too long or short.

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  12. Love it. You're very clever.

    And it was good talking to you yesterday. It was like a mini therapy session for me. Was feeling a little low but you had me cracking up in no time. :)

    Happy knitting. Can't wait to see the finished scarf.

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  13. Ooh, you know I love this analogy. Keep it up and pretty soon you'll be confusing others with your talk of yo, k1bl, k2tog, p3tog. Its just a new language you learn as you go along. But yes, there is no need to become fluent in that language BEFORE you enjoy the culture. That's what stops so many people.

    And yes--SHAWL!! Too too easy, and very meditative to work on. You can make one with your basic knit stitch and just one other--yo!

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  14. Love it.... do you make Kilts? Just askin'...

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  15. Well put Shelley!

    I'm going to learn to knit this year too. One of my coworkers is probably like one of those people on the message boards. She knitted a pair of mittens (the kind that you can fold back and the fingers go half way up). Super talented she is, and she's going to start me off slow.

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  16. I love a good analogy. And just the other night at dinner my friend told me she's been learning to knit. Hmm. Lots of hints around me that maybe I should try again. Oprah would say the universe is whispering at me:)

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  17. Makes complete sense to me!!! Thanks Shelley!!! Keep those needles and good thoughts going!!!

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  18. The cool thing about knitting is that literally everyone can learn it. Some might need more time, but if we're patient, we will learn. It's the same with weight loss I think.

    I have a step-by-step guide to knitting socks that I've written myself, when my mother in law was teaching me. Let me know whenever you're ready for it. ;)

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  19. Love this post! I am a knitter too! I have made scarfs, snoods (aka infinity scarfs), and hats, but that's where my skills have ended (at least for now). It's so true how one day eating healthy it's so easy and the next it seems impossible. Thanks for putting it all in perspective.

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  20. I completely get this - AND your example. I recently restarted my diet and was going pretty well and feeling happy about it and motivated but then got on the scales and had no weightloss. Immediately EVERYTHING in the world was bad and I lost motivation!

    I need to give it more time and 'ride that wave' each time it comes to knock me over!

    Deb

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  21. About Bella: I work out early in the morning and get up before R. does. Bella sleeps in a bench in our bedroom with the door locked and R. lets her out in the morning.

    When they come downstairs and I'm lying on the floor she does jump on me to say good morning :) Sometimes when I'm doing something and during the workout have to lay down she thinks it's playing time and jumps on my face or tries to grap the weights :)

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  22. I'm so the same. I can go from uber-confident to a terrified mess in a matter of seconds if I don't know everything there is to know about something. I know you Shelley and you'll probably be getting some "knitting medal" within a couple of months :)

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    1. Haha, a knitting medal. Ooh, I could KNIT myself one! Well, once I figure out how to knit something round, that is. ;)

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  23. I am totally feeling the clothing purchase low right now. Being fat and pregnant (even though I have only gained about 1 lb, have clearly lost weight, am not showing yet, but last night, I tried to buy maternity underwear. Wow. The world has gotten really stupid since you and I last had babies Shelley. I am starting to despair that I will be able to find any!

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    1. That stinks, Jill - and I hate the clothing low! Maternity underwear...now THERE was some comfortable underwear! Why in the world would that perfection have changed?!?

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  24. Oh my gosh, you are hilarious! Enjoy your new obsession. Hopefully you'll get some finished items out of it. :)

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  25. Knitting overwhelms me and dieting. Oh boy do they.
    But, I love this.

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  26. What a great analogy especially since I tried knitting a pair of slippers and they came out two different sizes!

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  27. I am an avid knitter, but on and off. Right now I am off. I learned when I was 6 years old, so I've had a lot of practice, but knitting does have a somewhat steep learning curve. I know the feeling though of putting myself down because I can't do something. Sometimes I have to give myself a good talking to.

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