Monday, April 22, 2013

It Takes a While to Get It Right - With Everything!

 
You would not BELIEVE how long it took me to get to this point...and I'm only eight rows in!

I've been knitting for well over a year now.  I can do the basics with no problem - cast on, knit and purl.  Simple things.  I've learned how to follow a written pattern and can decipher some of the stitch code (and when I can't, I've discovered that You Tube has a video for just about every stitch).  I've taken on harder projects like that mystery knit along shawl that brought me to tears more than once due to the complexity of the pattern - but I've struggled on with it.  I've learned to knit in the round and made lots of hats, both for baby heads as well as adult heads.  After many unsuccessful attempts to learn how to knit, it finally clicked, and I am a knitter.

So you'd think that taking on a new project would be simple at this point, right?  Read the pattern a few times, get the yarn and correct needles, cast on, and begin.  Well, no.  It's not that simple.  I find myself still struggling with what I know should be a simple stitch pattern.  I make mistakes.  Sometimes, I don't notice that I've made mistakes until I'm well past them...and with a lot of patterns, what you do in one row affects the next row, so mistakes need to be undone.

Most of the time I don't get that upset over it; after the initial realization of "oh crap, this is wrong!" I'm able to regroup and fix it.  Case in point:  I'm making a linen-stitch scarf, where you knit the length of the scarf instead of the width.  I cast on 450 stitches (yes, that is A LOT), following instructions to place a stitch marker every 50 stitches.  I counted and recounted to make sure I was correct with the cast on.  Then I started the pattern.  It was simple (including this for any knitters who might be reading; it will only look like gobbledygook to the rest of you, I realize):  k1, yf, sl1, yb, repeat.  Then for the next row, you reverse it (p1, yb, sl1, yf, repeat).

Trust me, it's simple.  Trust me also to somehow mess it up - I was nearing the end of my second row when something didn't look right...upon closer examination, I saw that the first 50 stitches and the last 50 stitches were different than the middle 350 stitches.  So I ended up unraveling the entire thing and starting over.  Cast on another 450 stitches and started over, being more aware of what I was doing.  Sure enough, I messed it up again, only this time I caught it before I'd gotten too far along and was able to just tink back to that part and restart from there. 

How am I going to correlate knitting with dieting, you might be wondering?  Well, look at how many times I tried to learn how to knit, and gave up.  I did the same thing with losing weight - I'd try, it wouldn't work, or wouldn't work fast enough, or was too hard, and I'd give up.  Then, after a while, I'd see some neat hand-knitted item, or a gorgeous skein of yarn, and get inspired to try knitting again...only to struggle, fail, and give up.  I'd see a cute outfit that only came in normal sizes, get inspired to try losing weight again...only to struggle, fail, and give up.

It took me a while (a long while) to get it right with knitting.  And while I know that with knitting, I'll always be learning, I was surprised that I'm still struggling with some fairly simple concepts from time to time - seriously, every once in a while, I'll pick up a project and the needles/yarn position don't feel right...I wonder if that's because deep down I'm a lefty who's knitting right-handed, and my brain forgets to start the translation right away? 

The same thing goes for weight loss - it took me a while (I guess I don't need to add the "a long while" because that's pretty obvious if you look at pictures from most of my adulthood) to get it right - and I still have moments where I struggle with it.  For example, did you know that randomly eating throughout the day will not actually help police catch a bombing suspect, or help people in West, Texas deal with the loss of many lives and property due to an explosion?  I know that, but I still found myself wandering through the kitchen way too many times last week...which showed me that I still don't always have a handle on getting it right when it comes to stress eating.  Luckily though, I didn't unravel everything I've done and I was able to restart my healthy eating habits before it got out of hand. 

Knitting, weight loss, healthy eating - it all takes a while to get it right.  But for every mistake I make, I'm also learning to not beat myself up over them; to accept what I've done, fix it, and move forward - and enjoy the process, as well.

18 comments:

  1. Great post and great comparison and so true.

    It's funny you write this today because today is the day I started another try at weight loss. The scale scared the sh*t out of me this morning.

    Second, I didn't know you were a lefty? Me too and I knit right handed too :)

    Third, 450 stitches, seriously? That's a lot, as a knitter you have passed me by with your knitting skils long time ago. You are the better knitter by now and I love seeing your projects.

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    1. I really haven't passed you at all with the knitting - I think you have a much better understanding of it than I do, seriously. And how interesting that you're a lefty who is knitting right-handed, too!

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  2. AND MOTHERHOOD.
    can we add that to the list too?

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  3. First, I LOVE the scarf using the solid colors! I think it shows off the stitch more, don't you?

    Second, this was so good for me today. I was very tempted yesterday to get frustrated with my slow SLOW weight loss. And tempted to do something drastic. But one stitch at a time is the only way to get it done. (or for weight loss one 1/10 of a pound at a time!!!)

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    1. Thanks - I do like the solid colors and am glad I added another one. Hoping the next row of the rainbow won't make it look too clownish - I'm partway through right now, so we'll see. But it will stay - I am not restarting this thing AGAIN!

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  4. I correlated my cross stitch to dieting too! It really does fit doesn't it???????

    And I LOVE that yarn! :-)

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    1. It SO fits! I like that you can sort of contrast and compare everything in your life like this!

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  5. Love this, and it's so true! Even when I go off the rails, I know that I have it in me to keep trying, and so I do (keep trying). And I so agree with Miz...let's add motherhood to this list!

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    1. I like that you know you have it in you to keep trying. That alone makes you a success. :)

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  6. Ugh I found myself doing that stress eating thing too! Even though my stomach won't let me at this point, it's in my head and it probably always will be!

    You are SUCH a great example of perseverance - knitting, running, weight loss - all of it!!!

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    1. I suspect you're right - that instinct to stress eat will always be in our heads. But hopefully we can control it a little better now.

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  7. You are the epitome of persistence Shelley. And also a role model for persistence paying off. Have a great Monday.

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    1. Persistence or hard-headedness, take your pick. ;)

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  8. Beautiful post Shelley! Thanks for sharing your analogy of knitting and weight loss! You continue to inspire!

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  9. Keep trying is such an important lesson. This morning, I found a note on my iPad with a weigh-in from exactly one year ago today. Do you know what I weighed? Exactly the same as I do today, down to the tenth. No, I am not in maintenance. At 381.2 lbs, I am far, far away from my goal. With no success in weight-loss for years now, I keep trying. I'm hoping that by eating whole foods rather than processed, eating at home, and almost eliminating sugar, I can start losing this weight once and for all.

    Great post!

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  10. Simple concepts that I keep doing wrong. Sometimes that is the motto of my life!

    I hate getting to the tears point of a project. Most times I see humor in all situations, but sometimes it just is so "Come ON!" that it makes me teary.

    Like with dieting - every single day is a chance to start anew and do the simple things right!

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  11. You're making me think that maybe I gave up on knitting too soon...Maybe I don't want it as much as I want to lose weight :)

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