Monday, November 18, 2013

When Knitting is Like Weight Loss


I've been working on my most challenging project to date for nearly two months now.  As I was stitching away on it the other evening, I began to realize that the way I've been approaching knitting this sweater was similar to my experiences with losing weight, which made me understand why I'm not wearing a completed sweater right now.

Here's the deal:  I haven't been knitting on this sweater like I should.  I'll admit, it's mentally challenging to work on something where you don't see quick change, unlike a hat or a mitten.  It's something I need to do every day, whether I'm in the mood or not, because I know that eventually I'll look at it and be astounded by the progress I've made.  But I have to admit that after the initial thrill of starting the sweater, and making it through the first few parts that turned yarn into the beginnings of a garment, it's become a bit of a slog.  Round and round and round and round of knitting the body; it's a double seed stitch, which means I'm changing every stitch, so I can't just go on auto-pilot and mindlessly knit because sure enough, I'll get off track and all the time I put into it will be wasted, as I'll have to undo back to where I made the mistake.

And if I set it aside to do something more fun, guess how much progress I've made when I come back to it?  None.  Which makes me think, gee, if I'd only spent a little more time on this I'd be so much further along by now.  The end result - having a finished sweater - depends entirely on me.  No magical elves are going to make this happen, no amount of wishing from me will complete it; I have to put in the effort in order to finish this sweater.

Once I realized this, I saw so clearly the weight-loss/dieting correlation.  Knowing how hard it was for me to commit to losing weight that last time makes me see why I keep setting this sweater aside for quicker, easier projects.  I wanted an easy reward (quick hat = 5 pounds lost); I was willing to jump in and start the process, but my interest flagged once I reached the point of simply putting in the work, day after day, without another reward appearing.  Sure, looming far, far in the distance was the promise of losing a lot of weight, or ending up with a beautifully-knit finished sweater, but right now?  I wanted to do something where I could see the results if not immediately, well, pretty darn soon. 

I don't think it's wrong to want instant gratification in both weight-loss and in knitting, but it is a bit illogical.  There's a reason why things take a while to complete and a big part of that is appreciation for all of the hard work put in along the way.  And I'm going to try and remember that as I knit on this sweater, every day, even when I really don't feel like it.

19 comments:

  1. You did a great job on your weight loss and that's why I'm sure you are going to finish this sweater too. There will be a moment that you put your heart and soul into finishing this sweater, like you did on your final weight loss attempt, and you will finish and wear it proudly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Fran - yeah, I just need to get back to the grind with the sweater...

      Delete
  2. ebook ebook ebook ebook
    THIS IS SUCH THE PERFECT FODDER FOR AN EBOOK!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I got a big chuckle out of the title! And of course loved your analogy.

    Since I read your whole archives in one sitting, it was so interesting to see how you would have periods of impatience (when you didn't get that quick 5 pound weight loss) and times when it seemed like you just wanted to put it down and work on a mitten (mixing analogies here!) but then you just kept with it and look where you ended up--a brand new RUNNING SHELLEY!

    Regarding the sweater, I've heard a lot of people talk about committing to just 10 minutes a day. And if you work on it every day, I bet the seed stitch will get a lot more automatic. It'll never be fast, but you won't worry so much about making a mistake and missing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your 10 minutes a day thing - I was aiming for an hour a day but failing at that...

      Delete
  4. Well, I know zip about knitting but I can relate to this:

    And if I set it aside to (do) "EAT" something more fun, guess how much progress I've made when I come back to it? None. Which makes me think, gee, if I'd only spent a little more time (on this) EATING HEALTHFULLY I'd be so much further along by now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What Carla said :) Great analogy! And once again, it's like you and I share a brain sometimes. I was thinking today how I need to engage in a hobby (I used to cross stitch), but I know me and I will get halfway through the project and set it aside forever. I've definitely done that lately in terms of weight maintenance. You mean I have to do this ALL THE TIME? ...sigh...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, this ALL THE TIME is just BS! ;)

      Delete
  6. Awesome analogy, Shelley! Pretty sweater-in-progress, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I couldn't agree with you more Shelley. Just like anything new, its fun in the beginning! Meal planning, exercising, drinking water - go me! And then that starts to fade, rather quickly. Somehow since June I've kept my switch on, and I could not be happier. I think this New Years will be the first time I can say I've lost weight (if I stay on track I will have lost 26 pounds since June 1). What a refreshing way to start the year!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very happy for you that your switch has stayed flipped! :)

      Delete
  8. Love the comparison! Now you are making me think long and hard about why I haven't finished my daisy blanket. Maybe I am looking for that quick gratification.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do love that instant gratification... ;)

      Delete
  9. Great analogy!

    So I know a lot of people who aren't seeing scale results get the "reward" feeling from calorie counters or activity trackers... maybe they need more knitting apps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are onto something with the knitting app reward!

      Delete
  10. Nice analogy, Shelley! Sometimes I get annoyed at myself because I think - if I had just been disciplined for the last 8 months, think of where I could be? Maybe I need to knit LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for this post...I needed this post???

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and read each and every comment! Comments on older posts are moderated, so they won't show up right away - sorry to my real readers, but spammers love to hit old posts, so this is necessary.