Monday, September 21, 2015

In Knitting...And In Life

In knitting there's a saying about trusting the pattern.  But there's also a saying about trusting your gut.  Sometimes it's hard to know what to do if a project isn't turning out quite like you you trust the pattern and soldier on, hoping that everything will come together and you'll see the designer's intent in your work?  Or do you trust your gut, instinctively knowing that this is just not going to end well?
Not the sock I knitted...but see how cute the pattern is?

Recently, I encountered this exact dilemma.  I was knitting a sock pattern that I was really excited about.  I'd had the Fruit Stripes Gum pattern in my Ravelry library for quite a while, and finally had the right yarn to make it.  I cast on the toe, worked the foot, and once I'd completed the heel it was time to start the pattern.  Within 10 rounds, I wasn't happy with what I was seeing.  I went back to the pattern page on Ravelry and read project notes from other knitters who had made this pattern (there were over 400 finished projects), and no one seemed to have the issue that I was having - namely, the whole thing seemed loose, holey, and there were ladders (something that can happen when you knit in the round, usually when you switch needles).  Now, I'm a tight knitter, so I almost never have a piece turn out loose, and I usually don't have ladders either.  This was weird, but I decided since so many people had successfully knitted these socks, to trust the pattern and continue knitting.

Another 10 rounds later, and I still didn't like what I was seeing.  Crap!  What to do, what to do...I wanted to make these socks, but I also wanted them to look like what was pictured - and mine weren't.  I was trying to trust the pattern, but my gut was telling me that this just wasn't working out and I should cut my losses - I loved the yarn, but I didn't love how it was looking in this pattern.  Plus, I still had the matching sock to knit, and I knew I wouldn't want to make a second sock if I wasn't happy with the first one.

I put the project aside for a bit.  I read more on the pattern, and then knit a few more rounds.  Nope.  It still looked sloppy.  So, I put in an afterthought lifeline (meaning I captured a row of stitches just above the heel on a separate piece of yarn, or in my case, dental floss), took the sock off of my needles, and ripped out the pattern.  All of that work, for nothing.

While I was sad to not be knitting that pattern, I knew, deep down, that I was never going to be happy with those socks, had I continued with them.  Something was just not meshing between the instructions, my brain, and my hands.  I ended up knitting these socks in a plain vanilla pattern, and you know what?  I loved them.  The yarn itself was bright and pretty and in the end, the self-striping was just enough for me.
My Fruit Stripes Gum Happy Stripes socks!

Not everything turns out the way I plan.  Life has thrown me a few twists that I never could have anticipated, but usually I'm fairly willing to accept and adapt to them.  Knitting is just another version of this, on a smaller scale.  Who knew I'd be learning even more life lessons from a hobby?


  1. I love your comparison posts with knitting and life. Very well written and so true.

  2. Love how life shows us lessons in the smallest areas :)

  3. Cute socks! I think you made the right call no sense in making
    something your not going to be happy to wear.

  4. love your socks. I've got to start another pair.

  5. Okay, I checked out the pattern! What a clever thing to do--just using a spiral rib to make those diamonds. Have you thought about just using that technique on the cuff, and knitting the rest of the sock with one of your tried and true patterns?

    I like your analogy. You know I like it when my life is following the tried and true pattern. Going with my gut and changing is hard. Its easier when I have someone to discuss the change with. Great post! You got me thinking :)

  6. Ok, I love the socks!! Super adorable :)

  7. I am just super impressed with your knitting skills and how far you've come!

  8. Sometimes trusting your gut is the hardest part of all!

  9. I have never regretted following my gut instinct but have often been sorry when I didn't listen to my gut!

  10. I love this post. I have learned so much about life (really, about myself) from knitting, too. It honestly shocks me.

    Isn't it a bummer though, when you think you are going to love a pattern, and don't? I started a pattern for dishcloths I thought I would love and didn't dig it. I kept going though, since they are for a silent auction - maybe someone else will love them!

  11. An important life lesson that I have recently been learning. Thank you for the refresher! :-)


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