Done Like Dinner

I say sometimes, when I’m teaching or with other knitters, that knitters have a particular mental quirk. We love knitting. We adore knitting. All I want some days it the time to sit down and have a bit of a knit. That’s not the quirk, because that’s totally normal. What’s weird is that when we do sit down to knit, so often we’re still not happy. That’s because we’ve got something strange wired up there where although we love knitting, it’s the next knitting that we’re really in love with. Whatever comes after what we’re making now, that’s the one that’s really going to be fun. 

Lanett Baby #0714, Hat and shoes from the White/Blue Set" knit in Lanett Baby. It goes with the sweater.

This one? It’s a slog. For this project, it started about halfway through the hat, and by the time I got to the second shoe I was just tormented by it. I can’t tell you what strength of knitterly character it took to actually knit that second shoe, especially towards the end.  I was sitting there last night, finally finished the knitting part of the little thing, and I’d embarked on the duplicate stitch. By this point each tiny stitched "v" felt a little bit like pulling out one of my own eyelashes, but I was determined.  I did the first chunk, held it back to admire it, glancing at the picture of the finished shoes in the pattern book. 

I was feeling pretty proud, and really just checking to make sure that my work looked as nice as the illustration, sort of a "look at that, mine are exactly the same" thing, and that’s when I noticed that they weren’t the same.  In the illustration, the embroidery was reversed. They’d mirrored the chart for the second shoe, and I had a momentary surge of anger. I double checked the instructions, and nowhere there did it say to reverse it. Nowhere. I tossed the book on the floor in a fit of rage, and then realized that I was mad that I’d been asked to use my common sense. OF COURSE you reverse it for the second shoe. OF COURSE the right and left would be different exactly the way that shoes are every time. OF COURSE I shouldn’t have to be told that.  The illustration was perfectly, absolutely clear. 

I thought I might be less angry once I accepted that it was my fault, and not some random vindictive Norwegian pattern writer, but I wasn’t.  I thought about ripping out the duplicate stitch I’d done, and then I thought about why the hell there had to be shoes anyway. A hat and sweater are a perfectly good set and when did I ever promise anyone any damn shoes? Babies don’t care about shoes. Babies make it their life’s work to try and get things off their feet. Why not just pack it in?

The single, perfect first shoe sat there – and it was so perfect, and it had been so fussy and it was cuter than a basket of baby hamsters, and somehow, I summoned up the will.  I unpicked it. It took me about 30 minutes to put that embroidery in, and about 45 minutes to get it all out, and another 30 to put it back, and the whole time I just thought about the next knitting. The knitting that was really going to be fun. The knitting that came after this knitting? It was going to be the reason to go on.

I finished. I finished late, I finished hating them, but I finished, and the last thing I did last night was wash the vile little things and stuff them with toilet paper so they’d block straight, then put them near a heating vent and thought, good riddance. (Then I wound my handspun into a ball and picked a pattern and tried to start the process of healing.)

This morning when I woke up, the sun was shining, the shoes were dry and all is forgiven. I do love knitting.  I do love those little shoes and I’m glad I didn’t rip them out (or snip them up and eat them, which was totally under consideration, as was just the tiniest bit of arson) and I’m not even mad at the designer anymore.

They’re perfect. They were worth it.

(PS. You guessed it. Comments are still down.  I really miss you guys. Tweet at will. —> )