So, this was me for a rather large chunk of this past weekend:
I was not in a flow state. I was trying very hard to make significant headway on the huge intarsia flower on the back of my Kaffe Fassett Big Flower Jacket. I told myself, if I can’t get the back done or nearly done this weekend, there is no chance of getting it done for Rhinebeck. I’m ok with not getting it done for Rhinebeck, which is, after all, an annual event, but something in me really did not want to give up just yet. If I put it aside now, I will not be picking it up again until next summer, and then it will be a big puzzle to figure out all over again.
So I sat there on Saturday–a beautiful late summer Saturday I might add, when the entire population of New York City was out walking with their faces to the sun–on the sofa, in front of the mise en place of chart, shade card, notebook and tools, plus 40 balls of yarn.
I started at Row 89, and several hours later, when that picture up top was taken, I was in the low 100s, and I was OVER IT. My brain was fried, my patience for cutting and adding in new lengths of yarn for the background stitches was gone, and I was having a fantastic time.
I wanted it to be over, but I was loving it. It’s hard to explain, but I’m sure you understand. Most of the time I want small, solvable puzzles in my knitting. I want knitting to be soothing, with a few tricks up its sleeve to make me feel clever and competent. I don’t want to feel like it’s slipping from my grasp and I can’t do it. But in this case, using my memory and my wits and my hands to their capacity felt really, really good. Knitting is hard. Knitting is my thing.
The experience reminded me of how I felt years ago, when I was a trial lawyer. Being on trial, for me, was always intensely stressful. I felt, every time, like I was working at the very edge of my abilities, and I was going to screw it up at any moment. But it was the only time I really felt like I was doing law for real. Every little moment of not screwing things up (or surviving screwing things up) made me feel alive. It’s what I would imagine playing a team sport would feel like.
Yesterday I finished Row 120, the top of the Big Flower chart. By the last 20 rows I had finally figured out a way to increase my speed by — don’t laugh, Ann–making a little spreadsheet. It was easier for me to count the stitches, in an invented shorthand, than check and recheck the chart. I then figured out that if I put the background stripe colors for each row onto the spreadsheet, too, I’d be able to look at just one piece of paper, just one time per row. I felt like the Nobel committee was going to call any minute.
I guess you had to be there.
I still don’t know if I will get this thing done by Rhinebeck. There is still half of the left front, the sleeves, the bands and OH LORD NO ALL THOSE ENDS. It’s a 1970s shag carpet on the wrong side of this thing. But the Big Flower is done, and that is enough for now.