Sunday, August 14, 2005

Tenacity. Patience. Google.

I've been struggling a lot with lace, as you might have noticed. The vintage capelet has gone well, I'm past the simple lace bit and working at the decreases now. It's beautiful. I think I'm ready to cast back on for Branching Out. I still really have to concentrate on what I'm doing, but I'm starting to get a feel for the process, which is encouraging. I've got a whole list of skills I want to get to like sweaters and intarsia - but not till I've gotten this one under my belt. There've been a lot of tears and a lot of moments where I just wanted to give it up. Not gonna do that. I know the feeling of finally getting it will make all those tears worthwhile.

I've been thinking about where I come from when it comes to knitting and fiber. See, I taught myself to knit. It was just a little theraputic thing at the time, friends were doing it and it seemed fun so why not? I didn't expect it would become as all consuming as it has. Knitting appeals to me on many levels. I've gotten a great deal of satisfaction from learning various techniques and learning to do them well. Knitting affords me a sense of mastery that I've not had with many other artistic pursuits. It is that satisfaction and sense of mastery that keeps me coming back.

I've noticed a tendency in myself of late to feel frustration at some members of online knit communities who incessantly post questions about very simple things - things that I know are explained clearly in almost every knit book, that have explanations and tutorials on the web or that could be answered by the 50 posts to the community that were made previously, neatly listed with tags, in the memories. There is this wonderful community of people to learn from online now, yes. The wonderful thing is, a lot of those people have taken the time to put up those tutorials, answer these questions and tag the memories of posts that came before. The truth is out there. If you click it, they will come. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I totally get that sometimes you need to ask someone in real space. Sometimes, it takes someone to look at what you are doing and say "Oh, no, see, you want to adjust this here and do this," and then everything snaps into place. For example, SSK took me the longest time to get right. It is *so* simple, but until I saw someone do it, I didn't get it. Once I got it, it was a real forehead smacker. I think we all have moments like that. I like to learn by watching and doing, with an emphasis on the doing, but it is nice to have someone handy to talk to, when I need a push. I get that. I had to watch someone spin, for example, before I could get it. Sometimes a given skillset is like that and ya know, that's okay. But you better bet I had the roving and spindle in hand and spent some seriously committed time feeling perplexed and looking around for answers before I begged my friend to come show me the magic.

In school, I don't get the answers handed to me on a platter with a bow. I have to work for them. In that vein, I think it makes for a better knitter if one has to work for the knitting answers too. Please to take with a grain of salt. I'm heading for a career in library science and I'm a history major. I'm big into research skills. It may not be like this for everyone. I am also the girl who has flunked algebra three times, but damn if I'm not taking it again next semester because as God is my witness, I will get an A in that class, even if it kills me. Not knowing things pisses me off.

Does any of this really matter? Probably not. The only process I need to worry about is mine, after all. My frustration with some of the knitters I see (particularly on LJ) has been growing over the past few weeks and it stems from struggling so hard with my own process. I want to solve it myself. I want to figure it out myself. I want to do that because when I do master it, I will have WON. No, not a shiny prize but something in myself that is a little more dear.

Remember that big wide world of different knitters I was talking about the other day? Well this is just one little perspective among many. We all approach our craft differently. Maybe the lesson for me here is to approach other people with a cluebat or a roll of quarters for the clue machine little more compassion and a little less judgement. Working on it. It's all good. That said? I think I'm still an advocate of tenacity, patience, do-it-yourself, and Google, as long as it comes with a side of knowing when to give yourself a break and ask for help.

In my next post, I am going to have a picture of a WIP, a cat and a puppy, just to make up for the last few days of Deep Thots. I swear.

1 comment:

rincaro said...

I get frustrated too. It's like they are too good to read the userinfo, which gives you links to practically every knitting question under the sun.