02 June 2007

How life is, and how I wish it to be

Here is life as I wish it to be: breakfast china, vintage linens, cool air, cloudy skies, hot coffee, and the incomparable scent of living rosemary. A delightful interlude of 30 minutes’ time.

On the docket of life-as-it-actually-is today I have, among numerous chores, this item: rip out Demi and start all over again. I’d only gotten through the ribbing and one of four pattern repeats on the back, so in the annals of knitting setbacks, Demi doesn't even rate a footnote. The yarn is beautiful, and I want the sweater to be right—not the collection of tiny and somewhat-less-tiny mistakes I usually settle for.

Not coincidentally, I’m reading Susan Gordon Lydon’s Knitting Sutra for the second or third time. In it she describes a life of knitting much like my own: starting in college when the craft was unfashionable and its practice branded you as a young fogey, and then knitting on for many years, producing one unsatisfying garment after another, never really getting better, not asking for the help she needed, and never quite accepting that sweaters would look different on her body than on Rowan’s models.

This describes my experience, too. My grandmother taught me to knit before I started kindergarten (my mother says I used to knit with pencils). When Stacie and Becky started knitting, I’d actually been at it, off and on, for more than 20 years. Yet within months—weeks, maybe—they were knitting circles around me. But possibly for the same reasons that I wasn’t a very expert knitter, I didn’t look into an explanation. And then Lydon handed me one, which is this: if you want to master something, you have to commit yourself to it. It’s not going to just happen.

So that’s what I’m about now. I’m tired of starting things and abandoning them when they get tough or boring. I’m tired of finishing things that don’t look good. And I’m really, really tired of error-laden or just plain dunderheaded patterns and thinking that I should follow instructions over instincts. I wish to assume control of my knitting. Be it known.

I don’t know what this neighborhood tree is (anyone?), but I love its color. It is forcing me to think of Rambling Rose from IK Winter ’06 in yellow and green. Or perhaps yellow and pink, each color with a hint of orange in... But this sweater’s pattern has instructions for two sizes: 30" and 43". Just the sort of pattern I’ve now vowed to withhold blind trust from.

On the garden front, I got to see just how tiny my flowerpots really are. How long can these herbs be happy in them? Not long, I’m guessing. But how dadgummed cute is that eggshell? It is to squeal!

And I've put some hens-and-chicks into my old long-empty strawberry planter. Their Latin name is semper vivum, which sounds like it means “hard to kill”, doesn’t it? It’s like the Bruce Willis or possibly Steven Seagal of plants. Which is just what we need.

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