Some projects are just cursed. It can be a combination of bad pattern writing, insufficient due diligence (gauge, people!), too much “pregame” (i.e., drinking before knitting), any one of which can lead to ripping out and despair. And then there’s that more nebulous of reasons that projects go astray: mojo.
The mojo is a fickle thing. It comes and goes at whim. Sometimes it stays for years. But don’t confuse mojo with experience. Obviously the more experience you have the better you are going to get. If you knit as much as I do, eventually things are going to seem pretty easy to understand. That’s when smugness and even arrogance come into play. Mojo hates arrogance. And it really hates being taken for granted. Mojo is just hanging around in the background waiting for that first smug thought to cross your mind (“piece of cake!”, “easy knit!”, “I could do this in my sleep!”) and then mojo no mo’.
I know this because my mojo deserted me recently. Actually it began before that when I started knitting a particular sweater. Everything went swimmingly, all pieces knit and blocked and ready to be put together. Then, just when I was thinking “That was easy!” my mojo up and left. I seamed the sweater once. It didn’t work so I took it apart. I asked advice and seamed it together again. No go. Out the seams came again. Then I discovered an egregious mistake on the back and had to take that down to the armholes. Three-quarters of the way back up I discovered yet another mistake. Down the back came again. Then I pinned it together to how I thought it should go, sought out help from the pattern writer only to be told “there’s something wrong with your raglan decreases” so now both sides of the front have to come back down to the armholes as well. Basically I could have knit two sweaters by now. And there is still no guarantee that the pieces will fit together when I’m finished.
But my mojo wasn’t through with me.
I’m also knitting a fingerless mitt with very easy colorwork as a sample for the store. I can’t even tell you how many times I had to take it back because I couldn’t keep that “very easy” pattern staright. Then when I finally got the pattern right I realized I had left out the thumb hole. Back down it came, only to realize that the thumb hole came after the part where I took took it back from. Even Beth commented that she had never seen me struggle so much. Really mojo?
I am humbled. Demoralized even. And somewhere my mojo is laughing diabolically.
It’s official, my brain is fried.
In the last month I have had 2 kids graduate, one from college, one from high school, each with their own whirlwind of parties and celebrations, and in the case of my high school age daughter, a gigabyte of photos. In addition to following around said daughter like a loyal papparraza, snapping photos until I thought my beleaguered DSLR would catch fire, there was so much driving, drinking (although not together), crying, eating, talking, clapping, crying, reminiscing, laughing, crying that when I finally took a breather I realized two universal truths.
The first universal truth is that they could start playing “Pomp and Circumstance” when I am riding the subway and I would start crying.
The second universal truth is that I absolutely need my knitting most during these stressful times to keep me sane. This seems counterintuitive since time is so limited and so much has to be fit into so few hours. But when I finally sat down to knit it was like my brain breathed a sigh of relief. It became a time to regroup, to think about all that had just happened, to organize my thoughts and just relax.
I have had people say to me “I just don’t have the time to knit” but I cannot accept that. I cannot accept that, not because I don’t believe that someone’s schedule is that chock-a-block full, but because we all need to shut out the world at some point and let our neurons regenerate. If we keep, going, going, going eventually we hit a wall. That’s when things start to unravel: appointments get forgotten, meals get burnt, and (God forbid) accidents happen. Even if you don’t knit (although I can’t imagine why you would be reading this blog if you don’t), take time to read, do yoga, garden, just stop and smell the proverbial roses.
You’ve done enough for everyone else. You owe it to yourself.
Julie, WY's Do-bee and store wordsmith.