Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The limits of obsession

This weekend, Greta Jane at Ivory Needles told me I was more obsessed by knitting than she, as she would never have the patience to just sit and knit for hours on end till a thing is done. I discovered that in some cases, I don't either.

Apparently, there are limits to my knitting-and-yarn obsession. Shocker!

This limit is interesting to know about, as I hadn't thought it possible, especially given how gung-ho sock happy I've been the last few weeks. I even was getting to the point where I was enjoying the very, very long rows in the Pacific Northwest Shawl, long rows that for the last couple of weeks have been all I have worked on.

But then came the shells that broke the camel's back. I have 3/4 of them finished. Yes, they'll be pretty. But why must I check blogs at the end of every row? Or insist on actually looking at the TV screen while watching Star Trek with Coffeeboy as I knitted shells? Shouldn't I have spent the weekend in some sort of well-lit knitter's hermitage, a state of trance and frenzied activity at the same time, madly knitting like the weekend warrior I needed to be?

Apparently not. I would have gone nuts. Instead, there was school and a dinner with a visiting scholar whom Coffeeboy networked with. And a departmental pot-luck to cook for. And a houseguest to clean up for. Life got in the way. Knitting became frustrating.

I knit for much of Saturday afternoon and pretty much all day Sunday, plus a few hours early yesterday afternoon and a couple while Coffeeboy's football team (the Green Bay Packers) had a miserable time of it on Monday Night.

I think now I know why people complain about how much time flopping large pieces of knitting back and forth takes. (Too bad said rows involve slipping stitches, YOs, k2togs, and purls, or else I'd have checked out knitting backwards by now!) And I now know even more about keeping a shawl's length of stitches on the needle as a stitch holder, and at the end of every row on the short DPN, moving the stitches to the end of the long circular, taking one off, knitting it together with the last stitch on the DPN, flopping the knitting around, over and over.

Jenny is here. She says she loves the unfinished object. I keep trying to demonstrate how much better it will look when blocked ("If I just tug here, and here, see how the stitches stand out so much more? That's what it will look like!") I will probably be sending it to her after she's off to her next destination, a wedding in CA after a stopover in WA. Today we're off to the Philly Art Museum for some sightseeing... maybe I will read a page or knit a stitch somewhere in here. And in a few days, when this shawl is done, I wonder if my obsession will need a rest?


Lone Knitter said...

I know what you mean about life getting in the way of knitting. Seems as if every weekend is spent doing things other than knitting. If only I could convince the world that knitting during social events isn't rude!

Sheepish Annie said...

I find knitting enjoyable only if I know for a fact that I have the option to put it down. I can't stick with any activity for any real length of time and tend to have a variety of things going at once just to keep myself motivated!

And yet I still get frustrated when life gets in the way...

Zarzuela said...

I hear you on all that but the best part is knowing that the recipient is really going to appreciate your hard work! Sounds like you picked a good person to knit for. :)


schrodinger said...

My cure for knitting boredom? Make sure you have at least 2 different projects on the needles at a time. Don't let the shawl get the better of you - give yourself a break, put it down, play with something else, you'll appreciate it so much more.

Good Luck.