I often find myself hoping that my friends believe in that proverb. Well, actually, they often have to believe in it whether they want to or not. Caroline had asked me to knit her a pair of mittens some time in the winter. She pointed me to a pattern she had seen on the blog and liked, told me how she wanted me to tweak it, chose a colour, sent me her hand measurements promptly. And then, waited.
I did start them quite quickly, my Ravelry page says January 30. But after a while, I hit a block. I find it very hard to explain, though a friend of mine whose both job and hobby include creativity seemed to understand when I tried to express it. It wasn’t that I was scared of the pattern – I had knitted it once before very successfully, and actually in the same exact yarn, so there were no unknowns. The modifications were to be minor. It wasn’t boredom either. This is a very interesting pattern, it’s constantly evolving and you see it become more beautiful with every row.
It was just – a block. I hesitate to use the phrase “creative block” because I’m not sure it’s appropriate to say you are doing something strictly creative (in the sense of inventing something out of thin air – which is my idea of creativity) when you are following a pattern. But that’s what it felt closest to. I just couldn’t pick up the needles. It needed to brew inside me, things needed to click, and I couldn’t do anything about it before that happened. And so Caroline waited.
Unfortunately, this happens to me quite often when it comes to knitting something someone specifically ordered. I am trying to get over it. If knitting were ever to become a profit-making activity for me, I realize this would be the biggest hurdle to get over. In the meantime, my friends wait. And I try not to be too hard on myself, because, in the end, even if I say so myself, good things do come to them.
I was happy to deliver, in the end, a pair of mittens I am extremely pleased with. I made my first Veyla, without any modifications, almost exactly a year ago. I love them dearly (actually I’m wearing them as I type this) and they are one of my most popular knits among Ravelers and friends alike. Making this pair now, out of the very same yarn, it was interesting to see all the things that can happen in a year.
The difference between the newly-completed and the “old” mitts is striking: though the yarn wore really well (there is NO pilling whatsoever despite the frequent wear), the colour has changed slightly, the stitches look somehow “harder” – while they are still perfectly comfortable to wear, there is no trace of fluffiness anymore. I had not noticed any of this until I finished their twins and was struck by the difference.
The progress in my skill was also noticeable. These new stitches are perfectly even (there is something crazy about the amount of pleasure well-executed even-stitched stockinette can afford me), the lace is a bit tidier, the holes around the thumb are noticeably smaller, I knit the body of the mitt using a new approach to magic loop and I exercised a fearless confidence in modifying the pattern – a confidence that is very new to me, and that is making me very proud. (Detailed notes on modifications can be found on my project page.)
And finally, my photos are much nicer than the first time around because now, as is becoming usual, I had generous help with them. I was even joking this time about how professional we must look: one friend was taking photos, looking all serious with her big camera and three different bags dangling around, and another ended up doing “stylist” stuff like giving me advice on how to pose and rolling up my sleeves… :) If we continue this way we’ll soon be walking around town with a lighting technician and heavens know what else… ;) To be serious, it was just the three of us joking around, but we did attract a fair amount of attention from curious passers by and had a good share of giggles. Fun! :) Thank you girls :*