Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wild abandon

I sent my daughter to writer's camp this week, and perhaps through a extrasensory transference such as the type seen only in the movies (think What Women Want or even Spiderman), I have been imbued with a frenetic writing energy that requires multiple outlets.

In other words, I'm resurrecting this blog. I've already dusted away the spammers in comments, so if any real readers still exist, it's safe to come back.

It can be difficult to write about knitting when one is not actually knitting, which has been my problem for the past three years. Am I knitting again now? Not yet, but I think I've figured out the root cause.

I received this enlightenment yesterday while contemplating a novel I've been "reading." (Reading, of course, is usually incompatible with knitting except for those blessed with the ability to pay attention to audiobooks. I'm a more prolific reader than knitter.) My progress on this book has stalled after about 60 pages, and yet I've so far refused to follow Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50 and give it up. I started it for a reason -- because the author is highly regarded and someone I feel like I "should" read -- and that reason doesn't disappear just because the book hasn't engaged me.

Yet I know I could've read at least three other novels in the 6 weeks or so that I've been "reading" this one. I pick it up, read a page, and set it down to do something else, but I don't read anything else because I have this to finish first.

The same problem has stalled my knitting. I think it may be six years since I started this sweater:

It's from Solveig Hisdal's book Poetry in Stitches for those interested.

It's lovely sweater, and I'll be happy to have it completed, but it's a rather random, non-repeating pattern that requires constantly looking at the chart. This means it's difficult to do much of anything else while working on it. I can watch television if I don't want to look at the screen, but foreign films with subtitles (which make up about 80 percent of my Netflix queue) are out of the question.

My progress has been so slow on this sweater than I believe moths may have already been at some of the early rows. There's broken yarn I can't explain.

Really, I should abandon it and move on to something else, like a scarf or a sock. But I'm almost finished with the body and the sleeves will be much easier! It would be tragic to abandon it now after so much work.

Many situations in life require us to resolve to let things go to maintain our sanity, or our relationships, or to allow room for other things to breathe. And yet, it's often with the projects we persist on, when everyone else may be urging us to give up, that we're most rewarded. The trick is to recognize what's worth pursuing and what's better consigned to the remainders bin.

For now, I think I'll return the novel to the library and finish up the sweater, resolving to make sure my next knitting project is mindless and portable.

The novel, by the way, is Thomas Pynchon's V., in case anyone wants to plead its case in the comments.

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