The hard part about knitting is that you need to be patient. In some ways this is a great learning tool for life in general. After all, you can certainly impulse buy yarn, but even if you do, you aren’t going to get a beautiful hand knit shawl or hat out of it today. Part of the challenge and awesomeness of knitting is that you have to wait, watching your project grow each time you work on it.
Some projects take no time at all. This fall I knit myself a hat using Tin Can Knit’s Apple Pie pattern. I cast on September 26 and five days later I had a warm fuzzy hat with a double brim. For knitting that is practically instant gratification! It’s a smaller size (only needed 1 skein of Malabrigo worsted weight) and the yarn is a heavier weight, also it was a fun but the pattern had a pretty straightforward repeat that was easy to memorize.
By comparison, some projects take a lot of patience. A good example of this is the movie night blanket. I started this in December, and estimated that it would take about 18 balls of yarn to get the size I wanted. The plan was that it would be an enjoyable knit since the pattern was interesting enough to be fun, but not so complicated that I couldn’t focus on other things like watching a movie or reading. The other plan was that since it was winter, if I was knitting a blanket I could use it and work on it at the same time! Given how cold it’s been lately this has turned out awesome. Even the cats think so!
The hard part though is the further I got, the more I wanted my blanket to be done. There was definitely some strong motivation when I got down to the last couple of balls of yarn! I think this is a good part of knitting though, if I wanted my blanket I needed to knit my blanket, there wasn’t anyway I was going to get it sooner. I think of it as the anti-impulse-buy. And it’s a good thing to have something like that around, it’s easy to get into the way of thinking that stuff is easy to get. E-books are instant gratification (and a major challenge for some of us who really love books…at least they don’t take up any space?), Amazon is happy to ship things in only 2 days or even the same day in some cases…. With shopping sometimes the impulse is that if you set up the order or go buy the thing you’ve got everything all sorted out and taken care of. At least that’s how it feels to me, but then when it arrives or you get back home and you actually need to use it/store it/make something with it, it’s back to the real world. There aren’t magic solutions, and knitting is a great, and fun, reminder of that. If you want something awesome you need to build up the skill, the careful plans and do the work and fix mistakes and so on. Gardening is similar, the seed catalog may promise that their seeds will provide immense numbers of tomatoes with heavenly flavors, but first you need to grow them!
I don’t want this to come off as sounding like making things is a great burden and too tough, instead I’m saying the making part of the process is part of the joy. Yes, my blanket was two and a half months of furious knitting in order to reach completion, but part of the reason I was knitting so quickly was because I was excited about my blanket and enjoying what I was doing. And now that it’s done it’s twice as awesome because I was able to make it exactly the way I wanted it. And now that it’s here there’s awesomeness to be had in hanging out on the coach in a big pile of people and cats and watching terrible monster movies. Making things, it’s a worthwhile and excellent thing! And I think, part of what makes life happy.