Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Alexandra Scarf from Gauge Knits - Day 4

Mental motivational trickery...

Cue BB King, the thrill is gone.  I’m halfway through and like lots of big projects, this last half feels harder and longer than the first.  Three more feet of zig-zags is looming wearily over me, a daunting I-can’t-get-there-from-here finish line.  Time to get my head in a new place about this project.

Now is the time the little boosts of knitting serve to encourage us.  I was knitting with a friend the other day, and we talked about the mini-joy of reaching the end of a challenging row with the right amount of stitches. You know what I’m talking about:  the pattern says something like “knit 4” and—lo and behold—you’ve got exactly four stitches left on your needle!  You didn’t botch this row!  Every knitter I know gets a little “zing” when that happens.  The longer the row, the bigger the zing, yes?

Another midway boost for me is what I call “pattern immersion.”  That’s my term for that magic moment when you don’t need to look at the written pattern to execute your repeat—you’ve memorized what comes next.  Most times it comes organically somewhere in the middle of a project.  This time, I needed to make it happen.  Having to keep peeking back at the written pattern was part of the reason this scarf was becoming tedious, and that needed to change.

I took 30 minutes and analyzed the set of left-leaning rows and those that leaned to the right.  I stared at the stitches until I could see that the two stockinette stitches to the right of those zig-zaging yarn-overs were the ones that were K2Tog’d.  Now I don’t have to count rows or stitches, just look for those two stitches.  

Conversely, staring hard at the stitches showed me that the YO and SSK happens right overtop the yarn-over from two rows below.  Now, the knitting tells me what I have to do next, not a constant glance over to the paperwork.  Sure, I check back every few rows to make sure I’m where I thought I was, but this little shift is enough to keep me motivated and heading toward the finish line!

Hey, a knitter’s gotta do what a knitter’s gotta do.

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