A Fine (Fiber) Romance

Since Valentine’s Day is almost upon us—I’ve been thinking about the last time I fell in love. It was about two days ago…and probably a couple days before that…and a few days before that.

Now before you think me a cad, hear me out.

I’m talking about falling in love with yarn and patterns and projects.

Recently I’ve come to the conclusion that our fiber arts projects are a lot like falling in love. (And yes, I realize that this is beginning to sound like the start of a Sex and the City episode.)

Just think about the last time you saw a pattern or yarn that excited you. Maybe your heart beat a little faster. Maybe you had butterflies in your stomach. You’ve been bit by the yarn love bug.

So you decide that you can’t live without this pattern and yarn—you buy all the yarn needed for your project post-haste so you can cast on tonight. You head home with your beautiful, soft, squishy yarn. You may even give the yarn a few squeezes before making any loops on your needles as if to say, “Hello, lover.”

You start to spend a considerate amount of time with your new project. You don’t want to say goodnight to it even though it’s waaaaaay past your bed time. You tell yourself “just one more row before bed,” which quickly turns into 25 more rows.

Over time though, the magic fades a little.

Maybe you’re knitting the umpteenth row of stockinette while your knitting pals are casting on for the most incredible Estonian lace shawl you’ve ever seen.

Maybe you reach a certain point in the pattern and notice something unusual. “Hmm,” you say, “I never noticed these directions here before. I’m supposed to K6TOG through the back loop after turning my work and then continue in pattern for next two-and-half rows. Curious.”

Maybe all of the pieces for your intarsia afghan are knit up but you can’t bear to think about weaving in all of those ends and seaming everything together.

We feel frustrated. We feel bored. We run into seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning should be a joyous experience. But much like in other long-term relationships, bumps on the road are to be expected. And much of our growth and wisdom comes from pushing past these bumps.

We learn to embrace the tiny imperfections in our projects. We realize that we can tink back a few stitches to correct a minor mistake. We know when we should put the needles down and take a break (preferably with wine). By sticking it out with our projects, we end up with something that is far more beautiful and cherished than what we started with.

And we have physical proof of the love story we just created with our yarn and sticks (or hook) loop by loop.

Binding off for now…

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PS… If your project is creating ultra-mega fiber heebie-jeebies in your life, sometimes it is best to throw in the towel and rip everything out.

But how do we know when it’s time to call it quits with our unfinished objects? Let’s get some helpful advice from our friend, Liz Lemon…

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Do you know in your heart of hearts that you will never wear/use your project?

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Is your pattern and/or yarn driving you so crazy or miserable that you never want to knit or crochet again?

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Did something go awry with your gauge and it looks like you’ve created the first two-person sweater?

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February 12, 2016 by Christian DeSario
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