Since late spring, I've been slowly crocheting a brioche crochet top down jumper with one strand of the King Cole Cotton Socks 4ply and one strand of some gorgeous Eleanor-dyed yarn. It's taken me forever, I've frogged it twice because I misread the pattern, and I finally got to the end of the colourwork portion a few days ago.
Look at how Eleanor's hand-dyed is working up, I'm in SHOCK, it's GORGEOUS.
I was elated, obvs, because from here on out it's just nice simple trebles for the body. So I'm counting my stitches so I can divide the sleeves, proud of myself for following the pattern To The Letter and keeping track of eeeevery single thing, and I get to the amount of stitches I'm meant to have and somehow, I've still got a quarter of the stitches left to count.
I was meant to have 270 stitches. Somehow I ended up with 400.
Cue some tears and frustrated stomping around my flat because I'm an adult and I deal with things in a mature way. I frog back to a few rows before where a round of increases is now swiftly removed, and that cuts me down to 330. Which is fine, it's a nice number that divides into thirds so I can do some quick maths and divide the sleeves myself. I do so, and the yoke is a bit wibbly wobbly and it's not QUITE right, but I literally cannot see where I've gone wrong and honestly, it'll do.
This happens a lot, right? We make mistakes. We notice we've missed a stitch or added a stitch or sewn something up wrong or we've made it in the wrong size or our sleeves are twice the length they should be. At the time, it feels awful. But why does it feel awful? Why do we get so disappointed with ourselves?
The amount of customers that come in embarrassed that they need to ask for help makes me sad, sometimes. It's the same amount of people that come in looking for a pattern and as soon as they open the book they say "well, I'm not a good knitter..."
It's okay to want to do more complex things and to prove to yourself that your skill level is progressing. It's validating, it boosts our self esteem, and we get a super cool thing at the end of it. But you don't have to. You don't always have to push yourself!!
I got super frustrated at that pattern, and once I'd divided for the sleeves I chucked it down the side of the sofa and picked up my secret stash of Safari Chunky. It was time to do something relaxing, because the other project I've got on the go is a 4ply Tunisian crochet top-down jumper and I'm TIRED. So what do I start? Obviously a granny hexagon project.
And that's like, really easy. That's something I don't need to look at, I don't need a pattern for (to be honest, no one really does once you understand the concept of it) and I can just bash out in a couple of days. I got past the first hexi side of the jumper and realised that for the first time in a few months I was actually relaxed whilst crocheting.
Our hobbies are meant to fulfil us. I mean, sure, they'll stress you out sometimes, but they shouldn't put you off of doing them! I felt so ashamed when the project went wrong because I felt like if I work in a yarn shop, I shouldn't make mistakes, I should just Be Good At Stuff Always.
Then I remembered when Eleanor finished sewing her coat up, wore it into the shop and proudly pointed out all of the places the lining had puckered or where she'd struggled. And I remembered you lovely lot and how I always tell you if you pop in that you should do what makes you happy, not what you think is going to impress other people. And I realised that there's nothing to be ashamed of, and it's silly of me to think that way.
We do not have to prove ourselves to anyone. We do not have to pressure ourselves into being "perfect" for an invisible audience.
So, I started a nice easy project, a granny hexagon jumper in chunky yarn with a 12mm hook. And I finished it last night! It's in the Safari Chunky, which does a little animal-stripe effect when you knit it in stockinette but I was really intrigued to see how it worked up in a granny square. Here it is!
And now, I might pick up the yoke project again. Or, I might not. I might not be ready. And that's fine! But I'm not ashamed of my mistakes anymore, and I'm definitely not ashamed of asking for help when I need it. And neither should you be!
The fibre-arts community is uplifting - that's what a community is designed to do. Make the most of it!
Thanks for listening to my rambles. I wanted to write instead of doing admin work. :)