Sunday, July 26, 2009

In which I prove myself to be capable of Learning

I've been knitting socks for a couple of years now, and I've been closing the toes wrong for every bit of that time. I can think of several people right off the top of my head who will be appalled when they learn this. Even worse, I see most of those people every week and I know perfectly well that if I had asked, they would gladly have shown me how to do it correctly.

I just never seemed to get the hang of Kitchener Stitch. I tried to do it. I consulted reference books. I watched tutorials on YouTube. I followed the directions on various blogs and websites. As long as I was following along with the pictures I would do okay (sometimes) but as soon as I tried to do it on my own I would mess it up, get frustrated and then give up and do whatever thing got the toes closed up no matter how bad it looked. (Or, alternatively, I would just knit down to the toe decrease then stop and leave them in a bag somewhere with the toes just sort of gaping accusingly at me whenever I happened to come across them.)

I knew that I was doing it wrong but I had decided to not care and just go ahead and live with weird toes. (Again, I know a whole bunch of people who would have happily helped me if I had asked. Apparently I like banging my head up against the wall.)

Okay, so I recently decided that if I'm going to go to the expense of buying nice yarn and go to the effort of using it to execute a beautiful pattern that I should really be paying more attention to my technique. In the past I would ignore a mis-crossed cable or an off-center decrease or even a yarn-over that didn't quite line up with the row beneath it. And a lot of the time, projects got frogged or never finished. If I did finish something, it frequently ended up in a drawer because I wasn't happy with it.

Since I've been spending time around people who are better knitters than I am, they've made me want to be better. Now I'm much more likely to rip back or drop down to fix a problem as soon as I notice it. I've also been paying more attention to my finishing techniques - doing things "correctly" instead of "quickly" and I'm a lot happier with the results and ultimately, with the finished product. So, apparently it's working and I am, in fact, becoming a better knitter.

Which brings us back to the Kitchener Stitch. Observe:

One correctly grafted toe. Done without visual aids or tutorials.

I'm quite proud of myself. Yet at the same time, vaguely disappointed in myself that I didn't just ask for help in the first place (I know - it's a character flaw. I'm working on it) so that I could have been doing it right all along. I've got it now, though. And I'll be going after all those open-toed socks now.