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A learning curve

I can’t tell where I’m up to in Origami, my rendition of Paper Crane, but I’m having a great time with it. I mean, I know where I’m at in the pattern, but I’m not sure what percentage complete that is. But it’s very pretty.

It turns out there are learning opportunities wherever you want them, and if you want to stay sane you should take them (or make them).

Picture of Origami in progress

So enigmatic!

Also, we have learned that sometimes photographing knitting in a way that is both intriguing and indicative is not easy. Here we have Origami draped alluringly over a bolster I procured at a recent Yoga Conference. It now smells like incense, and whether that is good or bad I will leave to your judgment.

Enjoying the dappled sunlight!

Enjoying the dappled sunlight!

Things we have learned:

(a) Good tools make good times.

A few years ago I inherited my Nana’s Boye Needlemaster set. It’s a beautiful set of equipment, with pieces that screw together with tight, secure threads, and needle tips that feel great to use. Except. The pair I was using for Origami had the slightest, teensiest scratch at the tip. The needles are coated in coloured brushed metal, and the scratch was in the finish. I couldn’t see it…but oooh, I could feel it. When I worked each stitch, I could feel the point at which the needles rubbed across that scratch and it was a horrible feeling. And if I rubbed a fingertip on the tip, well, I had to put my knitting away for a while. It was horrible. I felt conflicted because the needles were technically still usable, if I could just grit my teeth loudly enough that the squeaky grinding drowned out the feeling of the rough metal. Urgh, I’m getting shivers thinking about it. Needlessly self-indulgent story short, I bought replacement tips and suddenly, SUDDENLY, working on it was a dream. I’m not kidding when I say the first fifth of knitting took four-fifths of the effort expended. The take-home message is this: know your tools and know when they’re not working for you. Since the replacement tips are only a couple of dollars, and the retired ones recyclable in areas where aluminium recycling is available (like here!), it shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did to get around to replacing them. Although, to be fair, my aversion did make me finish the lush sunset socks I had waiting. Hmm, there might be another lesson learned in there.

(b) Slow and steady probably wins the race, although it’s too early to tell.

Paper Crane is a pattern with a lot of stockinette. If you’re at a stage of your life and/or knitting where you need closer-to-instant gratification, then this isn’t the pattern for you. It’s laceweight stockinette all over its beautiful, drapey body, so if you want it, you gotta earn it. After a few long car trips and loads of chilling at family events, it’s making progress. Slow, slow progress.

A long stretch of straight stitch

This is my life now.

But here’s what I have realised: I am most proud of the things that took a long time. Anyone can have a stroke of luck, but it takes regular commitment, steady practice and dedication, and a willingness to persevere that nets you the big stuff. Growing trees, performing music, writing books, paying off a house — these are all big things and they take time. Rising bread, brewing beer, growing vegetables, learning to cook, lifting weights, and making blue cheese — my god, the list is nearly infinite. It’s how you get good at anything: you play the long game. So that’s what we’re doing here. You need to get warm now? Light a goddamn fire. I’m planning for the future over here, stitch by stitch. Don’t bother me.

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