December 04, 2006
Still in Love
I managed to finish the back/fronts of Ariann yesterday. At least I think I've finished them. I didn't bind off the way the pattern instructs you too because, well, you never know if you're going to need to tink a bit or add some on so I stopped at 16" (the pattern calls for 14, but I added some to the length) and I'm going to start on the sleeves today. I'd take a picture - actually I tried to take a picture - but it's sort of long and the pattern looks EXACTLY the same as it did the other day when I posted pictures so I decided they weren't going to be interesting so leave them out.
I generally like to do the sleeves at the same time, and I'm taking this opportunity to learn to do two socks on two circulars but instead I'm going to do two sleeves on two circulars. It's always the cast on that trips me up so I'm going to take extra time today to figure it out. It really shouldn't be too hard.
I'm still LOVING this project. I pass my own test. What test is that you ask? Well, I was reading over at Megan's (The Knitting Philistine - very nice blog, by the way) and she was saying that if you don't love your knit as much as I professed to love Ariann in my last post, then maybe you should move along to another project. Tongue in cheek, surely, and I can certainly be accused of being OVERLY enthusiastic at times, but really, why knit something you're not enjoying?
I've tried to live my life in this manner. If I find that I don't like something - be it graduate school, a job - and I mean REALLY don't like it - not have a frustrating or a bad day every now and then - I mean when it eats at you and it's a chore to get through the simplest tasks and you feel nauseous when you go to work every day - then it's time to move on. Life is SO short and we can't waste our time doing things we don't like. I understand that I've been extraordinarily fortunate that when I hated a job or a life direction I was able to move on to the next thing and find what I love. I've been EXTREMELY fortunate in that. But I have worked at jobs that I didn't love. Jobs that were just a job, a way to make ends meet - and it was during those times that I tried to fill my off hours with things I DID love. I worked so that I could throw pots. Or take classes. Unfortunately I wasn't knitting then, but I loved what I was doing outside of work nonetheless.
I've talked before about how knits don't have feelings. So if you want to start one project but don't feel like you can move on from what you're working on - even if it's no longer giving you pleasure -take it from me: the knits don't care. They really and truly don't. One of the greatest lessons I've learned in my life is that it's just as important to find the things you DON'T like as it is to find the things you DO like. Crossing things off the list - whether it be a knitting pattern or a career choice or a relationship - these are learning opportunities. I've found it's much easier to find out what you don't like than it is to find what you love. And everytime you cross something else off the list, you're getting that much closer to the thing that will give you the most fulfillment.
So people might say that my knitting has become very pigeon-holed and that I limit myself to certain fibers and certain kinds of patterns - but I've tried a lot of stuff and I KNOW WHAT I LIKE. It works for me. And that's all that really matters.
Posted by Cara at December 4, 2006 10:15 AM
YES!!! Life is too short to do things we don't enjoy!!! You are SO right! I strongly believe that people who have the smarts to discard that which does not please them become interesting and strong because of it.
Posted by: Carmen at December 4, 2006 10:23 AM
This is the same philosophy that allows me to forgive myself four years of a horrible relationship. I was ever so busy crossing off things like "body image obsession" and "cheating, lying bastard" off of my list. Phew! Good to get that out of the way. I love me some Megan, too. She got so much mileage out of that one skein, didn't she?
Posted by: JulieFrick at December 4, 2006 10:29 AM
It's the worst when I post a photo of something and say "I dont like it" and everyone yells at you for me liking it.
I am loving my current knit, Sahara but I think i love knitting nearly anything in this silk yarn.
Posted by: pixie at December 4, 2006 10:34 AM
Great post. And great advice. One thing I appreciate so, SO much about your blog is that you so willingly reflect openly about yourself, your loved ones, your knitting, and your life. It's nice to read candid opinions on such things, no holds barred. The wit, amazing photos, and the tons of STR porn are appriciable, too ;o)
And *of course* my Cara Enthusiasm Test was my tongue-in-cheek way of appreciating your reflections on Ariann...honesty and enthusiasm are both qualities that I admire about you and that keep me reading!
Posted by: knittingphilistine at December 4, 2006 10:42 AM
I'm going to refer to this as Cara's Thomas Edison Philosophy of Knitting and/or Life. (The story goes that Edison was asked, "you failed 2000 times to invent a functional light bulb before you succeeded; did you ever think of giving up?" to which he replied, "I never failed. I discovered 2000 ways it didn't work.")
You have been extremely lucky, but success on your terms is partly luck and partly what you do with it.
If you'll excuse me, I have to go unravel about a dozen UFOs now (some of them of embarrassing vintage).
Posted by: Lucia at December 4, 2006 11:05 AM
Knitty has really good instructions for casting on on two circulars, for a sock, of course, but it works.
I thought about doing my sleeves that way, then realized that since I'm doing drop shoulders, it really makes no sense. Just harder to sew up in the end. Oh, well.
Have a great day!
Posted by: Wendy at December 4, 2006 11:19 AM
I think you're much older than you would have us believe -- that much wisdom usually doesn't come in young packages! But then it does come in smart ones. It's great that you've learned all this along the way. It took me far longer to realize (1) if I hated a yarn, I could just ditch it because nothing was going to make me love it; (2)if a marriage is horrible, another 12 years probably won't make it better, (3)if a job sucks, well, you get the picture. I am no longer a glutton for punishment! But I was in my late 40s before I learned what you've learned in your 30s. Hooray for you!
Posted by: SallyA at December 4, 2006 11:26 AM
You are SO right. Life is too short to work on things that do not give us pleasure. Good for you for knowing when to toss a project by the wayside. I'm glad you are enjoying this knit :-)
Posted by: Kim at December 4, 2006 11:30 AM
cara, you are my knit/life guru! life is too short - we suffer enough with things we cannot change why should we through things we know we can change.
Posted by: margaux at December 4, 2006 11:30 AM
I for one would have quite happily looked at a picture of the back/fronts.
Posted by: B. at December 4, 2006 11:31 AM
Knitting Philistine has hit the nail on the head. What brings us joy is what we should do--even if it sometimes makes us pull our hair out....
Posted by: The Purloined Letter at December 4, 2006 11:39 AM
Your insights about knits not having feelings are a very "powerful ponder" for me this morning. My big question is, "Yah, but what do I do about the feelings I have for the knits!"
Posted by: bonnie at December 4, 2006 11:40 AM
Bravo! It's taken me a while (including a loooong time in a unhappy/grinding grad school situation, and a grinding, self-sacrificing relationship) to start to come to some of these ideas.
Bravo for you! :D
Posted by: laughingmuse at December 4, 2006 11:55 AM
I've read your blog, but have never posted. Your words/thought today are exactly what I needed. I'm self-employed and I've decided to move on from one of my major clients. Essentially, I haven't been 'feeling the love' for quite some time. It's hard to be true to ourselves and do what works for us. If we allow ourselves to be consumed by things that are not working, we will not have time to pursue the things that will make us feel valued and happy.
Thanks for the words of wisdom. I think I have to print them out and keep them on my desk until I get through my work transition.
Posted by: Sherry at December 4, 2006 12:08 PM
i'm a first time commenter, but i just needed to chime in and say that this post really spoke to me. you're so right - we need to choose what works for us, whether it be knits or jobs, and then enjoy life. you have a great blog!
Posted by: ae at December 4, 2006 12:09 PM
Thank you so much for the wonderful post. It really struck a cord with me. I'm unhappy at my current job and have been looking for a change, but figuring out what that change should be is very difficult. And change is always hard for me, but I am determined to find something that makes me excited to get up in the morning.
Posted by: Stephanie at December 4, 2006 12:21 PM
Posted by: jillian at December 4, 2006 12:33 PM
Oh my...along with everyone else, you're post totally hit home with me and made me open my eyes! I was working on my final for one of my two grad school classes, debating whether to continue, because a) i've never learned anything from a book and b) i like spending time with my hubby (and knitting!) much more than these awful classes! I have some decisions to make!!
Posted by: kelly jo at December 4, 2006 01:24 PM
As always you tell it like it is. So many of us live life in a way that isn't our own. We try to please others, try to do to many things we 'should do'. Happiness is being true to yourself.
Posted by: margene at December 4, 2006 01:28 PM
I hate to just post another amen but, Amen sister! I've always tried to live that way...going for what I enjoy and ditching what I don't...and I knit/sew the same way. Life has been much more interesting!
Posted by: Susan at December 4, 2006 02:41 PM
I come here for the "knits" but I always find so much more - if only we could do for you what you do for us. But then you've got that great "stylist" and G so what the heck else could you need??
Posted by: Robin at December 4, 2006 02:49 PM
It took me a long time to use this philosophy toward books - I read all the time and I could read fast, so I would finish books even when I wasn't enjoying them.
I don't do that anymore.
However, with knitting I have been working more toward sticking with them even when I am frustrated or not completely in love, because otherwise I have nothing to show but some tangled up yarn on EVERY SINGLE NEEDLE I OWN and no sweaters...
I suppose it's a matter of balance.
Posted by: Heather at December 4, 2006 03:25 PM
I agree with you about not doing things you don't love. I once worked as a branch manager at a bank and we were constantly stressed staff-wise. The day that I thought "If I crash the car, I could probably have a few days off" was the day that I called my boss and said "Get me out of this branch or I will have to quit". Life is too short to have those kind of thoughts...
Posted by: Doris at December 4, 2006 04:02 PM
I agree completely with you. It took a long time for me to figure out what I could and couldn't be happy with. I have a job that I don't just love, but I needed something (as far as income goes). But I now the steps I need to take to make a change and am working those now. I recently started a project that while I want to knit the yarn and I like the project, I'm not in love with it. I was debating back and forth what to do, but since reading this post, I know now what I need to do. Rip, rip, rippit and start anew with something else.
p.s. Many hugs to you and George.
Posted by: Wanda at December 4, 2006 04:08 PM
I totally agree with you, and I came to that realization (not quite as succintly as you) when I ripped out a project I'd started just a while back. Just simply hated working on it. I think sometimes I keep on at something because I don't want to be a quitter or fail, but I'm slowly learning to let go. And I would have very much liked to see progress pics!
Posted by: Leslie at December 4, 2006 04:16 PM
Saying "no" or "no more" has been one of the most important life lessons for me. I was raised to not be a quitter . . . well, now I see quitting as another form of moving on, a victory rather than a defeat. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, your work, your love . . . it's inspiring and heart-warming.
Posted by: Carol Dean at December 4, 2006 04:55 PM
Preach it! PREACH it! I'm glad to hear someone say that rather than the old "muddle through even if you're throwing up every night" philosophy. Be uncompromising in your quest for happiness. It's out there. It's in your hands.
Posted by: Melissa at December 4, 2006 05:31 PM
Posted by: Carol at December 4, 2006 05:44 PM
To quote one of my all time favorite Sex in the City lines. . . . .
Posted by: Knittingnurse at December 4, 2006 06:47 PM
Very nicely said- I couldn't agree with you more!
Posted by: Nonnahs at December 4, 2006 07:44 PM
Well said, sister. It's so good to know what you do and don't like. xox, J
Posted by: Julia at December 4, 2006 07:49 PM
A wonderful philosophy Cara! Bravo!
Posted by: Kirsten at December 4, 2006 07:54 PM
Hi Cara. Let me just say that this post is very timely -- I need to hear things like this more often. I just may print this and stick it on my wall. Thanks so much for writing it.
Posted by: Specs at December 4, 2006 08:14 PM
Looks like you hit a nerve for a lot of people. Me, too. It's a hard lesson to learn, that one. Harder even than learning to ask for help and almost as hard as giving yourself permision to be less than perfect (although I suppose it's part of the same thing, really)
And you never know, sometimes that scarf that you were so deathly bored of will be the perfect thing to knit one winter afternoon. Or the cables that drove you NUTS will be just the challenge you need, later on.
Then again, sometimes no.
Posted by: kate at December 4, 2006 08:33 PM
VERY intelligent and feeling post. LOVE the life examples.
Don't ever stop writing.
Posted by: inky at December 4, 2006 08:54 PM
tell it sister!
that's right! :)
although... i will admit to pushing through something that i don't entirely love knitting if i know that it will make someone i love happy. :)
Posted by: lyssa at December 4, 2006 09:22 PM
Ariann is definitely getting added to my list. As for knitting things I'm not into at the moment, I know the knits don't care . . . but the Christmas gift recipients do. Back to the grindstone . . .
Posted by: Theresa at December 4, 2006 11:59 PM
Ditto on the "Amen, Sister"! Isn't it amazing how many things hold true for both knitting and life in general?!
Posted by: Annie at December 5, 2006 06:23 AM
'Tis a secret to happiness.
Posted by: Laurie at December 5, 2006 08:08 AM
So I read your blog. If I knitted I would buy your BEAUTIFUL cards. Don't knit, but love those friggin cards. What about next year using a bunch of christmas colored yarns....you could make a fortune!!
Life is too short to spend your time ddoing something you are not passionate about. I try to live my life the same way you do, by being present in the moment and enjoying all of the wonderful things we have and get to share with the people we love. I too am passionate about my work and hope to pass that way of life on to my kids. Anyone can make money, but few can make it and enjoy life while doing so.
I am sitting here in front of my Christmas tree with the relaxing red glow of the lights before the morning rush starts. I get to enjoy it for just a few weeks every year and cherish the quiet time I have for those few weeks before the morning light ruins the feeling
. Give my love to George, and tell him that we are all wishing him well.
Love you guys!
Posted by: melanie at December 5, 2006 08:38 AM