Friday, April 17, 2009

Paralysis

Okay, I think I need help. Here's the background:

Last fall, I picked up crocheting again for the first time in several years. Got hooked. (Heh heh.) Made several items very quickly. Learned to knit. Made a couple things there too. Basically, got obsessed and had yarn in hand basically every day for five months.

And then, sometime around February of this year, I just...stopped. With three projects in the works -- one a simple little cowl mostly in stockinette. One, my first sweater for myself, mostly in garter stitch at the moment (the February Lady Sweater). One, a cute scarf working cables in crochet. None of these are particularly intimidating projects, yet somehow, I find myself scared to pick them up, scared of messing them up. When I think about yarn now, the only thing that doesn't seem scary is maybe crocheting a little baby afghan in dc -- something so simple and small that I can't mess it up. And my daughter just doesn't need any more blankets, dangit. And I don't know the gender of our new baby yet, so not sure what to make for it. Plus, I don't know that the solution to having three unfinished projects hanging over my head (one an overdue birthday present) is to start a fourth project!

I know this feeling. I get it when I haven't written for a while, this fear and tension that I have to just push through to start again. I think this is what some people call writer's block. Is there such a thing as knitter's block? crocheter's block? I've never had this happen to me with crafting before, and it's weirding me out, people. I think maybe it's because I care more about the yarn than about any of my previous short-lived craft endeavors?

I'm going to actually go over to my table now and pick up the stupid yarn. That's the only way I know to get through this kind of mental nonsense. See, I do know how to fix this problem myself, at least in theory. I promise to do a few stiches this morning. At least five, okay? Five stitches. It's ridiculous that I have to say it out loud to make myself do five stitches. But if I didn't embarrass myself by posting about it, I know I wouldn't have actually done it, and I would have gone another week, or month, or year with those three projects just sitting, accusingly, on my dining table.

So thanks for listening, and for not laughing too hard.

12 Comments:

Blogger superwoman_4002 said...

I'll listen any time :D I hadn't knitted or crocheted for about a month... ok, it's been a little less than a month. I even know the last time i did anything... i last crocheted on March 24! But it's not really that I'm scared... It's just that I'm WAY too busy with school, 2 jobs, and softball! :( It's ridiculous and overwhelming! BUT i got out my first sock yarn and 2 of my DPNs which are way smaller than anything i've ever used before and did about 5 rows in stockinette stitch last night just to get the feel for it :) So... I hope you find that fire again!! :D
**HUGS**
Zaneta

8:21 AM  
Blogger Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

I just did three rows of stockinette on the cowl, which took about ten minutes, and I feel much better. Whew!

I think it's partly that I've been crazy busy too, and exhausted with the first trimester pregnancy nonsense. But that excuse makes less sense when I spend at least an hour or two an evening watching tv. There's no reason I can't be knitting then, at least!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Ahhh--the first trimester thing. When I was pregnant, I had started making a lace shawl, complex and interesting, but due to the darned first trimester and my son stealing my brain....it has been frogged totally into oblivion. I still have the yarn around here somewhere. But all I wound up knitting for something like a month was washcloths. The first dozen or two were the ever-popular grandmother's favorite pattern, and then I branched out a bit and did a few fancier ones. By then I had the mojo back and started on socks and a baby blanket. Don't blame yourself--the baby stole your brain, to download and copy, and when you get it back, you'll do fine. By the way--the grandmother's favorite washcloth pattern can be a nice baby blanket pattern, too--just keep knitting until it's half the square you want, and then start decreasing. If you pick a gender neutral color, it'll work. I've done white cotton and a baby print acrylic in that for other people's kids. Mine got my first log cabin blanket, and my first mitered square blanket.

11:01 AM  
Blogger cksknitter said...

Click around on ravelry.com and your favorite knitting blogs. Everyone's creativity will motivate you to pick up the needles again.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Renna said...

When I get like that (and I do), I resort to knitting dishcloths. The yarn is cheap, and no matter how badly the knitting may turn out, the knitted item will have a useful function, either in my home or someone else's. Plus, it gets me back in the groove.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Think that happens to most of us - but, don't feel funny about posting about it... We all understand.

Hope the see the Lady February sweater completed - I think that is a classy sweater...

Just walk over and pick it up and start knitting - you're the Alpha person...

3:37 PM  
Blogger Rachael Herron said...

I get like that about exercise.... Off the horse so long it's hard to get back on.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Yvonne in Southwest Virginia said...

I think we've all been *there*. When I'm teaching someone to knit and I see this happening, I always ask if they want to be a perfect knitter or an accomplished knitter. If they want to be a perfect knitter, I tell them to pick one project and never, ever knit anything else; it'll always be perfect. If they want to be an accomplished knitter, however, I tell them they'll forever be testing their boundaries, learning new techniques, and making mistakes---and the mistakes often will teach them more technique than the mistakeless knitting. lol

You've already shown us what kind of knitter you want to be (because you're going to push through your fear to knit those five stitches) and I have no doubt that you are on your way to becoming an accomplished knitter!

You rock!

9:42 PM  
Blogger Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

Aww, y'all are so sweet. :-)

I am clearly never going to be a perfect knitter -- I am far too impatient to see results. I think with my knitting, I'll be sticking to the same philosophy I have with mothering -- 'good-enough'. :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Winnicott

(see section partway down page on 'good-enough mother')

I ended up doing about twelve rows on the cowl yesterday, and then my arm started hurting, so I stopped. But I wanted to keep going. More today!

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most knitters go through slumps from time to time. (I don't crochet, but imagine it's the same way.) Sometimes it's physical -- your early pregnancy probably has a lot to do with it. (Wait until the nesting instinct kicks in toward the end...) Sometimes it's boredom with what you're working on, or even an underlying realization that you no longer LIKE that pattern or that yarn or that stitch that so enchanted you when you started the project. Ya know what? IT'S OKAY TO RIP IT OUT AND GO ON TO SOMETHING ELSE!!! (Sorry for shouting.) That doesn't mean you should never pick a project that will challenge you. It doesn't mean you should give up the craft any time you have a slump. It just means that you are The Boss of your knitting (or crocheting) and you need to give yourself permission to say "Ya know what? I don't like this and I'm not going to finish it." I've had some projects that went so bad I not only frogged them completely, I gave away the yarn AND pattern!

Glad to read that you did go back and start those "five stitches". I'm sure you'll find your rhythm again soon. Just remember who's The Knitting Boss at your house!

--Lynda in Oregon

11:32 AM  
Blogger LizKnits said...

Pregnancy or not, we've all been there. Glad to hear you are pressing on and having some success!

3:28 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

hey, i believe in knitters block. I have had it from time to time for no known reason! Just push through it and then you'll break through and feel better!

6:39 PM  

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