Thursday, December 27, 2007


Well, since it's nearly the end of the year, I've been thinking about habits. Bad habits, mine in particular, and the difficulty of changing bad habits.

Yesterday, when I was at WEBS for their big sale, I perused their marked-down knitting yarns, of course, but found nothing of interest. Not because there was nothing worth knitting, mind you, there were plenty of lovely, inexpensive, good-quality merinos, for example, but because my single-track mind seems to have moved onto weaving. Thus, all I wanted, all I came home with, was weaving yarn - 21 cones of yarn, to be precise. See?


That's a lot of yarn. I'm going to dig out the rest of my weaving-appropriate yarn this week and stock these shelves with it - the shelves, conveniently, are right next to my big loom. That would be the big loom I've still not managed to warp successfully.

So, one of my habits that is a bit much is how I get so single-minded about something to the exclusion of everything else, and how I combine that with pursuing the easiest part of being obsessed with something new - such as buying weaving yarn and weaving books, not to mention a big loom - while avoiding the harder parts - such as learning to warp the big loom.

I know I'll push myself past the difficulties of warping the big loom (and I have lots of experienced-weaver friends who can come help if I need them), but it's pointing out to me how I get to a certain, fairly decent level of knowledge for any pursuit I take up, but I never, or rarely at least, get really, really good at something. I learn about 80% of what there is to know, and then I get distracted by something else. So, for example, I'm a pretty good knitter - I can cable and knit lace and Fair Isle and intarsia, sweaters and hats and gloves and socks, I've even steeked, back in the days before knit-blogging - but my interest in knitting is flagging a bit. I'm still knitting (I may have knit for six babies this year, but my parents' Christmas afghan? maybe by next Christmas, I think; my hands need a rest), but evidently I'm not going to turn into an incredible knitting designer. Of course, does the world really need yet another lace shawl or cabled sock or Fair Isle vest pattern? Probably not, come to think of it. (I still can't figure out how to use Ravelry efficiently for finding patterns, by the way.)

It's funny, this getting older stuff, it nibbles at me, with the dread of not having the time to do or be what I want, whenever I can figure out what it is I want to do or be when I grow up. I love the thrill of being obsessed, but sometimes I'd like a little balance in my life. To get some exercise now and then. To cook and eat good food. To push myself past that initial plateau of good-enough knitting/spinning/weaving/dragonfly-chasing/whatever, and get to that very hard work of creating out of my own being.

An exhausting thought, and yet I come around to it again and again over the years. Hmm.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the second strip of the heathered-wool blanket I promised you. I've got the third strip - a dark one again - already warped on the rigid heddle loom and the first color of weft already woven. It'll be really interesting to see how this all turns out - I have some control of parts of this process (choosing the yarns, setting up the overall dark-light stripe pattern, etc.), but much of it is up to chance (how each strip will look next to its final neighbors), and that keeps me fascinated. It's a path of discovery I'm weaving myself here.





Batty said...

We all have our foibles, and in the light of clear, rational thought, they don't really make sense. Don't be hard on yourself, you're not the only one with that sort of habit.

Want to know what mine is? When something isn't working out, I pick the next harder thing and do that instead so I can chicken out without feeling like I chickened out. If you're abandoning something for something even harder, it's not the same as failing, right?

Ahem. Yeah. So... that glossing over difficult bits to obsess over something habit isn't all that bad. It's just one of the things that makes you special and lovable.

Stefaneener said...

Yep. Story of my life. In my (ahem) second abandoned doctoral degree, I worked with a woman who talked about the "perils of multipotentiality" which was a fancy way of saying that smart people get distracted easily and don't dig in and finish stuff, because the first, say, 80% is so easy and they don't do well with the final 20%.

Ask me if my bees have gotten anything but cursory attention this year. . . A friend of mine once laughed when I told her I feared being a dilettante for the rest of my life.

Anyhow, I feel your pain. Spinning took away my knitting but I'm easing back into it, and I'm very impressed that you've noted your tendency and have some idea of confronting the parts that bother you.

Laurie said...

You could have been speaking my mind with the getting older, and wondering about time nibbles. YES. I don't know what the answer is...there is just too much to explore with too little time.