Things I Learned From Knitting

Things I Learned From Knitting by Stephanie Pearl–McPhee Read Free Book Online

Book: Things I Learned From Knitting by Stephanie Pearl–McPhee Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephanie Pearl–McPhee
theoretically, if we select the 38-inch-chest pattern and knit a gauge swatch and get the correct number of stitches to the inch, darn it all, the sweater should be 38 inches around. Every knitter also knows that there’s a 50/50 chance that something will happen to gauge along the way and that our sweater could, for no reason other than the fact that it’s a Tuesday, turn out much larger or smaller than predicted. Now, a knitter can wear a sweater that is too big, even if it isn’t attractive, but because a sweater that is too small is utterly hopeless and unwearable, a knitter will oftenopt for a larger size “just to be sure.” The result can be a knitter proudly wearing a sweater that swells upon her body like the mainsail of a grand schooner billowed out in a full and hearty wind.
    Patience. While knitters really want items that fit, they’re also only human, and when making a thing drags on for a while, there is a natural human tendency to shorten the effort and move on to the next temptation. This results in a knitterly knack for occasionally overestimating how much of a sleeve has been knit. (Admit it: How many times have you tugged just a little bit while measuring?) Knitters also convince themselves that a sweater will lengthen in the wearing or otherwise contrive a way to believe that whatever they’re knitting, they have knit it long enough. Though they are loathe to admit it, this explains the preponderance of ¾-length sleeves, cropped sweaters, and skimpy scarves. Flattering? Maybe not … but the project got done, darn it, and at the time, done was all that mattered.
    Pride. After hours and hours of knitting, it would be a rare knitter indeed who couldn’t reach deep into his psyche in order to put on (orinsist that another human put on) his magnificent creation. I don’t know about you, but more than once my pride in my well-executed cables have been enough to get me to put on and go out in a sweater that was otherwise horrendous.
    In case you haven’t been adding all of this up, the sum total of all these knitterly quirks means that the next time you see a knitter wearing an odd garment that doesn’t fit (remember, that may be you in the mirror) just add it up. The sweater is too big around because you can put on a too-big sweater, but not a too-small one. It is too short because his next sweater beckoned; and no matter how it looks, that knitter is wearing it anyway, darn it, because his pride in his accomplishment and the fifty hours of invested knitting effort are simply not going to be overlooked … Fashion be damned. Knitters hold clothes to a different standard. To knitters, clothing is also art … and besides, size doesn’t really matter. Right?
    Knitting is still trying to teach me …
    TO COUNT. I THOUGHT I HAD
    MASTERED IT IN THE FIRST GRADE,
    BUT SINCE I HAVE JUST PLACED
    THE NECK OPENING FOR A SWEATER
    DIRECTLY OVER MY RIGHT SHOULDER
    BLADE, I APPARENTLY NEED TO
    WORK ON IT .

the 18 th thing

nothing is perfect.
    I AM A PERSON WHO LOVES PERFECTION and control, although I suspect I would have a really hard time convincing anyone who has ever seen my housekeeping, wardrobe, or hair of that. It seems to me that most of the time, the search for perfection is at best exhausting and at worst, hopeless. Trying to gain control is even more hopeless, because it turns out that almost everyone on the planet is not under my direct influence, no matter how much easier it would be for me if they were.
    Despite my abject failure to perfect and control humanity, I’ve discovered one aspect of my life in which it’s possible to perfect and control everything: my knitting. Knitting is a relief to type-A people — those of us who like to demand certain standards in things — because it is entirely inert. Knitting has no feelings that can behurt if you curse it for failing you. Knitting won’t cry at its desk if you tell it that it

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