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Knitting is Like Dieting

Posted Jan 30 2012 6:00am
(I know the title sounds like a stretch, but bear with me here...)

I may have mentioned a time or three that I started knitting.  Well, I am getting close to being finished with the scarf (mainly because I'm running out of yarn), but I wondered if there was a standard size for knitted scarves, so I went to my trusty Google for the answer.  Huh.  Did you know there is not only a recommended length (scarf = height of wearer) but also a width?  That probably would have been a good thing to check before I started knitting my scarf...but oh well, I'm more of a "start now, ask questions later" type of person.  Kind of how I began my diet - I knew that I wanted to lose weight, so I started a diet, and over time, read up on how different people succeeded and adapted my own plan along the way.

Back to my scarf - I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out.  While I did drop a stitch twice, I caught it right away and thus avoided making a slanty, lopsided scarf.  It doesn't roll inward - pretty sure that has something to do with the basic "knit, knit, knit" pattern that I did.  I'm looking forward to making another one, this time with chunkier yarn and bigger needles.  I might even try to throw in some purl stitches!  Oooh, daring...lol.

So here's the thing:  I watched a YouTube video that showed how to knit a cap, and while it's way beyond my current abilities, the person demonstrating was so clear in her instructions that I can envision myself actually doing this someday.  Confidence level - high.

A little later, I went to a knitting website. I started reading the forums on knitting and got completely lost - there are abbreviations that I don't understand, and people were talking about patterns and all sorts of things that might as well be a foreign language to me.  I could feel myself shutting down, thinking "I'll never attempt anything other than a scarf" - and my confidence level went down to zero.

How is it possible to go from such a high to such a low in a matter of minutes?  Then I remembered how, when I was in the middle of my diet, I'd be feeling on top of my game - I was eating great, drinking tons of water, feeling not only good about myself, but just good in general - healthy, energetic, ready to conquer the world - and then I'd get a reality check in the form of a weigh-in that didn't show a loss, or in the dressing room, where clothes STILL didn't look great on me.  Amazing how fast my entire demeanor would change - I'd go from "heck yes, I'm DOING this!!!" to "I'll never get this, I'll never lose weight, I'll never ever ever change" - yet the only thing that had actually changed in that moment was my mindset.

It takes time to learn how to knit.  I don't possess great manual dexterity skills (just ask anyone who's watched me iron, chop vegetables, or sew), and I need a lot of practice to get the stitches right.  It got easier for me because I picked up the needles and yarn just about every evening and worked at it.  Starting a diet is similar - things feel awkward at first.  I'd set out with good intentions to eat right, but old habits, and sometimes just plain hunger, kicked in, and I'd find myself eating something that wasn't on my plan.  However, my diet eventually got to be second nature for me.  And even though something will throw me (knitting - casting on; dieting - stress eating), and shake my confidence (knitting - foreign language of patterns; dieting - when oh when will my blobby stomach EVER get smaller), deep down I know that I will continue to improve if I just keep working at it.  And that, my friends, is how knitting is like dieting!
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