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  • Writer's pictureAdventures in Yarncraft

(Mis)adventures #3: Work in progress

Day 7

Ok, so I haven’t picked up my knitting for a few days; it felt like it was going to be hard work to learn what to do next, and also I thought I would probably have forgotten what I’d learned last time and be back to square one. But today I took the plunge and you know what? I was basically right...

After another demonstration of how to do the knit stitch though I was away again. As I was very slowly casting on and doing tentative knit stitches I had these thoughts:

  1. If I’d remembered that I was doing a “long-tailed cast-on”, I might have remembered to leave a long tail (I didn’t have enough for more than 15 stitches this time and had to take it out... good start James!)

  2. Knitting definitely is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. (Probably an overreaction but that’s how it feels right now!)

  3. I still can’t do the slip knot properly...

  4. I took the knit stitches out a couple more times to cast on again - I told myself it was to consolidate what I’d learned but I think actually it was because I wanted to do something I could actually do rather than something I was getting wrong.

  5. This is really fun and very infuriating at the same time. Aaaaaahhh!

This all got me thinking about learning and mistakes. In my day job I work in a school, and I tell my students that it’s ok to make mistakes as that’s how we learn; the problem is, sometimes I forget to apply that to myself. I expect to be the perfect Daddy and husband and then find it difficult to let it go when I do something that falls short of that standard. Hopefully this will help me remember that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself and that I should see mistakes as opportunities to learn instead of failures.

Later on that evening I picked up the knitting needles again to keep the momentum going, and I’m glad that I did - I did a really good cast-on! And fast-forward to bedtime and I’d done 6 rows of actual rows of knitting.

What a rollercoaster ride today has been! Oh my goodness. The thing I realised was that it had only been possible because of community: having Laura there to show me where my technique was wrong and fix my mistakes helped me get un-stuck and to get better faster, and it was more enjoyable being able to share the despair and the achievements with someone who could empathise and laugh with me (occasionally laugh at me too which I think was very reasonable!). And community gives me an extra purpose for knitting; my new goal is to knit two pretend dishcloths for our boys’ pretend kitchen, one in this random green yarn and one in Fireside, and having that end goal that goes beyond myself should help me persevere when I feel like stopping. Of course you can absolutely knit alone: I did have a good sense of achievement looking at what I had done, and simply carving out some time for myself was helpful for my wellbeing, but it is better together, even if it’s with someone you can only connect with online; a helpful reminder to me that it’s really important that I push myself out of my comfort zone as we reconnect with people after lockdown.

Day 15

I’ve just been plodding along, picking up my knitting most evenings and doing a couple of rows at a time. Nothing really to say other than that I’ve done lots of good stitches but I've been struggling with the tension and I've also made lots of holes (as well as random extra stitches at the start of most rows - any idea how they got there?!) Moving forward, I think the key to achieving my goal is to just keep going; I think at this point I’ll just update you when I’ve finished as there probably won't be much to report from now on. In the meantime, please feel free to comment with what you’re working on - I'd love to hear about your work in progress too!

-- James

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Matilda Johansson
Matilda Johansson
Jul 01, 2021

That’s amazing progress and just fabulous that you are sticking with it 😊 You are lucky to have such a talented teacher to hand! I really believe it won’t be long until you’ll ‘feel like’ knitting every day and start looking forward to picking up your needles after a day at work. Lovely stories - I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs. Please do let us know how you get on!

James Birchenough
Jul 18, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Matilda for your encouragement! I completely agree about having an excellent teacher 😁 There’s one more blog post in the series to come, at the start of August, where you’ll hopefully see the finished product! Thanks for reading.

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