I remember when I first saw Jared Flood’s Celes pattern, years ago I’m guessing, I was instantly drawn to it. I mean, Celes is such a pretty, pretty pattern, how could I not be? At that time, however, I never thought I would have the patience to work an applied border edging – e.v.e.r. – let alone on a piece of considerable length like Celes.
Fast forward to a couple of years later when I was determined to push past my knitting comfort zones beyond the 3-6 week estimated project time-frame, I cast on a Hansel blanket for my son Ben. Nine months later, I finished it. Nine months is the longest it has ever taken me to finish any knitting project. Of those nine months, a good six of them Hansel spent tucked away sleeping in a bag somewhere after I got bored with the seemingly endless amount of edging to be worked.
However, despite my fears at the time that Hansel would never see the light of day again, I’m convinced putting Ben’s Hansel blanket aside and taking a break from it was the best thing I could have done. When I picked it up again in April of last year, I was amazed how quickly it went and noticed that something had changed in my knitting attitude. My time away from Hansel allowed me to return to it with a certain degree of freshness and a renewed enthusiasm which in turn allowed me to apply another lesson I had learned about knitting. Working on big projects isn’t just about patience at all, it’s also about persistence, a certain willingness to knit through the more tedious moments when an end doesn’t seem in sight – at all.
While I would hate to approach all my knitting projects with a grit-your-teeth-and-get-it-done attitude, I think there are some worthy endeavours that simply demand it. To say the greatest reward of finishing something that you really weren’t sure you could do before you started and the confidence that the experience builds as a result, is a huge understatement. Working past my personal challenge of being bored to tears by endless repetition, I know I gained a certain confidence in myself I needed to tackle other projects I had previously thought I was incapable of finishing, like Leaves of Grass or, in this case, like my Celes.
However, I’m surprised to discover that Celes has not been that kind of endeavour at all, worthy as it might be. Knitting this pattern has been a wonderful, easy going project from the very start. While my Celes is taking its time growing to be sure, and perhaps longer than need be, I think that’s down to another lesson I learned while knitting Ben’s Hansel blanket too, which is this: the world’s not going to come crashing down on me if I take more than six weeks to finish a project.
Now, that discovery may seems obvious to you but it really wasn’t to me before. Previously, I equated finishing a thing within a certain timeline with success, efficiency and capability. To take longer than I had planned, or, wished, to finish a project felt like failure to me. Who wants to feel like they’re failing – at a hobby?! Certainly not me so this discovery was a real personal revelation.
While I can’t dispute that completing a project in a quick and timely manner doesn’t have its benefits or, at times, necessity, what I learned from pushing past my timeline comfort zone is that there is so much more to be considered when evaluating success. Like how taking time to get to know the parts of the whole really, really well gives me a better understanding of how a design works (or doesn’t work). Taking time with a project allows me a deeper appreciation of all the little details that come together in a project, the subtle characteristics of the design or materials that might otherwise go unnoticed.
So, all this to say, I’ve thrown a best(knitted)before date kind of attitude out the window and my knitting practice is so much softer and more gentle as a result. As far as my Celes is concerned, it doesn’t hurt that the yarn I’m using is super soft and squishy either, so whatever is driving my knitting mojo these days, my time spent with two sticks and a long length of string feels extra good.
The edging of this Celes can take me forever, I know I’ll be happy.
What about you – what lessons has your knitting taught you lately? Please share, I’d love to know.
Wishing you a lovely day!