“A man on a thousand mile walk has to forget his goal and say to himself every morning, ‘Today I’m going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep.”
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
If any of you out there have ever knit a really big project (afghan knitters I salute you), you will know what it’s like to reach a certain point in your project when you look at what you have made, and feel a certain satisfaction because what you see looks like a real accomplishment. You feel happy because what you see before you is the result of your own hard work.
Now, knitting in itself isn’t hard at all, once you’ve had a little practise. What is hard about knitting is maintaining the willpower, the patience, determination and faithfulness (though some of you may debate the need for fidelity) required to see your project to its glorious end.
In any case, here you are admiring your hard work, wiping the figurative sweat from your brow and it dawns on you, or at least really sinks in, that the demand for your hard work isn’t over. No, far from it. Sometimes you might even feel your heart sink a bit in your chest. I know that sometimes even I feel my heart sink all the way down to my toes when I remember that the race isn’t over yet.
Well, that is how things are with me these days, at least in my knitting life working on my Green Leaves shawl. At present, I don’t feel discouraged, thankfully. I feel close enough to the next stage of my shawl building to feel a bright glimmer of hope. And yet I know, having done this enough times now, there are still moments of knitting despair ahead of me (okay, the word despair might be a little strong), even up to the last 50 yards of knitting. I remember how I put my Hansel Hap away for months when I only had a few days worth of knitting left to do because I lost the heart to keep knitting it.
So today, the Tolstoy quote sums up my coping strategy, my mantra, if you will, to keep me going. Each day I measure my success in rounds and I try my best to focus only on this goal. Right now I have a goal of four rounds a day. That may not sound like much but at 580 stitches a round, at roughly 45 minutes a round, I feel four rounds of knitting is a serious commitment of my time. I try not to think about how many more days (heaven forbid I think in terms of weeks) it will take to finish my Green Leaves shawl. I try not to think about all the other things I would like to start knitting and with fall not that far away now, my cold weather and Christmas knit lists are growing longer and louder in my mind. Instead, I try to focus on my four rounds a day and be happy with that.
Some of you might reasonably suggest I take a break from my Green Leaves shawl and, in the end, I might just do that. But right now, I am convinced I can finish this project before the end of August – in my dreams I can finish it by the middle of the month – four rounds at a time.
How about you? Do you have any mantras or strategies that help you get over the proverbial long distance finish line, knitting or otherwise? I would love to hear about it.
Thank you for joining me here today. Wishing you a very happy week ahead!
p.s. I can’ t figure out wether having this little display of yarn, below, is a help or hindrance, on one hand, I see a promise of knitting to come, on the other, I know that it will be some time yet before that promise is fulfilled. Would you put it away or leave it out?