Thoughts about learning.

March 03, 2013

I'm knitting a Trellis Lace scarf from Margaret Stove's Three Simple Lace Scarves pattern sheet (that we are now handing out for free, hooray!).

On a tired day, I start the first lace row and have to do it over a couple of times before my brain remembers how to count to 3. 

As I sigh, and knit the row again, I wonder at how i'll knit a whole scarf and remember the two different rows of the pattern:

Row 1: k3, * (yo, sl1, k1, psso) 3 times, k1, (k2tog, yo) 3 times, k2. Repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 3: k4, * (yo, sl1, k1, psso) twice, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, (yo, k2tog) twice, yo, k4. Repeat from * to end of row

The first row comes right, row 3 lines up just fine, even though the pattern isn't really visible in the stitches yet. Still I grumpily wonder how i'll ever be able to remember the combinations of yarn overs and knit two togethers.

Trellis Stitch Lace scarf in Malabrigo Silkpaca 

And after about 10 repeats, like magic, I can remember the pattern off the top of my head. No more checking back to the pattern.  Knitting becomes that lovely gentle dance of balanced increases and decreases. 

Which has me thinking about things I put off learning, because I assume I won't be able to remember: I'd like to learn to code; to spin; to learn more crochet stitches. To be able to look at html and know exactly what the outcome will be on a website in the same way as looking at a knitting pattern allows me to visualise how a lace motif will look. I'd love to understand more about the structure of yarn by making my own from scratch. I'd really quite like to make more than just a Granny Stripe Blanket.

There has been plenty of discussion about how knitting is similar to code, so why do I feel like I can't do it?

Here I was, assuming that I couldn't do something, that I wouldn't be able to remember. That the skills weren't mine. I'm sure we all have these moments of self-doubt. People come in to the shop and say they couldn't possibly do this that or the other thing - and I always disagree. 

We can do anything we put our mind to with practice. 

With practice we get better. Once a upon time, my school Principal used to say 'repetition is the mother of all study.' Boy was she right. Do things over and over, try again and again; you will improve. Something I need to remind myself of when something feels too hard to spend the time furrowing my brow over.

I would like to challenge you to do something that seems a bit too hard, a little beyond you. Those things you would like to learn but choose to go do the dishes or some other mundane task instead. Let's go do the tough stuff. 

All this from two rows of a lace pattern. 


Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie Dawson said:

HA! I had better start Illustrator then! * ever one to shirk a challenge ….*


WS said:

Lace makes my stomach churn, that damned code! However, you are quite right. It is good to learn new things. Lace is one of my goals for this year too.

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