Thursday, November 17, 2011


I don't deal well with disappointment.

I recently knit the Beau a shawl-collar cardigan.  I showed him the pattern, got his approval on the colour and went to town.  It took me about a month to complete the project and, to look at it, it looks great.  The problem?  It doesn't fit all that well, particularly through the body (it's too big).  Even though the Beau has professed his love for the sweater, seeing it fitting him improperly sent me into a tailspin of misery and self-loathing.

I'd measured - how could I have failed so badly?  Why hadn't I checked the size earlier?  Why did I even think I could knit a sweater that fit?  I was so upset that we couldn't talk about the sweater for three days, and when we did finally talk about it, it was a tens conversation. 

I was just so disappointed in myself and I felt like a huge failure.

I'm a self-taught knitter and I'm proud of my knitting skills.  But it's also something I'm good at.  Of the talents I have (perceived or otherwise) not many are showcase-able: I can't sing or play an instrument; I'm not a dancer; there's no sport at which I'm good enough to join a team or league; I haven't been able to become a 5K-a-weekend runner; I'm smart but not the kind of smart that can participate in serious conversations about important issues (like politics, the environment, business/finance, etc.); even at work, my job isn't prestigious enough to earn a byline or any kind of recognition beyond my name in tiny font in the masthead.

I am a knitter; it feels like all I've got.  So when a knitting project doesn't work out, it's a huge failure for me.  And it's not even recognition that I want (though that's always nice), it's that I want people to say about me, "Oh, she's the so-and-so who can do this-and-that." 

(I also bake and regularly receive accolades for my baking, which is lovely, but I don't bake that much because it's hard finding people to eat it, what with people being health-conscious and such.)

So back to the knitting.  And it's not like it's something I can regale people with.  I don't break out the needles so they can watch me knit the way you'd watch someone show off new dance steps or listen to someone spontaneously start caroling while out Christmas shopping.  I'm not going to take the nephews into the backyard to show them how to purl the way someone might show them how to kick a soccer ball.  I guess I just want to feel like I'm talented and when the one thing I think I'm good at I'm suddenly not good at, well, it hurts.  A lot.

I'm knitting two more sweaters for Christmas, one for my brother and one for my mom.  I'm now much less confident in my ability to get them to fit so we'll see how they turn out. 


Anonymous said...

You know what else you are great at? Being an aunt to James and Allan, being so fun to be around, being a great listener and being so caring!!! These things are way more important in my books compared to being an athlete, crafter extraordinairre, singer, knitter, etc.

Paronomaniac said...

Aw, thanks! Sometimes I need to be reminded of these important things because they are what matters. And I do love those little boys... =)