Posted by: katjorgensen | February 17, 2012

Perserverance

It’s been a busy week here.  But I did squeak in some knitting time.  Knitting is how I relax.  In these stressful times where more and more is demanded of us, I think it’s vital that we have something in our lives that brings us relaxation and joy.

For me, that’s knitting.  Over the last month I’ve been working on an intricate lacy shawl, and Tuesday evening I finished it.  This is a shot of it fresh off of the needles and not blocked.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  It’ll look better once it’s blocked.

Tonight, I gave it a good soak and rinse and then blocked it to stretch the lace out.  When it’s dry, I’ll get some more shots of the completed work.  The finished measurements are 23″ x 66″.  I think it’ll be a great springtime shawl to thow over my shoulders.

But as relaxing as this project was, it was not without a challenge or two.  I think this is part of my process.  Here’s what happened.

Halfway through the shawl, I grew tired of it.  The pattern wasn’t progressing quickly enough. The lace took too much concentration.  The yarn was too thin.  The moon wasn’t out.  You get the idea.  Nothing suited me.  And I was not relaxing.  I was working, not playing.

I think a lot of us experience this “it’s too much like work and not enough like play” as we do things – even things we love.

I stepped back from my knitting and realized that in a long project, I reach this point, whether it’s in knitting or in writing.  I reach that point where I just want to be done.  I don’t want to put the work into the project that it requires.  The feeling doesn’t last, thank goodness.  But it is there for a brief period of time.  And this is the point where I could give up or change projects.

In writing, no matter how pleased I am with the book I’m working on, I invariably reach a point where I want to be done with the book, too.  It’s too hard.  The characters aren’t cooperating.  The plotting has stalled.  It’s work.  It’s too hard.  Boohoo. Whine.  Moan.

Thankfully, I get past this in writing, as in knitting.  It’s part of the process for me.  But as with the knitting, it is a point where I could scrap the story and be distracted by a shiny new story.  But I don’t allow myself to do that.  I persevere.  And it always pays off.  Always.

To be honest, my pretty Squall was not hard at all.  The pattern was well-written, the design was a dream, the yarn was extraordinary.  And in fact, while knitting this project, I learned a lot about how a shawl of this shape is constructed, and I learned more about repetitive motifs and how they work in knitting.

Life is full of humps.  Do we give up or do we perservere?

The successful people perservere.

But a lot of people get derailed by bumps in the road.  If they would only stick with it, whatever it is,  for that short period of time where it feels problematic they would discover that the bump in the road is relatively short in duration.

So my advice to you, and to myself, is to stick with whatever you’re doing and ride it out.  Soon the bump will pass and you’ll find yourself back enjoying what you were doing.

Perserverance.  It works every time.

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Responses

  1. Oh Kat, your Squall is just beautful. Please show us a photo once it is blocked too! I sometimes have to take a step back from a project and have timeout. It’s usually easier then to return to it with vigour and get it finished!

    • Helen, yes, I will post my blocked shots of the Squall. It’s almost dry and I’m off to take a few pictures prior to unpinning it.

      I don’t know what it is about that bump in the project that sidelines me. But if I’ll just stick with it, I have amazing results.

      I think a lot of kids these days are growing up and when they hit the bump, they don’t work through it. They find an easy way to deal with it. I feel so sorry for all that they will miss with this action.

  2. This is so true! Thanks for posting.

    You did a really pretty job there. Knitting looks so difficult to me.

    • Thank you, Gabriel. I can usually find great parallels between my knitting and my writing. We’re not so different in work or play. And if I can find a solution in one area, I can usually use it in another area of my life.

      My favorite knitting teacher’s husband took up knitting a year ago and made his wife a very nice shawl. She’ll treasure it always because he infused it with his love.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. My husband’s a contractor, and it seems that in every big job, there’s a point near the end when the homeowner has a melt-down. “Is this EVER going to be done?” My husband talks them through it and helps them see the big picture, and almost always the job is done very soon. Must be a human nature thing…
    The shawl is beautiful, by the way.

    • I think it’s a fairly common thing, Liv. Lucky for me, I can just about time when my point of frustration will occur. And if I can just push past that, it’s all smooth sailing from there. How many people don’t perservere though?

      I heard a very well-known writer once say that you need 2 of these 3 things to be successfun in writing – talent, luck and perserverance – and luck had better be one of the 2. I think perserverance should be in there, too. And I do think you need all 3. Talent will get you so far. Luck will help, but if you don’t have perserverance, you won’t be in it for the long haul. : )

      Thank you for sharing about the homeowners and your sweet husband.

  4. Perseverence is needed in so many great things that are worth doing. When mine wanes, I usually need to take a break, remind myself of the big picture, and then dive back in.

    Your shawl is truly beautiful – I’m glad you persevered and finished it. 🙂

  5. Perseverance is a wonderful trait. I hear what you are saying about reaching that particular point in a project. The question then is “Am I going to love it when I finish or is it a waste of time?” Too often the bright shiny new project begins to look more attractive…..and I stray.

    So glad you kept going because your Squall is amazing–lovely, beautifully knitted and you will be proud to wear it. A life lesson in yarn.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Remy. I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’ll have to share a blocked picture. People want modeled shots. But I don’t think I have anything that will go with it yet. May wear this to my son’s wedding in June. : )

  6. I like the way your knitting informs your writing. Lovely post.

    • Thank you, Cora. I get a lot going both ways.

  7. Hi Kat – thanks – I needed that. I’ve recently realised how frequently I turn things which I’m doing for pleasure (supposedly) into a production line. I start a knitting or spinning (or writing) project and instantly it’s “when do I want this finished by”. Everything gets turned into work. Your post has made me realise that some things don’t need to be finished ‘on time’ that we do them simply for the pleasure of doing them, and that instead of throwing aside the project when it reaches a bump, just to gently coax it over.

    • Glad I could help,Margaret. : )

  8. This looks great. Such a pretty colour for Spring. Ros


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