I know posting has been spotty lately and I promise to try to do better but I’ve stupidly committed to what should have been a simple and quick little project for charity which has consumed all my free time over the past 2 weeks. The project? Knitting one blanket square which will ultimately become part of a blanket to be pieced together by someone who is not me, and sold at silent auction as part of my local library’s fund raising efforts to meet their annual budget.

Seems simple, no? There was a book of square patterns for this particular blanket, and the library was supplying the yarn, all I had to do was pick one of the square patterns, find the appropriate needles (easily borrowed), and knit it up. In 2 months. Plenty of time, right? Virtually eons in knitting years considering the size and complexity of the project. I am one of several knitters who volunteered to knit one square each for this project.

I picked what I thought was one of the simpler patterns as I know my propensity for starting but never finishing knitting projects (I have 2 prs of socks, one hat and one scarf all in various stages of completion right now). It is very important to me to meet any commitments I may make to others and rarely commit for this very reason. Especially when someone else’s work may depend on me finishing mine. As is the case here. But the library is so near and dear to my heart and the square idea seemed simple enough, and there was plenty of time allotted, so why not?

But I forgot the number one hard lesson that every knitter learns fairly early on. Knitting patterns are usually written by orangutans.

OK, not really. But they are always impossible to follow, everyone uses their own abbreviations and symbols ignoring the standards, and there is always something critical missing from the instructions. In this case, the missing instruction was  “DO NOT ATTEMPT” which should have been plastered over the pattern much like “overdue” is stamped on an overdue bill. Or “facsimile” on a sample check.

So, because this critical instruction was missing, I foolishly attempted to knit up what appeared to be the simplest of the square patterns offered, within the allotted time.

I have knitted and re-knitted, ripped out and restarted, broken the first set of borrowed needles (I don’t even know what to say about that other than the dog did it), and even re-written the instructions translating into standard language and printing it out in 20 point type in an attempt to make it work. And yet, despite all my efforts, tonight I am this close to drop-kicking the entire project off the nearest pier (I live in Maine, we have one of those every few feet….).

I’m not sure why this is so difficult, other than the pattern is overly complicated for the result the designer was trying to achieve. In my defense, my knitting guru and dear friend who also volunteered for this blanket and who has about 75 years knitting experience also had great difficulty and it took her 3 starts and 1 month to complete hers. So I don’t feel like a failure, but I’m still ambivalent about quitting as I gave my word and feel that I should honor it.

At this point I’m so frustrated with the whole thing I know I have to at least temporarily walk away and move on to something else (like writing it up for a post), and start fresh in the morning in a less frustrated frame of mind. For me knitting is about pleasure, a relaxing pastime that yields finished garments as a side benefit – not some tortured endless chore with no payoff….

Oh the tangled webs we weave we knit!