Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knitter's Dilemma

One of the little fun activities in my life is being a founding member of the Philosophy Department's knitting group, which has the best possible name for a Philosophy Department knitting group: The Knitted Brow. The Brow meets on Wednesdays from 2-3. We have both knitters and crocheters, at all levels, though chiefly rank beginners.

After many years of knitting I still can't knit anything that has a shape to it: I just knit squares to make afghans and then stitch the squares together. Sometimes I get more ambitious, and the squares have patterns in them, but then there is many an anguished gasp as I realize that I've made a mistake in the pattern, and I need to petition our master knitter, Karen Sites, to help me rip it out and recover my place again.

So here is my dilemma. I am sick unto death of my current knitting project. The squares for this particular afghan are small-ish squares, knit on small-ish needles with a tight weave. It takes (me) forever to knit one. I was knitting them at the rate of one every couple of months, but this semester I've vowed to knit one every single week. And yet, at the end of this semester, knitting at this frantic pace, I'll still have only 25 squares, enough for a blanket 5 x 5 - too small to be a lap blanket, too small even to be a baby blanket, plus it doesn't really have an appealing color scheme for a baby (lots of grays and lavenders).

My choices are: 1) keep going until I have enough squares for a decent-sized blanket - oh, maybe in two more years; 2) give the whole thing up, following my dear friend Ina's favorite piece of advice, "Just because you've begun a mistake, you're under no obligation to continue in it"; 3) finish the blanket off with its pitiful 25 squares and give it to Snickers as a cat blanket.

I'm strongly inclining toward the third option. I hate the thought of dutifully knitting away on this thing for what feels like the rest of my life, but I also hate the thought of simply abandoning all that past toil. The cat blanket seems like a reasonable solution. The guiding thought here is: at least I'll have something. So, given the choice between everything and nothing, I'm choosing something.

It feels like the right choice right now.


  1. Hmmm... are you sure? Makes me think of finishing a book just because I started it. Life's too short to do that. Wouldn't you be happier starting a new knitting project?

  2. Oh, Brenda, now that you say that, maybe you're right! This is why it's such a dilemma - a writer's dilemma, a reader's dilemma, a knitting dilemma!

  3. Speaking as someone who has bailed on many a knitting project (and felt tremendous guilt thereafter), I like option 3. Something is always better than nothing. You just have to prepare yourself not to be upset when Snickers shreds it. On the other hand, better the blanket than the furniture?

    If I may be so bold as to make a recommendation, scarfs are a satisfying and useful project. At the point when you think you can't bear to knit one more row, they're done. When your family can't possibly use another scarf, you can contribute them to a giving tree, homeless shelter, etc. Hats are good, too.

  4. All right, Annie, scarves are in my future! I also think I might be able to manage hats. But I'm going to take a long break from blankets after this!

  5. Could you make a scarf out of the squares?

    I like your friend Ina's saying. That's great.