March 23, 2012

Everest is acrylic.

I'm not a big goal setter. It's not that I don't get things done, I'm just not the kind of person who formally sets a lot of goals, written or otherwise, in order to get things done. I'm much more casual. With our impending Disneyland trip on the horizon I felt like I needed to start making some hard and fast goals for myself before we left.

The first goal was relatively simple. After a solid week or two of eating like teenagers with deep pockets and fast metabolisms I vowed that Karl and I would eat a home cooked meal every night this week in the lead up to our road trip. So far so good, although my meals have had varying degrees of success. Tuesday I ended up eating nachos home alone while Karl got taken out by his boss for a burger and beer. Since we didn't pay for it I guess it'll. Last night was grilled cheese with green peppers to make it more balanced. I was still a little off my game from my migraine nausea so I let it slide. Tonight is vegetable crazy stir-fry. We have a lot of broccoli, carrots, and peppers that won't survive our absence so tonight I say, challenge accepted! I will use all the veggies in our fridge to make something both delicious and nutritious.

My other goal has been a bit of a frustrating one and what I made you wait for on Wednesday. My dinner plans are not top secret. You'll probably remember that nearly two weeks ago I held a baby shower for a friend of mine. Well, about three or four weeks before that I decided that I was going to knit her a baby blanket. It was going to be awesome. She's a very neutral coloured person, so I picked out a fantastic bright greeny-blue yarn that was vibrant and gender neutral all at once. I totally feel in love with the colour. I had struggled for a while with what pattern I was going to do and finally settled for the one that I loved the most but knew would be the biggest challenge. I figured I would buckle down and get it done.

Then the problems started. I got sick, grossly sick, and didn't have the energy to do anything on the blanket. I had already started but ended up losing a full weekend of potential knitting as well as a few evenings because of my germs. They were beating me down. A week or so after I had pretty much recovered and a week and a half before the shower I found some huge, glaring errors in what I had done so far. Massive ones. I had to take a serious step back and ask myself if I would be happy giving that to someone. The answer was no. So I undid in less than an hour what it had taken me two weeks of on and off work to get done.


It was time to get serious. I started that blanket with renewed zeal. I could do it! I could! Well, I couldn't, and I didn't. I knit a last minute baby toque to give to the future mother to be at the shower. I didn't feel like I was shortchanging her; aside from the shower I had also given her a Jars of Clay newborn sleeper that said "Lift me up!" I was confident that she didn't know I had something else up my sleeve gift-wise. I will surprise!

After the shower I realized something else amiss with the blanket. Yet another mistake in the pattern. This one was only 15 or so rows deep, not the whole thing, so I diligently knit backwards, unwilling to rip it out and hope that I could fit it back on my needles. I had come too far to give up now and I knew that ripping it out would be just that. So more hours than I'd care to admit were spent backtracking and, one panicked visit to a fellow knitter later for guidance and second opinion, I was back on track to success. All this with only a week and a half until Disneyland departure.

The blanket is way too complex to do in a car and the baby's due two days after we come back. That blanket needed to be finished before Disneyland, or so help me I would not be able to enjoy my trip. It was my Everest. That mountain kicked me back down and a I climbed back up, time and time again. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that I spent at least 50% of my time fixing mistakes and knitting backwards than making forward progress. I'd almost be willing to wager that it was an even split between what is in the finished product and what was taken out, corrected, etc.

I was bringing it to work to do during my lunch hours. Ten minutes of eating, fifty of knitting, and the occasional commentaries by my coworkers. I persevered! I was plagued by added stitches, dropped stitches, miscounting in my pattern. It was terrible. Sometimes every row would be done wrong. Eventually I had to take a step back and be reasonable with myself. One or two stitches here and there were not going to make or break the pattern. It was looking the way it was supposed to and that's all that matters.

My new, post baby shower, goal was to finish the blanket Wednesday night, clean it, and deliver it Thursday right after work. So it wouldn't be the square dimensions the pattern recommended? Big deal! That baby already had a giant blanket made for it, it could use a small one. I wanted to finish the whole thing before I started to hate it, and I was getting dangerously close to that point. This was no longer just a blanket for some unborn fetus, this was a personal challenge that needed to be completed. Failure was not an option. Tuesday I decided that I would finish my pattern rep and do one more before calling it a day. Then Wednesday night happened and, try as I might, I couldn't knit more than a row or two during the movie. My brain just couldn't handle it and I kept making bigger and bigger mistakes.

Yesterday I decided to nix the final pattern repetition and call it. I still hadn't packed, or going beyond the mental planning stage of what I wanted to bring to California. It was time to stop the madness.

Last night I came home from work and finish the blanket. Shortly after 7 we ate dinner; food was second to blanket completion. I rinsed the blanket in the tub to rid it of all he germs, dog hair, and cuss words, hung it in the laundry room then, after dinner, dried it almost successfully before depositing outside the front door of its new home.

Smells like victory.

Looks like victory.

A weight was lifted. I climbed Everest. I almost gave up in the process as snow storm after snow storm tried to beat me down, but I succeeded and emerged victorious. The best part of the whole experience was that I was fully prepared to be disappointed with the finished product. And I wasn't. It's not perfect by any means, and I can offer a 100% guarantee that there is not, nor will there ever be, another blanket quite like that one. I'm still happy with the result. And I hope I just didn't give some friends something they don't actually like. I'm hoping that I'm not suffering from the classic parental case of thinking your children are the most attractive ones ever. Yeah, I've seen some hideous babies with delusional parents before but people still tell them their kids are cute. Either way, I climbed that mountain and whether they like it or not I brought them back a memento from the trip.

1 comment:

  1. All that hard work is very much appreciated! I know Baby will love the blanket. :)


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