Valuable Lessons

Today was a good day.  I got up in time, got to work in time, didn’t stop for donuts, and in general was in a positive mood all day.

I taught a crochet class this morning, so that positive attitude came in handy.  I was continuing a pillow project with two nice ladies, who had been so enthusiastic about finishing their pillows with me last week that they signed up on the spot for another class.  The pillow is only supposed to take one session, which is BS since it takes three hours for me to make one side of it and I’m apparently very fast.  Beginners take much longer because they actually have to think about each stitch and they haven’t developed the muscle memory to do it automatically.

Both ladies brought in their completed panels ready for edging and finishing and bemoaned the fact that they weren’t very pretty and definitely not the neat rectangles they were supposed to be.  Both learned (I hope) 2 valuable lessons.  The first is ALWAYS COUNT YOUR STITCHES.  Especially if you are a beginner.  The pattern tells you how many stitches you should have for each row.  So if you get to the end of the row and you aren’t on the correct stitch, don’t just add one.  Count your stitches.  It’s better to do that every row than get to the end of a rectangle that looks like the bell of a trumpet.

The other, more difficult lesson is KEEP YOUR STITCHES EVEN.  Every pattern has a gauge measurement, so use it.  How else will you know that what you’re making will fit?  If your stitches are too small, use a bigger hook.  If they’re too big, tighten your stitches or use a smaller hook.  And try to be consistent.  This is very difficult when you’re starting out, but it is important.

When I was learning to knit in 6th grade, I decided to make a sweater for a friend.  I made the front just fine.  The back went even better because I was getting better.  Then I tried to match the front to the back and there was about a 4 inch difference between them.  Increase in skill meant neater stitches, but it also meant I tightened up too much.  I had to start completely over on the back.  But that’s how it goes.

Oh yeah, they were bummed because they had to keep starting over or undoing rows upon rows of work.  But repetition is desperately needed to get comfy withthis type of skill.  And while it is discouraging and frustrating to keep backing up, the results are worth it.

While both of them had completed panels, only one of them had them similar enough to piece together with a little corrective sewing.  The whole time she grumbled about how awful it looked and how she was never going to get this.  But when she put the pillow in and it fit perfectly and it looked really, really good, the pride was beaming out of her like the Eye of Sauron.

I found a new tea shop today.  The proprietor was most pleased with my Tardis gloves.  I’ll be back there.

When I got home, I decided to do Body Combat in my living room (hooray Youtube).  Which taught me the valuable lesson that I am frightfully out of shape.  If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, it’s because I couldn’t get out of bed.

Hope you learned something today.


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