I have learned in the past two months that I really don't like to knit. I embarked on what seemed to be a not very ambitious project in the beginning of December, to knit my D#4 a pair of leg warmers for ballet. Learning to knit on circular needles was not a big deal. Relearning how to cast on, how to purl and how to bind off was easy. But oh! The process was tedious.
I think I don't like to knit for the same reason I don't like to dry and curl my hair in the morning: you just have to keep going and going and going, and wait and wait and wait while you keep going and going and going. And so little seems to get accomplished for such a long investment of effort! (I'm being a little dramatic here with the hair comparison. I don't really have that much hair -- I'm just impatient to get going in the morning.)
And then you can't even know if you're going to like the finished project until it's all done and bound off and tried on! You can guess at the size as it drops down from the needles, you can decide if you like the look of the stitches and the color of the yarn. But the real fit has to wait until nothing more can be done about it if it's wrong.
Such has been the case with the one leg warmer I've completed. I like the color, like the stitch pattern, but it's a little too baggy, so it falls down her leg after she's worn it awhile. And it's too short by about 4 inches, but I ran out of yarn. How was I to know that I should have bought 3 skeins of that yarn instead of 2, that each leg would require one and a half skeins rather then just one? I couldn't have known until I was done.
So now I have another skein that needs to be knitted into another inferior warmer for her other leg. I asked her if she'd consider being a one-legged ballerina, but that doesn't seem to be an option. Either I knit one for the other leg, or I throw the first one away and consider the whole project a bust. Hm. I'll probably start knitting.
But anyway, as I knitted away, arthritic thumbs crackling with every stitch, I couldn't help but think about the parallels between knitting and raising kids. It does at times seem to go on and on forever with very little to show for a large investment of effort. It's hard to see the importance of the millions of little tasks along the way. But they add up to create the whole in the end, and the integrity of the whole will depend greatly on the soundness of each "stitch" along the way.
And we can see hints of the final product as we go, but the end result will have to wait.
That thought comforted me as I knitted. I have confidence, however, that I am going to be much more pleased with the end result of raising these four kids than I am with that leg warmer!