Sunday, March 28, 2010

Knitting Skills and Pilot Skills

Now who would think that the skills that are necessary to knit could be compared to the skills of a pilot? This last week as I was finishing this sweater, it hit me that the two are similar. When someone first learns to knit, typically, everything is a mess, casting on seems impossible, stitches are uneven, and you wonder how you will ever be able to read a pattern. And then the day comes, casting on becomes second nature, stitches are even and surprise, surprise, you are able to read a pattern.

Yes, I can tell you all sorts of funny stories about when I learned to fly. All of my training was down out of Midway Airport. I decided that if I was going to do this, I wanted the best education I could possibly get in Chicago, and what would be better than learning to fly around all the jets. My first lesson was simply,exciting! It was all I needed to be hooked. During my second lesson, my instructor announced that I would be communicating on the radio. How in the world was I going to be able to talk? I had a "cheat sheet" that directed me to each different controller I was supposed to talk to. I had tuned in to the automated transmission and written down the information I needed in order to know what the winds were, which runway was being used and any other general information I needed to know. Along with these transmissions comes a letter from the alphabet, A is Alpha, B is Bravo and so on. The information at that particular time was U, Uniform. I wrote U down on my "cheat sheet" thinking, who wouldn't remember uniform? Well, me. I called Midway, went through all the information that I was supposed to give the controller and when I got down to letting the controller know that I had received the current weather information, I could no more remember what the U stood for than the man on the moon. With the mike keyed, I cried to my instructor, "I can't remember what the U stands for!!!" He whispered...Uniform. I went home that night and memorized the alphabet and never made that mistake again. A few years later, a pilot for Southwest called the tower and thought he was in Cleveland. The controller came back and told him to figure out where he was and then call him back. I felt redeemed.

When you first start learning to fly, you have no idea how you will be able to fly the plane, read the charts, keep up with where you are, and talk on the radio. Then one day, it just happens, it all becomes second nature and you do it.

As I was working on the sweater here, I thought about all I had to juggle in order to complete the pattern. There are cables, decreases and increases because it is a very fitted sweater, measurements in order to get the correct lengths, and buttonholes. Of course, if I drop my knitting, I'm not going to fall out of the sky, but planes rarely do either. As with anything we do, it's about taking small steps in order to get to the point that we are proficient, regardless of what we are doing.

I've been knitting since I was ten years old, another art I learned from my grandmother. She taught me patience, determination and taught me to be bold and try new things. So if you are new to a craft, give yourself time, it will come, and when it does, it's the greatest feeling.

My goal today is to sew the sweater together. Once I have it all together, I'll post the final outcome. This sweater is part of an entire outfit.
The fabric that is pictured here, I bought at Joann's Fabrics. Nothing exotic, but I really liked the fabric and I am excited to get it all finished.
So with whatever it is that you would like to do, don't allow the pitfalls of learning to keep you from your ultimate goal. It's always worth the hard work that it takes to achieve any goal.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All In Good Time

For any of you who are creative, you understand that we all have unfinished projects buried away in the dark recesses of drawers and closets. From time to time we take them out, look at them and think,"I really should finish that,"only to put them back for another unspecified period of time. The purse pictured here is one of those projects. Twenty years ago I knitted this bag. I had never knitted with beads and wanted to give it a try.The bag is really quite simple, just a very long rectangle. I found that knitting with beads is really a lot of fun and quite simple. The knitting went very quickly, it's the finishing that took forever. The problem that I had was finding the right handle. At first I was going to use a wooden handle from a bag that had belonged to my grandmother. It just wasn't right. So, the project went in the drawer and there it stayed until I found the website for Lacis. What a lucky find. They have the most wonderful purse handles and fortunately, I found exactly what I wanted. The handle I chose is gold metal. It has metal rods that unscrew and slide through loops on either side of the frame. The frame also has loops on top so I was able to knit an i-cord for my handle. I'm very happy with the final outcome of my twenty year project.
So often I'm asked how long my knitting projects take. This is one that I will be able to blow them away when I say, "It took twenty years!"
Check out the Lacis website. They have so many pretty things. When I was ten years old my grandmother taught me to tat. It's almost a lost art today, so I am very thankful that she had the patience to teach me. If you are intersted in tatting, Lacis has tatting shuttles for sell on their website. Their address is simple,
So, with my post today, I hope to inspire you to never give up on those unfinished projects. Get them out from time to time and remind yourself that they are there. Figure out what you need to finish the project and then search until you find it, even if it takes twenty years. In the end, you'll be glad that you did.