Reflections on a Vocational Happenstance
"Once you have mastered a technique,
you barely have to look at a recipe again."
The cheery tone of Julia Child's words perhaps belies the time and effort required to reliably achieve good results without using a recipe. It takes many techniques mastered and well combined to create a tasty meal.
Yesterday I spent several hours knitting with no tangible result yet went to bed content, looking forward to beginning anew this morning. The time I spent working was not wasted by any measure; I made progress toward Mastery.
A friend has chosen some yarn and asked that I work it into a sweater for a new baby. She also chose 2 sweet buttons for me to use. With those parameters, I selected an appropriate pattern and sat down to work.
First I knit a few test gauge swatches in order to determine which needles to use and which size instructions to follow. I fussed about for a while making some decisions, read the pattern all the way through, then cast on.
I worked 2/3 of the little sweater and decided that I needed to be using a larger needle and following the instructions for one size smaller. Along the way I became familiar with the construction techniques and got a feel for the fabric I was creating. Gently I frogged the whole thing and started over.
With the second attempt I was pleased with needle and sweater size, but unhappy with the way the button placket came out. The designer used a clever technique that is new to me. Having done it twice now, I see how it works, how to make it lie flat and emerge seamlessly from the body of the sweater. The buttons will be the focal point, so an untidy placket would be an obvious blemish. Before heading off to bed, I gently frogged again.
Working yesterday I was pleased to be learning something new, even though I need to start over again this morning.
If I run across this type of placket in another pattern I will be able to work it correctly on the first try. I will also be able to incorporate it into future projects, combining it with other construction techniques I have already mastered to create new designs.
I am looking forward to beginning work a third time and am indeed confident that this will "be the charm".
Luck, however, will have nothing to do with it.