Love the process? Here it is guys, a complete and total self-serving post. Sorry about that. Or not really. Some of ya’ll been paying attention to how things have gone this year. And my, what a year it has been! I had big plans in January. Big, gorgeous, happy plans. And I truly hit the ground running. Things were going great. But then I hit a wall.
Now it’s May. I’m wondering what happened to the end of February, all of March and April? Did they happen?
Of course, I know that they did. And I’m really only wallowing in my self pity for how things did not go according to my big, gorgeous, happy plan. And if I’m being perfectly honest with you…. I have been so discouraged by my big, gorgeous, happy plan falling apart. I have sat, and cried, and ignored the issues because I just wanted it MY way or no way at all.
Do you ever get like that? It’s a really terrible place to be. I don’t like it in the dark ‘woe is me’ zone. But there is light. The morning did come through, the sun is shining! And I’m coming out the other side of learning some powerful lessons.
Lessons about designing, knitting, and how to love the process even in the struggles. Because the struggles are what builds our character. The struggles are where we can choose to give up or keep going. Struggle is where you can do what’s right or what’s easy.
That’s true in life, and it’s true for designing and knitting.
All the walls I’ve hit since February to now and how I did NOT love the process
It is with a bit of guilty pleasure that I indulge myself in telling you about all the walls that have been in my path since January through to this day. Because if I name these walls, then maybe they are real. If I call out these walls, I acknowledge that they were there. And then maybe, just maybe, I can get up off the floor, dry my eyes and truly enjoy that sunshine.
Wall #1: Confidence begins to wobble
In January, I hosted the Beginner Knitter Finger Flex Challenge. I BOMBED IT. It wasn’t my first time. But I just could not get my act together. I had no enthusiasm. I had no energy. And I just tried and failed. It didn’t go well.
I hosted the Warm Hearts Warm Hands knit-a-long in February – and that was great. But it also was difficult. You see I’m a thrower (or flicker), and so I was teaching how to double knit in the way I know works, when suddenly knitters who joined my KAL to learn from me couldn’t get the results needed. I wish I could say this was no biggie and I solved the problem. But that’s not true!
One of the knitters figured it out on her own and shared it with the group. So, instead of me being the teacher, I was the student. Now I’m happy to learn. I love that I learned this new information about different styles of knitting affecting how things work out in a finished project. And I’m so thankful to the knitter being brave and sharing her struggles and solutions with the group. I’m truly thankful.
But, my confidence was shaken to the very core. How could I not have thought about this beforehand? Why didn’t I investigate this all prior to the KAL so that I would be a good teacher and helper to the knitters in my KAL? I failed them.
Wall #2: A beautiful pattern flips
Coming off of my confidence being shaken, I continued knitting, designing, and pushing forward. So when I designed the Bunny Tails cowl pattern, I was thrilled with how it looked. It came out exactly as I had envisioned. I sent it off to the tech editor – pleased as punch!
Until my tech editor pointed out that in the photo, the cowl is definitely NOT laying flat as my pattern promises it will. How did I not notice it myself? I don’t know, but I’m super thankful to have this tech editor who looks at every detail to make sure I deliver on my promises because she saved me from further failings.
I put on the cowl and took some selfies – no flipping. So I thought – well, it’s not the design, it was just the blocking. I’ll do a solid blocking. So I did. I blocked the cowl and went to do photo shoot #2. This time with my lovely niece (since my daughter was ill.) And I didn’t see any flipping – hooray!
Off to test knitting, and this is now flip city. Every single test knitter is experiencing the edge flipping. And the thing is I had SCHEDULED the launch. I scheduled it. Put it on my calendar. I created an entire pattern release plan with dates and wordings and now everything is crumbling because I’m just a few days away from it all beginning and it’s a disaster.
OK, I’m dramatic. I mean it’s not that big of a deal, but at the time, it felt like it. Everything was put hold on. Everything! I then began my time of whining and feeling sorry for myself. My test knitters and tech editor were all fabulous with suggestions and encouragement. But unfortunately for me, and truth be told. I just wallowed.
Wall #3: The attack of my health
Look, if we play the comparison game, I’m not in terrible health. In fact, compared to most people, I’m quite healthy. But I do have terrible allergies. My allergies give me asthma and then the bronchitis sets in. Oof! I have some other health issues, but don’t really feel like sharing.
So I’ll just leave it at these that are easily seen. When you can’t breathe and you’re wallowing, it’s easy to lay in bed just breathing and feeling sorry for yourself. Plus, I already said this on social media, but I got the evil COVID and bronchitis in April. So that was awful.
Wall #4: Designing patterns is not all fun and games
I have been working on the Pretty on the Wrong Side pattern for over two years. Seriously. I love the stitch pattern – it’s gorgeous. So I went out and picked some lovely spring-summer type yarn and began knitting. I thought “This will be easy!”
Except it wasn’t. I mean the stitch pattern was easy, but I hated, truly hated the way it was looking. I don’t know why. It just felt … boring.
It’s just a rectangle!
I began knitting it various ways, knitting on the bias added some cool intrigue and I almost went that route. But I didn’t feel like it was hitting the feel of the yarn. Because this yarn is pretty! The stitch pattern is pretty. It needed edges that were pretty.
Something a little frilly and fun.
It took way, way, way longer than I care to admit, but I ended up adding the picots. There were still several more frogs and knits and frogs and knits. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve frogged and knit this pattern. I lost count.
Giving up on my wallowing and how to love the process
I can’t tell you a specific day or time or event that helped me snap back into the real world. In fact, my health is still being a beast. It will continue to torment me for at least the next 3 months (as predicted by my allergist). All I can tell you is that I started taking steps.
Not huge leaps.
Little, teeny, tiny, whiny baby steps.
First, I took apart the Bunny Tails cowl, worked some changes that prevent it from flipping on the edge and had success. And one of my test knitters did the same and had success! So, now I’m working up the edits as a final design and creating one more tutorial video to go with the changes that I made.
Then I will be sending it out for test knitting again. I want to know that knitters other than myself and one test knitter are able to have it all work with no flipping. So that means my perfectly timed “Bunny Tails” coming out around Easter will probably be ready for release in the middle of summer.
Learning all the things
I may just put it on hold until fall, because bunnies are cute then too, and then the weather is right for this delicate cowl to see us from a warm season into a colder one.
This wall taught me that I’m still learning as a designer. I’m still learning about constructions and how things work to lay flat or whatever. And that’s OK. Love the process!
Thankfully, Pretty on the Wrong Side is a great knit for spring and summer. So I can go ahead with test knitting for this one (which is happening now) and plan to release that pattern in June! Hooray!
And other than creatively feeling frustrated, when I finally tried out the picots it was like the element I had been waiting for revealed itself to me. I love, love, love, LOVE the way this pattern turned out. Love the process!
So that leads me to the first wall that I have been avoiding since February – knit teaching. Here’s the thing. I don’t know everything and that’s ok. I’m still learning. Great teachers are great learners. I have helped so many people learn to knit, improve their skills, gain tension, embrace the awkward learning phase of knitting, why should I hide because I don’t know everything?
I shouldn’t! And I won’t.
Soon I will be announcing another round of Beginner Knitter Finger Flex Challenge. I love this challenge because it’s fun for the newbies, it’s fun for the intermediates, it’s fun for the advanced, and most of all – it’s fun for me. I always learn and teach something new. Love the process!
But what did I learn?
Will I never wallow again when things don’t go my way? I can’t say I won’t. But one thing I learned is to STOP trying to go so fast. I’m always in a hurry. I get these ideas and I can’t wait and I rush. And then every plan I made and hope and dream comes crumbling down around me. Then I wallow.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, right? I could go slower. I could take my time. If I wasn’t pushing the Bunny Tails to be done by Easter, how would the struggle have been different? What about the Pretty on the Wrong Side pattern? The Warm Hearts Warm Hands? And even the Beginner Knitter Finger Flex Challenge.
Love the process!
I wrote another blog post about setting realistic knitting timelines, it feels like a lifetime ago. You can read that post here.
They say that the lessons we need to learn the most are the ones we repeat again and again. So, it’s no surprise that I’m learning this lesson again. Go slow. Allow time for mistakes. Love the process!
Designing and knitting moving forward learning to love the process
I’m still going. You know what’s funny/not funny? I actually have other designs that are complete waiting to be test knit, waiting to be released in the winter. But because I have enough time to work on those patterns, it’s been a dream. Just knitting them, writing the patterns, sending them to tech editing.
So, you can still expect to see more designs from me. I’m not throwing in the towel. And I will continue to teach others what I know. Because I love to do that.
And, I’m also learning. Learning through life. And taking classes. I recently enrolled in The Knitting Guild Association’s Clean Up Those Cables! Course. I actually do want to become a master knitter. I think that would be so fun and cool. We’ll see what happens. For now, my cables are getting cleaned up as I prepare to design my first cable patterns.
Love the process!
But what about you? What do you do when life doesn’t go your way and your big, beautiful, happy plans fall apart? Leave me a comment below or send me an email.
P.S. Did you see that I kept repeating “Love the process” because another thing I learned is having a little phrase I can repeat to myself HELPS!
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