About two weeks ago, I had my own personal “come to Jesus” moment about the Master Hand Knitting Program. I completely lost all confidence in my ability to complete the program.
I’ve been stuck on the same two swatches basically since I started. No matter what I do, what techniques I try, I can still see so many imperfections that I know I’ll have to resubmit. It’s common to have to resubmit a few swatches; it’s actually very rare not to have to resubmit anything. But based on the way my swatches looked, I began to fear having to redo everything.
After my initial class on knitting, I became mostly self-taught. Any time I wanted to learn a new technique, I learned from books, Youtube, or other tutorial that I happened to find online. This has worked well for me, or at least I thought it had. Now I just feel completely incompetent. And I know that’s not really true, based on the fact that I can successfully knit a variety of projects and techniques, and I’ve published patterns that others have followed to make their own versions. I’ve won quite a few ribbons at our state fair for my knitting entries. And I regularly get those requests we’re all so fond of “can you knit me that?” Yes I can. But will I? Probably not.
But what happens when taking on a project like the Master Hand Knitting Program is that you analyze every. single. stitch. I’ve been agonizing over the fact that my cast on edge isn’t as perfect as it can be. I can see the stitches I cast on tighter or looser than others, and then I keep trying to get it perfect again and again. I see the edge stitches that vary in size instead of being perfectly uniform like the rest of the swatch. I see the gutters on the edges in the back that this creates; something I’ve never noticed before in any of my knitting. I see how imperfect ribbing looks when the knit stitches are tighter than the purl stitches. None of these are huge issues to the average hand knitter. We’re not machines, and we’ll never knit as perfect as something that’s programmed to knit can. But it’s also quite disheartening when you practice and practice something and still can’t seem to do it right. It seems like no matter what I make, it doesn’t look right or adequate enough to submit.
I’m not expecting perfection. But I would like to be proud of my swatches that I submit, instead of knowing that I’ll have to redo them for the exact issues that I see that I have, but can’t seem to fix. It’s disheartening, and it’s making it hard to stay motivated. Completing this program is just a goal I set for myself, because I thought it would help improve my knitting skills and open me up to new techniques and projects that I’ve never tried before. I didn’t expect it to make me feel like I’m an incompetent knitter.
At the moment, I have some other pressing projects to work on, so I’ve set aside my swatches to focus on those and to get re-focused and find a new mindset to continue on with the MHK program. I will get back to them, hopefully within a week or so, and maybe I’ll be able to push all of these feelings aside to actually make progress. I know I’m overthinking everything, but if this were a Greek tragedy, that would probably be my fatal flaw.