SunnyCottageOctober 9, 2012

That's me.

Welcome to my pity party.

I posted here recently about learning to knit. I've made a couple of scarves that required nothing more than casting on and knitting rows, then adding fringe. But then I decided I wanted to try using a pattern, and found one for beginners that makes up into a very cute scarf with a tab that wraps around and buttons. Sure, I can do this. Easy peasy! And famous last words. I have now started - and stopped - and started again on this scarf no less than 8 times. Today I took it out and was going to attempt a new stitch that is called for on one of the rows that is past the halfway point -- and discovered I'd completely missed a row that called for another special stitch about 15 inches ago. I attempted to unravel to a point where I could go back and correct my mistake, and the whole thing just became a mess. I'm now starting over again. Try #9.

I feel like such a dolt for missing an entire step that was clearly spelled out in the pattern. I'm starting to doubt my own reading comprehension skills at this point. I'm trying to look at my trials and many errors as a part of the learning curve, and attempting to consider it all good practice ... but I'm frustrated, and feeling incredibly stupid.

So make me feel a bit better and tell me about something that you wanted to learn to do, but it took you awhile to simply grasp the basics. I guess I'd just like to hear about other starts and stops and restarts. (Truthfully, I'm licking my wounds and would like to know I'm not all alone in my patheticness!) I know one doesn't usually become skilled at something overnight, but dang. Does it take 9 or more tries to do something very simple?

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Once upon a time Polly wanted to learn to sew. How hard could it be? Polly's DH even bought her a sewing machine. Polly took sewing lessons. All was well when in the class, but when Polly is home with her sewing machine, she cannot sew a straight line. Time and time again Polly gets the the threads tangled. Polly gets frustrated and the sewing machine is put away in the closet. And it has been there for 6 years.

The end.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Poor Polly! I so relate to that sad story.

Thing is, I want mine to read as a success in the end. Just not feeling sure at this point that I have what it takes to keep the plot moving along in a positive direction.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Haha...DH has been making cookies for years and reading recipes. This is now the 2nd time that he has carefully measured out the flour/sugar/baking soda/baking powder...and put them all together and then realized that he forgot the cream the sugar and shortening !! 2nd time !! He just doesn't "see" the instructions like he used to. It is right there in big print and he made these last week and did it right. I think we all miss the obvious a lot of times even when we are familiar and here you are doing something totally new to you. I sure wouldn't be so hard on yourself. As you said...a learning curve and you won't make this particular mistake will make others :)

All you can do is read the directions really well several times. You might also make a sticky /memo that you place somewhere along the way in your next project to remind you of the up coming change.

When I was trying to weave I can't tell you how many obvious mistakes I made after thinking I had it all ordered out the way it was going to be. I had to take out and remove and redo a bunch of times. I then discovered Saori weaving. Look it is freestyle weaving rules and no mistakes !! Just the perfect thing for a person like me that wanted to weave in the moment and not by the rules.

There is a lesson in all of this. Most importantly you are NOT stupid. Not at all. You are NOT careless. You are caught up in the moment of creativity and you are learning and you made a mistake and you learned. All good. Congratulations ! Look up the will really appeal to you I bet. c

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:27PM
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I'm trying to learn how to use an old fashioned, all-manual flash attachment on my old fashioned, all-manual camera. My instructor says to keep a detailed diary of my shots. So far, many of the entries simply say, "Forgot to turn on flash."

Last spring I took this same camera to New Orleans, eager to shoot photos of the many exotic things there. I spent a wonderful afternoon shooting around City Park, excited about the great subject material. Later when I opened the camera to remove the film, there was NO FILM in the camera! Duhhhhh....

Persistence, SC, persistence! We shall fight them on the beaches, etc., etc. Never, never surrender!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I already wrote about deciding to take Pilates lessons, as part of my project to improve my physical health.

I have now completed my first 6-week session and it has been utterly humiliating. I physically can't do a lot of the exercises, and even the ones I can do I usually can't manage the correct form. I feel like an idiot, it's insanely hard and did I mention I feel like an idiot?

The last class was Monday. After all the angst, not to mention having to get myself up at *5:30am* twice a week to go look like a fool there was only one thing to do.

Reader, I signed up for the next session.

That Pilates reformer will NOT defeat me!


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Took up golf 4 years ago. I have cute clothes and good friends. We started SAGA* International.

*Suck at Golf Association

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:23PM
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I love the self loathing and dogged determination expressed here! Thanks so much for sharing ... I'm feeling better (at least more normal) already!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:46PM
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It took me 3 different ski vacations (each with at least 5 days on the slopes) and private instruction before I could get off a ski lift without falling over.

To this day, I still panic when its time to get off one....


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:27PM
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I mess up all the time. I long ago stopped beating myself up for my failings. And if you don't tell other people about them, it's as if they never happened.

You get points for trying new stuff.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:19PM
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I can not paint a wall to save my soul. I can't draw as well as the average kindergartener. I am tone deaf, which makes it impossible to share the song playing over and over in my head as they will not be able to recognize it no matter how familiar it is.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:03PM
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For years and years I did not know how to cut and paste. Everyone tried to teach me, but to no avail. I finally gave up. Then a few months ago I met a lovely, patient person who really got annoyed with my not being able to C and P. She made it her mission to teach me.....and

"So make me feel a bit better and tell me about something that you wanted to learn to do, but it took you awhile to simply grasp the basics."

Next I have to learn how to post a pic :).

With regard to knitting, I can't tell you how many starts and stops I've had. My mind goes wandering off and I totally forget to drop or pick up a stitch. I am very good at ripping out! But, the finished product is always well worth it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 8:23PM
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So about 8 years ago I decided to learn how to play tennis. I have zero natural aptitude for this sport. It's embarrassing to tell people that I've been taking lessons alllll this time, because I play like someone who has had maybe a year's worth of lessons. I avoid playing with 'real' tennis players, like a neighbor or someone who plays and assumes after 8 years I must be halfway decent. But you know what, it is so freaking much fun! And I play 1000x better than I did before I started lessons. So I'm so glad I stuck with it, so glad. I think adults are better students in general than kids, because we are in less of a hurry. It's all just instruction and practice. Keep on keeping on....

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:09PM
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I can't drive in reverse. My MIL had a very wide and perfectly straight driveway. Every time I backed out of it, I ended up on the grass. I am okay for very short distances, although one time I knocked off my side view mirror on my fence while backing out of my driveway.

A friend tried to teach me to crochet. We started with a scarf. It kept getting narrower and narrower, only I had crocheted a triangle shaped scarf. I now leave all needlework to others.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Perhaps you should do what I did when I was learning. I wrote each direction on a different file card so I would never do what you did and what I did halfway through a very difficult pattern. After that I used the card method. We all fail at times but don't give up.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I so can relate to your knitting experience, this happened to me too.

When I did more intricate work, I kept a written log on a piece of paper,
tedious but it helped. Don't give up, and you will have to show us your masterpiece !!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 6:24AM
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"You get points for trying new stuff."

Graywings, that would make a wonderful motto to embroider & frame :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Thanks, awm03. Interestingly, my one embroidering project ended up on Freecycle after sitting around for years without so much as one stitch made.

And may I add, for all those failed unfinished hobbies staring you in the face, Freecycle is freeing.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Thanks so much for the commiseration and encouragement! I wish I could buy into the notion that if I don't "tell", it's as if the mistakes never happened - but I'm not able to convince myself that's so. Still, I am going to make a concerted effort to embrace any flaws in my work. Machines make perfect pieces. Hands carry the the thoughts, feelings, and activities of the creator into the piece, and if it's less than perfect, well ... it is what it is. (Truly, I am going to try to think this way from now on!) I began my project again last night, and unbelievably had to unravel a few inches when I realized that I'd lost count. And this, after making sure (or so I thought) that I was on top of things. I guess I do need to adopt the strategies mentioned above of having every step on index cards (great idea, by the way!), and marking my pattern as I go so I'll be sure to know at any given time where I am along the way. My problem is that even with four rows to knit, I can lose count at row 2! DH can walk into the room and start talking to me, or I can become engrossed in listening to something on tv, and before I know it, I can't remember for the life of me if I've just knitted row 2, or if that was actually row 3. Good grief. If that doesn't make a person feel like their mind not only wanders but takes complete vacations, I don't know what does.

Trail - I checked out Saori weaving and am fascinated! I did, however, make the "mistake" of looking at prices on looms. Oh my. It's certainly a lot more costly than buying a couple of knitting needles and going to town. Still - what a very cool concept that is!

This thread has reminded me that there are any number of other things that I have tried and determined I stink at too (golf being one of them, so I can relate to "SAGA International!"). Cooking also. Like Trail's DH, I can manage to skim right over an ingredient in a recipe, and of course, the end result always suffers. Skiing? I can't even imagine how difficult that must be! And anything that has to do with electronics completely baffles me, even if it's explained in the simplest of terms. If I find I'm not adept at something, I'm very quick to throw in the towel - but there's something about knitting that compels me to keep at it. And that, I do find encouraging in its own weird way.

Oh yeah - I back into the grass every flippin' time I have to pull out of my driveway. ::sigh::

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:33AM
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Sunny, I can totally relate. I have known how to knit for years. I can crochet too. So I decided to buy a pattern and really make something - not just a scarf.

I can't do it! Even if I understand all the abbreviations, I cannot stay focused on my counting. I've decided if there is any distractions at all - TV, kids, phone I get off count and then I'm screwed. When I try and pull out to a certain point, I can't tell exactly where I should stop pulling and then I just rip it all out.

The question of the year is how in the H*ll does anyone knit anything that requires following a pattern without going crazy. I'm sure there must be some special secret that I'm not privy too!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:55PM
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I am an expert knitter....I have knit for years and years, I can knit argyle sox at a lecture and a plain shawl in a movie theater. I have made hundreds and hundreds of sweaters, mittens, shawls and socks. I have taught many people to knit.

In the very beginning I would "frog" back when I made a mistake . One time I was making a sweater with the help of a knit shop professional, and she miscalculated the width of the front, so she added additional stitches to the back to make it the right size!
One time I was making a Vogue pattern sweater and there was a mistake in the pattern, resulting in a double wide area on the front side with the buttons, so I modified and made it a double breasted sweater. One time I was making a sweater for my 4 yearold grandson, realized it was a bit finished it and gave it to his younger brother. One time I was knitting a shawl, I had made up the pattern and was intending to have a series of yarnover holes, every 2 rows making it look very lacy. Well I forgot and knit 4 I changed my idea and made it 2 rows of YO holes, 2 plain, 2 rows of YO abnd 4 plain and 2 rows of YO.....but I forgot again and made 6 rows I changed my mind and put the pattern of holes on each end of the shawl!!

Of recent years, the only time I have ripped out more than 1 row, was when I had knit a couple of inches on a knit in the round sweater and discovered I had twisted my work on the first row!!

Learn to adapt the pattern to your mistakes. And if you don't want to do that, mark out your pattern on graph paper, that you can print on the computer.....mark the whole thing, row by row and as you finish each row, mark it off.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Yes, yes, yes, Caroleoh! My experience exactly! I had very little trouble with my first two projects -- scarves I did in a straight garter stitch, so it was just a matter of casting on and keeping on until they were as long as I wanted. This pattern that I chose is truly not difficult or complicated, but for some reason, having to follow directions has been really kicking my butt! I too have had a heck of a time with trying to unravel to a certain point and getting it going again, and have just ended up ripping it all out, as you said you have done. I am really determined to complete this darn thing, though. I think it's such a cute design. Here's the pic from the seller's site below ... She did hers in a brick red, but I'm doing mine in the multicolor yarn pictured below (Deborah Norville Serenity):

See? I get all excited just thinking and talking about knitting! If only my attention span while actually doing it was half as focused.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:18PM
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I hear you LInda, but I'm not competent enough to even try and modify a pattern to fit my mistakes!

I just can't do two things at once and like to knit while I'm watching TV. So you know the pattern, count stitches and watch a movie is a dark theatre? I must admit I am very impressed.

I guess it comes more naturally when you do it over and over. I can't seem to get past the first project. Sunny, that scarf is very cute. It doesn't look really hard, so I have confidence you can do it. I think the multicolored yarn is a little harder to work with too. The stitches don't stand out as clearly as with solid color yarn - maybe that's making it harder for you too.

Keep us posted on your progress. You might motivate me to try again too!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 10:43AM
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