Knitting mojo is such a curious thing. I lost mine a few weeks ago. I found myself not knowing what to knit, and not enjoying my knitting — the horror! Out of mild desperation rather than any interest or intent, I began to make some plain socks. Round and round I stitched, listlessly, aimlessly, willing the mojo to return. “These socks are nice enough,” I mused, “but they’re not particularly exciting. . .” Things went on like this for a while, and then I noticed that I was in the unprecedented position of enjoying watching MOTD more than I was enjoying knitting while it happened to be on, viz:
ME (animatedly): “wow! that was an amazing goal-incident! Did you see the way that one of them got the football to the other one and sort of bamboozled those other men before making the goal-incident?”
TOM (tolerantly): “you mean they broke up the defence?”
Something was clearly very wrong! I had to sort it out! I had to reflect critically on the loss of the mojo in an effort to recover it. I did so, and came to the following conclusions . . .
A while back I designed and made Quails. I liked it! Oh, how I liked it! And other knitters seemed to like it too! I wandered around in a lovely, woolly haze, clad in copper-coloured baby llama, with a halo of ravelry hearts* encircling my big swede.** “Why not write a pattern?” said my over-inflated ego, “Why not indeed? Nae bother,” my knitting mojo foolishly replied. Now, there were elements of this cardigan I really liked (the short-row shaping at the bust; the way the two fronts dipped naturally into an A-line) and others that I wasn’t so keen on (the ‘quails’ stitch pattern itself; the visible decreases on the yoke). I would improve these shortcomings in a new version of the cardigan, drafting a pattern (something I never do when making something to my own specs), and writing down any alterations and adjustments while knitting it up a second time.
I bought a yarn I liked – not quite as much as that near-edible baby llama stuff — but a nice yarn nonetheless, and began work on Quails 2. My knitting comrades were very kind. Ysolda helped me figure out (and execute) Japanese short rows, and Melanie offered to test knit when I was done. I had a few hiccups as I encountered the difficulties of accommodating the same stitch pattern to a range of different sizes, but then things progressed up toward the yoke, and were looking pretty good! I kept knitting, and revising, and was pleased with my simple cables inside which all the decreases were hidden. Neat! Edging and finishing approached. I bought blue buttons. I liked the buttons. I attached the buttons. . .
. . . the buttons looked fab. I sewed in the ends and tried on the cardigan. It was a great fit. The neckline dipped, the fronts hung well, the cables stood out, and there wasn’t a decrease or a sign of a short-row to be seen. “That looks really good,” said Tom. This was an excellent cardigan, a superlative cardigan, a cardigan with which there was no problem at all — except that I hated it!
Here is the offending garment:
You will see that the cardigan is modeled by an obliging wooden hanger, rather than myself. The shot was not carefully set up, and taken by Tom, with strict instructions about angles and f-stops. I am not wearing the cardigan together with a carefully co-ordinating outfit and my favourite blue shoes. Nor, you will no doubt note, am I excitedly throwing shapes of any kind. This is because I dislike this cardigan intensely.
Now, I am not sure why this is. Looking at the cardigan objectively, I actually like the colour, the shape, the fit, the yarn, the buttons, and the pattern (which I spent considerable time refining). But when I look at the whole cardigan, I like none of these things at all. I like nothing about this garment apart from the fact that it creates instant warmth when one puts it on. Perhaps this is just one of those odd reactions that clothes sometimes induce. You know what I mean: you like something in a shop, you try it on, you think you look pretty damn hot, you buy the thing, you take it home, then, when it is time to wear it, you find that you just don’t feel right. You feel lumpen and peculiar, uncomfortable, or inadvertent. You feel that while wearing this garment you actually might do something to embarrass yourself. And despite any attempt to uncover exactly why you liked the garment in the first place, and why your feelings about it have now so radically changed, somehow the sheer hideousness of the thing exceeds objective reflection. You relegate it to th’ugly pile and wash your hands of it.
However, I fear there may be something more raw and simple about my reaction to this cardigan, and that something is desire. Several months ago, before I made the first version of Quails, I pictured a cardigan, and I wanted it badly. I spent a long time knitting the cardigan. Now I had the cardigan! My Cardigan Desire was truly sated. Because of the work of Cardigan Desire, re-designing and knitting the garment again were completely superfluous acts. Even though this new incarnation is, in many ways, an improvement on the the original design, Cardigan Desire turns away from it in disgust. For this is not the object Cardigan Desire sought, coveted, pursued and finally possessed! No! This is the object’s pale imitation! An evil double that reveals both the fallibility of the desired-object and the temporary, shallow nature of desire itself!
Bejayzuz. Please save me from myself and tell me what to do. I have hit an impasse. I want nothing more to do with this cardigan. But why? How do I reconcile myself to it? Should I even try to? And most importantly, how does one recover one’s knitting mojo? Help, please.
*ravelry hearts. For non ravelers: These signs of knitterly esteem appear when someone marks your garment or design as a ‘favourite.’
**swede = head.