Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trusting in the instructions

When I was in third grade, I was tested and identified as being "gifted." In fourth grade I started attending a special school specifically for gifted students. I felt like I had found my home - a geek among geeks. One trait that most gifted students - and adults - share is a refusal to read instructions. I don't know if it's because we like the challenge of figuring out how to to do things on our own or the ego of thinking we're smarter than the instructions. It could be a combination of both.

I've put together lots of kid toys, set up computers, formatted my iPod, and the like all without reading instructions manuals or looking at diagrams. Granted, these projects haven't always gone well or according to plan, and there has been much cursing and and yelling at times. Just because I don't like to read the instructions doesn't mean I know what I'm doing.

But knitting is teaching me that I have to follow the directions, step by step, one line at a time, or bad things happen. And I'm not sure I like it.

Right now I'm working on my first-ever sweater. It's a top-down pattern knit on circular needles. My mom insists that it is a good pattern for a first sweater. But I'm not so sure - the instructions make absolutely no sense to me at all. I keep re-reading them, hoping to figure out what is going on, but I'm still lost.

So I've decided to stop reading ahead and to just trust that instructions are correct and that if I follow them I'll end up with a sweater. So far, I just have a lot of knitting that doesn't look like much of anything.

I've already had to rip everything out and start over once. I'm far enough in now, that I really hope I don't have to do so again. That would be the end of the project.

And for the knitters who care about such things - the yarn is Cascade Quatro, colorway Jamaica. It's 100 % Peruvian wool.


Anonymous said...

Oooh, pretty yarn.
AND, it looks like the top of a sweater!

Cathy said...

Gorgeous yarn! Keep at it--it looks good so far. So funny about knitting patterns--all those abbreviations make it look like it's writting in another language. :)

Keeffer said...

does it make me not as gifted or even smarter than most gifted people that I read the directions? I figure whoever wrote them is more familiar with their product or the proceedure than I am, and I might as well take their advice.

katesaid said...

Me, too, on the gifted thing - though I didn't have the chance to go to a special school, just was taken out for special classes once a day.

And reading knitting patterns has been a challenge - both reading them all the way through in advance and trusting them not to be all screwed up. Be sure to check Ravelry for errata, and if other knitters have advice/suggestions.

I think this may be why I like making my own designs, it's less second-time-around-ish.

Becca said...

I'm 'gifted" too and I don;t read instructions either. but I don;t knit because it requires too much patience and instruction reading

MadMad said...

Ahhhh, Peruvian wool. I just wish that I had cared as much about it when I was spending all those years growing up there!

O'Pine said...

My Beloved must be gifted. He immediately starts randomly pushing buttons and trying options without any regard to how far backwards he'll have to go get back to his starting place.