One of the things I love about my job, and about knitting, is that we get to take things in small bites, and begin again whenever we want.
It's the beginning of a new semester here at my high school, and students are setting new goals for themselves, prepping new folders with promises to stay organized, and reveling in the fact that they all have 100% in my class for at least one day. The school year has such a comforting and predictable cycle. Students rev up for the beginning of the semester, work hard through the term until they get to a hard unit, or forget to turn in an assignment. Each of them deals with the increased stress in different ways. Some give up. Some ask for help. Some buckle down and put forth one extreme effort. But one way or another, the semester comes to an end with one stressful week filled with tests asking them to sum up their knowledge in a 90 minute final exam. This week, our exams are over, and we have a few different faces in our classes just to change the dynamics up a bit. Honestly, I love this. In what other job can you start fresh with a clean slate? Even with the snow flying today, Hope is poking her head up and giving me new enthusiasm for working with my students.
Isn't knitting like that sometimes? You fall in love with a yarn, or a pattern and knit with great gusto until you hit a hard bit. Often I choose projects for social knitting, and when I get to the shaping, I need some quiet time at home to work through the counting parts. . .Sometimes I stall out when I make a mistake and am loathe to rip it out. Other times, I'll leave projects sitting without buttons for months. . .dreading the final finishing work (It takes minutes! What am I thinking?). Or a sleeve can my undoing at times--I've been known to have multiple sweaters done but for the sleeves. Blocking, seaming, repairing, all of these take me away from the project I once loved; but with knitting, I don''t have a teacher encouraging me to muscle through to the end. Don't you think our finished objects a bit like our final exams? When we wear a new scarf or shawl, or slide into that new sweater, we know that we've finished. We've gotten to the end of our "semester" and can proudly (or in the case of some of my students, humbly) say to the world, "Look at what I did! Aren't I clever?"
What final exams haven't you taken yet? A friend is waiting to spend a gift certificate at her LYS until she finishes all of her UFOs. Another must complete two objects before she can cast on one. Yet another promises to have less than three UFOs by the end of 2011. Our guild promised no casting on during Lent for a few years in a row in hopes of clearing away the rubble in our knitting baskets. We all find ways to create intrinsic motivation for pushing ahead to the final exam. Or avoiding it. My UFO pile is somewhat staggering.
I finished a design this weekend and posted it on Ravelry for sale. My mittens have thumbs. A sweater and hat made it to completion, and I frogged a small project I know I'll never finish. I'm eager to start my new semester and find out where my quest for knitting knowledge takes me. . .but instead, I think I'll dig into the UFO pile and finish up at least one final exam first. I'll let you know how it goes.