Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Most Dangerous Time

All knitters are subject to the cycles of crafty inspiration. Sometimes we are simply overcome with the power to wield the sticks and the will to make the yarn sing. It might be that we are knitting up lots of little somethings like dishcloths and hats. Perhaps we are in a focused mode and able to spend hours on intricate lace or complicated Fair Isle patterns. Either way, production is impressive.

Other times, the muse deserts us and we struggle along with that one thing we absolutely have to finish on a deadline or we start multiple projects, none of which satisfy us for very long. In these times, we despair just a little bit and wonder if we will ever again be able to call ourselves Knitters. (the capital "K" makes a know it as well as I)

These things happen to all who knit. It is that unifying factor. We are understanding when a fellow knit-blogger starts to spend more time prattling on about the cats or the morning commute. We forgive. We know that it is only a matter of time before it is our turn to distract the masses with random bits of non-knitting blog fodder. Every knitter knows that this is just the way of things.

And then there is me. I like to take it to a whole new level.

With the end of my summer vacation, I expected a downturn in the knitting production. This isn't surprising since I'm back at school and have other things on my mind. Things like fire drills, lesson plans and the need to repeat every single thing I say forty-five times before anyone deigns to hear me always take their toll. I don't expect myself to knit like I do during the summer months when it's only the cats who aren't listening to me.

Hence, when I lost all interest in anything currently on the needles, I didn't really panic. I knew that it would happen and I simply knit when the mood struck. Sooner or later, the muse would return and poop all sorts of happy, woolly thoughts upon my noggin. I know me. I know how I operate.

Except that I always seem to forget about Stage Four. That's the stage that comes after Knitting Bliss, Waning Interest and Spurts Of Random Knitting Behavior. Any of those stages are manageable. The other stage, commonly known as I Can Do Better, is the dangerous one and you'd think I'd remember to note the symptoms after all these years. I never do, though. I guess it's denial or something...

In the ICDB stage, I suddenly begin seeing knitting opportunities everywhere. There is not a single thing within my range of vision that I don't believe I could either reproduce in yarn or, at the very least, cover in wool. My current obsession appears to be hot water bottle cozies.

I'm sure that your first inclination is to say, "Fear not, Sheepie! Your time of trial is over. For I have the perfect pattern for just such a thing and it's funny you should mention it because I was just knitting up fifty of them myself!" If this weren't the ICDB stage, that would handily solve my problem. But it is. So it doesn't. If only it were that simple.

The first sign of impending ICDB is the downloading of patterns. I somehow managed to pass right through that portion of the festivities without even noticing the high rate of printer ink consumption. I also failed to take note of the second symptom, the one characterized by disdainful snorting as each pattern is read and then discarded as not being "quite right." If you miss that warning sign then you are doomed. Trust me. I know.

Now I am fully enmeshed in ICDB and there is nothing to do but ride it out. I have somehow managed to convince myself that I can just make up a pattern that will revolutionized the world of hot water bottle cozies and make me a hero amongst hot water bottle cozy knitters for all eternity. The fact that I am not a technical knitter, have little use for such pesky things as gauge and math skills that are, on my best of days, unreliable does not deter me in the least. Those issues may have thwarted me in the past, but surely I have learned a few things from my mistakes. I can't possibly go wrong here. In fact, I'll probably knit three or four hot water bottle cozies before the weekend winds down!

I'll show you. Just let me rip off this last attempt (which was really just for practice anyway) and then you'll see something truly amazing! I'd invite you to sit while you gaze in wide-eyed wonder, but all the chairs are covered in yarn since I had to pull out every skein I own in order to find one that fits my vision. And be careful where you step. I wouldn't want you to trip on any of the needles currently strewn about the floor because none of them would behave in a manner befitting such knitterly grandeur.

I know. It's not pretty. Frankly, I think that ICDB is harder for the onlooker than it is for the afflicted. The good news is that Stage Four only lasts about 48 hours and then the symptoms begin to abate. Good sense is realized, the yarn is returned to storage and the knitter resumes work on the Invisibility Shawl like she should have in the first place. It's rough and there is no known cure other than time and the willingness to rewind a whole lot of yarn. But the recovery is quick and there are no lasting ill effects.

Until I suddenly decide that I can free-knit cat sweaters or toilet seat covers. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.



Donna Lee said...

Someone once asked me to knit a sweater for a cat. I did but only with the proviso that I didn't have to be the one to try it on the cat. I know cats don't like clothes and I like my skin unscratched!

I had a bout of ICDB during this week. I had balls of yarn everywhere in the bedroom and was holding them up to the light and trying to decide which one would make a good pair of mittens. Because of course I need mittens when it's still 73 degrees! Fortunately, it passed.

mehitabel said...

My knitting mojo has gotten up and left the building. In a fit of madness I decided that I had to work on finishing projects during Sept, rather than starting new ones. Well, there is a reason those projects are mouldering in their bags!

So I bought a new project bag. It now has my tennies and exercise clothes from my Ordeal by Treadmill earlier this week. It will need washing and airing out before a new project can grace it!

trek said...

Slowy backs away from the ICBD-carrying Sheep. Wouldn't want to contract anything here. And we all know how stuff breeds over these here interwebs.

I think maybe I shall just quietly slink to a corner and work on the third Erec Rex. Bet your school librarian could hook you up.

Yarnhog said...

I hesitate to ask, because, as you say, we've all been there, you even own a hot water bottle?

April said...

Ahh, Sheepie, sometimes I think you and I were separated at birth.

=Tamar said...

I am semi-permanently in Stage Four: ICDB. It's the reason I have so many UFOs. What spurs me on is that at least once I _did_ DB.

Anonymous said...

" the muse would return and poop all sorts of happy, woolly thoughts upon my noggin."

Oh Sheepie - you can sure turn a phrase *grin* I'm gonna laugh about that one all day. hehehe I don't dare venture beyond dishcloths these days, but I'm gettin' an impressive pile!


Julia G said...

Been there, done that, lather, rinse, repeat. My one survival tip that may save your ink cartridges and a forest or two of paper is that ever since my office went paperless (or at least TRIES to), I've started saving files on my computer as PDFs instead of printing them on paper unless I REALLY need to (just select "save as pdf" in your print dialog box instead of that alluring PRINT button, or try "Save as..." from the file menu). Then I can merrily download to my heart's content, and toss things in the electronic trash with a satisying "squish" when I regain sanity.

Knitting Linguist said...

Cat sweaters, eh? I'd really like to see their reaction to *that*. After you're done spreading betadyne on all of the battle wounds... ;)

Karen said...

Hot water bottles and cat sweaters? Have things turned colder in your area?

Kath said...

My last episode of ICDB involved the idea of knitting a case for my digital camera. About a week later I went and bought one at the Radio Shack. 'Nuf said, right?

Anonymous said...

Do you even own a hot water bottle?

knitseashore said...

Did a zombie get the Muse?