The Mom Look

This evening one of Max’s spelling words was “Stern”

Max – What does Stern mean?

Dad – Severe.

Max – Like Mom?

(I was giving him a very stern look – he giggled…)

When you use a chart, remember to place your post-it
note (you have one, right?) so that it hides the rows that are yet to be worked, leaving the row you’re on and all previous rows exposed. This way you can check your knitting against the chart and see if you’re in the right place. I think this is probably the #1 easy change that most non-chart readers can do to make working a chart a little more intuitive. The Backyard Leaves chart looks very scary – I know it. At least once a week someone writes to tell me, “I just can’t do this.”

And I respond – “Have you tried it yet? Just try it – really – just try it!” Then I give my computer a stern look and hope that it goes with the email back to the writer. Usually I get a second email a few days later – “Hey, I did the chart! It wasn’t impossible!” Sometimes there’s a little additional hand holding required, but eventually success is realized.

The first step to doing something we think is difficult is to try to remove the judgements we make against ourselves (I CAN’T DO CHARTS!) and move ahead as if we knew we couldn’t fail.

I found myself giving a stern “mom look” in an email last night – and I was so tired that it totally slipped past me until the recipient of the email wrote to thank me for being firm.

“I’m a 21 year old woman who is reduced to tears when made to look at a map. I’ve found that a knitting chart has the same effect on me. While looking through Scarf Style, I found the chart for Backyard leaves. It FREAKS ME OUT!!! I just don’t understand it. The main reason I’m writing, is to find out if you have the pattern all written out. No charts, just words and numbers. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you so much for your time.”

I was just closing up my laptop for the night and considered answering in the morning, but I ended up sending her this email:

“You’re just going to have to suck it up, wipe away the tears, and mistress the chart. You can do it – but not if you start off by saying that you can’t. Take some waste yarn, look at the symbol key, get the post it notes out and put them on the chart so that they’re blocking the rows ABOVE the row you’re working on (so you can see the rows below your current row) and fight through to row 6. Once you get that far, you’ll be amazed that it all makes sense. Really. But you have to make the effort to try the chart. Trust me, the chart is the absolute best way to do this scarf. Without the chart, there would be no scarf, so you’ll have to fight through it. The only thing stopping you is the part of your brain that won’t let you try. Shut that part of the brain up, and you can do anything!”

So from the very nice email I got back from her it seems she didn’t take my stern tone in a bad way (YAY!) and she’s going to try it. I’m hopeful it will be a sucess. Or, as I wrote to her later today,

“I got your email just as I was closing up my computer to head to bed, half asleep, and reading back over my response I’m a little shocked that I spoke to you the same way I had just spoken to my daughter (10) who insisted that she just couldn’t get long division. Sorry for the mom tone – but, honestly, you really CAN do this. And once you mistress the chart, seriously, you’ll be able to do ANYTHING. Not just knititng, but ANYTHING! Parallel park better, swear off coffee for a week, run for office (I personally feel that anyone who runs for office must be able to knit lace…)”

Today was supposed to be pack for San Diego day, but this morning the package I’ve been waiting a year for arrived. I ripped it open, stunned by the
beauty of the contents.

And I’m ready to announce my – perhapsbrilliant idea. I consider it the greatest act of self restraint not to blog about this for such a long, long period.

So – what’cha think?

Now, bear in mind that there were production problems with the covers of some of the proofs that arrived today from China.

So I crafted “ADVANCE COPY” plain paper covers and that’s what I’ll be taking with me to TNNA.

However, the actual books, which will be ready to ship in April, will be stellar with heavy, glossy covers and excellent production values.

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