I did long distance running in high school, way back before my body made it clear that it would leave me if I didn’t start being nicer to it. I loved running. It hurt like crazy to get in shape; it was hard, you couldn’t breathe right, and it was just exhausting. And then all of a sudden, one day your body just got it, and from then on it was pure joy. Something would just click, and you’d fall into step and everything would be perfect. More like flying than running, really.

I can’t run anymore, but I can study science. I find that it’s very similar; it’s hard to get going, nothing makes any sense, and then suddenly you just get it, and it’s worth every moment of struggle to gain the clarity that comes when you finally see what you’ve been missing.

I’ve been slogging through the lace charts all week. Loving it, but slogging. Like running through mud. Or molasses. Or trying to understand quantum mechanics equations. You can see that there’s something there, and you can almost make it out. If only you could stay with it just a little longer…but no, the brain has just given up, and that thing you thought you saw is gone. It’s been getting better as I go, and I’d gotten pretty good at it by last night. I could read the charts and knit without stopping, I wasn’t getting tired, and I wasn’t making mistakes.

But today…today I finally fell into step. I made it through the whole shoulder increase section in a couple of hours, and I’m still up for going back and starting the shoulder drop section, now that I remember that it exists. Today there was no slogging, but simply flying. It’s been so much fun. I think it was probably worth all of the extra time spent playing with different needles just to feel the exhilaration of finally owning the pattern. Not following it, not just being able to recognize it, but owning it and understanding how it works from the inside out. I’ve barely looked at the chart all day, and I have made no mistakes, either. Today, my brain finally learned how to step in time with Irtfa’a, and we’ve been dancing all afternoon. What a great way to spend a day. I’d have been a lot further along if I’d read the pattern right the first time. But then I’d have missed the fun of gliding through the shoulder increases again. Overall, I’m pretty happy that I managed to forget that the shoulder drop section existed.

It’s funny that I should be elated and laughing over the fact that I misread a pattern and spent all day doing unecessary work. But then, isn’t all knitting unnecessary, when you get right down to it? We knit for the pure joy of it, because we like the process. I think that people forget about the process too often while trying to race to the finished object. Sometimes it’s nice to take a day off and just go wandering off through the stitches, getting lost, and perhaps even finding your way to better mastery. I think, on the whole, I’m glad that I never turned on my computer to check my blog comments this morning.