Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Patience

Patience is a virtue. It just isn’t one of mine.


I have a knitting book which contains deliciously simple sweater patterns. And at the beginning of each one the author advises: Be sure to take the time to check your gauge.

For any non-knitters, that means knitting a swatch that’s a given number of stitches by a given number of rows with the yarn and needles you intend to use for your project. Then you measure the result to see if it turns out the right size.

If it doesn’t, then you have to adjust your needles until it does. Or, in a pinch, know you have to knit tighter or looser than usual.

When I was younger (let’s say much younger) I hated taking the time to do the whole swatch thing. I wanted to make a sweater (or socks or whatever), not fuss around with knitting useless little squares.

Hmm. Not entirely useless. Without making sure the gauge was right I ran the risk of wasting many, many hours knitting away on something that would be too large or too small or fit funny because the gauge was off. And yes, I learned that the hard way, though luckily on a pair of socks rather than a full-blown sweater.

It’s the same with crochet, but also similar to so many other things in life. You have to let the pie crust rest in the refrigerator after it’s made so the flour can absorb the moisture and it will be firm enough to roll without falling apart. You have to do the research so the facts will be right even if you’re writing fiction. And you have to wait a year or even three before harvesting the asparagus bed.

Patience is a virtue. And I’m working on it.


  1. Patience is definitely a virtue. It is something I constantly work on. I like your comparison to knitting. :-)

  2. You answered a thought of mine. I recently took up knitting, as in my first lesson was 2 weeks ago! I started my first project which are a pair of socks. She told me to knit a row purl a row until it was so big so we could gauge it and I thought I was actually making the sock. It didn't dawn on me to ask questions. So THANK YOU for this blog post!! It does make sense!

  3. Oh and by the way, I love your books. I just finished "Lye In Wait" and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of "Heaven Preserve Us".....I read "Lye In Wait" in 2 days...wonderful wonderful books! I've been telling everyone of my friends that they need to read them.