I Knit by Ear!
Somehow I have a hard time with directions. I read well, though slowly. I usually understand what I read and if I pay attention when I am reading, I remember most of what I read. I know, you are wondering how I can read but not pay attention. Maybe I have AADHD—Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. I don’t know. I didn’t have Childhood ADHD, I don’t think, because I could sit for hours and read a book or swing back and forth either right side up or on my belly, just letting the motion take me to a Zen state. But these days I can read for a long period and wake up to realize I have recited the words in my head, but been somewhere else in my imagination resulting in a total lack of comprehension of the covered passage. In fact I have started annotating in the margins of my books just so I can force myself to pay attention and if my senior status takes over, I can go back and catch up on the plot or the relationships of the characters in the book without having to start all over from the beginning of the book. I wonder if I am the only 67 year old with this affliction. I also wonder if by admitting this, I will be acknowledging a possible future of Alzheimer’s disease. I hope not.
Still I have to privately face the fact that I don’t follow directions well when all I have to look at is a list of sequential tasks that are supposed to end up with a deliciously baked pie, an artfully crafted wreath, or a hand-knitted toboggan (a warm fuzzy yarn hat, for those of you who think a toboggan is a sled for hurling yourself foolishly down a steep snowy incline). (I have found most Southerners know what a toboggan is, but people from other parts of the world seem to have a vocabulary deficit in its regard. )
Back to my problem of not being able to visualize and consequently complete a project with just such a list, I have to admit that it is not a new dilemma. In fact, I have always been a visual learner and as a former art teacher, I have consoled myself with all the pedagogical research that support multiple intelligences and methods of learning. Visual learners are people who learn best by seeing images — they are the “don’t tell me, show me” people.I googled visual learners and and the Utah Valley University immediately popped up. This esteemed institution considers athletes, dancers, construction workers, actors, physical laborers, and surgeons are strong in what they term bodily – kinesthetic intelligence. UVU lists these famous people as examples: Jose Canseco, Roberto Clemente, Tom Hanks, Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, Mark McGwire, Shaquille O’Neal, Julia Roberts, and Tiger Woods. Bette Fetter, author of Being Visual, adds Julia Child to the list of famous visual learners. So see, I am amongst a very wonderful group of folks. I should be more famous.
I tried to follow the directions for this slouchy hat that looked so cute on Etsy. I bought the pattern and was going to make one for my daughter and another for her roommate. We measured our heads and it turned out they were remarkably almost exactly the same size so if it fit me, it would fit either of them. I began with great excitement and tried my best to follow the directions, but there were not pictures, just words. And what is worse, the typeface was a strange one in which the numbers looked like the lower case letter l and the numbers were so close together that I wasn’t sure if the were just typos or actually intended. You can see that my toboggan was a bit 😉 too big.
At least I had a failure to learn from. So like a piano player that listens to a tune and can repeat it by ear, I began again –with a failure, but a visual one, that I could work from. I decided that the size of the needles was too large for the ribbing that secures the hat to the head. I also decided the size of the yarn was too heavy to slouch properly. I increased the number of stitches due to the decrease in the size of the needles and yarn weight. I changed the hat stitches from ribbing to stocking-knit stitch after the first few inches, and at the crown I knitted two stitches together all the way around for two rows so that there wouldn’t be so much to wad up together on the last row. The result was much better, but the slouchy hat isn’t for me. I already have too much drooping in my neck alone. I’ll send these slouchy toboggans to the lovely young ladies in Jackson Hole.