A true-ism that has been forcing it’s way to the front of my mind a lot lately is that things always seem easier after you’ve done them. Especially if you’ve done them a few times. Often, it is the thought of something more than the actual thing that keeps us from doing it. It may be the idea of failing or just plain nervousness about doing something unfamiliar, but still, it is the thought of doing it more than the actual doing it.
Take, for example, pressure canning. The first time that you do it it is a scary, scary thing. You are sure that you are going to blow up your house or kill everyone with your canned green beans. Then, after you’ve done it a few times, it quickly becomes easy. Commonplace even. Still, to the outsider, it looks scary and intimidating and they are amazed that you do it and survive.
Making jams and jellies was kind of fun by comparison. I mean, nothing is going to blow up. The worst things that can happen are (in a rough order of worst to least worst) you get burned by bubbling sugar laden jam/jelly/marmalade/fruit butter (hurts like a sonofabitch, but it’s not blowing a hole in your upstairs neighbor’s floor), scorching the bottom of your pot or pan (total pita to clean and if stainless, possibly ruining a pan if not), over-boiling your pot by having a seemingly volcano-like eruption of sugar and fruit all over your stove top with burners all a blazing making it smell like a orchard burning in August, and what seems like the worst thing at the time, your preserve not setting making what you just made to be pear vanilla sauce rather than the pear vanilla jam it was supposed to be.
Knitting can be like that too. For a long time I resisted becoming a sock knitter. I knit lace by the yard like a less literate Charlotte saving my own personal Wilbur. This was all fine until you needed to travel with these projects. Most of the time it was ok, but there were times where needles came out and caused all kinds of havoc to my gossamer webs. There are few things more disheartening than to pull your knitting out on the plane/train/automobile only to find the needles in one area of the project bag and the knitting in another.
In the past year or so, I’ve started knitting socks with a seriousness. Since a lot of my time is spent on the bus, small projects are a must. Since I have the Monkey pattern memorized now, that tends to be my go-to pattern if it isn’t a self-striping yarn. Then it’s just a type of vanilla pattern similar to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s (You can tell the kind of evolution taking place here as I no longer say that it is, in fact, her pattern as I have changed things as needed to suit my sock making needs. EZ would be proud.). I now have the Kitchener stitch memorized (who’d have thought that would happen!) and turning heels no longer makes me stuff the poor little sock in the project bag and leave it to be moth bait for a good long time before I garner the fortitude to finish it. I’m not saying that I am a socky guru or anything, but I do now consider myself a sock knitter.
This hasn’t been limited to my personal life either. There are a number of things I never thought that I would be able to say or do that now are pretty natural to me. For example, I got an A in a Statistics class this pass semester. Never in a million years thought that I would say that, nor that I would admit to feeling reasonably comfortable using a piece of software for it that is, well, not the most user friendly piece of work I’ve encountered.
So tell me, what things have been easier in the rearview for you?