Perhaps knitting fast ties into my competitive nature. I am usually most competitive with myself. As a kid, I was in a number of bowling leagues. The most significant of which was a parent-child league. My dad would continuously give tips on how to improve after each frame. You’d think I would have been irritated by this, and sometimes I was, but I internalized it, too. Each time I would approach the line, I would go over what I was supposed to do, what I was supposed to change, and then I would think, “Aim for the second arrow; look just to the right of the center pin." After the throw, I would analyze each motion I made. Dad would tell me what I did wrong in a kind way, like “your wrist didn’t stay straight. Next time try . . .” I would then try that. I still do this when I bowl. I also do this when I knit--I criticize my own knitting. (BTW, I would never criticize someone else's knitting.)
Often, I’ll leave a small mistake in my knitting. Maybe I do this as a way to show that I have flaws. As a teenager I read a couple of fashion magazines, including Sassy and Seventeen. I was also pretty self-conscious and fairly easy to embarrass (I didn't learn to feel good about myself until college). I remember reading a tip in one of the magazines about how to avoid being embarrassed. The advice was to point out your own flaw before someone else could do it. I internalized this like no other advice I've read since. If I've given you something I've knit, you'll notice that I point out all my mistakes, even the ones I know can't be seen by non-knitters.
I don't have any pictures this post, but I'll update you nonetheless. I am still working on Jen's second sock, I have all the parts for a cat for Joseph, and I'm toting around the back to Aunt Chris's pillow. I hit a wall with Jen's sock, but I'm having fun with it again. Only 4 more inches of ribbing to go. I like seaming, but toys have so many little pieces to seam up. I dread the thought of sewing it all together. And Aunt Chris's pillow. All I have to do is stockinette for another 6 inches or so, but I can't seem to convince myself to work on it. I'll just have to set a goal of an inch everytime I sit down to knit.
I'm thinking of adapting a pattern in the most recent Interweave. I have a sweater that I love that is just too stained to wear out of the house. Believe it or not, I will be knitting it for myself. We'll see how well I can adapt a pattern. Dan also picked out some yarn for socks. I won't be doing 7 inches of ribbing on his socks, I can tell you that.