Friday, February 19, 2016

Life Reflected in Art

The following is going to sound like a long whine, but it's not--or not quite. I have been thinking about how my frustrations about my job situation seem to be showing up in my knitting. You'd think I'd have more time to be careful about every stitch, and I am taking more time with some things, but I have this unfounded sense of urgency with knitting that I don't often have. So I'm explorring a correlation here, and it sounds like a whine because I'm correlating mistakes with frustration. Ah. Maybe it is a whine. Stop reading if you're not in the mood--I don't blame you.

Lately it seems that there are mistakes in everything I've been making. I put aside and plan to frog a sweater that I re-knit at least twice because I just couldn't seem to get it right. I re-knit a baby sweater because I held stitches for armholes too early, making them too small. I knit a stranded pattern and didn't realize my stitch count was off until I was attaching the pom pom.

Sunnyside Cardigan

There are small mistakes, too, like forgetting to do a jogless stripe or wonky bobbles. There are fudges, like settling for a stripe two rows shorter than the other stripes because I ran out of yarn, or letting the first mis-crossed cable go since I didn't notice it until many cables in (see baby sweater above).

Astrea Hat
Some mistakes I don't understand. I have one legwarmer that is shorter than the other, even though the row counts are the same. There's a hat that is a bit snug even though my gauge was spot on.

Legwarmers (maybe better as armwarmers?)
In nearly every project I have to make some sort of correction because I've made a mistake. It might just be tinking back a bit because I knit when I should have purled, but I am frequently making mistakes.

I started thinking about how all these mistakes create frustrations that I mostly either have to live with or fix, and how that's similar to what's happening in my life--at least as far as working goes. I have been unemployed for 8 months. I have applied for many jobs that seemed like a good fit, and I've gone on a few interviews. But I haven't been hired. There was one interview in which I completely misread the interviewers (I swear one of them was about to tell me I was the perfect candidate before she was cut off) but didn't score high enough to pass to the next round. I've had a lot of "your resume looks great, but it's just not a good fit." Mostly I've had a lot of radio silence.

I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Why can't I get my stitch counts right? What is missing from my resume or my responses that is preventing me from getting the job? I am a good knitter--expert, even. I have 16 years experience knitting. I also have 16 years experience as a folklorist. I have worked all the right folklore jobs (at a state agency, on a major festival, and independently), and I love what I do.

Why do I keep making mistakes? Why can't I get the job?

This one may have been error-free! Rikke Hat
Of course there are successes. I have done a couple jobs through TaskRabbit and get excellent reviews and a little buffer in the bank account. I have successful projects, like the very simple Rikke hat shown above. Those make me feel good, of course, and remind me that I am competent both at work and at knitting. But I'm still not in a full-time job. I'm still working on a project that I've already fudged and whose colors I don't really like. I'm still applying for jobs and listening to the crickets that follow.

Have you experienced your knitting or other crafting or art-making reflecting your life?