Wednesday, January 21, 2009

how knitting a scarf is like doing a phd

I was thinking today about this blue-gray scarf I'm knitting, and also this PhD that I'm working on. They seem to have a lot in common sometimes. In both cases, you're pretty excited to get started. You begin by making a lot of mistakes, cleaning up the messes, frogging the errors, and trying again till you have a little more success. Eventually you get the hang of it, and it's just a matter of persistence before you make real progress. The more you work on it, the faster your stitches get, and the better you become at spotting patterns and stitch combinations. You start to think you might be able to design your own scarf someday. Inevitably though, you get tired of the whole journey, a marathon of yarn, with weary fingers and sore eyeballs, but the scarf is still not long enough to keep your neck warm! Winter is totally freezing your socks off, and you just want to finish the darn thing so you can move onto another project, like some mittens or something. So you sigh and pick up those bamboo needles again, reminding yourself that you really do enjoy the sheer act of knitting, most of the time anyway (when things are going smoothly), and that your scarf is going to be absolutely gorgeous when it's finished!

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