I have learned so many life lessons from knitting. Perhaps one day I will compile them all into an amazingly insightful post. For now, here are some lessons I learned this week.
How Not to Turn a Small Problem into a Big Problem...
I purchased this kind of pricey but gorgeous self-striping yarn on etsy that I absolutely love. When I started to knit with it, a small tangle started to develop. I was so enthralled with watching the stripe sequence unfold, that I didn't want to stop to try to sort out the tangle. Instead, I just kept pulling yarn from the center of the skein and tugging it through the center of the tangle, making the mess bigger and more tangley with every pull. Eventually, I had yanked so much of the center out that it was now three large interconnected tangles and it was impossible to pull any more through the original knot.
I wish I had taken a photo at this point so you can see what it looked like. But, I was too frustrated to document my mistake. Here is the only photo I took - when I was nearly finished with the great untangling.
Back to the story: So, when I couldn't knit any further, I was finally forced to address my mistake. I had a huge knot that had to be sorted out and I couldn't use any scissors to snip out the really crazy parts because that would interrupt the stripe sequence. I also had my knitting attached to one end that I also couldn't cut off while I worked. I simply had to start at the very end and start rolling a ball, un-twisting and un-tangling as I went. No joke: I spent over 5 hours untangling my yarn. I probably could have finished the entire first sock in that time.
The thing is, if I had just stopped as soon as the tangle appeared it probably would have taken me 10 minutes to sort it out. I took a small problem and, through my unwillingness to address it right away, I created a massive disaster.
So, here is your basic life lesson, folks:
The best time to troubleshoot a problem is the moment you see it. The longer you carry on without fixing a problem, the more difficult it to going to be to fix later. And, there will come a time when you can't ignore it any longer. Problms won't go away just because you decide to ignore them. More likely, they are probably just going to get bigger the longer they go unaddressed.
.... and a bonus lesson:
If you don't learn from your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them.
I hate to admit this, but I have done this exact same thing before. It was with a yarn that had an almost identical make up. When it happened the first time, I didn't pay much attention to what had caused the mistake. When it happened this second time, I put a lot more thought into why this happened and how I could prevent it from happening again.
I realized that this a loosely twisted yarn and it has a bit of a "halo" around it made up of fibers that didn't get caught up in the twist. When you put it in a center pull ball, every time you pull the yarn out, it rubs against itself and those loose fibers pull off and form into little balls that attach two parts of the yarn together. Thus, every time I forced more yarn through the center of all those little tangles, it caused more friction and just created more of these areas where yarn is getting fused together.
And here is a lesson that's actually about knitting:
When you are working with loosely twisted yarn, do not wind it into a center pull ball!! If I had just pulled my yarn from the outside instead of the center, it wouldn't have created any friction that caused the little fiber balls that caused the tangles.
Thus endeth the lesson.