New Line-up

I am crocheting turtles.  These little critters, done in’s Peruvian Highland Wool, are going to be lapel pins for my sister’s sorority convention.  She discussed them with me last year, but only yesterday confirmed that they (the organizing powers that be) indeed want them, and that at least 100 are needed.  Also, and perhaps the most important, she confirmed that I will be paid for them.  Never start a custom project without knowing you’ll get paid.  For anyone but my sister, I require half up front, a deposit that will at least cover the yarn cost in case they back out part-way through and leave me with dozens of little oddly-colored, awkward sea critters.  My prototypes are swimming across my night table, waiting for mass felting.  Crocheting them gives the turtle shell it’s uneven, patterned look, even with moderate felting.  I don’t have a pattern for these turtles, I’m winging it. When my prototypes are completely satisfactory, I will share some photos and instructions. 

I have another custom item on my plate.  A yarn seller who is reviving a line of patterns from Vogue has asked me to knit a sample.  I did one a few months ago for the same company, and as it was a great experience, I have agreed and chosen my piece.  The previous one was my first time accepting a job like that, and I was terrified.  I chose to knit a garment that had cables, and I had never knit a cable before.  The pattern was also very cleverly but obscurely constructed, as Vogue patterns are wont to be (sewing and knitting ones).  I began it with faith in my ability to read and follow directions and completed the garment without a hitch.  It is beautiful, and I absolutely love the yarn it is made from, and I will show it off once the photographs of it are released next month. 

I know this sounds rather crazy, accepting a job doing something that is quite new to me.  I figured that the company that hired me knew what they were doing; they had seem samples of my work in items submitted for contests.  I was even a finalist in one of them.  My confidence in the ability to learn something new has a bigger foundation than that, however.  In medical training, we often speak of “see one, do one, teach one” as being the method of learning manual tasks, things like putting in an IV or draining fluid from a swollen joint.  We are expected to observe carefully when someone more experienced performs a task, perhaps backing that up with reading about it and being able to describe the procedure.  Then we should be able to do  it ourselves, usually under supervision.  Finally, we must be capable of teaching that same procedure to the less-experienced students or interns on our teams.  The teaching arena has limited numbers of cases and there is a lot to learn, so there’s no place for someone who requires repeated demonstrations or who lacks the confidence to make the needle stick or scalpel cut.   

There is another principle that was expressed about some of us.  It was a compliment when someone said you could “drop a lung and still sleep soundly”.  You see, “dropping” a lung was a known complication of sticking a needle into the chest wall to drain fluid.  It could happen despite doing everything right, and if one performed enough chest sticks, it was inevitable.  The first key was to not let that small possibility prevent you from doing the required task, because the patient was likely to have dire consequences if you did not perform the chest stick.  The second key was to always know how to handle the possible complications, as they could be easily remedied.  The third key was not to obsess and lie awake feeling guilty if the complication occurred.  You had to know you had done your best, and handled the worst case scenario with grace, and that your rest was essential if you were to repeat that performance the next day.   

Anyway, I am grateful that I can see how one profession and way of working has prepared me for another.  Medicine and knitting may appear disparate on the surface, but they do require some similar skills and benefit from similar mindsets.  In general, confidence and courage are good for one’s performance in most areas of living.



2 Responses

  1. Good luck on your orders.

  2. Waiting to see those creations.

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