I think it may be time to own up to the fact that I'm just not a lace knitter.
Yes, lace is gorgeous. Yes, I drool over everyone else's amazing lace shawls (I'm looking at you, FairyGodKnitter). Yes, I love silky, perfect laceweight yarn, and the fact that you can knit a whole project in really awesome yarn for thirty bucks or less. In fact, I love everything about lace knitting...
...right up until I cast on.
I mean, literally, until I cast on. Because the cast on alone makes my head pound. It doesn't matter if you start with 3 stitches or 3000. Casting on with laceweight is no fun. The yarn is so skimpy and light, I feel like I'm wearing clown gloves and manipulating dental floss with toothpicks. And it pretty much goes downhill from there. I don't seem to have the necessary attention span to deal with lace patterns. I've tried line-by-line instructions and charted instructions. I've tried writing each line on its own index card and using a clever little magnet board to mark the rows on the chart. I've tried row counters and stitch counters. I've marked each repeat with its own stitch marker and recited "ssk, yarn over, knit one, yarn over, knit two together" until I can do it in my sleep.
And still, ten minutes in, I realize my brain has checked out and my hands have gone off on their own tangent, and whatever I have on my needles, it bears no resemblance to the pattern. And then I start to wonder--after about the tenth time I've tinked back the second row--why I'm even bothering. It's not like I know what to do with a lace project anyway. I've never worn a shawl in my life. Not once. I'm not even sure how to put one on, or where I'd wear it. Seeing as how my everyday wardrobe consists entirely of yoga pants and t-shirts (for summer) and sweatpants and turtlenecks (for winter), it's hard to imagine an outfit of mine that would benefit from the addition of a lace shawl. (We'll just leave the issue of the state of my wardrobe for another day, shall we?)
Yeah, I've done some lace sweaters. They are more wearable, and are often worked in heavier weight yarns, which is a plus in my book. But there's still the matter of the instructions. And my lack of attention span. And the snail-like pace at which I work lace patterns. Like this, for instance.
I cast this on four days ago. This is the sum total of my progress. Twelve rows. In four days. I took it to my son's football practice. I spent two hours on it and got half a row done. I knitted the row about 12 times. And un-knitted it the same twelve times. I was sitting with another mom. I can't talk and knit lace at the same time. I worked on it while watching "So You Think You Can Dance", which I have come to privately think of as "So You Think You Can Knit." I can't. At least, I can't knit lace while watching tv. I worked on it while supervising my son's homework. We were both exasperated by the end of that session. In order to successfully knit lace, I seem to need complete silence with no distractions of any kind. Which happens about as often around here as winning the lottery. Less often, actually. My husband did once win 1500 bucks in the lottery.
So I'm in a bit of a quandry. I do love this sweater, in the sense that I want to own it. I do not love this sweater in the sense that I am enjoying knitting it. In fact, I am fantasizing about working a garter stitch afghan in bulky acrylic, which may indicate how much I'm not liking working this lace pattern on size 5 needles.
I'm not one to abandon a project lightly. I feel a sense of obligation to the project once I've cast it on. Abandoning it is almost like taking a pet to the pound. Well, okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the point. Still, the purpose of knitting for me--for most of us--is enjoyment. And I am not enjoying making this sweater, although I do want to finish it so that I can wear it.
So the question is, what to do? What do you do when you're not enjoying a project? Finish it for the sake of finishing it? Finish it so you can wear it? Stuff it in the back of the stash closest until you forget all about it? Or rip that sucker and move on?