I Am NOT Competitive!

I headed over the other day to the Colonial Yarn Shop for a class in knitting a shopping tote bag. I saw the sample hanging up in the store and thought it would be a great thing to use in my quest to live a greener life. I already have “green” grocery bags that I keep in the back of my car so I can grab a few whenever I head into the local supermarket to do a little shopping. But I’m not as good about grabbing them when I go into other stores plus I feel a little strange wandering around clothing stores, craft stores, or bookstores with a “Whole Foods” bag.

So I figured that this great bag pattern, available from Oat Couture on the Web and in knitting stores around the country, would be the perfect solution. It’s called the “Stow-away Shopping Bag” and is designed so that the bottom of the bag forms its own little pouch for the bag to be folded up into. How neat is that? And isn’t it a great idea for Christmas stocking stuffers to help encourage your family and friends to do their bit for the environment? It also only takes one skein of yarn so it is economical to make as well.

I picked up my pattern and my yarn (Knit One Crochet Too’s Ty-Dy) prior to class because we had a homework assignment to finish before the first class. We were supposed to have the bottom knitted so that we could just pick up the side stitches as soon as class started and we’d all be on the same page, so to speak. And that’s the way it was supposed to work but one of us didn’t get the message for whatever reason so when we all showed up with our bag bottoms in hand, one class member hadn’t yet cast on.

Now, I like to think that I’m NOT competitive. But all too often I get the bit between my teeth and I’m off to the races. Our lagging classmate happened to be sitting next to me. She needed to cast on and start knitting to make up for lost time. It was simple garter stitch knitting — pretty mindless stuff that goes quickly. The rest of us had to pick up stitches through two layers of knitting in a square shape. It wasn’t terribly difficult; just needed a little concentration while you counted and made sure you were getting your needle through both layers.

I began slowly and methodically, taking my time. To my right I could hear a frantic clacking of needles. My blood pressure started to rise and I picked up the pace as I picked up more stitches. The clacking continued and I could catch the blur of my classmate’s hand as she threw the yarn over the tip of the needle to make each stitch.

“She’s behind,” I assured myself. “Way behind. She’d be going slow, too if she was at this point in the pattern but she’s doing garter stitch, for goodness’ sake. Why are you getting yourself in a tizzy?”

“Doesn’t matter,” I muttered between clenched teeth and picked up the pace as I flew around the corner of the bottom piece. It was the principle of the thing, which makes absolutely no sense at all, I know, unless you throw in the fact that I’m a Type-A firstborn child of a perfectionist. There’s a place for knitters like me, usually in things like Sheep-to-Shawl contests.

I’m happy to report that the class ended before I went into hyperdrive and I’m back home now and back to my sedate pace of knitting with this project…..mainly because I’m also knitting on five other projects, all in various stages of completion.

IF I had told my husband how I’d felt that night (which I didn’t), I know just what he would have said. “It’s a good thing you weren’t playing cards, or things might have gotten ugly.”


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