Monday, June 15, 2009

Pacing

Wow, it's been a long time. So, what's up with Circles? We've had a steady and gentle winter and spring. Our class offerings were filling up before we could announce them because people keep signing up for more. Which is lovely and we've had such a nice time watching our students go from being worried that making a knit stitch required the cognitive skills of a rocket scientist and the dexterity of a brain surgeon to a state of relaxation with needles in their hands and sheer joy as they watch their first sweater unfold. Such a pleasure to behold.

However, I noticed along the way that  announcing classes motivated me to keep communications happening on a regular basis. Hmmm, gotta fix that.

Of course, that's not the only reason I haven't been shouting out a lot in these past few months. I'm a little distracted. Well, a lot distracted. It's been a phased realization of the nature of my health problems and this winter, the gravity of it sank in. What a journey. In 2005, when I first realized that "something is wrong" it took two years to figure what that something was. In 2007, when I got a diagnosis, I thought, "Ok, now we know what we're dealing with, I'll get treatment and things will get back on track." Only my body didn't take to the treatment very well and by winter of 2008, I was in worse shape than before. Ok, then. Spring comes and we try a new treatment approach. Body is tolerating that better. Yay. Now, I'll get better. It's Summer of '08 and I *am* feeling a bit better. Fewer seizures, less foggy brain. Things are looking up.

Until they weren't. Some things stabilized and others got worse. (Fingers hurt so much it's hard to knit now!) By January of this year, I was experiencing some new and frightening symptoms. Why wasn't I getting better? More than that, why was I getting worse? Off for more tests.

In March, I learned that that two year delay in getting my original diagnosis meant that Lyme disease had been given free reign to wreak havoc and that I have acquired some disquieting auto-immune disorders along the way. Dysautonomia and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy. Yeah, that's a mouthful. The docs just say CIDP. It's very similar to MS.

Why talk about this here? Because I've really had to slow down. A lot. Dysautonomia means that my autonomic systems are not being properly controlled. You know that stuff like your heartbeat, your breathing, your digestion, your body temperature. This is not stuff I can fool around with and try to simply push through. I really have to consider how I spend my time.  I have to arrange my life so that I do what is important whilst keeping life manageable.

So, what is it I cherish about Circles? I love the social circles, of course. For me, it's all about the people I've come to love. I also enjoy teaching and designing. I can only commit to so much teaching, as my energy and cognitive presence are not always predictable. So, I must keep that limited, but I definitely want to keep doing it. Maybe 1 to 2 classes per week. Here are the classes I want to teach:

I'd like to have one ongoing class that is "open to suggestion". That is, sign up for 4 sessions and I'll teach whatever you want. The class will have limited enrollment to make sure we can get to everybody's agenda and each student can learn what they came for and so much more, because they'll be exposed to what others want to learn.

The second class is a custom knitting class. Bring a design idea or a pattern you want to customize and I'll work with you to achieve that vision. Combining both teaching and designing, this is nearly Nirvana for me. And, it will dovetail right into the Pattern Collaborative.

The Pattern Collaborative has been stalled a bit this winter, as I my attention got pulled away. However, we do have quite a group of designs ready to go and a hefty list in the test-knitting phase. I felt technologically stymied, as we wanted charts and diagrams to look professional and I wasn't up to the task. So, I put a call out and found someone to help us with that. Time for me to get that activity going again.

Or almost time. As I wait in limbo while 1) the docs figure out how to get insurance to cover the medical treatment I need, and 2) some big changes are going down in my household, I've decided to take a summer hiatus. So, until mid-August, the only Circles activity will be the Sunday Circle. In August, I'll start up classes again and rev up the Design Circle.

So, come on by any Sunday (Noon to 3) for social knitting and we'll see you in August for everything else. I appreciate your understanding until then.

Knit along now, Allison

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From "mine" to "ours"

See a difference in the description of this blog? Yes, I'm opening it up to become a Circles community blog. The first new blogger to join is Jackie (formerly of The Knitting Room.) We'll be inviting those who teach, participate in the Design Collaborative or the Inventory Building Project to post their experiences here, as well. As other people join, we'll edit the descriptor even further.

I won't be the only one sending out our emails now, either. You'll begin to read different voices in our outreach to let you know what's happening here. (Hey, I said in the last post that this was not going to be "mine" anymore!) So, please welcome Jackie and those that follow as write about our experiences of being in a community-based fiber arts organization.

Cheers, Allison

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Out of the Scrap Basket

I woke up from a dream this morning thinking, "That was my biggest failure." It took me a bit of contemplation to see how this was related to the dream, so I won't go into the dream here. I will simply explain the thought.

In the 15 months since transforming Circles into more of a studio than a full-sized retail operation, I've had to grieve what was, work through a lot of emotions, assess the successes and failures, assess my new limitations and determine what, if anything, Circles is going to be in the future. I can be a harsh self-judge, which can mean being too focused on my shortcomings. At the same time, it can mean being slower to see some things. As though I'm protecting myself from some sort of disproportionate punishment I might mete out.

In 2002 when I conceived of Circles as a store that hosted a community, I had every reason to believe this was something I could manage. In the past, I had managed multi-million-dollar projects, leading teams comprised of people in different companies. In my 20s I was a commanding presence in the midst of the established white male order of the newspaper world. I had managed the finances of a complex non-profit organization immaculately. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Business School. I had built a start-up urban composting company with verve, again succeeding in a traditionally man's world. I had been a very competitive athlete, running, teaching aerobics, and competing with the men in tennis. In short, I was a high-energy, highly functional force with a nearly obsessive focus and drive. Compared to all of that, what I wanted to do with Circles seemed almost quaint in comparison.

Yet, things kept going wrong. Of course, I was a mother of a young one now. That impacts a lot in terms of "obsessive focus". Early on, months after Circles opened, my daughter developed a serious health problem that was draining. She was having seizures in her sleep and, therefore, I wasn't getting any. So, it makes sense that when I wasn't managing things perfectly at Circles, I thought I was simply sleep-deprived and stressed.

At this point, my major flaw begins to come into play: I had always been self-sufficient. Had always relied on myself to be the driver. I didn't know how to ask for help. I didn't demand it from my partner, who didn't step forward on his own to say, "You've got something overwhelming on your plate, let's figure out how to shift some Circles responsibility for you while you deal with this." It simply wasn't in my makeup to think that someone else could take stuff on and cover for me. I was always The Responsible One. Had always known that I was resourceful enough to manage anything.

As the situation with my daughter improved and I was finally getting what would be considered normal rest, though, I wasn't feeling rested and I was still finding it difficult to manage anything. While it took a while to realize that I was not simply stressed, that I had a very serious health situation myself, this character flaw become more pronounced.

It's easy enough to note that Neuropsychiatric Lyme Disease has some profound cognitive impacts. If you read the symptoms list, it's more than frightening. One of the symptoms is loss of judgment. So, yes, there is a part of my failure at Circles that can certainly be attributed to that. A big part even. At the same time, disease attacks you where you're weak. With neurological diseases, any pre-dispositions will be exasperated. If it was foreign to me to ask for help before, it was even harder now. It became obvious that I wasn't able to manage. The person who had been compulsively organized and highly focused in the past, became a ship lost at sea with no tools for navigation. In knitting terms, this was akin to being the knitter who worked on one highly-detailed project at a time and drove through it to the end before starting another project and then becomes the knitter that has 75 projects in various stages of progress strewn about her life with no sense that any of them would ever be completed. The only difference was that with knitting, one might simply enjoy the process and not be concerned about completion, there is really no such thing as failure if you choose to change your perspective. Not so with business. Yet, even as I could recognize that something needed to change, I had no experience with the mechanisms of making the change that needed to happen, which was handing over leadership in a deliberate way.

I struggled with the notion that Circles was vulnerable to my availability and encouraged the development of the co-operative to transform it into a community-owned business. Though I urged the need to have others step up, I didn't actually know how to make that happen. I wasn't used to requiring that people be equally responsible to me. Nor was I emotionally prepared for letting go of the reins, handing off my vision. So, I hovered in this in-between place. I tried to hand off responsibilites, but not with the stringent demands of accountability. I was no longer vigilant about anything. In the past I had been known as "The Sargeant" because of my adherence to exacting demands. No matter the size of the project or business, accounts were reconciled to the penny at all times. Details were in order.  Now I was unable to impose discipline, even on myself.  The lines of ownership, responsibility and accountability got woven into a tangled mess. I was sliding into a cognitive oblivion, unaware half the time of what I was doing. Unable to remember my conversations and actions, days even. Periods of vision loss. Massively impaired hearing. Yet, I wasn't letting go.

By the time the doctors finally diagnosed me and told me that I needed to stop everything, Circles was nowhere ready to fly solo without me. As I crashed medically, the only way for Circles to survive was for it to contract and become minimalist. The community ownership, the yarn co-op, the education programs, the travel circles, the inventory, the social circles were all like partial skeins put into the scrap basket. In my leadership position, I had failed to provide for succession. My fate was Circles' fate. My physical, mental, emotional, spiritual health were partial skeins sitting right in that scrap basket, too.

Leaderless, the Circles community diminished. How long can people organize around a disabled person who has to focus what little energy she has on her health and her family? To be sure, there has been a stable core of people who continue to participate and build bonds. New people have discovered Circles and become attached. Still, it's a different entity now. Quieter. When I decided that the full-retail operation had to close and move to my house, I described it as a cocoon period of perhaps 9 months to a year. It's been longer than that and will be longer, still. But it has definitely been a transformation, not a death.

In general people don't do well with change. Moving and re-shaping Circles was a big change for many of the members. In retrospect, I'm not surprised that it's been such a journey or that it would take this long to get to a point where the remaining community would be ready to look at new growth possibilities. I've been wallowing in my sense of failure so deeply, that I was slow to notice the interest. Yet, here we are, with new models for growth being proposed.

Growing an organization out of a community, rather than growing a community out of an organization is different. On my own, I could simply write a business plan, put the money together, establish a brand and open the doors. Coinvincing people to embrace a brand is different than developing an identity out of shared experience. It will be a slower path. More organic. Less stressful and demanding for me, but a richer, more rooted entity is established. Right now, it feels like all those partial skeins are being considered for one of those knitting projects where you use a different yarn in every row. At Circles we call them Stripe Lights projects. A creative way to randomly use up leftovers and obtain a result more stunning than anything you might have planned. So, perhaps out of my failure at leadership will be born something more stunning than anything I could have planned. One thing I know for sure: it won't be a project that is mine. It will be a project that is ours. I'm more than ready to learn how to share the lead.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Circles Update

I've been doing a lot of writing lately, but not about knitting. Or even about Circles. I'm emotionally disheartened by my health and my hands have been hurting too much to knit for more than five or ten minutes at a time. So, what's been going on with Circles?

The Design Collaborative, for one thing. I'm testing a pattern by Rebecca, Rebecca is testing a pattern by Francesca, Lyssa is testing a pattern by ├ůsa.... Skirts, scarves, sweaters, hats. It feels like, at some point in the near future, we're just going to burst out with a gaggle of patterns and the fun will begin. For now, it's all behind the scenes to everyone but us. Eternal patience and faith is required on the one hand, but the process feels quite good.

We had a moment that quintessentially defined what the collaborative is about. Rebecca had designed an interesting scarf with short-row sections to highlight a hand-painted yarn. (That's her husband sporting the proto-type.) She wrote out the instructions for me to test knit, When I did, the numbers just didn't work out. Numbers, especially repeats and half-repeats can be a challenge with short rows. So, I charted out what I thought was supposed to happen. When next we met, I went over what I had figured out and she clarified a couple of things for me. After that, I could do some math and correct the pattern. At which point, she said, "I'm not a numbers person!" Exactly why we do this. She has wonderfully creative ideas and is a productive knitter. For her, the process would likely stop there because she's not comfortable with making sure the math is right when she writes out the pattern. With the Collaborative, her work can go further. As a matter of fact, I was inspired to design a coordinating hat. I can even picture mittens. Hopefully, other people will enjoy what she has designed and she'll end up making a little bit of money. If nothing else, it could reduce the cost of her knitting habit. Something we could all use in these tough economic times. But what I find is the compelling aspect is the way we augment each others' creativity and generate more as a group than we would as a set of individuals. It's a fabulous feeling to put your energies together and see the results. Everyone in the room feels good when it happens.

On other Circles fronts, Lyssa and Jen and Jackie are teaching classes and that is going well. I'm not able to extend the shop hours just yet, which is a bit disappointing, but I have to go with what I can. The Sunday Circle is bustling in it's new noon time slot. We still manage to have conversations that might go from where to get the best bagels in town to politics to deeply personal sharing of struggles and the welcome receipt of emotional support. The Sunday Circle continues to be the highlight of my week (other than my daughter, of course) and keeps me inspired to hang in there and do what I can to keep the Circles spirit alive.

My participation in Nanney Kennedy's work has been put on hold for a while. A big disappointment for me. It became clear within the first week that the other person already involved was not comfortable with an addition to the team. He and Nanney had had an agreement that they would work together on it for a year, and though we had discussed it with him and thought he saw the value of bringing me on board, he admitted later to feeling that he was a little blindsided. So, they are going to honor their original agreement and we will all talk about the potential for my participation when that agreement expires.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Classes, Collaboration, Contemplation

it's all about connection

Circles really began before the shop opened in 2003. I was already co-hosting a Sunday circle and offering knitting therapy to private clients. For me, Circles has always been about recognizing knitting as a tool for different ways to bring creativity and generative thought into our lives.

We know inherently that there is something relaxing about knitting. Clearly, we appreciate that this activity can be social - hence the explosion of knitting gatherings around the country. Knitting sparks something within us that we don't necessarily find elsewhere. What's that about?

I see the key to knitting in two parts - it's slowness and it's tactile representation of transformation. What both of these qualities support is our ability to make connections. To knit is to persist through thousands of stitches to reach completion. To have faith that even though each stitch doesn't seem like much, it will eventually accumulate into a fully realized end product. The action of a knit stitch, though it requires some attention, is not all-consuming. While we slowly compile stitches, our mind can also focus on other things such as conversation or introspection. Yet, with some amount of our attention, that which is about immediate action, being required to stay with the knitting, the way we participate in conversation and contemplation shifts down to a lower gear than otherwise. This shift allows us to let things sink into our minds for a bit more consideration before responding. When we let things sink in more, we consider them more deeply, allowing those considerations to include other data stored in our body more readily. As our thoughts encompass more than the just the immediate, we are more likely to integrate things and see things with a slightly broader perspective.  We make more connections.

Those connections can range from connecting to the sense of how much time a person must commit when they make things to how one's own thought processes work. Some connections just happen inherently, but when we recognize this intrinsic quality to knitting we can proactively use it as a tool to spark any kinds of connections we choose to work on. This is the thread that binds our workshops, design collaboration and contemplative knitting practices at Circles.

Workshops allow you to gain a deeper connection and appreciation of the craft itself. But, also, by gaining more mastery of the craft it releases your attention from that level of concentration and allows other thoughts, connections and creativity to emerge. Knitting together and designing together encourages connections to one another, but also to one's own creativity and how you activate that creativity. Contemplative knitting lets you zone in on more of your internal processes, connecting your experiences, thoughts and emotional landscape with the external expression of yourself, the way you relate to others and your perspective on life. Simply by taking the time to look and make connections in a gentle environment whilst transforming string into sweaters or socks, you activate some level of transformation within in your inner landscape. Slowly, because that's the way with knitting. As we allow one stitch at a time to gradually create a sweater, we allow one realization at a time to graduate create a new inner landscape.

Slowing down, it turns out, is key. Our physical health is improved by slowing down our activity level, reducing stress through patience and having less anxiety about everything needing to happen now.  Our mental health is improved by slowing our mind and giving it time to put together the seemingly endless stream of stimulus and data entering our brains throughout our lives. Spiritual guides and even doctors have been telling us this for ever, but we find it hard to put into practice. Some people find prayer, other find meditation or yoga. Others find art forms such as painting or pottery. For me, it was knitting. As I went through 3 years of training to be a therapist, I couldn't picture myself in a practice sitting across a room talking with people, until I put knitting in the picture. Then it all made sense. Everything seemed connected.

It was my vision when I expanded Circles into a full retail environment to continue the work I had started. While I held that vision internally, it wasn't externally expressed. This created a conflicting environment. Was Circles meant to be a "cool yarn store" or a "community center for healing"? Could it be both? Forces outside of myself were pushing for the "cool yarn store" vision. But I've never aspired to be "cool" and that mission didn't suit me. As I became ill and had to limit what I could do with Circles, I could no longer try to have both and it gradually became clear which was more meaningful to me. It also became clear that there were people for whom this purpose was profound and it would be a much larger loss to them for me to walk away from that work than it would be for someone to find another yarn store to buy cool yarns. We'll always carry artisan yarns. Doing so is part of our mission to connect to the sources of our materials and appreciate the work of the artisan. We will, likely, expand back out a fuller, though different, retail environment as we rebuild a Circles that is more in line with my original vision of a community space for fiber arts creativity and healing. Appropriately, though, this will happen slowly. Organically. With each workshop, each pattern published, each gathering and each private session acting mortar that holds the building blocks together.

So whether you're simply knitting for pleasure, taking a class so you feel more comfortable with the craft, designing because you can't help yourself or using knitting as a contemplative practice you're making connections. You are are a part of the vision. You're taking in a bit of the slow life and allowing your mind to sit back and get a little perspective. You've likely come to appreciate where yarn comes from, the ingenuity of knitting designers and the joys of making something by hand. Those are connections. Connections that enrich your life. At Circles, the mission is to keep building on those connections and to be a part of enriching the lives of all the knitters whom we encounter.

You can join us in that pursuit. We have a weekly social circle on Sundays from noon until 3pm, our Design Collaborative meets every other Saturday, I hope to start another Greek Goddess knitting circle next month (construction may complete by then, making space more manageable!) and you can schedule private appointments by emailing me any time.

Next week, I'll write more about the Pattern Collaborative, what it is and how you can support us.

Knit along now, Allison

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sea Colors - my mission reactivated


When I started Circles one piece of the mission was to help connect knitters to the sources of their materials. In case you haven't noticed, connection is a big theme with me. Healing, generative activity, creativity, and compassion are all rooted in connection. In the case of knitters and yarn, I have seen how profoundly people are affected when they meet the person who dyed their yarn. Even more so when they meet the farmer who raised the animal that gave them the fiber.

For many, when we start out as knitters we're simply thinking about things we can make, or we're looking for a hobby, or we're trying to finally have a sweater with sleeves that actually cover our wrists. Perhaps we just need to keep our hands busy while we stop smoking or stick to a diet. So, at first, we don't really consider the yarn except as a cost of pursuing the craft.

It doesn't take long before we notice that some yarns are softer than others. Some result in sweaters we'll wear a lifetime and even hand down as an heirloom. Others leave us with garments that pill or stretch out of shape irretrievably or shred readily leaving big holes in our work. Still, we might be looking for yarns that serve us best, at the best price, without really thinking much more about it. Until we meet a farmer.

Upon spending time with a farmer, particularly if you get to experience the farm, you gain a deeper sense of what it takes to get that yarn from the animal to your sweater. The birthing, the herding, the shearing, the feeding, the health management, the land management, the spinning, the dyeing, the fairs, the festivals, the shipping. Training dogs, moving fences, hauling water, keeping out predators. Worrying about it all. All year long. 365 days. No breaks. The dedication of the farmer is unmatchable. Once you are near someone who is living that, an appreciation of it rubs off onto you like osmosis. At some point, what you're looking for in your yarn changes. Price isn't necessarily the driving factor. You want to support the work that has gone into that precious skein. Work that is priceless, really.

Most often, you also learn a lot more about how the land, plants and non-farm animals impact the livestock and how that interaction effects the resulting fiber that goes into your yarn. A brittle life means brittle fiber. Lush land means luscious fiber. Once you realize this, the need to support sustainable eco-systems is tangible. You can feel the state of the planet slipping through your fingers as you knit. It's harder to support chemically processed yarn producers and eco-damaging, uncompassionate farmers. Knitting is part of the slow life and you spend a lot of time with that yarn, that tether between you and the earth from whence it came, rubbing along your skin.

If you're at all like me, a little personal mission sets in. One small thing that you can do to help the planet is use your knitting dollars to support producers who are doing what they can to keep the planet healthy - ecologically and socially. Hence the yarn buying criteria at Circles and the not-so-secret agenda behind the Travel Circles. (Hey, if my health keeps up, we'll back to those by Spring!)

Things have changed at Circles, as we all know by now. One thing that hasn't changed is my sense of mission. As I focus on the Pattern Collaborative for it's co-creative energy and the classes and workshops for the nurturing of craft, I'm still looking for ways to support the artisan producers out there and to continue building the connections between producers and knitters.

I just spent some time in Washingon, ME on Nanney Kennedy's Meadowcroft Farm. We all know her as the "Sea Colors" yarn lady. It definitely soothes my soul to soak up a bit of the farm life. (It was fabulous for my daughter, too!) Watching all the activities that Nanney has to juggle to get through a day, one realizes that it's a bit magical that she manages to create such finely crafted products out of all that "chaos". (It's not really chaos, it's the unpredictable alchemy of working with living things.) Her commitment to eco-sustainability, compassion and artistry are evident in everything she does. She's inspiring. (The hot tub on the deck is, too!)

As I pay closer attention, I realize she's doing all of this scrambling just to make ends meet. She's raised two boys as a single mother on this farm. The youngest just graduated high school. For the first time in over 20 years, she has a little breathing room to take stock and figure out how to make all of this more securely self-sustaining. When she does, she realizes she can't do it alone. She's up at 5 each day, out to feed the animals, move the sheep to pasture, check for eggs, make sure coyotes haven't breeched the pasture fences and other critters haven't gotten into the vegetable garden. Is it a sunny enough day to get some dyeing done? Do the dogs need to be wormed? How are the hooves on the sheep? Why is that one limping? And the day is off.

But this is just the on-farm work. The production of raw materials. She oversees the spinning of the fibers for the yarn and the blankets at a mill in Canada. She supervises the blanket weaving. She specs the details for the custom knitting. Coordinates a lesson for some crochet finishing. Sells at a farmer's market every week and travels around to craft fairs and sheep festivals. She's a one woman tour de force. And it isn't really enough. It's a hard, though exquisitely beautiful life.

So, here I am, the woman who is all about making connections, looking for ways to keep my mission alive. And here's Nanney looking for ways to create outreach to more customers. (She isn't moving nearly all the product she's creating. Or maximizing the production quantity for, say, the blankets.) Nanney has an internet partner developing a new web site for her and they need to drive people to that site, learn about her work and be inspired to buy her products.

I can do that. Can't I? What's a girl on a mission to do? I offered to help.

I'll add to my writings here the topic of how I'm doing on my mission of connecting people to Nanney's work and her products. For everyone's sake - mine, Nanney's, the consumers and the planet - let's hope these entries are mini-chapters in a minor success story.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trust (Kn)issues

I remember knittng my first sock. I had purchased yarn at the Ross Farm in Nova Scotia. I found a Briggs and Little pattern. I was on vacation with my Aunt and I was a fairly new knitter.

I struggled a bit with casting on to 4 double-pointed needles so I cheated and knit back and forth a few rows before connecting to knit in the round. I'm not sure I had even knit in the round before.

I happily knit down the leg and then got the heel instructions. When I read through them I was completely blank. I could not at all envision what was going to happen. I had never slipped a stitch and had never done a short row. So, what's a knitter to do? I decided I would take it one instruction at a time and trust that it would all work out. Twenty years later, I still remember that feeling of awe when I finally had a heel. It seemed like magic! I had no idea how it worked, but there it was. It cemented by faith in "just do what the instructions say."

Of course, later I would find that not all patterns were so reliable. No matter how well you followed those instructions you weren't going to achieve the pictured outcome. After a frustrating time with a lace pattern that shall remain unnamed, I had to revise my pattern mantra to "just do what the instructions say and if it doesn't work out, check for errors."

This has served me fairly well in my knitting life. As a knitting teacher I have taught many of new knitter to follow this rule, particularly while they are learning and every pattern instruction seems like jibberish.

Now I'm writing my own patterns. Do I have the same faith? Apparently not! I started knitting the right sock for my Swirling Dervish and immediately started questioning the pattern I wrote. And I took very meticulous notes as I was designing/knitting the left sock. I was 12 rounds into the toe when it began. Suddenly I'm saying to myself, "This doesn't seem right. So few rounds and i'm almost done with the main toe shaping. Surely this toe is too tiny. I must have written something wrong." Next thing you know, I'm calculating the depth of the toe based on row gauge and trying to count the rows on the finished sock by hand. I considered spreading out the increases thinking I just hadn't noted that. I put down the sock for the evening and decided to come back to it the next day after thinking about it.

The next time I picked up the sock, I stared at it and thought about all my calculations. I was sure that something was wrong. Just as I was about to pull out the whole thing and start over I had an idea. Something so radical. I held up the toe I was knitting against the one on the finished sock. Imagine that! And, gee, guess what? They were a match. All those machinations for nothing.

Sheesh, I guess I have a trust issue. Only it's apparently not just about the knitting. It's about me.