Friday, July 2, 2010

How I needed to use my anterior cingulate cortex

I found this yarn at Webs a few years ago. It’s Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a blend of wool and alpaca, in a color that I love but probably should not wear. I am now on the 4th project with this yarn, having abandoned the first 3 after making considerable progress toward their completion. Attempt 3 (pictured left) went farther than 1 or 2, and I still decided to ditch it and make Attempt 4.

Attempt 3 is Cable-down Raglan, designed by Stefanie Japel and found in the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. Attempts 1 and 2 were my own creations, but after they went pear-shaped I decided to follow a pattern. I thought it was nice how this design “follows the rules” per Stacy and Clinton, (linked in case you are living under a rock and don’t get that reference—please join us soon!) but it did not follow the same rules on me that it appears to have followed on the model pictured in the magazine. No, I believe that the model and I have different rules. I was also not pleased with how the cables looked a bit sloppy, like maybe I needed to use a smaller needle (granted, the picture does not support this concern). After Cable-down Raglan sat for about a year in this 1-sleeve-to-go state, I am now ready to tear it apart and use the yarn for Attempt 4. This decision was weighed carefully (and avoided for an extended period), and I believe it required a great deal of activity in my anterior cingulate cortex. This is a portion of the prefrontal cortex that allows one to recognize conflicts and make decisions when there are options to consider. Do I finish Cable-down Raglan and see if I like it after I’ve worn it a few times, or do I abandon it now and use the yarn for something I might actually wear? The conflict is that so much work has already been done (work that required my dorsolateral PFC, even), but it looks terrible on me. My extensive experience of completing items that look terrible has helped tip the balance toward Attempt 4.

Attempt 4 is Diminishing Rib Cardigan designed by Andrea Pomerantz (fellow science geek knitter; see her blog here) from the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. I’ve decided that the only way to make this color work for me is to keep it very simple. This pattern is considerably less PFC-dependent than was Attempt 3. You can see the modeled version here.

I've made it to the arm-holes with yarn I had not used yet, but now it is necessary to start taking yarn from the sweater in the picture...I'll share my progress soon.

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1 comment:

Robin said...

Your entries on knitting and the brain are a riot! I'm a physical therapist and play with babies and toddlers (with their parents) and neuroanatomy relative to my work is fascinating and fun. A picture of the brain on the margins of your blogs would be fun and we can point to the area you're commenting on and it can glow (indicating firing neurons and axons). I am teaching myself knitting (again) while watching my favorite narrated crime shows on True TV and the ID Channel. That's one way I play! Robin