I am that person who crochets through meetings. Especially long ones. I’ll bring a bag of yarn, with my work in progress on top, and once the talking starts I’ll start crocheting.
I recently had a three-day-long conference. Read: lots of crocheting time! And so I gathered together my largest project, what will become a bedspread-sized afghan and is currently the size of a large lap blanket that barely fits into one bag with all of the yarn. Between meetings, I was the one who stood so that I could fold my work in progress, then stuff it forcefully into the bag because otherwise it wouldn’t fit.
A project that big feels progress-less. I would have to sit for days to see the blanket get noticeably larger, when it takes an afternoon’s meeting to expand the blanket with one more band of color.
It’s not discouraging, exactly–I can see my yarn deplete, see how much yarn I’m using–but it feels slow.
And yet during the days of meetings, multiple people told me they were impressed with my progress.
I did the shy, awkward, “Thanks,” half-looking at them, because no, I had not made all that much progress, despite us sitting there together in the same room for three hours so far.
Except, of course, I always appreciate when people say I’ve done something well. And once I got over that first awkwardness, I was able to look at my blanket. I’ve been working on it for months and months. I know how much yarn and time has gone into it already. I worked on it when a band of color took all of three minutes, when I hadn’t expanded it outward to epic proportions yet and it was the size of a coaster. And I see how much work still needs to be done, how much more needs to be crocheted before it’s a full-sized afghan.
I am intimately acquainted with this blanket, in other words, in a way those commenters are not.
I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. There’s something limiting about being so close; there’s nothing wrong with having someone on the outside say, “You’re doing good work; you’re making progress.” It’s hard to see that when you’re in the midst of everything. And now I’m not talking about just crocheting anymore, because there are plenty of places in my life where I feel like I’m not doing enough, that I’m making no progress despite still working at it, still stitching or writing or working away. Sometimes those outside of it, those who know nothing about it, can see the progress you’ve made when you can’t see it because you know the final goal. Or they can see how hard you’ve worked when you just can’t.
Yes, I’m still working on that blanket, but I’m a bit more confident that I made some progress.