Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hip Hip Hippo-ray!

I can't recall when I first decided that I needed to knit a wild animal. It's not the usual kind of craving, granted, but once the notion was in my head I knew I wouldn't be able to settle until it was done.

So here it is. It's a hippo and I knitted it.

Now it's finished I feel a sense of relief, and I'm wondering what I will next feel compelled to produce. It's very odd how these ideas come to rest in my head. If I was a regular knitter having a sudden yearning to knit an animal may not seem too out of the ordinary. The truth is that prior to the hippo I had knitted nothing more than a couple of scarves in my entire life. And one of these ended up being turned into a cushion cover when I got bored of it! The last scarf I started got no further than about 3 rows before I unpicked it and handed it to my Mum to finish - and what a brilliant job she did of it too. But, it bothered me. It bothered me that I'd been beaten. I was disappointed with myself for giving up.

When I was little I had a few violin lessons. I hated them, but I really wanted to succeed. The violin teacher decided that the violin really wasn't my forte and 'let me go' from the class. He was completely right to do so, because it was never going to happen for me, but I was so cross that I'd let a stupid little violin beat me.

A couple of years later, at a different school, the teacher asked if anyone would like to learn to play the cello. I didn't hesitate. My hand shot into the air as I realised this was the perfect opportunity for me to redeem myself, to myself. I'd show that stupid little violin a thing or two by learning to play it's bigger relation! I was never that good at it, but I played in the school orchestra. I was probably rubbish, but I didn't care. I'd proved to myself that I could do it.

Years later I still need to prove to myself that I can 'do stuff'. Although it can be inconvenient at times when these compulsions take over, I wouldn't change it at all. If I'd not given in to these notions, I would never have made a glass bead. Or abseiled from a water tower. Or knitted a hippo!

So I'm feeling nicely calm now and can tick the "Knit a Hippo" box. The desperate obsession to knit passed the moment I sewed the tail on my hippo and declared him finished, but I will definitely be knitting more regularly now.

I wonder what my next challenge will be!