Once upon a time I designed a swell little camisole.  It had everything: fun to knit, flattering on lots of shapes, inexpensive, accessible in every way.  I proposed to some delightful yarny-type people who make magazines that they should let me create it for their publication.  They promised to get back to me, as the yarny people do, and I promptly forgot all about the whole thing.  And when I say "forgot", I mean complete cognitive dismissal.  Something caught fire, or I saw something shiny, or the global economy face-planted - some small distraction pulled my focus, and on I rolled, completely abandoning thoughts of the lacy confection I had concocted in my head.  Never mind that I had immortalized the swatch by pinning it up on the cork board above my desk.  Even though the physical representation of the idea was right there in front of me, the concept was intellectually unavailable for some reason.  Like it never even happened.

Flash forward several months (or minutes - could have been either, really), and the delightful yarny-people contacted me.  Yes, they said, we would like you to create that thing you made up for us.  Yes, they said, we will publish it in our fine magazine.  Yes, they said, we even like the yarn you swatched it in, so please make the design and send it to us one fine day in July. 

Bearing the fiscal component that it does, this information cut quickly to the front of the line of notions waiting for my contemplation.  Oh yes!  I thought, the sweet little camisole!  That will be really fun, and I have the yarn right here in my stash!  I found the yarn with a minimum of hassle.  I returned to the page in my notebook where I had stored all the pertinent information about making this design, should I be invited to do so.  There it all was:  yarn, guage, needle size, sketches, even ideas for notions.  And I somehow managed to notice the swatch again, hanging patiently as it had been all along, there above my desk.  And that's when the wheels fell off my wagon.

Which book did that stitch pattern come from, anyway?  Not in my notes.  No little tag tied cunningly to the swatch for future (the future is now, by the way) reference.  I had left myself nary a breadcrumb to guide me back to the #$%U@*! stitch dictionary where I found that little lace pattern.  No memory of its origin.  Think Harder, I commanded myself.  Nothing.  No trace of the process I used to make that string turn into a little square of lace.  Total creative amnesia.

There are times, when some little quest takes me back to my books, which are so reinvigorating.  Being immersed in my life's collection of important knitting information is comforting, inspiring, and affirming.  There are times when the pages of these books that I know by heart are like short visits with dear friends.  Like hearing favorite songs I forgot how much I loved.

Yesterday afternoon was not one of those times.

Yesterday afternoon was more like scorched earth.  I stacked books.  I racked brains.  I searched in vain.  I chased my own tail.  Nothing and Nowhere contained my long lost lace pattern.  A lace pattern I forgot existed until yesterday morning, for a project whose existence I would not have remembered ten minutes before that.  Now it was the most important information in the world, and only because I knew it was there someplace, but not any of the places I could think of to look.

About three hours into my ransack of the book collection, it dawned on me that my time might be better served if I turned my attention back to the lowly little swatch.  I have knit it once already, for pity's sake.  How hard could it be to reverse-engineer the damn thing?  Do I have graph paper?  Check.  Do I have a pencil? Negative.  Can a Smally locate one for me?  Check.  Bright light, glasses on, knitting needle to point at the stitches as I count them; Check, Check, Check.

45 Minutes.  I actually timed it, and it took 45 minutes to re-draw a little chart from my existing swatch and knit a sample from it that looks enough like the original to fool its mother.  Situation Sorted.  So why did I go through the knitting library like a social disease through a bordello?  Not  sure.  I suppose we creatures of habit only know to do things in the way that we have done them before:  There was no reason to trust my ability to reverse-engineer the pattern because I hadn't done it that way last time.  I was blinded by the notion that I needed the book where that pattern originated in order to move forward.  For all I know, I changed the pattern drastically from its source when I made the swatch in the first place, making the original version unrecognizable when I did find it.  But it took me three hours to get past the failure of step 1: locate pattern, and envision step 2: re-create pattern.

Note to self:  Include information about stitch pattern origin in design notes when submitting proposals. 

Additional note to self:  Restore order to knitting library carnage.