I got some yarn and a knitting kit for Christmas this year and it was quite possibly one of the best gifts I could have gotten. Not just because knitting is fun or because I picked it up quickly, but because it’s teaching me to cut myself some slack.
My first project was a scarf. A multicolored piece that showcased my progress; mistakes and all. I started it the day I got back from New Orleans so I was beginning to adjust to being back home and lots of energy from my trip went into it. A nasty habit I have is to berate myself, even slightly, when I make a mistake with something. Since I didn’t know how to pick a stitch back up when I dropped one, I either had to try to figure out how to pick it back up or continue on and leave the mistake alone. This was hard to do at first because I am a perfectionist by nature, especially with my art. But every time I dropped a stitch or tied an extra knot or whatever else, I’d sit there for a moment and say, “It’s ok. The mistakes will give your scarf character, and it’s your first scarf ever. Cut yourself some slack.” Little by little, those words are starting to help.
My scarf isn’t complete, but you can see where I have dropped stitches, mistakenly increased or decreased rows or didn’t follow the technique when creating a stitch. The hardest part about this process has been telling myself, “This is your first project. It’s ok to make mistakes,” because I want everything to be perfect. But, allowing myself to learn how to do something right and PRACTICING will help me create beautiful pieces over time, and even then I will still mess up. But I’ll know how to correct my mistakes without the internal put-downs.
So even though knitting has become a hobby that I enjoy very much, it has also started teaching me some lessons that I can apply to other aspects of my life.
I’m going to start taking dance lessons soon with people who are much better than me. Keeping that inner voice that tells me I’m not good enough quiet will be the biggest challenge, but I think I can do it thanks in part to the lessons that my knitting is teaching.