Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Permission to Fail

Saturday I had the opportunity to meet with my knitting mentor, mom, and sister. Unfortunately our schedules don't line up very frequently so we're lucky to meet once every month or two. It was very comforting to see her eyes pop out when she saw the pattern I was trying to figure out. I'd started it the week before and things were beginning to click, but there were still problems. After talking through the pattern with her I found the few stitches that had gone missing, then I realized that I'd forgotten to work the increases every row like I was supposed to, discovered I'd been reading more of the chart than my size called for, and had forgotten to switch to larger needles when I switched to the charts. I try not to obsess over every mistake I make while knitting, but the mistakes had hit the crucial number where fudging would no longer work. I cast on knowing that I might have to frog, but that I would learn enough to be successful the second time. (I do wish that I had thought to thread a piece of dental floss through the last row of seed stitch so I could have avoided re-knitting the first seven rows of the pattern.)

As I was ripping back a week worth of knitting we started talking about the courage it takes to fail. It's difficult to start knowing that failure is a very real possibility. It's much easier to stick to the things you know can be done perfectly, but this stops you from growing. One of the things that has stuck with me is the thought of practicing doing things that open you up to failure. I love that knitting gives me a safe place to fail. Worst case scenario I wouldn't be able to salvage the yarn and would be out $2.69. For this sweater I spent a week knitting something that I ripped back. It would be easy to see that week as wasted time, but the mistakes I made have taught me how to do this sweater correctly. I'm discovering that as I fail in the safe things like knitting I have the courage to fail in other, less safe areas. It doesn't mean that when I fail, especially at the bigger things, it doesn't hurt, but I don't let that fear of hurt stop me from trying.

As proof that I learned from failing my first attempt at this sweater took me a week. I cast on for the second attempt Saturday and I'm almost done knitting the frogged yarn.

1 comment:

  1. Great post--wise words! I've learned lots from my adventures with knitting, that's for sure. Sometimes I'm frustrated, but it is never time wasted.

    (I love green!)