Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mistakes? I've made a few. . .

But then again, too few to mention! Are you hearing the song in your head now? Will it bug you for the rest of the day? Sorry about that!

Stephanie posted the other day about adventures in felting (aka, 'ruining' knitting) and Anne shared her mishaps with falsely assuming she had her own pattern committed to memory.

These stories made me think about some of my own blunders in knitting and other crafts. Yeah, been there, done that. I've had the occasion to make pairs of mitts for some poor unfortunate soul who may just happen to have two left hands. Altogether, I'd rather have Anne's mismatched sets of faux cables than that!

Over the years, I've been a victim of the idea that things need to be perfect or they aren't any good. I find that this kind of thinking generally leads me to not attempt things that I think I may not be able to accomplish with any degree of pefection. This kind of thinking is a slippery slope. If you give in to it, you may find that you don't do much of anything new or exciting for fear (which is, of course, the operative word) of being less than perfect.

So rather than bemoan my mistakes, what I try to do is look at them as diversions, learning opportunities, creative anacronisms, or something similar. Two left-hand mitts? Interesting. Maybe what is needed here is a fresh outlook on what makes a pair. How about making the second one with the same color of fun fur and a coordinating color of the other yarn? The two would be "matched" by virtue of the fun fur and "mis-matched" by design instead of folly. Why should both hands be the same color anyway? In the case of Anne's mismatched cables, whoever wears them can consider it an opportunity to test the powers of observation of other people. Do they notice that one has three cables and the other four? If so, they pass the test! If not, no worries! :)

After all, creativity and innovation often arise from the ashes of 'imperfection' and 'mistakes.' In the business world, there are books and workshops and seminars about leadership and the need to embrace mistakes in order to foster innovation. Companies who do not grasp the concept of learning from mistakes often find that their business plans do not evolve to match the changing marketplace. They are afraid of failing and thus do not take risks that can lead to new, innovative approaches to their products or services. To remain successful, companies must innovate; and to innovate, they need to take risks. Risks invite mistakes and sometimes failure <gasp!>, but they also open doors to new ideas.

So the next time you make a mistake in your knitting, try to embrace it. What did you learn in the process? Is there a way you can adapt the project and make it something new? And, if all else fails and frogging or discarding are the only options, remember that you spent time enjoying the knitting, the feel of the yarn as it slipped over your needles, the peace of working on your project and forgetting about the cares of the day. That was, with a bow to Brad Paisley, time well wasted. :)

Of course, if all else fails, throw the bloody thing across the room and stomp around a bit. That can relieve stress, too! :)


Kansas A. said...

Stomp my feet?...yup that sounds good!! :) You've put into perspective just how my 3 year old must feel after he's had a tantrum...I think next time I'll join him, especially after frogging! LOL

knitting bandit said...

I loved this post! I think I'll link it from my site if it's okay?
I am NOT a "Type A" knitter, if that's what you call it. I think I am on the total opposite end of the sprectrum. I kind shrug my shoulders and knit on. I always thought that was kind of "bad". I've actually been trying to fix more mistakes! But I think there's great value in what you say... so knit on! :-)

tracey said...

I ALWAYS worry that my things aren't perfect, and therefore "not good enough." I should look at them through a different perspective...not necessarily that they aren't perfect, just "different" and there's nothing wrong with being different :)

La Cabeza Grande said...

Came over from Knitting Bandit and it was well worth the trip!

Sometimes we need to be reminded (in whatever we do) that perfection is an often impossible goal. The feeling of achievement and satisfaction is so much more attainable.