Wear What You Make: Making Mistakes
If you can’t tell by the shift in temperature or those weeks of back-to-school advertising, it is already October. Many students and teachers are in the first weeks of a new school year.
I have such clear memories associated with going back to school. All that promise in a new pencil bag. The pleasure of arranging dividers and paper into binders, its organization guaranteed to break down within the first week, but oh, the potential.
Sonya is wearing: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne in Malabrigo worsted; 100 Acts of Sewing Shirt no. 2; Simple Skirt; and cropped Pants no. 2.
Putting aside my love of fresh school supplies, we all know that learning doesn’t stop once we leave school. It gets gussied up with new terms like professional development or continuing education. There is instruction out there for everything imaginable, from hobbies to sports, having babies to training puppies. (Hopefully not all at once.)
Tea Leaves Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre in AVFKW Toasted; Dress no. 2; and Pants no. 1.
When we are first learning how to do things, it can seem as if everything is about the “right” way versus the “wrong” way. This front-loading of rigid rules can be off-putting for the beginner. While some rules are made to be broken or at the very least to bend a little, there are others that are there for a very good reason. While it’s not necessary to tell you all about my gauge mistakes, I will say making those mistakes gave me a concrete example of why gauge isn’t some arbitrary concept. That too-large hat or tiny sweater perfectly illustrates cause and effect. I have always learned by doing, and sad though it might be to rip out stitches, it is instructive to see the result of not getting gauge.
Cria by Ysolda Teague in Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks DK; modified Dress no. 2; and Pants no. 1.
This touches on how we learn. I like to follow along with things in my hands. Other people might be more visual, or need to hear instructions restated in more than one way. While children, with their developing brains, seem primed for learning, as we get older, it can be more difficult to achieve a similar level of receptivity. Is it because the long list of things we accomplish on the way to adulthood somehow narrows our natural inquisitiveness? Maybe we get too used to that feeling of mastery and it becomes difficult to not know. Curiosity may be what ignites the desire to learn, but it also takes a degree of vulnerability, a willingness to accept what we don’t know, and not fear making mistakes.
Knitting Pure & Simple #294 in Rowan Linen Print; Dress no. 2; and cropped Pants no. 2.
Somewhere in our collective consciousness is that idea of the natural gift. We want to find it easy, we want to do well right away. But effort and mistakes are part of growing and learning. Mistakes are sometimes surprising, like when a needle falls into your lap while knitting a sock on two circular needles. Mistakes can be funny, like when I unsuccessfully try pinning a sleeve into the neck while sewing. Every mistake is a lesson, a mile marker on the journey of acquiring a new skill. Whether you fix the mistakes or leave them in, is a personal choice. Just don’t worry about making them.