Saturday, 9 October 2010

A life lesson from knitting

I was down last night. Our trip to see my parents for the first time since June was cancelled at the last minute when my hubby threw up as we were finishing the packing. I had so much I wanted to show and give to my mum that I was devastated. I kept it from Dave as well as I could, as he was already feeling that he had let me down, but was so upset I couldn't even knit. That's not happened to me before.

So finally I came round a bit and decided to do the things I was expecting to do anyway - knit lots, drink Cava and stay up late. Dave went to bed but I stayed up until midnight on my own. This is what led to my life lesson from knitting.

I was knitting a hiking sock for my brother-in-law last night, the second of the pair so I had already done this part of the pattern. However, between Lord of the Rings on the TV and the Cava, I missed a vital part of the pattern when turning the heel. I noticed this a while later when I didn't have ther right number of stitches but couldn't work out why. My own rule with mistakes is that the circumstances which led to the mistake are likely to remove the ability to solve it so once a mistake is noticed, I put the thing down until the next day.

So this morning I picked it up and worked out where I had gone wrong. I took the needles out, ripped back the knitting to the place where I went wrong, picked up the stitches, wound the spare yarn around the ball and prepared to re-knit. At this point it occurred to me that I 'should' be frustrated with myself. In previous circumstances, like when I used to diet and had a target weight loss for each week, leading to a date when I would achieve the elusive target weight, taking a backwards step like this would be very upsetting. I would be thinking that if I hadn't done that, I would be at a different place by now and only so far from reaching the goal, but instead I'm back here. Well, that's all part of the negative cycle that dieting causes.

So what is different with knitting? Why didn't I think "all that effort last night has been wasted as I am back to where I was before I did all that"? Why did I think "making mistakes, noticing them, taking the knitting back and learning from the whole event is just part of the process of knitting"? I can't answer that but I think it has taught me a valuable life lesson. Making mistakes is part of the process, not a deviation from it. I learn from every mistake that I make and I learn again when I develop skills for rectifying the mistake. I am so much better at picking up stitches after undoing than I was when I started knitting again last year. When I made mistakes before as a teenager, my mum would sort them out for me so I had no skills of my own. And just noticing that the mistake had been made was quite a skill too. And now I have those skills, I can pass them on to anyone who needs them.

Not for the first time, Thank You Knitting!

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