Sweater Lesson: Part 2

Hi! I finished my sweater that I told you about in the Sweater Lesson a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t keep you hanging on the results. Well, I can …. but I won’t.

So I finished the sweater and it fits perfectly. The yarn definitely settled beautifully after wet blocking. I’m not sure about the neckline, I feel like it could be pulled in a bit, but a friend with a good eye says it’s perfect on me and my intuition tells me not to touch it, so it’s staying as it is. I made a compromise, I wove in the end in that area in a way that I can find it again, in case I want to take it back and re-knit it. The yarn is beautiful and comfortable, and I’ll definitely reorder it next year. Actually, as I was weaving in the ends I was thinking about making another in different colours, which is always the sign of a successful project. I was thinking of stripes in a combination of a dark red and a bright red.

With regards to the ‘lessons’, like my first blog post I still don’t know what I’m going to write about …. it seems you’ll be helping me again. I’ve been thinking about mistakes this week. People often tell me that they find it reassuring that I make mistakes too, which always strikes me as funny because: a. EVERYONE makes mistakes, and b. knitting is kind of about making mistakes, and then going back and fixing them (or alternately c. getting so fed up that you stick it in a corner and ignore that it exists).

Anyway, I was thinking about mistakes and why some people get caught up in them, and I think it’s shame. Not that I don’t wrestle with that particular demon on a regular basis, it just isn’t connected to knitting mistakes. Maybe I’ve just been doing this so long that I have a different perspective – I know with absolute certainty that there is no perfection, there’s only fixing mistakes and learning from the experience.

So I’m sitting on my hands, thinking “Huh, I don’t have this issue? Why am I different than all of these people?” and it smacks me in the face, I’m NOT different, I’m in the muck with everyone else.” My copious vulnerability issues just don’t manifest in the SAME way in my knitting.

The other day I was at the gym, working out and listening to the audiobook of Daring Greatly, (there’s so much shame and vulnerability swimming around a gym, I find it helps my workout to face it head on) and I finally get to the chapter about shame. The author is talking about stuff like the fear of disconnection, creativity, unlovability and connecting what you do (or what other people think) to your sense of self worth, and I think to myself: “Oh Crap …. ME,” …. and then; “Oh thank god, that’s IT!”

So how does the messy stuff in my head manifest? I subconsciously edit the things I make. I trim my creativity, I shave off the edges, water it down. Sometimes it manifests as a loss of interest in a project, or it comes out as a creative block and a project doesn’t make it off the ground. A bunch of the time I’ll get part of the way through and then the project will stall. I always thought that I have a short attention span, that other things are more important to work on right now, that I function on geological time (pre-industrial revolution), etc. Sometimes I’ll close off an idea before it’s even born: “Oh, I can’t do that,” or “That would never fly, nobody would ever go for that.” But nope, the truth is that I attach my self-worth to my product and at the first conceptualization of shame I shut down. Looking back, I think my earliest memory of this creative editing goes back to junior kindergarten … awww, I love me so much, I’m so consistent!

So there it is, I don’t really take issue with my mistakes because they aren’t the source of my self-judgement. But rest assured, by the time I get to the point where mistakes happen I’ve already painted myself into a safe little box. Of course, this stuff doesn’t just apply to my knitting & crochet projects, but that’s the awesome thing about crafts – there’s nothing on the line, they’re easy to talk about.

According to Lady Brene gratitude is the foundation of joy, and right now I’m feeling very grateful for the opportunity to make it to mid-life and to have a “second-half” of my life. One of the things I’ve learned is that when I open a new door I never know what’s going to proceed, but it’s ALWAYS interesting and always GOOD. I’m looking forward to seeing how I grow, I wonder what will happen with my projects?

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