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Monday, December 30, 2013

Making Mistakes

I am a novice knitter. And I don't think my brain is particularly suited to knitting. I'm not mathematically or pattern-oriented. In the writing world I'm definitely more of a pantster, but there is something about knitting that sucks me in. Perhaps it's the magical transformation of a thin line of yarn into a something. Most of my finished things are rather nebulous, non-useful, things. Sorry, but I don't have the attention span for scarves or the skill for sweaters.

And there's the fact that the majority of my knitting has holes where it shouldn't.

But that doesn't stop me from trying!

So I decided to learn how to purl, thinking of the world of projects that would open up before me.

Here is my first attempt at purl stitch. As you can see, I improved as I went along. What was this thing I had knitted? I wasn't sure. But my imaginative six-year-old asked if he could have it as a knight's sleeve. I agreed.

It was a pretty shabby piece of work, holey and misshapen. I was not very proud of it but delivered it as promised. And he was delighted. He loved it. 

"It even has thumb holes!" he exclaimed. 

"What? It does? Oh, right - those are thumb holes," I agreed. And suddenly my crappy, hole-riddled knitting project became something special.   

And then I made some mistakes working for a client the other day. It bummed me out like crazy. I had asked to tackle a part of the project that meant I'd have to learn to use new software (InDesign) and deliver the finished product by the deadline. 

I learned a lot in a short period of time. I asked for help, I watched tutorial videos, I proofread and printed and asked my husband to proofread. But mistakes still slipped by and the entire project had to be reprinted. It was humiliating. But what was amazing was the model set by a main person at the client's office who said, "I'm not worried about assigning blame. I know mistakes will always happen, and I know you won't make these again. Life goes on." 

Wow. I was floored. This man showed me a new way to look at mistakes, the same way my six-year-old had. I thought, "This is how I want to handle mistakes in my life and the mistakes my kids make." 

I can waste time blaming people, focusing on the mistakes, feeling depressed. Or I can accept the mistakes (maybe even learn from them) and try to do better. 

True, I hadn't meant to put a thumb hole there. But in the end, it doesn't matter that much, does it?

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