What the wool (and alpaca) taught me…

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My crochet project taught me a valuable lesson.  (I have a sneaky suspicion all of our making projects do!)

Recently I was in deep conversation with a dear friend, arguably my favorite thing to do. 

Well, right up there with old records playing, sipping hot, creamy coffee, and a day open before me to create and be in my own company!   Maybe beginning with a Qoya session, some journaling, a beeswax candle, and amazing appetizer-ish food.  OR a picnic on the beach with a friend or two, perhaps a handwork project and a Ploughman’s platter, warm sunshine, a dramatic sun hat and maybe a bit of Gin in a serious amount of ginger.  (I’m a deep fan of snacky, flavor-filled food…sometimes going so far as to only order appetizers for dinner and a Ploughman’s platter of pickled food, fruit, salami, veggies, crackers, eggs, creamy goat cheese, and what not is near perfection.)  

Hmmm…it’s safe to say choosing one favorite thing might be more of a challenge than I can manage…but engaging in deep conversation is right up there.

And on this day, we were talking about the recent lessons we learned from our projects.  Her’s was a complicated double knit blanket with colorwork that challenged her to cultivate patience, concentration, and focus…something she’s been seeking more of in her life.  (and how magical is it that, voila, here it was, a chance to practice)  

Mine was a crochet project that I had begun and spent many of my “precious”, rare, not-to-be-squandered hours working on, only to not really love it.   I thought about ripping it out and beginning again, but what about those hours I spent?  They would be wasted. 

And there was my lesson.  Well, actually it was two-fold. 

One, the hours spent working on something are never wasted (and honestly, do they have to be so “precious”, in such a state of scarcity!?  No. Not anymore, I say.  Truly its a mindset and a matter of prioritizing what matters…but I digress.).  It’s the journey after all.  And really about the skills you hone as you work through a project, and begin it again with new insight and finesse, and the time you gave yourself to be present.   

Two, it’s worth taking the time to backtrack.  Now, I’ve been pretty resistant to backtracking my whole life.  Took a wrong turn?  That’s fine, this block will probably circle around to the street I need.  Not thrilled with the way the zipper placement turned out, oh well, it’s good enough.

Now, let me be clear, I appreciate and celebrate my anti-perfectionist qualities. 

I believe that perfectionism, at its worst, is a paralyzing thief of joy. 

An unfortunate opportunity to feel like you are not ever enough. 

Being gentle with yourself is important, and loving what you make in its imperfect state is important. (and in turn, loving yourself in your “imperfect” state is important) BUT…finding a balance of being satisfied with where you are and taking the time to improve your project by ripping it out and redoing it is important too.    Balance, after all. 

That crochet project, I ripped it out and began it again, and it gave me an opportunity to both honor the journey and not feel like “doing over” was a waste of my “precious” time.  To remember to make some space and time to refine what I’m doing rather than simply push onward.

The mantra “Keep it Simple and Do It Well” has been on my wall for 4 years now!  Talk about a journey!  (…and allowing it to take as long as it needs to.)

I love the depth that handwork brings into our lives.  It’s never just about fabric and thread or wool and needles.

How about you?  What has your handwork taught you?

In Kinship,

Tina

P.S. – Oh hey, I recently wrote about my process of taking a simple raglan t-shirt pattern and turning it into a cowl-necked, zippered “hoody” with a kangaroo pocket.  You can check it out here.

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