In third grade I crafted a Christmas tree ornament of green felt with more than my share of glitter and sequins glued to both sides. My mom loved it in the way that moms love ugly things their kids make, and she hung it front and center. I was so proud seeing my creation on the tree.
The next year though, and for several years after, I didn’t want to hang that ornament. A year older and wise enough to be embarrassed by the ridiculous product of my childish effort, I tried unsuccessfully to stop my mother from putting it on the tree.
It’scringey but healthy, and rather satisfying, to look back on our early work and our early selves. Without knowing it, that crazy ornament taught me some valuable lessons that have shaped my philosophy as a knitter and a knitting instructor.
Cherish your early work.
Our first efforts will not be our best, but we must not be ashamed of them. They are exactly what they should be. They are learning experiences. They are someplace to start. They represent tangible proof our our growing skills
Give yourself permission to embrace the experience of the mistakes because learning only happens in the mistakes.
You cannot make a better one until you make the first not-so-good one.
The first effort is actually the most important because without the first effort, you can’t make a better second one. Or an even better third one.
Great novelists have all written bad first novels. We hear about an award winning “debut novel” but you can be sure that their “first novel” is not the first novel they actually ever wrote. It’s just the first one that made it to publication.
Famous painters, from Rembrandt to Rousseau, all made art that was not up to their later standards. That’s okay. Each piece was a stepping stone to the masterpieces for which they’re now famous.
Why should it be any different with knitters?
Surround yourself with mentors and a supportive community
If my mother had treated my silly ornament with derision, I might never have made another craft. In an alternate universe, my crafting spirit was squashed at the tender age of 8 and I would never have taken the path that ultimately led me to knitting.
We have to surround ourselves with people who validate and celebrate our efforts–with people who help us develop our skills and share our passion. This is the kind of environment where not only art, but self confidence, flourishes.
This kind of environment and this philosophy is at the heart of Crazy for Ewe. When we step a little bit outside our comfort zone and do our best, ourbestgets a little bit better every time.
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