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March 29, 2021 3 min read

We’ve been hard at work here at the shop. We had several huge shipments of yarn arrive kind of all at once, and finding just the right place for every skein has been a challenge - it’s not that we don’t have the room, it’s that we want it to look beautiful and be inspiring.  It takes a lot of time, but we’ve been chipping away at it, and it’s finally in a state I’m proud of.  It’s a nice feeling.  

Good things do take time, as any knitter knows. There are lots of steps along the way, and a significant amount of uncertainty that goes with any project.  Uncertainty.  A euphemism for that age old emotion, fear.  Any time we start on a big project, we worry about failure. Whether it’s knitting a sweater, or a less tangible project like tackling a wellness goal..  

Sometimes the fear is enough to stop us from ever starting.  If we don’t begin, we can’t mess up, and we will never fail. But mistakes are the badges of honor earned by those who try.  Those who show up. Those who dare.

I’m not advocating reckless behavior, and mistakes can be very painful, certainly, but we learn from our mistakes, and growth happens just outside our comfort zone. The most productive approach, I believe, is stretching ourselves a little bit each time, setting achievable interim goals, and celebrating every success along our journey.

As knitters, we’re constantly growing our skills. Even as long as the Crazy for Ewe team has been knitting, we still dare, and we still learn. Not jumping off a cliff kind of daring, but bite sized bits on smaller projects. We’re not designing a cabled coat in 6 sizes - but rather just a hat a month. The Hat Club pattern process has been a perfect growth environment.- a small project with a vision, and a hard deadline.

Similarly, you are likely growing your skills in making garments.  As with our little hat design exercise, it’s best to start small and learn the basics.  Things like doing a proper swatch for a garment, choosing a size, learning simple construction techniques - and the dreaded seaming. I also recommend doing it at a gauge that doesn’t take forever in a yarn that’s not too fussy.

With some confidence built, move on to garments with a little more going on. Maybe something with a simple sleeve for a different seaming technique, perhaps some shoulder shaping and a neckline detail

When we’ve mastered the various seaming methods, we go to something with a set-in sleeve, or maybe a cardigan with a button band or a shawl collar.  Perhaps something at a finer gauge, maybe with a stitch pattern.  

You see how the skills build on one another?  Each step gives us the opportunity for that interim success and sets us up for the next challenge.  

But what if the sweater we want is a project or two away from our skill level?  We could dive in anyway, knowing that we’ll make mistakes and our first try might not look like we want. That’s one approach, but I don’t recommend it.  I’ve taken that route many times myself, and it’s disheartening and expensive.  Much better to start smaller, and grow into the dream project. Set those interim goals, achieve them well, and celebrate every step.  

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts. Tell me in the comments.  

Warmly, 

 ~Ellen

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