Lovely Ann stopped in today with Losing Lover on her needles. This is a beautiful cozy sweater in Trust from Wooladdicts. It's a gorgeous fuzzy chunky boucle that is perfectly named‑‑you just have to trust that your stitches are there because you sure as heck can't see them! Ann just wanted a double check on her length measurement and next step. While we measured, she confided that she would have been much further along but had ripped her sweater back twice because of a mistake. But she was particularly proud to have been able to not only rip it back, but pick up the stitches again correctly.
"I used a smaller needle just like you said, and if they were twisted, I just untwisted them on the next row."
"That's awesome, Ann," I said, "you are learning so much with this sweater."
"Well, it was a good learning experience," she laughed, "although, it's not exactly the yarn I'd have picked for a learning experience. "
Probably not, but we don't always get to choose where we have our learning experiences. We can only choose where we have our practice experiences. Practice is what we do when we take a class or apply a skill around the table in the safety of the shop. Real learning, or rather, competence, is what happens when there's no safety net. When we're on our own and we have to dig in and figure it our for ourselves.
It reminds me of Colton and his driving. He didn't really learn to drive until that terrifying moment when he took the car out on his own. We had always been there with helpful comments like. Do you see that stop sign? There's a red light ahead. and That guy's trying to merge. Without us in the car, he had to put his reflexes on high alert and watch for all the hazards himself. Those first few times, I must say, were pretty scary for us all, but out there on his own he gained competence and confidence.
Real learning is scary. Pulling out a lace pattern at home by myself is outside my comfort zone, but staying comfortable is the opposite of learning. We all have to step outside the familiar to learn, and often the knowledge that there is no safety net is just what we need to sharpen our focus and direct our attention. We're more careful when we know there's no one there to save us, and as we think about the problem, dig into our knowledge bank, and figure it out ourselves, that's where we really learn.
It's also nice to know that if the learning doesn't go as planned, we're here to help ;) I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.