Ok, this is not a true statement. Especially since I took my first knitting class ever exactly one week ago. But, what IS true is that being in that beginner mind again, did bring up a few very important life knowings that I apparently need to keep learning over and over again. I’m a lifelong learner. I step with great anticipation and high hopes into each new learning space like a blank white canvas just waiting for paint. I am a creative soul still searching for my medium. And believe me when I say I have tried a whole bunch of creative mediums – photography, collage, water color, drawing, pottery, and more. I have the one pound, three inch high pots as my badge of honor. But, here’s the rub, and apparently the lesson that is tied up somehow in all of this learning… I am not good at being a beginner. I want to be an artist, but I have a problem with making beginner’s art that might not stand up to the creative output of some third graders I know. I love the process but I want to love the end result just as much. Right away. I’m not a fan of the do over (and over and over and over). I try. I’m not good. I move on. This routine does not lead to success.
So, imagine how it played out this week with my knitting. It started out as it always does. I’m casting on, grasping the knit and the purl. The teacher keeps coming by and telling me I’m really doing great. I’m catching on very quickly. I beam inside and I’m filled once again with hope. I’m on my way! All it will take is a lot more rows of knit and purl and my fingers will start to work automatically and everyone will be the recipient of my gorgeous and unusual scarfs for Christmas. The very next night, eager to propel my mastery, I pull out my knitting and sitting next to the hubs, ignoring the TV, I’m in the zone – a knitting fool – for about 15 minutes. That’s when I notice something is wrong. Really wrong. I don’t know how to fix this wrong. Now what? I decide to rip out the rows back to the first mistake but having done that, I have no idea how to get everything back on the needle. Hmmm. Maybe I should just rip it all out and start over again. Great idea but at that point I realize I don’t remember how she showed us to cast on. Less than 24 hours and I’ve forgotten everything. That’s scary in itself. I try watching one of the 100+ Utube videos showing how to cast on. Nothing works. I’m done. Stumped. Stymied. Throw it all in the bag defeated. And here’s what I’m learning from knitting. It is art. It’s not easy. I’m all thumbs and that’s OK. It is not relaxing and in the beginning it is stressful, not stress reducing. And, I WILL keep at it and I WILL master at least the basics.
I may never be the artist on the outside that I feel on the inside, but I’ll keep playing and learning. For me, it’s the dabbling that is the most fun. Perfectionism and art are not good partners. I love the art. The perfectionist in me has to take a long hike. The older I get, the more I realize the need to just slow down. Take my time. Let things ripen on the vine. Why am I not applying this to the creative process? It turns out you can’t rush knitting. I’m walking back into class tonight a complete beginner all over again. And, I am good with that.