I promise you this story is related to knitting, just stay with me!
A few years ago I was ready to give up on cooking and baking. I had experienced too many fallen cakes, mushy risottos, and bland pastas. Too many undercooked and overcooked things in a row. I love cooking and baking for my friends and family and I take great satisfaction from feeding a room full of people, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting one more sub-par meal in front of them!
Then I had a moment. A moment where I realized I was doing it wrong. I was rushing, I was trying too many new things on a deadline, and it was all coming out wrong. I wasn’t measuring accurately, or taking the time necessary to perfect something. So I changed my tactics and more importantly I changed my outlook. Instead of looking at the, ahem, imperfect products of my labor, I started looking at them as practice. And from that small change came big ones. When something is practice you are only looking to learn from it. You are thinking about how to improve it in the future, not feeling badly that it came out wrong.
I stopped making new recipes for a party. Parties are not the time to be trying something new, they are time for something tried and true. I measured more carefully and stopped thinking I knew better than the recipes. I started reading the intros to cook books, a couple of food blogs, and really treating cooking and baking as skills. Things don’t just happen overnight, they take practice! I’m still not a master chef by any stretch but the things I have practiced I now do pretty well. I make awesome ice cream, some great perogies, and a cinnamon bun I can be proud of, to name a few.
This brings me to knitting. Sometimes as knitters we have a slough of unsuccessful knits. Maybe the yarn and pattern weren’t a good match, your gauge was off, or the finished knit didn’t fit the way you thought it would. Fear not, for there is hope! Knitting, like cooking, takes practice. Even if you have been knitting for a long time, there are still things that are new and must be practiced. If you have a gift knit on the horizon, it may not be the moment to take on cables and double points for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, definitely try both of those things! Just pick your moment. It is a challenge not to become frustrated with perceived failure, but what if it wasn’t failure after all, but a little extra practice?
Knits to practice some new skills on: