This is what a first draft looks like.
After a forty year hiatus, I took up knitting recently. I have no lofty goals for this new hobby – no wooly cable-knit sweater-cap combos. I just want to create a few handmade scarves to give as gifts to family and friends. Think etsy with training wheels.
A friend who is a gifted knitter spent a morning reacquainting me with the basics. (Thanks, Marie!) The “scarf” above – and I use the term “scarf” loosely here – is my virgin flight into the world of knitting.
You won’t hurt my feelings if you tell me it looks like a nine year-old made it. I was nine the last time I wielded a pair of knitting needles, so my skill development stalled out at that level. But as a fifty year-old woman with a perfectionist streak, knitting (and occasionally purling) row after row of childish, uneven stitches was a mental battle. I was sorely tempted to toss the avocado mess, tell Marie I was too busy to follow through right now, and forget the whole endeavor.
I stuck with it. Visions of delighted people sporting a “Made By Mish” original scarf danced in my head. As I began to discover how to let my fingers slow dance with yarn and needles, I realized that there were no shortcuts to knitting the beautiful scarves I dreamed of giving to others. I had to knit this scary scarfette first in order to find a bit of a groove so I could craft something that didn’t look like an occupational therapy assignment.
You know, I’ve been doing this for years as a writer. I have to write terrible first drafts in order to craft something beautiful. Still. After all these years. There are no shortcuts. I have to write an avocado scarf every time I sit down at the keyboard to tell a story.
How about you? Is there a skill or craft you’re learning or honing in your life? Is this frustrating or freeing in your pursuit of growth in this area?
6 thoughts on “Practice makes…an avocado scarf”
It looks great! that garter stitch looks pretty darned even, so you are well on your way!! Good work, Michelle!
I just began scarf number 2. I'm using bigger needles and fun, funky yarn that seems to hide my still-inconsistent tension.
All thanks to you, teach!
Yay, another friend becomes a knitter! This is all very encouraging. I love the color of your scarf, and your tension does look pretty even so you shouldn't have too much trouble moving on to those second drafts.
You know, even when I went back to knitting recently after a 20-year hiatus I had to start with the basics, even though I knitted my way through my teenage and young adult years, and could make gloves and Norwegian sweaters and stuff like that. One of my first tries was a scarf very similar to yours. I was only able to move on by gradually increasing the difficulty of the pieces I knitted, until it all came back to me.
Look at it this way – if you had a friend who wanted to write but had poor grammar and spelling, would you discourage her? Of course not. You'd encourage her to practise, practise, practise, and work on the difficult bits all the harder. Because it's the act of creation that counts – we are all formed by God as creators with different skill sets, and the world we live in is shaped by gazillions of small or large acts of creation. Wear your scarf-shaped act of creation with pride!
So very true: "Because it's the act of creation that counts – we are all formed by God as creators with different skill sets, and the world we live in is shaped by gazillions of small or large acts of creation."
Every stitch of avocado scarf was a tiny struggle against gravity and decay, like all of human creation.
I never got past the scarf stage when I was 9, but I'm encouraged by your example. I'd love to see some of your creations!
Love your analogy to writing early drafts. Only *real* writers "get" what my father (a writer) taught me many years ago: "a good article/book isn't written; it's rewritten and rewritten and rewritten." I'm just glad I'm no longer having to use a manual typewriter to write those SFD's!
I now adore the revision process, but back in the day, I remember having to commit to a change before I retyped it or face the propsect of dabbing Wite-Out onto the page. I do not miss having manuscripts looking like something that's been lying at the bottom of a birdcage!
Thank God for the delete key.