Monday, March 11, 2013

Fair-Isle, a life allegory

Isabella took her first step on her first birthday. She took a single step, fell down, and proceeded to continue just creeping along the furniture for another three weeks, unwilling to let go and risk falling, failing, again.

I am exactly that creature. I refuse to be bad at things. I either do things well, or not at all. If I identify something that I might fail at, I work to practice the component skills, until I can be sure another attempt will be successful. This analysis paralysis, this need for perfection, or excellence at the least can be limiting, but at last I am finding a willingness to try new things again, to risk failure a second time.

As evidenced by stranded knitting. I had always left colorwork to my infinitely talented mother, to scared to try. I knit many things, but none in more than one color. Or big stripes than were a simple change from one color to the next. Five years into my knitting life, pregnant with Bridger, I found an adorable blanket pattern, a baby and mommy elephant, complete with blankets on the elephants that carried four colors. I finished the intarsia portion, with minimal trouble, but failed miserably at the two tiny stranded blankets. That blanket is still in its bag, unfinished. I keep jokingly say that I'll finish it for one of his kids. So for the past five years, I have knit more items, lace, cables, but not color.

Until now. I discovered the Never Not Knitting podcast, and in listening to the archives, followed another knitter's journey into new techniques. She referenced a pattern for a beret, a perfect pattern for knitters new to stranded colorwork. I looked it up, thought it was cute, and propelled by the gauntlet that Mom threw down last month, I decided to look in the stash for appropriate yarn, and cast on. I looked up videos, and got a few clutch tips from the ladies in my knitting group, and actually did it. I did it! And I love it.

Fear can be so limiting. But I have learned that fear is a constant companion in my life, so I will use it as the force to make me leave what is safe, and familiar, and easy for me. It's not brave if I'm not scared, and the rewards of leaving my safe place have proved worthwhile. Maybe I can show my daughter it's ok to fail in the pursuit of learning. Fail, get up, fail better next time.

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