Saturday, February 7, 2015

Perfectionism and Knitting

I'm currently hosting a KAL on Ravelry for my Forbidden Forest Shawl.  KAL's are fun. I get to work with a group of people on a common project. It being my design, I get to see how the pattern is received and how other people perceive the design.  Everyone brings their own vision to the project, whether it's a different gauge, an additional repeat of the lace pattern, alterations to the size, or adding more color via striping or singling out the lace panel.

One of the things I run into in every KAL are participants that are either perfectionists, like myself, or individuals that somehow feel they are letting either themselves or me down by not working the pattern perfectly.

I'm a horrible perfectionist.  Horrible. I have no problem spending huge amounts of time correcting even the smallest error in my knitting.  I will park a project for months while I gain the courage to go back and make corrections.  I'm aware how absurd this is.

Someone once said to me about one of my design elements that anyone close enough to see the element would most definitely have other things on their mind... ;)

This impacted me and changed how I thought about my errors.  I'm still a horrible perfectionist, but now I'm much more aware of how rarely I see design elements in other people's work, and I'm a lot more comfortable with the elements in my own.

In one of my knitting classes I had a student that was struggling.  She desperately wanted her work to be perfect. Another student spoke up and told her the errors were okay, and that she actually made sure there was an error in each of her pieces as a tribute to being one of God's children; that only God could be perfect.

I like that idea.

Not enough to overcome my own perfectionism... but the idea makes me feel good.

I coach my KAL participants and students to simply be consistent with their "design elements". An error can become simply a different take on the design, helping to make the project "more your-own".  I've adopted this for myself.  When I'm knitting a shawl that calls for a CCD and I accidentally work an SSSK, I simply continue.  Both are decreasing from 3 stitches to 1, they simply look a little different... and what's wrong with being a little different?  Different can still be perfect.