You know, one of the most wonderful things I've heard lately is that knitting isn't like skydiving. There's very little that you can do when you're knitting that you can't take back or even accept as a flaw and move on. Skydiving, on the other hand, has some very grave consequences for mistakes. For those of you who skydive (or those who've watched it on TV), you know that every move is critical. That's why you practice so much. Knitting has some critical moves, too. Fortunately, each mistake you make is an opportunity to learn a new skill and to learn something new about yourself.
We all make mistakes - every day we make a new one. Some are big, others not so noticeable. One of the reasons I hear so often for people abandoning knitting or never taking it up is that they don't want to make a mistake. Sometimes it is the making of a mistake that they fear, and other times it is the consequences of having to fix it. Others feel like they could never let anyone see something that is less than perfect. Let me tell you a secret about knitting. It's a human activity. It's really ok if it looks like a human made it. Just about everything that's been knitted has a mistake. Trust me. Even those expensive sweaters in the stores have mistakes. Chances are, you never noticed them. That's because knitted items have a wonderful way of looking beautiful, despite the flaws. Just like us.
Mistakes are a way for knitters to learn a new skill. If you make a mistake, you get to see what that looks like so you can avoid it in the future. If you like the way it looks, you can incorporate it in a pattern and create a design element - making the piece uniquely yours. Plus, you get to knit more! I am a believer in the process of knitting more than the product you create. The time we spend knitting is a great time for us to connect with our Creator. The more time you have to do that, the better!
So here's another great thing about knitting. It really helps you achieve self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is one of those things that people who are high achievers often struggle with. I know that I do. I am always looking to make myself better or to change some aspect of me that doesn't seem to be quite “right." I really seek other people's acceptance of who I am. I know many of my friends who feel the same way. Of course, they don't knit - yet!
If you don't accept yourself, you believe that for whatever reason, who you are isn't good enough. Or maybe some part of you doesn't fit with your image of the ideal. That way of thinking is preventing you from achieving the “best you" that you are striving to become. It's kind of ironic that our efforts to improve ourselves often prevent us from being our best. Simply put, every part of you is essential to make you who you are and to prepare you to be the best you can be. Even (and perhaps especially) the parts you're not so fond of.
So why knit? First, we knit because it is relaxing. Once you get over the learning part, knitting is a rhythmic, natural motion. It is almost meditative in nature. Second, we knit because you get to make something for yourself or someone else. Third, we knit to be able to find some quiet time for ourselves where we can let our mind rest and seek the answers to those nagging questions. Finally, we knit because it helps us accept ourselves. If you can accept that you've knit something that has a mistake and still looks good, then you are on the path to accepting yourself - warts and all!
Lisa Akers is the president of Be Still & Knit. Her company teaches women how to find peace and stillness in their lives through handwork. By discovering knit and crochet, women develop a new way to take time for themselves and share the love they have as warm clothing! Find out more about Lisa at www.bestillandknit.com or listen to her podcast at www.peacefulknitter.com.