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knitting

Excellence Takes Time

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. – Colin Powell

 

I was thinking about excellence today.  When you set out to do something, you want to do it to the best of your ability.  But when you start doing something, your ability level is usually nowhere near excellence.  I decided to start knitting last year while we were out on remote learning.  I figured it would be nice to have something to do with my hands while I sat in endless zoom meetings and the kids had their cameras off.  Yeah remote teaching is SOOO fun.

Now I had some experience with knitting.  My Grams had taught me how to cast on, and do the knit stitch, and years later a friend showed me how to do the purl stitch.  So there I was, primed with “all my experience,” ready to go.  Pretty much I was going to go nowhere fast, so I did what everybody else does when they don’t know how to do something.  I googled it.  I found a very use friendly site called Sheep and Stitch and I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials they had posted and I was ready to go.  Bam, instant excellence, right?  WRONG!

I made a scarf for my daughter.  I was so proud of that scarf.  However, it wasn’t very good because I hadn’t developed good knitting habits yet.  My daughter uses the scarf to cover her eyes when she is snoozing in our big giant recliner in the living room.  It’s okay, I’m not offended, because it really wasn’t very good.  I then knit the same scarf for a friend and it was better, but it still wasn’t good.  I was still working on those little habits.

Then, I decided to get crazy and knit an infinity scarf for my daughter – a new pattern ladies and gentlemen, and a different style of knitting because I was knitting in the round.  So while parts of it were a little better because I was starting to develop those habits in the little matters, it was still pretty much a cluster.  And the one I made for my sister was even worse because I deviated from the pattern.  Pro tip, when you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do that!

So it’s been almost a year since I started knitting.  Am I excellent?  Nope, not even close, and that’s okay.  I’m getting better.   I’m practicing, and I’m learning.  One huge thing I’m learning is that I should probably take an in person class at some point if this pandemic ever goes away.  YouTube is helpful, Sheep and Stitch is great, but I learn better in person.  But until I can take that class, I’m going to keep practicing the little things, like tension and reading patterns.  I will start to master these things and as I do, I will be one more step closer to excellence.  It’s not going to happen today, and it’s not going to happen tomorrow, and that’s okay.  And if I never become a master knitter, that’s okay too, because in the end, what matters is that I am having fun.  Excellence is great, but it means nothing if you aren’t enjoying what you do!

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