Have you ever started a project or wanted to learn a new skill and tried to do it all on your own?

How did that work out for you?

Sometimes, yes, we can make it on our own, climb that mountain, finish what we started and all turns out well. However, most of the time we need help or instruction or at least tips from those who have gone before us or have already done what we wish to do.

The photo to the left is an example of one of my foray into a new craft: knitting. Can you tell what it is that I just finished? No? Me neither.

Just recently I learned how to knit. Okay, I’ll admit it, I am totally still learning how to knit. A friend and I picked up our brand new needles a few weeks ago and after a quick intro on how to begin our fingers took off and the strands of yarn began to weave together into…something.

Everything seemed to be going okay…needle through a loop, push it out, wrap around…basic knitting jargon. After a while I realized that my 25 loops that were supposed to remain consistent all the way to the end on my piece had suddenly turned into over 40! Um, excuse me? How the heck did I even do that? And wait, there is a hole way back there and a dropped stitch there…wait just a minute! My work looked nothing like all the nice scarves or potholders or dish clothes that I had pictured in my head when I began.

What started out as an easy task suddenly became frustrating and annoying and I had to stop. I didn’t quit, but I knew I needed help. I put my weird and lopsided knitting down and popped onto the ever-so-resourceful internet to watch a few tutorials on how to go from my 40 loops back down to my starting point of 25. I quickly learned how I had inadvertently increased and now how to decrease my stitches as well as a few other pointers, like how to correctly hold my needles. (Turns out I had been doing practically everything wrong!)

Later I also asked someone (a knitting expert) how they would have fixed my problem, and without hesitation they said I should have pulled it all apart and started over. No big deal. Just overlook the fact that I’d already put in a few hours of work to make this lovely…wonky…lobed piece of material.

Okay, true, it wasn’t pretty but this was my first attempt and I didn’t want to pull it all out, start over and have it look perfect. I liked the wonkiness and the lopsided bits I had created. Maybe it will never win any knitting awards or even be anything really functional, but my very first knitting project will be memorable to me.

After seeing the video tutorials I picked my needles back up and continued on. I decreased where I needed to and even fixed a few dropped stitches as I went. This time my lines were straight, with no holes or pulls and I finally continued on to the end where I again looked up advice on how to finish the piece, or “cast off” as we knitters call it.

I’m proud of my first knitted project. It’s ugly and bumpy but it’s mine, created by me and I can now look back and see where I went wrong and where I needed to ask for help.

I could never have finished it without stopping and knowing I was in over my head. I like learning new skills and I know that no matter what I try there are those around me who I can go to and ask for assistance. I don’t have to feel alone and live life frustrated and on the verge of giving up.

Maybe next time when I get stumped I will pull everything apart and start over, ending up with a pretty piece, but this time I’m glad to see the lump and bumps of my progress.

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