This week I opened my email and the first one I had was from Half Moon Handwerks (If you don’t know about them, they are located in New Cumberland and have lots of goodies for quilters and stitchers!). The thing that caught my eye was towards the end. It was in big, bold letters: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE A BEGINNER.
This is a concept that a lot of us struggle with, including myself, and it doesn’t only apply to beginners. No matter how knowledgeable we are about knitting or crocheting, there’s always something out there we’ve yet to learn. What we tend to forget is to allow ourselves to make mistakes. None of us are perfect, but society has programmed us that we should excel at everything immediately. We almost expect to be perfect, so when we make mistakes they make us feel awful and inferior, like we’ll never be good enough. We forget to give ourselves permission to be a beginner!
So what can we do to work past this? Here are a few tips that can help:
Practice Makes Perfect – If you’re trying something new, dig out some scraps of smooth, light-colored worsted weight yarn, a US 8 needle/H hook, and give it a whirl. It’s much less stressful to make mistakes on something that is not your final project, and it can give you the confidence boost you need to get going.
We Learn by Making Mistakes – This one is HUGE. Our brains are programmed to learn through repetitiveness and by making mistakes. The important thing is that we realize we made a mistake, learn from it, then work towards correcting it. Once we feel we have something down pat, we can still make mistakes. Even professional hockey players fall down. The important thing is that they get back up and keep going. So don’t worry about those weird stitches, just brush yourself off and keep going!
Don’t Panic! – Yes, this is a partially lame reference to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I am a nerd, after all! If you made a mistake, don’t freak out about it. Many times panic leads to even more mistakes, so take a deep breath before trying to figure out what went wrong. Sometimes this means putting a project in time-out so we can look at it again later with fresh eyes.
YouTube Is Your Best Friend – What a time to be alive! If you’re stuck with a technique or stitch, I guarantee there are loads and loads of YouTube videos of the exact thing you’re struggling with. Not all videos are created equal, so if one doesn’t make sense, try another. The best part? Videos pause and rewind, so if you don’t catch something the first time or simply need a moment to figure it out, use those buttons!
Get Thee to the Yarn Shop – We are here to help you. Really! If you’re stuck and need another set of eyes, bring in your project. We’ll help get you unstuck or demystify that one part of the technique you were stuck on. This always has been and always will be free, so you have no excuses!