Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conquering Our Fears And Trying New Things

From an early age, my father always encouraged me to try new things.  I vividly remember the time he tried to get me to taste blue cheese salad dressing.  It went something like this:  My father said “Do you want to try some?”   “EWE! NO WAY! was my reply (anyone with kids knows the exact tone that was used here!)  He said, “Try it, it will put hair on your chest.” (this was his standard answer over the years every time he tried to convince me to try something – not just food either!).  “Very funny, Dad!”   After much harassing, I finally tried that icky looking blue cheese dressing, and guess what happened?  No,  it did NOT put hair on my chest (thankfully!), the world did not tilt on its axis (again, thankfully!), and I actually liked it!  In fact, I LOVED it, and still do to this day!

At the shop, I always encourage my customers to try thing they may perceive as “too hard”.  I really dislike those pattern ratings of “Beginner/Easy, Intermediate, & Experienced.”   Most knitters I’ve talked to consider themselves beginners (even ones who have been knitting for years!).  I think most people are much better than they think there are.  All they need is some encouragement.  Beth is fond of telling her beginner knitters that she can teach them the basics, and then they will spend the rest of their lives learning the rest.   It’s so true and that’s just what our parents did for us as children – They taught us the “basics”, and we spend the rest of our lives learning the rest!  The key here is to not be afraid to try new things.

Recently I decided it was time to pony up and conquer a few of my own knitting fears – well, not exactly fears – lets just call them “strong aversions”!   Carrie was knitting a hat and I really liked it and want to make one too.  The problem was that the entire thing was done in ribbing (1 x1 no less!) and that double pointed needles would eventually need to be used.  There they were, my 2 biggest “Strong aversions” staring me in the face!  Over the years, I have steadfastly avoided any knitting project that required ribbing and/or double pointed needles.  It was time to follow my own advice and just TRY it – what’s the worst that could happen?

First of all, I had the pre-conceived notion that constantly moving the yarn back and forth – as required in order to knit any kind of ribbing – would surely be enough to drive me to the brink of insanity and commit Hari Kari with a knitting needle!   However, I really wanted to make this hat, so I figured I would give it a go.  Guess what happened?   There was no screaming, and no yelling,  and Holy Cats, I actually LIKED it!!  It was very rhythmic, and all that back and forth didn’t bother me a bit!   Huh, how bout that!

Before long, it was time for the dreaded double pointed needles.  I truly thought there was no way I had the coordination to handle these – all those points poking out everywhere!  And what about the needles not in use?  Won’t my stitches fall off the other end?  This is very scary stuff!   Well, I put on my big girl panties and JUST DID IT!  Yeah, it was awkward as all get out, but I knew what needed to be done, and I just tucked those extra needle points wherever I could to get them out of my way, and of course, no stitches fell off the other end either.  I can’t say I loved it,  but at least I know I can do it whenever the need should arise. 

So this one’s for you, Dad!  Thanks for teaching me the “basics”!   I believe there is no limit to what we can achieve as long as we are not afraid to try new things!  Next up for me – 2 Handed Fair Isle Knitting!

P.S.  Here's the hat: