365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time


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Day 87/365: The Day I Broke Up With A Sweater

Remember when I was knitting this sweater last month?  I got tired of knitting in the round and set it aside.  I thought I should finish it, but there wasn’t any joy in the process.

I started and finished other projects, and in the meantime, that partially completed sweater remained sleeveless with half a torso.  It was taking up space in both my living room and in my conscience.

Today I made a decision.  I had to be completely honest with myself, and the truth was I didn’t care about finishing that sweater.  And even if I did, I knew I wouldn’t wear it.  There was just no real reason for me to keep knitting when my heart wasn’t in it.  I had no real love for the sweater.

I ended up doing this:

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Goodbye, sweater that I would never have worn anyway. Goodbye, hours and hours of knitting around and around in stockinette stitch.

In under five minutes, I managed to unravel the whole thing into a couple of flat-bottomed balls.

And you know what?  I’m totally okay with it.  In fact, I feel less burdened.  That sweater was one more piece of clutter that I could remove from my life with no dire consequences.

Now if I could only tackle the hundreds of other pieces of clutter in the rest of my home…

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Day 63/365: Letting Go of Perfectionism

So I was crocheting along last night, and I stopped to look over the rows that I’d completed so far.  That’s when I noticed something about one of the shells.  The pattern calls for shells that consist of three double crochet, a chain, and three more double crochet.  That chain space is where you would insert a single crochet in the following row.  Anyway, what I noticed was that I’d messed up the placement of a single crochet.  Rather than insert it in the chain space, I’d crocheted it between two double crochet.

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The crochet hook is pointing at the misplaced single crochet. See if you can spot the mistake.

I despaired for about a minute.  I thought, I’ll rip it all out and fix it.  But as you can see from the photo, I was already up a few rows.  Fixing the mistake would have meant frogging half of the already completed afghan.

So then I had to ask myself:  How important is it to you that this afghan be perfect?  Do you really want to undo all of the work that you just completed, in order to fix a mistake that no one else would even know was there?  In the grand scheme of things, is that one little imperfectly placed single crochet going to make a huge difference?

My younger and less-experienced-in-life self wouldn’t have had that little talk in her head.  Upon noticing the flaw in her work, she would have immediately started ripping out the stitches to get at that one single crochet and fix it.  My younger and less-experienced-in-life self was a little bit of an uptight perfectionist.

My older and current self is a lot smarter.  (And really, lazier.)  It just wasn’t worth it to me to undo the last hour’s worth of work just so that I could have all of my single crochets in all of the right chain-one spaces.  Because even if all the stitches were where they were supposed to be, so what?  This afghan was meant to be used and enjoyed, not put up on a wall for display.

So I made the decision to leave the stitches alone and to let my little mistake remain.  In time, I’ll forget it’s even there, and I’ll have moved on to other projects and other concerns.  Because that’s how it is in life sometimes.

 


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Day 35/365: Keeping It Real

I knew I didn’t have any photos for today’s post, so when I got home from work this evening, I grabbed my sweater-in-progress and went out to the deck to take some pictures.  The sky was overcast, and the sun wasn’t cooperating to provide any good natural light.  My digital camera kept insisting on using the flash.  After a few attempts to get some decent shots, I gave up and went back inside.

I uploaded the digital camera shots onto my computer and looked at the photos of my sweater.  The first thing I noticed was–Ack!–the rusty nails and the peeling paint of our deck.  The second thing I noticed was the yarn:  clearly one hundred percent cheap acrylic.  I thought, I have hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of yarn in the stash–natural fibers like wool, cotton, linen, even cashmere–and I pick acrylic.

The other day, I was doing a Google search for a secret craft project that I’m planning, and I came across one of those hipster craftster websites where Everything Is Just Perfect.  In the carefully staged and professionally captured photos, the people and items looked like they belonged in a catalog or in a print ad for a magazine.  I found myself scrolling through that website and feeling bad about my little blog, thinking it was so basic and amateurish.

I thought about that website again when I was looking at my own photos this evening and feeling like I couldn’t use any of them for tonight’s post.  It occurred to me:  Sure, those professional quality photos on that website told a nice story, but what story was it telling?

What story was I buying into?

As you may have already figured out from my previous posts, I’m usually not one for bullshit, particularly in my line of work and the population I deal with.  I don’t like small talk or smokescreens.  I like honesty and authenticity and, as I say to my patients, keeping it real.

So what if my photos weren’t taken on a fancy expensive camera, and so what if my sweater is acrylic and not an expensive cashmere-linen-soy-and-bamboo-cotton blend?  Who am I trying to impress?  Why should I give a shit?  Because when it comes down to it, the most important person whose opinion matters about me is me.

It’s something I’m still working on.  Just like this sweater.

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Click to enlarge and see everything in all imperfect glory.