Making mistakes is all a part of the creative process. I am not gonna lie, mistakes can suck. But they can also be awesome. Making mistakes is the path to new ideas, so pushing through the discomfort of a mistake is worth it. Making mistakes will help you be a better knitter.
I have been taking a painting class. It has been years since i have painted anything, but I have felt the urge to dive back in for months now. It is Alena Hennessey’s a year of painting online course. It is an intuitive painting class, so there is so much trial and error as we work through our pieces. Layering new ideas over ones that are not working is so forgiving, but having to make the choice of what to edit and what to keep was surprisingly not so cut and dried. I was surprised at how much time was spent in a place of not loving what I was creating. I had the belief that I would be spending all my time in a place of wonder of color and composition as opposed to spending so much time trying to achieve a painting I loved. But it makes sense, this a new medium for me. I am beginning to hammer out what my likes and dislikes are.
But it is all good. Epic mistakes that help you learn.
And I certainly made my share of them in my knitting… Spending weeks on a cabled sweaters that ended up WAY too big, armholes that were just wrong. Big bell sleeves that are always a pain in the ass to wear. So much can go wrong even with patterns that have everything worked out for you. Those designers went through all the mistake making for you. But anytime you are adding your creative ideas to any work, trying out those ideas will inevitably lead to making some mistakes and learning what your solutions to correcting them are.
The path of your creative work is never a straight line.
But all that creative mistake making is not just about your current project. It is actually just a very small step in your ENTIRE body of work. Think about the most epic knitting mistake you have ever made. For me it was choosing a weird cotton yarn for a very complex cabled sweater I spent 6 weeks working on. It was ridiculously heavy, and when I wore it it would double in size throughout the day. It was a disaster, yet I wore it for a year before I fessed up that it was a disaster and cut it down to a more appropriate size and stitched it back together. However that mistake was so epic, that rest assured I have never made the mistake of using an inappropriate cotton yarn for that kind of project ever again. Casting on two tightly, not checking gauge, what are the epic mistakes that have changed your knitting for the better?
The more epic mistakes you make, the closer you are to consistent success.
So as I am working through the unexpected discomfort of my painting class, I think about how familiar this creative discomfort is. And maybe it is way easier to just paint over a painting mistake, than it is to frog and reknit a sweater that is not working. But like all creative endeavors it is worth it to do the hard work in the mediums that you resonate with. If you are reading this chances are you love watching and feeling a fabric come to life stitch by stitch through color and texture. In knitting , most of the resources out there have done the design work for you. But what if you want to express yourself more through fiber art.
Making the epic mistakes yourself will most surely put you on your path to finding your art.
With all the angst of pushing through my painting class, there are a few things I am reminded to practice that I want to pass on to you as you find your own creative path:
Being okay with the discomfort. Because discomfort will bubble up. Just remember it is all a part of finding what works for you creatively. Have on hand a few self soothing tools as you sit with the discomfort. A glass of wine, a walk in nature, a cuddle with your favorite 2 or 4 legged creature. Take a break.
Focus on what is working. Look at your piece, and identify what about it is actually good. Is is a certain yarn combo? Is it the drape of an area? What specifically is awesome and why? Do more awesome. It is okay to repeat the awesome for now.
Journal it. Take notes about what is and is not working. Write, draw, take some photos, add clips of yarn. It will help you organize you thoughts. It is also handy to review as you work on future projects.
Most of all remember, making mistakes does not mean you are a failure. It is a necessary stepping stone to your next big success.
And if you need a bit of perspective. Email me. Seriously. I will remind you that it will all be okay and brainstorm some solutions with you if you need it, or just listen if you need to bounce some ideas. Really. Think of it as a Fiberarts Salon of sorts.