Perfection, smerfection

Knitting, spinning, and crochet have never been places of perfection for me. They're places of creativity and experimenting, of shrugging and figuring out a work-around if something doesn't quite add up, of being generally detatched from following patterns exactly or mimicking someone else's ideas. In fact, I find following patterns perfectly to be dull and boring. It's knitting (or spinning or crochet), for pity's sake! It's supposed to look handmade. If I wanted something to be "perfect" or like everyone else's, I would have just purchased a mass produced thing in the store. My laidback attitude towards fiber probably stems from the fact that I learned how to crochet from my great-aunt who taught me all of four stitches: single crochet, single crochet through the backloop, double crochet, and the shell. For years--and I mean until I was well into my late twenties--I had never picked up a pattern book or even knew such things existed. But, that didn't stop me. I created all sorts of motifs and projects completely unencumbered by how someone else said I should do it. (Because during that period, the internet wasn't really a thing, and there certainly wasn't the possibility of learning something from YouTube videos.) Then, when I taught myself how to knit from a book while snowed in during a blizzard, I discovered that there were such things as patterns and a variety of things I never really knew about before. However, I always approached patterns with the idea that they are "more like guidelines, anyway" (thank you, Captain Barbosa and The Pirates of the Caribbean). So, to be honest, I find it baffling when I see people in various internet stitching groups freak out and pitch social media fits over something not being "perfect." And their fits run the gamut from self-pity to hating on the designer to deciding that it must be the yarn's fault. It isn't that I'm unsympathetic (or, maybe I am), but stitching isn't about perfection. It never really was. It's about playing and creativity or even utility. And all of those things can be quite messy indeed. If things are always perfect, then that's dull and boring and there's no growth or thought behind it. I'm reminded of what I used to tell my students when they would think they could churn out a good paper the night before it was due or that they "didn't really need peer review," or that they "already revised twice." Writing is messy. It's supposed to take time and effort. It's supposed to be about the process. Sure, the product is nice, but there's always something you could have done differently or would change now that you look back on it. The same attitude should be applied to fiber. It's a process, not a destination. So, don't strive for perfection. Nothing is perfect. If it were, life would be a major snoozefest, and there would be no point in doing anything and seeing where it would take you.

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