Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Crafting to a new level of perfection

After years of knitting, spinning, sewing (I'll stop there, the list could go on and on), with the attitude 'Shrug, that's good enough', I have decided that maybe it really isn't. Lately I have been looking at just what makes the difference between good enough, and amazingly impressive.

This started, as most of my musings do, with a conversation with my daughter about certificates of excellence (known as COE's). These are awarded to a select few that are judged in whatever area they work in and the judging seems to be set to select those that come as close to perfect as they can. The process that the person goes through, in attempting to reach perfectionism, is suppose to teach them so much, that they are then ready to teach others what they know.

I know myself well enough to know I would soon be frustrated by the process, and would not have the patience to redo something over and over again, to reach that near perfect skein or swatch. My enjoyment comes from the first time I do something. Even knitting, repetitive by nature, is still very engaging the first time through a new pattern. And I may go all the way through that pattern and not make a 'mistake'. So is it perfect then? Well not if the gauge is incorrect for what I want to create. Not if the fabric created is too flimsy for the project in mind. The over and over again perfectionism in knitting comes into play trying to be perfect in each area. That's why one hears a few times that someone knit a sweater or socks and they 'fit perfectly'. Only a few times indeed.

This of course is one side of the see saw. The other is the total lack of concern about any of the knit stitches you make. The project will be whatever it will be. I have never been comfortable with that extreme either. However, I lose out on many chances to be very creative, or artistic, or innovative, by staying off that side of the see-saw.

I am reminded of the song, 'Stuck in the Middle with You'.

For years I have been crafting in that middle state. I am skilled in many areas, what I make looks good and holds up well, and yet it is not at a level that could be judged as outstanding. I have always said about my work, that my dream would be that it would end up in a museum someday in the future. I can not see that happening yet.

So this long ramble, is all to say that I have starting crafting with a new eye on the details. Ah yes, life is in the details, it is said. Was every stitch knitted at the same tension, was the pattern correct, did I really want it this size? It will slow me down, and I already craft at a snail's pace. But in truth, it's all about the process, right?

I am not sure I will be able to blog about my progress with this slide to perfect. It's not something easily put into words. It's an attitude adjustment, a change that makes me say 'Hmm, maybe that's not just good enough'. But the fun side of all of this comes from that old adage, practice makes perfect. Oh boy, another excuse to knit.


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