Monday Musings: Knitting Mistakes Inject Peace Into My Life

Last week, I joined The Healthy Knitter‘s knit-a-long, called Project Peace:

A March Through Time_Campbell_2015

Project Peace is a knit-a-long (or in this case, a peace-a-long) with a waffle stitch-esque pattern cowl… for the purposes of thinking of peace.  From the Ravelry page:

What’s a peace-along? There will be a daily tip on how to infuse more peace into your life. These tips will be available on my blog each day from December 1-21. They’ll be simple things, some from me and others from a few guests.

With little time to knit lately & with my commitment to knitting blankets for hospice patients, I thought that a knit-a-long where I’m expect to knit 1 4-row round a day was perfect.  I’ve got a hectic line to the finish of 2016 with my academic career coming to an end after December 16, work ramping up, & a trip to the Philippines planned on December 21st.  I’ll be gone for over 2 weeks.

I found the idea of using a knitting project to remind myself to “inject more peace into my life” very intriguing because I’m a bit type-A-ish in my life.  I often want to do too many things at once & I strive for perfection. However, one of things that knitting does for me is remind me to do what I can with the time that I have and that making a mistake in my project (or in my life) isn’t the end of the world.

This cowl is a great example.  When I started the cowl, I mis-read the pattern.  I realized that the first round was going to be wrong, as I had miscalculated the number of rounds that I would need for it. 1 round was going to be wrong. “Fuck,” I thought.

In the past, a mistake like that (even after casting on 318 stitches) would have meant me patiently ticking back every single stitch cast on using fingering weight yarn and re-working the round. I’ve had friends, two of them being yarn shop owners who are expert knitters, tell me that I was nuts for doing this on something like a cowl’s beginning round.  Why? It’s a place that no one would notice except for me. Yet I’d do it. Every time.

Until now, that is.

This time, I looked at it and remembered that I’m supposed to be putting more peace into my life & and thinking about concepts of peace within the world. I thought about how much of a bummer it would be to tick back all of those stitches.  I also considered how thankful I am that I don’t live in a wartime zone. Peace has an entirely different meaning in these parts of the world: a meaning that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend as someone with the ability and privilege to be able to participate in a knit-a-long with a peace theme.

Then I gave the cowl an honest look:

“Yeah,” I thought to myself.  “It’s fine. Make a note of what you did & if you want, just make your last round mirror the first one, so that the cowl looks like same.”

I moved on to the next round & continued to watch episodes of The West Wing & I didn’t think about it again. (Unless you count this blog post.)

Because if there’s anything that knitting has taught me, it’s this:

Life isn’t about the mistakes you make but how you handle them. It’s about moving on to the next round as gracefully as you can to get the job done.

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