Friday, August 12, 2011

In which we learn about Scarf 9 and Making Mistakes

Last Friday, after two days of dreaming about making one hundred scarves, I gave myself a deadline: seven scarves in seven days. I'd already made three and I wanted a total of ten before committing to this project. Seven scarves in a week is a lot and I knewmy other work would suffer, but I wanted to see if I could sustain interest, talent, and output in that time. This evening is my deadline and I've only made it to nine. To top it all off, the last two were failures.

Yes, that's right. Failures with a capital F.

Why are they failures? Scarf 8 is not at all what I intended and Scarf 9 is not functional. Look at the photo up above. Do you see the hole in the scarf? This hole was carefully and deliberately made to allow the other end of the scarf to slide through so that the wearer doesn't need to tie it. It was intended to be worn by children or as a small necklet by adults. The problem is that it's difficult to measure the scarf while it's on the loom and the hole ended up right smack dab in the middle of the scarf, not only completely useless in this spot but an eyesore as well.

In spite of this, I'd like us to take another look at Scarf 9.

Aside from the misplaced hole it's sort of beautiful, isn't it? I had concerns about mixing these yarns, but I love them together now. This scarf is unsalvageable, but I can buy more yarn and make others like it. And that's why we're discussing Making Mistakes and not Giving Up.

This quote from Jack Canfield appeared in my Facebook feed today:

"As you begin to take action toward the fulfillment of your goals and dreams, you must realize that not every action will be perfect. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. Making mistakes, getting it almost right, and experimenting to see what happens are all part of the process of eventually getting it right."

Wowza! Is that what I need to hear today, or what? I want to repeat it again, right now, emphasizing every single word.

Yes, I am one scarf shy at the end of week one. Yes, two of my scarves are duds. But the other seven? They're soft, scrumptious, marketable beauties that I'm proud to send out into the world with my name attached.

So here's to the end of Week 1. Here's to Making Mistakes. And here's to hopefully, eventually, crossing-your-fingersly Getting It Right.


mama bee said...

You know, I have an assignment that I give myself sometimes to create a certain number of bad or failed drawings in a week. It forces me to draw but takes away the pressure of feeling like it isn't worth drawing if the drawings don't turn out. This way I'm succeeding even when I fail - and it's true, as you said in this post, that you learn so much from doing things not quite right (failure is such a strong word).

Sara E. Cotner said...

I love your attitude. I feel like everything in our society sculpts us into people who give up easily. Everything is designed for convenience, so we're not used to dwelling in difficulty. We are also often motivated by external praise and rewards, so we're afraid to look silly or make mistakes because we're afraid of losing affirmation. I love that quote!

Stephan said...

In college, as I was teaching myself the yoyo, I remember suddenly noticing that it was in recovering from errors that I gained the most skill and sensitivity. When everything's going smoothly, it manages itself. Errors give you the opportunity to engage with the situation and find meaning in it--as you have done!

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