“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”
Last Monday or Tuesday, I excitedly finished the body of the sweater I’m knitting for myself. The binding off seemed to take forever in comparison to the knitting, and when I had completed that last stitch, I was thrilled…until I looked at my sweater spread out to size and the bottom looked like a big frumpy mess. I was so sad and irritated about it. I even threw it on my dressform just to see if that would help. It didn’t. I knew I was going to have to go back and correct my mistake- I hadn’t held my yarn more tightly for the ribbing after completing the color work, and now I would have to undo all that binding and frog back to the last knit row and begin the ribbing again. And oh, how I dreaded the very thought of it. My heart sank as my excitement dissolved.
Sunday night, I finally mustered up the courage to tackle my repair while my husband worked on a speech for a class he’s taking. I showed my failure on my Instagram stories, and recognized my bad attitude about having to go back and fix my mistakes. You see, I really don’t like having to go back and fix things. I would much rather do something the hard way and do it right the first time than to repair. That’s just how my mind works. My seam ripper is absolutely not my best friend. Most of the time I don’t even know where it is because I do not want to use it. And when I do, I normally bribe my husband to do the unpicking, and he always comes to my aid and helps me out because he is a treasure. But that is sewing, and I know what I’m doing for the most part when it comes to sewing.
Knitting is an entirely different animal. I consider myself a beginner, and I like to follow directions. I do not ever purposely veer from them because I do not know a better way, and I definitely don’t know enough to correct my mistakes. Hence my panic which came out in the form of a bad attitude. I couldn’t believe the amount of people who messaged me immediately either correcting my attitude or just offering up tips and encouragement. It turns out I learned more than just how I should fix my knitting mistake.
You see, I came right out of the gate saying “I hate failure, but I really failed here”, and a dear friend had the gumption to tell me I should not use such a harsh word. She said I surely wouldn’t explain a mistake to my children in such terms, and I shouldn’t be using that word for a silly knitting mistake. Failure is an attitude changing word. Its heavy, and defeating. But I use it all the time. I use it for myself. And you know what? I use it with my kids sometimes. I homeschool the kids (Layla’s the only one in a “real grade”), and when she doesn’t put her best effort in and try at all, I tell her that’s the real failure. Not that getting things wrong is, but that not trying is. And I think that the point of that is true- the only time we fail is when we don’t try. But more than that, my friend’s soft rebuke showed me that my attitude of perfection and failure is a great detriment and a pattern that I’ve been living in front of my children.
I do believe that we should always put our best effort into what we do, otherwise what is the point? But I have been equating effort with success, and that’s just not a correct way of looking at it. My best effort did not yield a perfect result, but I did try my hardest. So I really didn’t fail, I just didn’t get the result I wanted. And as my other dear friend pointed out, I now had the opportunity to learn something new- how to correct my mistake so I can help someone else when they need it, or when I need to go back and fix my own mistakes again. She reminded me that its all a part of living this life! We make mistakes and bad choices every single day, but oh, the blessing of second chances and new days!
That quote at the beginning of the post is from Proverbs 27:6, by Solomon, the wisest of men. I needed that rebuke from my friends, and I’m glad they had the courage to speak it. I have been saying “do your best in all things” in my house for years, and I tell my children constantly that I do not ever expect them to be perfect, but I do want them to try their best. But I haven’t been living that out in my own life- seriously, I had the crummiest attitude about having to go back and fix that sweater, and they see that! They have been seeing that I really do expect perfection despite falling so short of it myself. I feel terrible about the damage I’ve caused and the example that I have set before them, but as my friend said, this is life. This is a mistake I’ve made, and it has not been intentional. I didn’t even see it until my sweater snafu, so I am truly grateful for that mistake for the double lesson it has taught me. I can go forward with a clear picture of what I’ve done wrong in the past and put on an attitude of humility and gentleness and that encouragement like my faithful friends gave to me. I’m not perfect, and I will never reach that, but I can do my best knowing full well I will make mistakes and fall short again and again. But that’s how we grow. I’m so thankful for grace!
In the words of Princess Poppy, “if you knock, knock me over, I will get back up again.” If you are mother of anyone under the age of 12, you are bound to understand that reference. I might have to start singing that throughout the day!
As far as my sweater goes, I did manage to fix my mistake. I learned how to frog and pick up the stitches, and now I am ready to move onto sleeves! This Fair Isle sweater is called the Cartography Sweater by TinCanKnits on Ravelry, and it is sized for young children through adults! I’ll fill you in on more details when I get it finished, but today was all about my much needed attitude adjustment.
Happy Wednesday! Thanks for popping in!