sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

September 13, 2006

knitting lessons i wish i could apply to my life
posted by soe 2:05 am

It occured to me a few weeks ago that knitting is good training for life, if only I would apply the lessons I learn on the needles to the real world:

  1. New things are neither as hard nor as scary as I think they’re going to be. Turning a heel intimidated me tremendously, as do things like sending in resumes for interesting sounding jobs. Turning a heel turns out to be remarkably simple, so why shouldn’t writing a cover letter be similarly so? (Picking up gusset stitches on the other hand may always remain hard — or, at least, odious…)
  2. On the other hand, you shouldn’t attempt the unfamiliar (be it a cast-on that will affect your whole bloody project, microeconomics, or how to use Excel’s formulas) when you are already tired and cranky and ought to have been in bed a while ago. Hint: When your partner wishes you good luck and heads to bed is the point at which you should stop learning new skills for the night.
  3. Little stuff takes the most time. I never think weaving in ends should take very long but it regularly takes me three to four times how long I believe it will. The same goes for those “last few boxes” when packing up for a move.
  4. New projects should be approached as adventures. Knitters notoriously love to start new projects. The act of combining a pattern and yarn is deliciously addictive. Joining a group (like a knitting group or a volleyball team) ought to be approached with a similarly adventurous spirit.
  5. Projects that don’t go as planned can be adapted into something wholly my own. For instance, I once neglected to realize that patterns are altered when you knit in the round and you have to approach it that way from the start. I didn’t, and as long as I continued on as if I’d intended for it to look the way it came out, no one was going to be any the wiser. This is somewhat similar to the “Whistle a Happy Tune” song from The King and I. You will make mistakes, but you can minimize how many people know about them by trying to remain open to new options. New trends have to start someplace, right?
  6. Try to strike a balance between doing for yourself and doing for others. Never knitting for yourself will make you sad. Never putting yourself first in life will make you equally frustrated. Always focusing on yourself loses you the wonderful feeling of giving of yourself to someone who loves or needs you.
  7. Don’t waste your time on people who won’t appreciate your talents. Don’t knit a hat for the friend who hates hats (or wool or whatever). Similarly don’t spend days arguing with someone whose mind is made up on a subject that you feel passionately or strongly about. (Alternately, you can surround yourself only with those who will fully appreciate you and your quirky self (although there is then the potential for ego overdevelopment).)
  8. It might seem like you’re just going around in circles, but usually you are making progress. It’s just that you’re too close to notice it. Step away from the situation (or your knitting) for a little while and come back to it later. You’ll be surprised by how far you’ve actually come and how much less you still have to do to accomplish your goal.
  9. Look for patterns. On its own a yarnover is just a hole. Combined with a decrease and repeated regularly, it’s lace. On its own, a single response to a situation is unique. Looked at in the context of similar situations, though, you discover how you cope (for better or for worse) with life. Life is in the details, sometimes.
  10. Things that totally don’t work out or that I hate can (and possibly should) be scrapped. Life is too short to live with a garment or a situation I don’t like.
Category: knitting,life -- uncategorized. There is/are 8 Comments.

I love your list of knitting / life lessons. I think we should all keep these in mind. 🙂

Comment by Karen 09.13.06 @ 7:47 am

I love your list of lessons. You should submit it to the next Yarnival!

Comment by amanda 09.13.06 @ 9:56 am

I discovered your blog today while reading the Yarn Harlot blog.
You are very refreshing!

Comment by Debbie 09.13.06 @ 10:03 am

Hi Sprite! Great Blog!
Also Congrats on winning
the August Sock of the Month 2!
How cool!

Comment by Paula 09.13.06 @ 12:45 pm

Ohhh – I bet you, as a knitter and a reader, could recommend a book to me. I want to learn to knit, and missed registration for the fall beginner class as the local yarn store, so I’m looking for a book that, if it can’t get me started, can at least get me acquainted w/ knitting 🙂 I crochet a bit – a teeny, teeny bit (as in, cannot do more than scarves) and want to knit because 1) all the cool patterns are for knitting and 2) I’m a Rev War reenactor and crochet it too modern to do it in camp 🙂

Comment by Jenn 09.13.06 @ 6:16 pm


I already asked that question, though I have since realized that I have too many hobbies and not enough time to devote to them all. Sprite recommended Stitch and Bitch, by Debbie Stoller, to me. If you’re only going to have one book on knitting, it should probably be this one.


Speaking of books – I recommend you keep up the good work with the knitting life lessons, compile as big a list as you can, and publish it! Won’t matter if you’ve already listed them all here as you came up with them. Your life lessons could become another weekly column like your three beautiful things.

Comment by Grey Kitten 09.13.06 @ 7:27 pm

Very, very wise… I also like ‘any mistake repeated consistently is a pattern–most patterns are beautiful….

Comment by Amy Lane 09.14.06 @ 3:29 pm

[…] Sprite writes about the lessons to be learned from knitting, and how they can be applied to life. […]

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