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Fiber Friday: It's All A Matter Of Trying...
This Friday, I'm reflecting on how failure is an intergral part of the making process, like it or not! + recs for reading, watching, listening & learning.
Hi there, I’m Jodie Morgan, and welcome!
Fiber Friday is a weekly letter from me to you, filled with life lessons, crafting adventures, inspiration, and links from the world of making.
I hope you enjoy this edition, and if there’s someone (or someones!) you know who might enjoy it, I'd appreciate it if you share it with them on your favorite platform: social media, emails, chat groups… Thank you so much.
Enjoy your upcoming weekend,
Today I wanted to share a quote with you.
“Every try will not succeed, but if you're going to live, live it all, your business is trying. And if you fail once, so what? Old folks say every shut-eye ain't sleep and every goodbye ain't gone. You fail, you get up and try again.”
That's by Maya Angelou, The Heart Of A Woman.
I've been grappling with how many “tries” I've attempted in my life that haven’t succeeded. To read the sage words of Maya Angelou has renewed my faith in myself. That even though I've failed, I'm still getting up and trying again.
Failure is an integral part of the making process, whether we like it or not, it's part of our learning. And through frustrations, we often find the most joy in the fact that we've worked out something that may have been quite challenging for us.
And although we experience discomfort in making mistakes, it’s part of the process. We have success and failures.
I think the thing I've recognized is having patience, when I'm trying to do something I'm not familiar with, is so important. I just have to take some deep breaths when I’ve ripped out what I’ve attempted for the 20th time! I need to remind myself this is brand new and in my brand newness, I need to be patient with myself.
So I have a dream of making a Fair Isle sweater.
Now, living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I'm not about to knit a Fair Isle sweater because there’ll be absolutely no need to ever wear it. But I think if I'm going to attempt such a project as Fair Isle, I need to learn how to do colorwork, to knit with two colors at the same time and although not easy, with practice I could do it. And of course there will be mistakes along the way.
I was reflecting on the knitting failures I've had in the past and one that really sticks out is when my Mum and I were attempting to knit a sweater together.
So she was knitting one sleeve and I was doing the other. I'd finished my sleeve first and then we measured my sleeve against her sleeve. Hers was about 6 inches longer than mine!
It showed me how knitting tension can vary greatly between knitters! We had to frog Mum's sleeve and I ended up making the second sleeve as well. Otherwise we’d never get the same length.
And the other one that sticks out in my mind is when I was knitting the Slip Knit Love Shawl mosaic design.
It was the first time I attempted mosaic knitting (slip stitch knitting). It's truly a beautiful technique and I was so excited to get going with this pattern.
I didn't read it thoroughly and I came to a section where I was knitting the mosaic wrong! I realised this because what my knitted section looked like was nothing like the picture in the pattern. Of course I had to rip back and try again.
What I learned from that experience was I have to curb my excitement about knitting something new, and just take my time in reading the instructions thoroughly.
So the tips I have for you if you're also struggling in your knitting journey are:
You take a break. You put down your needles and you do something else you really love. In my case it's drawing. I have a set of colored pencils and a small sketchbook. Whether it be geometric or abstract designs or if I'm taking inspiration from nature, I adore drawing flowers.
Another option is to knit something simpler. So if you've got a technique that's becoming a little difficult, maybe going back to something you’ve already got started that’s easier.
Or, find a friend who's willing to teach you what you're doing wrong or how to do it better. Or find an online tutorial for the technique you’re struggling with and practice for a while.
Ask for help from the wonderful members of Ravelry. I’ve had questions where I was stuck in a pattern and the lovely members have always taken the time to answer. They often share links to tutorials or give guidance themselves.
If you’re working with a pattern ask the designer for help. Often they list the ways to contact them to ask questions.
What I’ve Loved This Week
The little doubting voice that we all know so well about our own body shapes, how pattern books have gorgeous models that aren’t the same as our own bodies, and accepting myself as I am, is a lifelong journey.
She's talked about the second anniversary of the death of her beloved husband and how it's brought with it, all the difficult emotions. Grief is something we could talk about more openly, and I'm so grateful for those who do.
I've loved listening to the audiobook dramatization of Philip Pullman's trilogy Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass. Narrated by the author and with voice actors playing each character is very entertaining.
I'm reminded of listening to stories on my Mama's (my grandmother) old record player as a child. Philip Pullman's voice is wonderful and what talents to have, to write and do the audio narration.
The short tutorials by knitters over on Instagram I've found to be vast and varied. The ones I've found interesting are techniques I wasn’t familiar with.
Katie at Knit Life Oils had a reel that showed two ways of doing slip slip knit.
Romy Designs demonstrated how to do an I-cord cast on and that was new to me! I've done I-cord edging and a bind off but never a cast on. This is a beautiful way to start off a knitting project.
I've been exploring new routes for my daily early evening walk. I turned left instead of right at the end of a street and I found a bridge that crossed the Ping River.
On the other side of the bridge the banks of the river are planted with flowers. I saw Zinnias, Impatiens and other flowers I don't know the names of.
Fortunately there's a walking track along this stretch of river and to my delight there are also large trees with enormous trunks and huge tall canopies. As I stood beneath their majesty I wondered how old they might be?
This week's Monday breakfast was a delicious smoothie bowl, a combination of fruits both cut and pureed with granola and nuts. Smoothie bowls are very popular here in Chiang Mai and I think directed more to foreigners than locals.
I've also been putting thin slices of cucumber in a light pickling solution of apple cider vinegar, salt and sugar for half an hour before eating it at lunchtime.
This is also a reminder of my childhood as my Mama would peel large cucumbers from her garden, slice them and put them in a glass screw-lid jar with a pickling solution using white vinegar, sugar and salt.
My question for you this Friday is: what's a supposed knitting failure you've had and what did you learn from it?
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