Learning Something New
Sure, we could buy our socks at Walmart, but we like to knit them ourselves. Sure, we could buy lace off a bolt, but we like to tat it ourselves. Yes, we could find a nice shawl on sale at Kohls, but we enjoy crocheting our own. It's not easy, and it's not for everyone, but we have chosen to slow down, apply our brains and our hands, and craft beautiful things for our own use, ourselves.
Three awesome ladies came to the LRB last night to add a new competency to their textile toolboxes - spinning. These gals are so good at so many other things. But we all got the inevitable reminder that when you start a new craft, there is a period of time when you feel like you're all thumbs and not very bright. And here's the key: this stage doesn't last, as long as you keep trying. The truth is that you're very bright, and quite dexterous, but your digits need new training.
First, your brain mulls over the new intellectual understanding of the physics. Then your eyes and your hands begin to experiment and try different things ("what happens if I do this?"). Then together, they begin making thousands of micro-decisions you may not even be aware of ("ah, it works better if I hold it this way") and before you know it, your yarn gets nicer and nicer.
Getting the concept is not a very long process. But refining the skill takes what our friend Liz calls, "time in the chair." Practice. Even just over the course of the evening, my new friends' yarn improved 100%. Practice.
Are you learning something new that has you frustrated and about to give up? Persevere. The "AHA!" moment may be right around the corner.