Last year, I gave the best one to date... A few people asked me to post it, but I never got around to it...(a bit busy with other goings on in life!) So now that my baby actually sleeps at night, I'm finally posting my speech from last year (my apologies if some of the photos are stretched out and funny looking. I had to save them from my Powerpoint... chances are I'll miss some stuff out too, since I generally make my speeches up as I go.)
Life Lessons I've Learnt From Knitting.
Casting on - Casting on is the start of a new journey.
I love starting new knitting projects. Selecting my materials and reading through the pattern to plan the pathway to completion. The excitement, anticipation and nerves are all part and parcel of embarking on a new adventure or project. Like the students who are leaving us at the end of this year to cast onto their new adventure, I too will be casting on in my new role as a mother.
Lesson 1 - Your parents will do (almost) anything for you, even stuff they hate.
I started knitting at a young age because I saw my grandmother knitting and I wanted another way to be close to her and connect with her. Mum taught herself to knit so she could teach me how. She hated it. She still hates knitting. She watches me knit now and wonders how it is that I can put so much time and effort into my hobby. She said it was a very happy day when I lost interest in knitting, so she could stop also.
But it did give me a bit of extra cuddle time with my beautiful grandmother, thanks to my mum's efforts for me.
Lesson 2 - It's okay to make mistakes. Don't be so hard on yourself... most of the time, no one can tell but you. Take the mistake and learn from it.
Can you spot the mistakes in the sweater? (This was the first one I ever knit.) I used the wrong stitch pattern on the ribbing because I got confused with the pattern.
This photo shows that the sweater was sewn up backwards. Oops.
Lesson 3 - Ask for help when you need it.
Since this was my first project on my own, I asked Phill's mum, nana and aunty for help. They all worked on the sweater with me. It's now a treasured little bit of our family history. (Unfortunately, our baby's due in the summer so s/he won't get to wear it, but it's there should they want to!) Ask for help. People generally want to help if they can.
Lesson 4 - No matter how hard you try, sometimes things don't work out as you plan. Imperfect can be perfect.
I worked for ages on this soft toy. I tried and tried and tried. It just doesn't look right or as perfect as the other ones I've done... but it has character and it's really quite sweet and perfect in its own way. When things don't work out as you planned, appreciate the lesson learned and move on.
Lesson 5 - Things get easier the more you work at it.
Each one of these soft toys was better than the last one I made. Practice really does make perfect. The first time you do something, it isn't going to be the best... so keep working at it.
Lesson 6 - Learn new things. Take the time to learn something new. Do things that you think may be too hard, you may surprise yourself.
I like the look and vibrancy of hand dyed wool. I liked the thought of it. I decided to try it one afternoon, using Kool-Aid. It was great fun and it turned out beautifully! I can't wait to do it again!
Lesson 7 - Good things take time... if you're going to do something, you may as well do it right.
Again, perseverance is key. Good things take time and aren't always easy. It's so satisfying when you figure it out and finish it though. This blanket took me 6 months to make - each row took me 10 minutes. It was frustrating and tiring, but I did it and I took the time to do it right. It felt awesome.
Lesson 8 - Keep important relationships alive.
I made this little cardi for a dear friend who was expecting a baby. We hadn't seen each other in many years and I still have yet to meet her baby. Her friendship is important to me though, even though we don't talk very often... we still check in with each other every so often. It's an easy, relaxed friendship, that's easy to keep alive. Keep those relationships alive - they're more important than you could ever realise.
Lesson 9 - Take an interest in what others are going through and show them you care.
These were made for a friend who was very sick and going through some difficult things in her life. She loved them appreciated them, and they made her feel good to know that she was cared about and on my mind. Small gestures can mean the world to people.
Lesson 10 - Give freely, generously and from the heart, with no expectation of return.
Another wee gift for a friend's baby, just because I wanted to celebrate his birth with her. I didn't want anything in return, I just wanted to give. A study recently showed that performing altruistic acts for others has a physical benefit for the giver. Not only is giving a wonderful thing, but it's good for your health too!
Lesson 11 - Ask lots of questions and learn what you can from those around you.
Your friends all have a talent. Ask them for help and learn from them... this sweater was a gift from a friend who I often ask for advice about knitting patterns and techniques. I want to ask her to teach me how to knit with colours and designs!
Lesson 12 - Be yourself, find your balance and take pride in your own unique gifts.
A lot of my friends think I'm a bit of a nana for loving knitting. Not many women in their thirties get excited about pretty new knitting needles. I don't care. They've come around and actually think it's pretty cool now, because I'm not ashamed of my talents. Embrace your talents and your quirks. They make you who you are.
Casting off - Finish what you've started and see things through to completion, but at the same time, don't be afraid to start over (and over and over). Your completion point may be different than what's expected - it depends on the goals you set for yourself.
Please note that the ends of this sock are not woven in, and there is only one sock. I've been working on this pair for ages but it's not the sock that I really wanted to get from this project (although the sock is awesome) - I wanted to knit with my beautiful new wool and I was focussing on learning a new technique to make the wavy pattern. (It was surprisingly easy.) That being said, I ripped it apart and started over again at least 3 times. There's nothing wrong with starting over. Sometimes, it's even fun... but do try to finish the journey you've started upon - much like you've finished your journey in the Montessori Unit.