Ok...well, basically we were given a quote and we had to write 250-600 words on the subject. My first quote was: “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” and there were just so many ways to discuss that. I could have talked about delgation, pride, predjudice, etc, etc., but I really liked how it could be implemented in knitting, so I ran with it and this is what I came up with:
In order to respond to this quote, I’m going to use an analogy that I don’t frequently use due to the odd looks I get for discussing one of my passions: knitting. In knitting, one is given a pattern that calls for a specific yarn in a specific color. Now, you can buy that particular yarn and start your own attempt at making a copy of the original, or you can go wild a try using an unusual color that no one would ever think of (and sometimes never wear). Either way, you sit down with your needles, yarn and pattern and just go for it. Knit purl knit, purl knit purl until you have done what often seems like hundreds of rows. Unfortunately, no matter how skilled you are, you will sometimes notice a flaw or two, or even twenty. Here is where oversight comes into play. What do you do? Can you be content knowing that there are visible flaws? Or are you the type of person who can’t handle knowing that there is something wrong in your art?
After countless hours spent with needles in my hands, I’ve come up with this philosophy: If you and the pattern maker are the only ones who will ever recognize the mistake, leave it be. There is no use risking the rest of the work for one stitch that was purled instead of knitted. If it is major, like a cable twisting the wrong way, go back and fix it. Now, this doesn’t mean that I always follow my own guidelines; I do frequently go back to fix little things just because the knowledge of their existence bothers me. I do, however, try to let myself be content with a finished product despite minor inaccuracies.
I wish that this analogy were so easily implemented in real life, but it’s unfortunately not. It is not so easy as pulling out a few stitches and there are no redos but just because, as a concept, it’s a bit idyllic doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive for it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that there are just some things that aren’t worth fussing over. Sometimes, an argument is as unimportant as one wrong stitch and it’s best to just leave it be. There is no sense in worrying about it and maybe, if you go long enough without looking, you’ll forget that it was ever there. I can now look at my first few projects and I see their flaws, but I think that gives them character. It shows me where I’ve come from and it shows me where I am going. It’s only after a few hundred mistakes that you can choose the “character” of your work, it’s only then that you get to have fun with dyes, Fair Isle patterns, and spinning but you’ll never get there if you spend all of your time lamenting over little errors. As the old saying goes, “May god grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”