Monday Muse: A New Lease

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yesterday, I started right-hand knitting. I have previously been a loyal left-hand knitter, claiming obstinately that I did not know how to do that other technique, and I didn't care to learn. But then I came up against a problem. Every time I tried to knit something tightly in the left-hand method, it turned out too loose.
This impacts mostly things that need to be shaped accurately to a correct size (for instance, if I were trying to make a sweater, I don't want it to show off my skin underneath). I tried everything to remedy it: smaller needles, holding the yarn tighter, thicker yarn... all the things that you would do if you were an experimental knitter like I am. And yet there was no way to get that tight clean look with my traditional way.
So, I caved. I watched a video, picked up some pieces of scrap yarn, and started knitting right hand. And, admittedly, it wasn't that bad. In fact, I think that it was important to open myself up to the experience.
I believe that we often stick with what we know. Sometimes that's for the better, so we don't sound stupid when making an argument or in a polite conversation. But sometimes, and maybe even most of the time, it also means that we aren't challenging ourselves and our own expectations.
A lot of people tell you to challenge yourself: teachers, parents, coaches... but often they are talking about something that they want you to do. So what about you? What do you think will get you out of a rut or at least give you another perspective on what you are already doing? Would you do it? When?
As human beings, we only have this one life. So, as a friend of mine keeps saying to me, you have to do exactly what you want because you don't know when your time will be up. Maybe that thing that you continually refuse will give you a new lease on life.

I encourage you today to think of something - just think of it, even if you don't have the materials or express need to do it right now - that you want to do outside of your usual realm. There is always something out there beyond the realm of your expectations, and that might just jump-start you to go on to even greater things.

And, as an aside, if you go to Barnard or Columbia, look out for a knitting study break in a few weeks - we are going to do some de-stress activities and hopefully get everyone knitting as a way of taking your mind off of finals. Let me know if you're interested in coming!

I am trying out a new weekly blog post schedule - I enjoyed writing a daily blog post this month, so I think I want to keep that up, just with a little more structure in the coming months. Stay tuned for some interesting posts to come!