Attitudes for Success in Learning a Craft

Attitudes for Success in Learning a Craft

When it comes to learning, your attitude is key to your success. I told a customer this morning, that the key to learning a new craft is:
and Perseverance

And while these virtues may not yet be yours, and you are wishing to learn something with your hands, it is important to remember that each is being developed along with every toss of the yarn over your hook or needle, every bit of thread stitched into the fabric you're sewing, every string in a braid, no matter how many times you have to rip everything out and start over again.

Back when I first picked up the knitting needles again as an adult, I struggled. Once I "got" how to cast on, I knit just a flat piece of knitting, and was completely mind-boggled by all the holes I suddenly had after a few rows, as I'd thought this is so easy, look how fast I can make these stitches! When I got to the end and realised I was missing a bunch of stitches on the needles, I was flabbergasted, frustrated, and annoyed at having to tear out that bloody yarn yet again to pick up those stitches I'd missed. It was entirely frustrating.

But over time, the more I repeated these tasks, I started to react less to each mistake. I started to relax a little bit as I knit. I started to make fewer mistakes... I even started to look around so that I could learn new techniques. And I realised that I had developed something that had been really lacking in my life up until that point: patience. How had I developed it? Through practicing persistently, over and over again - even though it took me probably 4 times as long as it should have to complete a project (I'll admit - I still have many of my first forays into knitting sitting unfinished on my shelf, even now, 7 years later. It's probably time to frog them and begin anew).

I can now say I'm an intermediate level knitter, and while I'll never be happy with where my skill-level is (it's the nature of us makers, I'm afraid), at least I can now spot mistakes, fix them, and move on without completely melting down. And learning a new technique may be tricky, confusing, and difficult, but it's in that space of vulnerability that any improvement is ever made. Remember this, and approach classes at Artisanthropy as you would any fun, at-home crafting project - with a sense of humour, forgiveness towards yourself and the mistakes you make as you learn, and with full knowledge that you are exactly where you are supposed to be: challenging your brain and your body with new moves, in a bright, open area along with other people on the same journey as you.

One other neat little trick for learning I've come across in recent years: it might be really tough the first time you try it. But let your brain rest for a couple of nights after your first attempt, and often it'll have synthesised the new techniques and the next time you try it'll actually be easier. Sometimes it even works such that the more time in between attmepts, the better your brain has been able to sort it out! It's proven.

So, relax! Have fun in class. Learning is always a process. And you are probably never going to walk away with a completed project that we work on in our classes because they take hours to complete. So you don't have to do it all during the time you're given in class. You are always welcome to bring your project back and make progress during any of our socials.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments on our classes, workshops and socials, please email us. We are always looking to improve the studio, and our techniques.

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