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Is your Crojo lacking because you are frustrated with making mistakes? Is your perfectionism getting in your way of enjoying crochet or crocheting at all?
Have you said this, “When I look at my finished project all I see are the mistakes?”
If yes, I have been right there with you.
It’s inevitable. We all make mistakes while crocheting. But we have a choice. We can let the mistakes bother us or we can embrace them.
Once I changed my mindset, I realized I was putting a lot of unnecessary stress on myself to be perfect. Now that burden as been lifted and I can enjoy my crocheting even more. Read on to see how I changed my mindset and how you can change yours.
Embrace your imperfections
It all started with a crochet class.
I was watching Estefa Gonzalez’s (of Santa Pazienzia) Top-Down: One-Piece Crocheted Garments class on Domestika. Yes, another top down class. I have officially lost track of how many top down garment design classes I’ve taken, maybe 5? And I signed up for another this month. I’m not sure what this says about me. Ha-ha.
Anywho, in the video she knots all her ends. I was a little taken aback. I do sometimes knot ends but never on garments.
She explained, the knots make the garment sturdier (of course) but they also add charm. A knot adds personality. It shows the garment is handmade and is more special than a store bought garment.
Isn’t that a great way to think about the imperfections, as charming and evidence that it is special? This advice has given me permission to make knots as well as little mistakes.
I didn’t realize it before but I was putting pressure on myself to make my crochet projects perfect and this really helped me to let that go. I’m enjoying crocheting more than ever.
Mistakes you don’t see won’t bother you
Another way to come to terms with your inevitable “charming details” is to not look for them.
I used to belong to an Artist Trading Card group. Artist Trading Cards are pieces of art the size of baseball cards (2.5 by 3.5 inches / 6.4 by 8.9 cm) created on a card stock background that artists trade with each other. It’s great fun.
Anyway, one of the women in my group was always frustrated because she couldn’t cut her card stock to EXACTLY the correct size. This often stopped her from ever getting started on her cards because she couldn’t get past the card cutting step. And if she did create a card she was never satisfied.
One day I told her I would teach her how to cut her cards perfectly every time. She was excited. I said, “Look, first you measure, then you cut. Then here is the trick. Don’t look that closely at your finished card.” She wasn’t too happy with me but it’s true.
If you don’t look for imperfections you won’t see them.
Ignore your mistakes
I’ve heard a lot of people say, “when I look at my finished crochet project all I see are the mistakes.” Well guess what? That’s because they are looking for them. We all need to stop doing this!
Let’s look at the successful parts of our project and not look for the imperfections. Yes, some are glaring and I do go back and fix those. But a little funny something here or there I overlook, don’t think about again, and forget about.
So how do we eliminate mistakes? We don’t look for them. And if we find one accidentally, forget about it.
I’m serious! I never look at my crochet makes super carefully when I’m done. I just enjoy the overall impression.
This takes practice but it’s worth it. Our happiness will thank us for it.
Why do mistakes bother us?
If you think about it, it’s kind of silly that we expect perfection of ourselves. It’s also silly that we give ourselves a hard time when we can’t achieve it. We are, after all, human. We aren’t machines or computers.
When I was first learning how to crochet I took some lesson at my local yarn store, Yarn it All. On one of my first days I was getting visibly frustrated about not being able to get something right. I can’t remember what.
When class was over I gathered my things abruptly and got up to leave. The teacher grabbed my arm and said something like, “Crochet is supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to be perfect.” I didn’t have a convinced look on my face so she added, “The Amish make one mistake in each of their projects because only God is perfect.” I thought this was interesting so I looked into it.
I came across quite a few stories like this. Older craft cultures that leave “deliberate imperfections” in their makes.
On the Amusing Planet I found an article about Navajo rug weaving culture. They “believe that only God is perfect and that humans cannot achieve the same perfect level. So they make sure to leave little imperfection in anything they create.”
I found this same philosophy mentioned in Amish quilt making culture and Irish crochet culture.
Some believe the philosophy to be a myth. But whether or not this practice is historically accurate or a modern myth, somewhere along the way someone came up with this story to justify imperfection. And enough people found the idea useful that it has now spread around and become part of modern experience Proving that there is a culture of having to justify why a human would make a mistake while crafting.
So in the end, we should accept that it is both human nature to make mistakes and human nature to be frustrated with our inability to not make mistakes.
Once we are aware that we are doing this, we can be kinder with ourselves. We can try not to be upset when we make a mistake and we can try not to be upset when we get upset about making a mistake.
I hope this post helps you find more joy in your making.
If you liked this article, read these next!
- Get your Crojo back – Part 1: Attend an Online Conference
- 10 Crochet Magazine Subscriptions and How to choose the best one for you!
- What is a crochet bundle?
- Yarn Review – Manly Yarn
Mary Beth Cryan has been designing crochet patterns for over 4 years. Prior, Mary Beth worked as a professional illustrator and product designer with a specialty in paper crafts for 18 years. She has authored and illustrated 17 paper craft books, countless pop-up greeting cards, and many paper craft kits. She received 3 LOUIE Awards from the National Greeting Card Association. Some of her clients included MoMA (Museum of Modern Art NYC), American Girl, Dover Publications, Peter Pauper Press, Ranger Rick Magazine, Highlights magazine and many others. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in 2000.