I learned something new… and for me at least it’s kind of cool.
When you have dyslexia and some features of dyspraxia, things just don’t come as easily as they probably would to the general population.
I struggle with dexterity all the time, I literally am a clumsy fool… except I’m not stupid even tough it might look like I am when it takes me months to figure out how to open an medicine ampule without crushing it, or give myself a needle stick injury twice before I figure out how to take the cap of a needle correctly. I often think people think I’m stupid but honestly most of the time I’m aware of what I should be doing and just as frustrated as my teacher in that simple manual tasks which I understand in theory seems to take me so long to master. The constant admission of failure is at times embarrassing but I persevere and I do get there in the end… I’m just less coordinated than average
I’ve always been this way and actually I was much worse in childhood. As a youngster, I couldn’t hit a tennis ball with a racquet until at least secondary school. I was that kid who had to hold a teachers hand just to walk along a bench in gym never mind a balance beam, which doesn’t win you any favors in the popularity stakes. Thankfully over the years things have improved.
I have to say at this point that, in general, my mentors at work are very supportive and I’m always supervised. Basically I simply refuse to give up until I master something. I do live with the almost constant fear that I’ll come up against a skill that I simply can’t master… but among students of my profession I’m sure I’m not alone.
Anyway, over the last few weeks I taught myself to knit.
It’s something I have been curious about since about age 9. Lots of the women in my family do; my mum, my aunts and my grandmother are all able to reel off knitting rows at speed. At age nine I thought it might be cool to learn, so I asked my mum to teach me. Well, granny was staying with us at the time and so the unfortunate task fell to her.
It played out as one of the most frustrating hours of my life, as my gran tried to describe, show and teach me a basic knit stitch. Needles and wool out of control, I recall her gripping my fingers and trying to force my hands to perform the action correctly which felt awkward and hurt. There were tears on both sides and a massive argument as she just couldn’t understand why I was failing. She proudly showed my mum the scarf “WE” had produced for my baby doll and mum was over the moon. However, I was embarrassed that in reality I didn’t feel I had done any of it. I promptly decided as most kids would have at that age that knitting was not fun and clearly beyond me. I resolved never to do it again.
This “I can’t knit” attitude has stuck with me right into adulthood. I have a number of very crafty people on my Facebook feed and always admire their knitted creations. Recently, when some of my friends and fellow students were knitting baby hats to be donated to various hospitals, I decided to give knitting a second chance.
Armed with part one of a magazine series and the accompanying DVD recommended by a crafty pal, I started… and after 2 hours I was none the wiser and by now getting really sick of hearing the simple instructions on repeat. So I turned to YouTube and looked up a helpful video called “Casting on – super slow version” finally with another 40 minutes of fumbling with my needles I’d cast on my first row and was pretty pleased with myself..
Over the next 3 weeks I painfully, slowly began row by row to knit my first simple square. It was malcoordinated and slow slow slow, but I was doing it and that felt GREAT.
Great that is until… I began to suspect I was running out of wool and my square was still looking more like a rectangle… UGGGHH. I totally didn’t want to admit defeat and start over, so stubborn as I am I carried on… and on and on… in denial. Almost literally to the last strand when defeat was obvious.
The pattern had asked me to cast on 44 stitches or keep going till I had a 20 cm row. Well, 20 cm in my first row was about 88 stitches to me but by the time I got to row 4 I discovered that my precious square was 30 cm long. Eventually, I did unravel the whole thing… and at this point I almost gave up again.
But now that I did persevere and have finished, it actually looks better than my first attempt.
Sometimes when things aren’t right its best to pull them apart and start over. I could do with remembering this lesson haha.
I think I’m going to send this horrifically pink square of knitting to my mum….
It really reminded me that perhaps nothing is impossible… if only we’d keep trying.