Saying Yes (even when it’s not perfect)

Not long ago, I started knitting a shawl. It’s the ugliest thing I own, and I love it.

I was inspired by a friend who knitted her own beautiful shawl. She gave me rudimentary instructions on how to construct something similar. It sounded simple enough: knit row after row until I achieved a rectangle about twice or three times as long as it was wide, and then fold over and knit a bit up the side. No sweat.

I had a lot of scraps laying around, so I decided, well, why not just make my shawl out of the scraps? Well, any normal, sane, human being would say “because those colors don’t match,” because, well, they don’t.

So, I’m knitting, diligently, I might add, a really ugly shawl.

This is absolutely intentional. I wrote recently about struggling with perfection. This is one of the ways that I am working on my perfectionist tendencies. Start the project. Say yes. Just do it (sorry, Nike). Get going. If I had waited until I had the perfect yarn, I would have waited forever. But it’s January, and it’s cold right now, and I don’t want to wait.

So I started knitting. And the act of knitting really is what makes me feel good. I’m creating something where nothing was before. That feels amazing. It’s why writing makes me feel good. It’s why cooking makes me feel good–although eating is a big part of that, too.

My mother and both sets of my grandparents used to have the most garish handmade pillows and afghans around the house. It wasn’t just that the colors were out of style, because the colors never should have been together in the first place. But I understand those pillows and blankets so much more now. They were made with love, by the hands that also held my parents when they were just babies. The colors didn’t matter so much as the work, the creative spirit, that goes into the product.

Most of all, who cares if it’s ugly? I made a shawl, y’all!

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