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The Hardest Teacher

“Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first, and the lesson afterward.” -Oscar Wilde


I never make the same mistake twice. I seem to make it at least 5 times before it slaps me in the face. Or in this case, literally hundreds of times over the past two months.


It’s the knitting machine guys.


I was so pumped to get this machine because I assumed rather naively that the acquisition of it would make my life easier. I envisioned myself enjoying a beer (or two or three) with music blasting in our “studio” while I effortlessly churned out badass beanies at lightspeed for the whole of humanity to enjoy...


Turns out, the only thing that happened at lightspeed was the embarrassing realization that I was in way over my head.


Armed with an old manual from the ‘70s and some really crappy youtube videos as my guides (this is, after all, a vintage machine)- I felt pretty sighted and like it was mostly up to me to just get in there and keep duking it out until something clicked.


So that’s what I have been doing- for two months straight.

 

 

And after 63 long days I realized that had I not been making one teeny tiny mistake over and over and over again, I would’ve been up and running within 20 minutes of the initial setup of the machine. This, obviously, was quite a frustrating epiphany to have after so much time but I think a mix of delusion and relief ultimately won out because all I could do when I realized my mistake, was laugh. And finally, unclench my butthole.


“Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” - Franklin P. Jones


After dropping thousands upon thousands of stitches (dropping a stitch will effectively unweave an entire hat), tearing precious yarns to shreds, and putting that damn machine through the wringer -not to mention, myself- I realized that all I needed to do was apply some weight to the bottom end of the yarn in order to allow the part of the machine that knits stitches to do its job most effectively.


Damn, do I have a lot of “experience” under my belt now!


It might not mean much to most because most probably haven’t ever messed with an old ass knitting machine. But I’m sure we can all relate to working tirelessly on something only to realize we were holding ourselves back for a silly reason.


The thing is that it doesn’t even have to be work related- we exhaust ourselves on much more than our career. Relationships, changing our lifestyles, cooking a dinner that actually tastes good for once… You get it.


I guess the question to ask yourself at the end of the day is- is it really worth all the time you’re putting into it?


“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” -Pele


We can’t avoid getting stuck on something but we can avoid getting stuck on something that is more draining than it is fulfilling. This machine has been a ginormous pain in my ass and though I’ll admit at times I questioned my abilities, I never questioned whether or not it was worth my time.


Besides learning a shit ton about it and now having the ability to crank out some of the aforementioned badass beanies (video coming soon), it’s been solidified for me that this is something I enjoy doing so much I’m willing to bash my head against the wall for an extended period of time to make it happen.


Which is pretty cool, I think.  


“Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out into the world.” - Judy Collins


We may make some silly mistakes, but if we’re doing what we enjoy is it really fair to call it a mistake in the first place?

_________________

Alexa Francisco

by Alexa Francisco

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