My fave parenting wormhole of the moment? Growth mindset. Instead of viewing knowledge as a binary categorization (yes = I know this, no = I don’t know this), not knowing is an indication of potential to grow. If learning is trial and error, then each time I fail, I am discovering an opportunity to learn, grow, improve and get smarter. This is part of what I LOVE about coming up with new crochet designs. I am taking the unknown (how do I make ‘x’?) and making it known through strategizing, trying, failing, re-strategizing and trying again.
As much as I embrace this way of thinking, I still often find myself thinking, “Did it work?” and using the y/n answer as the final answer for a particular task. But this week I was challenged to revisit something that I classed as a “no” - I tried to finish a shawl, but I was running out of yarn. I played my usual game of yarn chicken and I came up at least 3 feet short :(
This was the last yarn I had bought for the shawl and the yarn was discontinued. I really, really wanted that last row, but it seemed impossible. So I set it down for a bit to focus on other things. I had honestly resigned myself to rip out that last bit, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. If anything in crocheting should fall into a binary categorization, it would be, “Do I have enough yarn?” Yes or no? 0 or 1? It turns out, I was wrong.
Crocheting, like all creative arts, is influenced by myriad variables. Weight, fiber, hook size - even humidity - all play a major role in your finished product, without changing any stitches. I had forgotten the one thing I could change in the final row of a project without changing anything else. This could magically multiply my available yarn. Any guesses? (Mom - I know you’ve got this already and you’re not even a crocheter. 😉) Tension. Of course! I know that others know this, but I had never done it before. You rip your last couple of rows and then re-work them with a tighter tension.
Well. I’ll. Be.
I had enough! I made it to the end and was able to work the last row I was so keen on keeping. *small victory dance of joy here*
Crochet hack #1: Yarn too short? Rip a couple of rows and try again with a tighter tension.
What did I learn? Well, other than the importance of considering tension, I was reminded that even things seeming like a final answer might not be. It is worth pausing, percolating and investigating further. In my yarn 🧶 chicken 🐓 moment, I exhausted everything I could think of, but I hadn’t actually exhausted everything - I just didn’t know it yet.
Another thing I was reminded of is the concept of “truthiness” - when something feels true regardless of facts. (Bonus points if you know who coined this term.) Not having enough yarn felt very true in the moment, but the yarn itself wasn’t the only factor. I could change, I could adjust and this made all the difference. I wish I could say that I’m like this in all my relationships, but I do have a tendency to double-down on my “correctness” when I’m convinced I’m right. My hubby and I joke a bit about the times we’re both 100% certain we’re correct - more times than not, he’s right. I think he’s better at knowing “just the facts” and I’m prone to jump to conclusions. It’s a helpful/annoying reminder that just because it feels true, doesn’t mean it is (but sometimes I can know this and I still don’t care.)
And here we have the reason I’m so into the growth mindset concept in parenting. Yes, I care about it in parenting my kids, but I am also parenting myself. Even though trial and error crocheting helps me stretch and grow, there is still a battle waging against what I think is right or wrong, possible or impossible. I want to get quicker at recognizing this tension and, when I feel like I’m jumping to an assumed, final conclusion, to pause and re-calibrate. It may or may not affect the final outcome, but it will help change my mindset and grow me through the process.