Taking the Long View

When I was growing up, my ballet teacher had a poster that hung in the studio dressing room. It was a picture of a young girl’s pink-stockinged legs and feet as she sat on the floor, tying her pointe shoe ribbons. The words were:

“So much of growing is waiting–for our knowledge to increase, for ourselves to mature, for our dreams to become reality.”

I was recently reminded of that poster–at which I glanced countless times during eight years of ballet classes–when I finally got around to crochet projects that I’d intended to begin for much of my life and never had. One of these “someday” projects was learning to make thread crochet doilies.

I bought Leisure Arts’ books Beginner’s Guide to Thread Crochet and Pineapple Doilies so many years ago that I don’t even remember when, always meaning to make a doily for my mother.

I found it harder than I expected to form even, correct double and treble crochet stitches with a size 7 steel hook. But when I picked up my thread crochet books again this year, that wasn’t so difficult.

Three things had changed:

I’ve spent a lot of time using a size E (3.55 mm) hook for other projects. That got me used to stitching with smaller hooks without going straight to the tiny steel ones.

I now wrap yarn or thread in a loose loop around my right pinky finger (I crochet left-handed and hold the yarn with my right) to steady my tension without gripping the yarn solely between my index and middle fingers. I read this tip in my favorite instruction book, and it did wonders for my comfort and control. It’s far easier to handle number-10 thread this way while stitching.

I have a lot more experience. Every single project I’ve ever finished has taught me something new, improved my consistency, and given me more perspective. As in life, you are never exactly the same more than one day at a time. You get better almost without realizing it, simply by doing.

I finished the first project in Beginner’s Guide to Thread Crochet–a bookmark–for my mother for Valentine’s Day this year and began the second, a potpourri sachet.

It’s worth it to me now to take the time to make smaller, easier projects and gradually to build up the knowledge, experience, and skill required to make more difficult projects not only successful, but fun.

Taking the long view helps me to return to the things I love at new and higher levels and to live more peacefully with my present abilities. I find that much has actually happened during the growing that took place while I was “waiting.”

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