Dancer is under taking the task of knitting a dishcloth for a needle arts project for 4-H. While she has knit before, she has never actually made it through a whole project because of frustrating snags along the way. Dancer, since she was a toddler, is the kind of person who wants to do everything perfect the first time or she really isn't interested in it. Practice is not a popular word in her vocabulary. This time, however, she is determined to make it to the end of this project.
Thus far we have restarted this project no less than four times. The stitches are all cast on and the first row has 32 stitches, the second 28, the third is back up to 30, the fourth is 33 and so on. I am not sure how she accomplishes this but it is teaching her that without a good basic start things don't turn out how you planned and there is no shame is trying again.
To combat this problem of the ever changing stitch count, we decided that she would bring her work to me after every row and we would look it over to ensure she had it right and was ready to move on to the next row. I hope she will learn that some mistakes, even though they seem small at the time, are impossible to hide as thing go on longer. I also want her to learn to bring her problems to me while they are still small enough for me to fix. One row with a mistake is easy to rectify, six rows isn't. One little mistake in life is usually easy to fix, doing it over and over until it is a big mess isn't.
As the rows have begun to add up and the dish cloth is growing in length, she is starting to check her own work. She is learning that looking back at what you are doing once in a while keeps you on the right road to success.
Once she came to me and said that she knew she made a mistake but didn't know how to fix it. Knowing you have made a mistake is more than half the battle of setting things right again I told her. It is those who are making mistakes and don't realize it that are getting deeper and deeper into trouble. I also hope she remembers that she can always come to me with a problem and I will do my best to help her sort it out and get her back to where she can go on successfully.
She is also starting to have more and more rows without any mistakes. I am delighted to watch her finish a row, look it over, smile, flip her work over and continue on. Success is sweet even if it is only a row of perfect knitting stitches.
The last thing she is learning from this project is that if you don't do anything there is no progress. While this seems to be a long project for her, leaving it lay on the end table for a few days doesn't accomplish anything. I want her to do at least a row a day so she can see that even little amounts of effort add up quickly and brings you closer to your goal.
I also hope that this project will encourage her to take on other, more difficult knitting project and she can grow her skill level even though she was frustrated at first. I am restraining myself not to throw in a 'I told you so' moment and say "see, practice makes perfect and your hard work is paying off." Even I am learning a few parenting lessons from this dish cloth!