The Art of Wabi Sabi Knitting

Wabi Sabi What?

If you are not familiar with the Japanese term Wabi Sabi, you may be wondering what on earth I’m about to talk about. You may be asking yourself: ”Is this crazy woman about to tell me to knit with chop sticks?” Let me sooth your mind right now, I’m not. Wabi Sabi knitting is something entirely different.

Wabi Sabi is an aestetic celebrating the imperfect and transcient aspects of life. If you are anything like me, you tend toward perfection as a default and constantly having to remind yourself that good enough is in fact good enough. Perfection doesn’t exist.
This is why makers of real oriental rugs always make a tiny mistake on purpose in their rugs. Only God is perfect and competing with that is impossible. This is where a Wabi Sabi view on life can be of tremendous benefit.

Don’t be a slacker.

If you can’t be perfect you might as well not try your best, right?! – Wrong! Wabi Sabi isn’t about doing lefthanded work (unless of course that is your dominant hand). I believe many people devote great efforts to achieving a Wabi Sabi expression.
What separates these people from the rest of us is that they hold the follow three things to be true:
  1. Nothing lasts 
  2. Nothing is finished
  3.  Nothing is perfect

And the knitting bit?

What I’m about to say  next may come as a shock to you or it may not, depending where you are on the perfectionist to Wabi Sabi spectrum.

Your knitting doesn’t have to be perfect.

That’s right, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to fudge small mistakes or to change the recipient of a project if your gauge did a number on you. That small mistake could be a design feature and all you’ve changed are your words. Forgot to make the increases on the last row, don’t know how to fix it? Don’t fret, just make them on this row. Really, how many people come that close to your underarm? And don’t be afraid to show off your less than perfect knit to your knitting friends, the ones worth keeping won’t give you any trouble and the really nice ones may even teach you how to fix it next time, that is if they ever find the ’mistake’.

There are times when your knitting has to be spot on, for instance if you are test knitting or designing an item. However, most of the time, embracing more of a Wabi Sabi look of this thing we do as a recreational pasttime will bring another level of joy to our stitching.

What are you waiting for? Carpe Lanem

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