Bookbinding is no easy craft, and it’s not hard to get discouraged when you don’t see the results you might have expected making your first book. A post at the Rulerless blog offers inspiration that is relatable to anyone who’s had the pleasure of learning a new skill. Read it, and keep on binding!
Casey von Neumann knew she wasn’t great at knitting and that it wasn’t going to be easy, but that didn’t stop her. As she describes it, she worked her way gradually through the different skills she needed to know to knit as she wanted to, experiencing difficulty at every step; by her estimation, she didn’t have much talent for it.
Those of us who have been taught the theory of innate talent—that either one is good at something or not—would have been discouraged. But Casey knew that learning takes time, and that, with enough determination, she would get better. She set her expectations low and took things one step at a time. Soon, she was pleased by her results and enjoyed her knitting, and within months she was knitting sweaters.
What can we learn from this?
First of all, we should realize that “talent”, especially when used as a replacement for hard work, is worth very little compared to hard work. In fact, as Casey says it, her talent was one that all of us either have or can develop: “the ability to stick with something and maintain confidence in myself through the process.”
And if you’re interested in changing your mindset about talent and giftedness towards certain things, I recommend checking out the work of Carol Dweck on the fixed vs. growth mindset. More of a growth mindset = more fun and ease in learning new things!
Second of all, we see that when you love what you do, you’ll always find some way to celebrate it. While Casey was the first one to admit that her first purl and bind off was anything but beautiful, she set her expectations low and let herself simply enjoy the act of knitting itself. In time, she was able to appreciate the growth she saw in her craft and found happiness in her ability to knit, albeit at a beginner level—something she couldn’t have done before she put in the practice and hard work of learning to knit.
As you continue (or maybe even choose to begin!) your bookbinding journey, keep these words in mind. Everyone was a beginner at some point, and no matter how easy it seems now, it probably wasn’t at the outset.
Top image: Emma Jane Hogbin Westby / CC BY
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