Saturday, April 28, 2012

3KCBWDAY6--Skill Building

Today's topic:
Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.
Hmmmm. The only way I can answer this is to say that I like to think I'm on my way. If crafting-- in my case at the moment knitting, spinning, and weaving -- is a road, then I want it to be a very long road that I can travel for years and years. With knitting and spinning in particular, I'm comfortable enough with my skills that I don't feel like a rank beginner any more. At the same time, there are tons and tons of techniques and secrets left to learn or explore more thoroughly and I like that, since I will probably get bored and quit if I think there's nothing left to learn.

On my "To Learn" list for the near future are double knitting (this is a new one for me; I downloaded Extreme Double Knitting and I'm looking forward to testing out the techniques on some hats for my kids), more lace stuff (I've got the beginnings of Bridgewater on my needles, which is more of a major lace thingy than anything else I've knit so far), and color work (I've done some of this before, but I'd like to get much better at it; I've got a hat, mittens, a bag, and a sweater all on my knit list for this year). For spinning, I still enjoy spinning whatever fluff looks good to me, but I would like to get better at spinning a nice soft worsted singles and intentionally choosing a fleece or some fiber for a particular project, spinning a yarn that is suited to the project, and then actually finishing that project. In weaving I'm a total newbie; everything is wide open here.

On a totally unrelated topic, here is a little guy who needs to stay exactly the same for just a little bit longer. I know that T-Ball is all about giving kids enough skills that they can eventually start playing baseball, but there's not much that I love better than watching the beginning of a T-Ball season.

We start, of course, with eight 5 and 6 year olds. Put them all together in the field. Make sure at least 4 of them are crowded around the pitcher's mound, since that's where just about everything is hit.

Then we wait . . .

and wait . . .

and wait . . .

until someone finally hits the ball near us and we tackle it, because this is really so exciting that we can't stand up any more. Sometimes the other guys who are in the field tackle the ball at the same time and we get a little scrum going while we sort out who is going to actually pick the ball up and deal with it.

Whoever wins the ball gets to throw it to, or at least somewhere near, first base. This usually wakes the first baseman up, but it's a bit of a crap shoot whether he will catch it or chase it or duck to get out of the way.

After we do this for a while, it's time to bat.





Finally we connect with the ball instead of beating up on the Tee. And then we run, although sometimes we forget to go right away and the coach has to remind us. Hopefully we confine our running to our own field, but some of us forget to turn left at second base and occasionally end up playing a different game. Eventually we have run all the way around the bases and back to home plate. Then it's time to ask dad, who is coaching, if we can go see mommy for a few minutes because we think she might have snacks.

Later in the season, we know the drill. We hit the ball instead of the tee (mostly), we learn to let one of our teammates field the ball if it's closer to him, and we get better at staying with the team when we're not batting, even if we still wave to mom during the game. The sense of chaos is gone and it is clear that we've been schooled in the basics of playing a team sport like baseball. It's still cute to watch the game, but now it lacks the sense of randomness that kept the parents giggling at the beginning of the season.

I know we can't keep them unskilled and unschooled forever, but this is one part of childhood that I'm in no rush to part with.

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