Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Spin to Knit: A Critique

Nice gloves, are they not?  They were made for an art show years ago and I'm still pleased with the knitting.  They're an original design, fairly intricate, each one fits, well, like a glove and they're a matching pair (always a bonus for me).  They're soft, warm and pretty things.

I was focused on my knitting here.  As a result, I didn't pay enough attention to the yarn I spun for the gloves, so the yarn itself has many flaws.  I spun from a Merino roving, a low twist yarn, with 2 plies, gently fulled.  Merino isn't particularly durable even when strongly finished; these gloves are certainly not.  Using a lightly plied yarn can work well when knitting lace, but a more tightly twisted yarn would have shown off the bobbles and twisted stitches in the pattern.  A 3 ply yarn would have been rounder, also helping with stitch definition.

A 2 ply yarn doesn't fill the spaces between stitches in stockinette the way a 3 ply will, especially if you're a loose knitter as I am.  You can see this on the palms of the gloves, which also show the inconsistencies in my singles, as well as the under spun/plied areas of the yarn.

It can be difficult to step back from our work and take a hard look at problems.  It can be even more difficult to hear those things from others, but open-hearted examination of what we do helps us improve, bringing us closer to that next goal.

That's the difference between criticism and critique.  Criticism brings us down.  It's designed to make us feel small and inadequate; sometimes, it becomes personal attack.  A fair-minded, knowledgeable critique will raise our game, by pointing to areas which need attention and which we may not be able to see for ourselves, whether it's in a yoga pose or a fancy pair of gloves.

I often miss the problems with my yoga stance until a teacher points them out and makes suggestions for corrections.  It's a little easier for me to see problems in my fibre work because I've learned to be dispassionate about fibre critiques (well, sometimes).

A less than perfect yoga pose or flawed knitting is not a reflection on my character or an indication that I should stop trying.  Critiques are rest stops on my path to perfection, that goal I'll never reach because, if I somehow did achieve perfect poses or always perfect projects, there would be nowhere left to go.  Now, that would be a problem.



  1. That you are able to and that you chose to re-visit this wonderful pair of gloves with your mind open to what you might have done differently to make them better says much about where you are on your journey today! Critique, either our own or from others, we usually benefit from. Criticism just makes us feel bad. Hooray for you! And your beautiful gloves!

    1. Thanks, Robin. Mindfulness meditation often has practical purposes!