Finding a Balance Between Novelty and Mastery

12 July 2023
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I can’t seem to resist starting new projects. This has always been the case, and I have often felt stuck in an endless loop of taking on new things, becoming overwhelmed, quitting, and then starting over—a pattern that made it hard to master anything and easy to get overwhelmed. But the drive to try new things is still as strong as the desire to improve my skills. I eventually came to a balanced approach where I strive to improve existing craft practices and hobbies without neglecting the need for novelty.

A teacher once tried—unsuccessfully—to convince me to give up the piano and mandolin and focus on the clarinet, calling me a “jack of all trades, master of none.” Later, a clarinet teacher’s approach resonated more with me. Noting that I had played a piece better than the previous lesson despite not practicing, he said, “Just think what you could do if you did practice.” Those words have stayed with me. I don’t want to stop trying new things, but I also want to focus on practicing and improving skills that are important to me.

Image description: A mess of fibre and yarn projects piled on a rigid heddle loom warped with blue yarn.

How many WIPs is too many? Time for another finish-a-thon! (Yes, the date on that glove is 2019).

All photos by Jessie McKitrick.

Copyright © Jessie McKitrick except as indicated.

About Jessie McKitrick

Jessie lives in Edmonton in Treaty 6 Territory, where she writes patterns for hand-knitters who can’t resist the lure of texture, cables, and colour in their next sweater, hat, or mitten project. She began to crochet and knit after becoming a mother, teaching herself from library books, and soon found herself designing projects. Feeling a strong need for a job that included creativity, Jessie would go on to submit patterns to various publications who supported and published her work, including Knit Now Magazine, Knit Picks, and Interweave Knits. Collaborations with Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts eventually led to working with the company in the capacity of Design Coordinator. When she’s not working, Jessie practices karate, draws, dabbles in other fibre crafts including spinning, sewing, embroidery and weaving, and enjoys playing board games with her family.

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