Happy World Laughter Day!
The first celebration of World Laughter Day was on January 11, 1998, in Mumbai, India, and was conceived of by the founder of the Laughter Yoga movement. Laughter Yoga’s inspiration, in their own words, “Laughter is a positive and powerful emotion that has all the ingredients required for individuals to master themselves and to change the world in a tubular way.” The day is now celebrated worldwide.
The above quote from Cute Calendar has us considering how to further “master ourselves” by letting in the laughter. As far as crafting is concerned, it might be the mistakes we make that illicit the most laughter. Then again, are we laughing as we are making the mistake, or only after we get some breathing room – and some lighter fluid?
I hosted a knitting BBQ on Halloween at my Local Yarn Shop. Horror WIPs were the BBQ. I lit a charcoal grill, popped open several bottles of wine, and then we toasted those horrifying WIPs. Happy Halloween! – Meghan Babin
Our editor of Interweave Knits has the right idea. If you can’t laugh at it, maybe you should just light it.
We took World Laughter Day to other members of the staff and asked, “what are some can’t-help-but-laugh knitting or crochet mistakes that you have made?” From the answers that were submitted, we can tell that this group already makes room for laughter – even if it does mean laughing at oneself.
I’ve experienced many minor yarn tangles in my knitting career—who hasn’t? But I always thought a true hankenstein, as Lisa Shroyer calls it, could never happen to me. And then one day, I got a little cocky. I had a skein that I hadn’t found time to wind yet, but I had a knit night out at a bar and I really wanted to start working with that yarn. “I’ll just knit a gauge swatch off the end of the skein,” I told myself. “I’ll be super careful not to tangle the skein, and after I rip out my gauge swatch, I’ll wind this bad boy.”
Working off the skein at my knit night went pretty smoothly right up to the point where a slightly-tipsy Andrea threw the skein in her purse, in a hurry to catch her ride home. Left to its own devices for an hour tops, the light fingering-weight skein somehow managed to tie itself in a zillion tiny knots. It took me days to untangle, and even longer before I could laugh at myself. But lesson learned! Beware hank hubris and always wind before you work. – Andrea Lotz
Making a mistake and having the capacity to find the humor in it also means you may have gotten pretty angry about it at first. This of course is not unusual, and really just reflects our humanity. We want to do well. We want to make pretty projects!
We do not want to attach a sleeve inside-out:
I was once putting the finishing touches on a sweater and attached a sleeve inside-out. I had double and triple checked to make sure I was stitching that thing on correctly, and I still managed to mess it up. I was on the verge of tears because I just wanted the sweater to be finished already. Shoving it under the bed for a few days was the perfect way to distance myself from my ridiculous mistake, and allowed me to calm down enough to fix the sweater properly. It makes me smile now, but I couldn’t believe how mad I was at myself initially! – Louisa Demmitt
Even our very own “Yarn Boss”, Lisa Shroyer, has had her fair share of experience in not quite getting it right:
I have a sweater that, after cutting open the sleeve steek, I managed to pick up and knit the sleeve stitches totally unevenly around the armhole. I wasn’t being careful, and instead of picking up stitches along one vertical column, I veered at a diagonal, creating a big triangular flap of body fabric inside the sleeve opening. I realized this halfway through the sleeve, and rather than ripping it out and doing it right, I put an extra-wide facing over that fabric flap and stitched my initials and the year onto it, so it looked deliberate. Luckily, one of my arms is shorter than the other (pony incident when I was 9), so I’m all kinds of cock-eyed anyway. This is the reason for my longstanding nickname, Short-Arm Shro. – Lisa Shroyer
Our final word on World Laughter Day comes from knitscene editor Hannah Baker. Known around the office as Zen Master Baker, she has been characterized as “unflappable” in the face of stress. She is often the first one to cut up in a meeting – reminding all of us that we are here to have fun. Her humor is always dished out with a contagious smile, a slightly wild gleam in her eye, and kind empathy. As in, “Somehow I knew that making milk come out of your nose would benefit us both.”
I used to get frustrated about making mistakes in my knitting, but those days are long gone. I now view making mistakes and fixing them as part of the whole knitting process, and I find the act of “tinking”—knitting backward—is actually just as therapeutic as knitting forward. It’s all about either taking a deep breath and honing in one’s focus to fix the mistake, or accepting that there will be a boo boo in one’s final project that non-knitters (and some knitters) won’t even notice. It can be your little secret. I’m very enthusiastic about the educating that happens around knitting, so I choose to view making mistakes as learning opportunities (unless, of course, I’m on a deadline, and then I want it to die in a fire).
Sometimes mistakes take you back to the basics…