Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Knitters

Detail from sweater shown below.

Steven R. Covey’s work The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has become a ubiquitous manual for life and business, one teaches that change must occur from within, that there must be a “paradigm shift” rather than just a change in behavior in order for an individual to reach his or her full potential.  Knitters, too, can learn a great deal from Covey’s work.   

Habit 1:  Be Proactive

Take initiative.  Be accountable for your choices and their consequences.

Will that novelty yarn that looks adorable on a gamine 18-year-old model live up to its “fun fur” name when you attempt to knit and wear it?  If you’re petite (and consequently always striving to create the illusion of height), will you really appear artsy and chic with voluminous fluff around your neck, or will you resemble a Pomeranian?

Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind

Look within.  Self-discover.  Clarify your goals.

Those orange mohair balls and rust-colored chenille skeins in the clearance bins were such bargains!  You knew you could find some clever way to use them.  Now they insulate your closet.  (In other words, it’s not a bad idea to have a plan in mind when making a foray to the yarn shop.) 


Habit 3:  Put First Things First

Plan, prioritize, and carry out your week's tasks based on the importance they play to your values and goals rather than urgency.

Working with that glorious pink mohair to create lacy Downton Abbey evening mitts is uber rewarding (and challenging, too).  But maybe your kids are getting the wrong message if they think that flannel pajama pants (adorned with winsome cats holding Christmas balls) are proper attire for mom to wear when entertaining friends.  The whole cheese curls for a quick dinner is questionable, too.   

Habit 4:  Think Win/Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial agreements in your relationships.

Your husband wears holey socks and sports dress shirts with yellow crescents under the armpits, while you’re puffed up, basking in praise for the cashmere shawl draped  around your shoulders.  Learn to compromise.  Get rid of cable TV and its exorbitant costs.  Get an antenna for the roof and with the savings your husband can go to Big Lots and get some clothes. 


Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand/Then to be Understood

Use listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which will compel her to have a mind receptive to being influenced by you.

You’ve just mastered pearling and your knitting blog is up and running.  You’ve ignored admonitions from the yarn shop owner about swatching, seaming, and shaping.  Who cares?  Skip habit number five.  You’ve had fun and indulged in your passion.  Plus you have a sweater that’s just the thing if your daughter brings home a behemoth linebacker boyfriend.  (Pink's no longer just for women nowadays, right?)


Habit 6:  Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork. 

This one is a no brainer.  Check off the next item on your to-do list (call the dentist, maybe, or get the car inspected) or organize a yarn bombing?  You decide. 

Habit 7:  Sharpen the Saw (Renewal and Continual Improvement)

To be effective, one must find the proper balance between producing and improving one’s capacity to produce.    

If you’re as busy as Odysseus’s wife, Penelope (whose weaving filled her days), maybe you should rethink things a bit.  Rather than continuing to maniacally knit garter stitch afghans for unwitting friends and family members, step outside of the box.  There are scores of YouTube videos, books, and magazines to help.  Just think of all of the previously empty, dull hours you can fill with expanding your knowledge and skills.  Imagine all the possibilities?  Heirloom knitting!  Knitting on straight pins.  Knitting your own wedding gown?  Bikini? 





I have my priorities straight.  I finished this
sweater this past weekend, along with the
vest shown below. 

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