For something to be great, we must first release the idea that it could ever be perfect.

I chain 75 stitches from scratch with my hook. Or should I be chaining 90 stitches to cover my torso? I finally face the fact that I lack an understanding of body measurements (or crocheting shirts). What we think we know is sometimes antithetical to what is happening before our eyes. What I hold in my cupped hands is not yet an object but an act of trust in its opening form.

New hobbies can serve as a divine conduit. They provide us with a safe space to play and experiment. What emerges from this play is a poignant reminder of some of childhood's most important lessons: Practice leads to marked improvement, who we are is what gives meaning to the work we create, and self-doubt is arguably our greatest roadblock.

I began learning crochet in the summer of 2022 after graduating from college. I found myself desperate to sink my teeth into a new medium. I had already tried to learn the summer before but ultimately put crochet down, not yet ready to dissect the mess of yarn that lay before me.

When undertaking a craft like crochet, I advise being extra patient with yourself. It is frankly awkward at first, but it’s a part of the process that cannot be bypassed.

In part due to anxiety–alongside frustration due to the complexity of allegedly "simple" projects–I flopped and flailed in my first several attempts. What I produced at that time was loosely reminiscent of a garment, and I silently languished in the realm of amateurism.

Unsurprisingly, what emerged strongly in my stage of being a beginner was a series of negative self-beliefs and feelings of ineptitude. Those beliefs, on their own, made me afraid to create anything out of fear that it would be terrible. But the desire to create quietly overcame fears of imperfection. The more I made, the more confident I became in my abilities. When that desire conquered my fears, I realized that crochet was never just about yarn.

Our crafts are direct with us if we are ready to be confronted. Insecurity and doubt become tangible elements in your work and thus tend to be challenged in the projects that we take on. We can channel our bounded-up energy to pour from a sacred cup into a river of consciousness.

It’s also great practice to spend valuable time creating something that might end up being “bad”. So much of our everyday lives is dictated by what we can produce and give out to the world. Crafting soothes this sense of urgency because its value relies upon our mistakes to shape our technique and adjust, going on to know more and expand our abilities.

In learning something new, there are a million small “aha” moments— when something clicks and you realize the staggering difference between your handiwork and the kind, unabashedly cottage British woman on YouTube (who's slightly overestimating your abilities and whose finger is somehow always covering the stitch you need to see). It can be a magical moment when you bridge the gap between feeling lost and realizing you have the power to shape something with your hands.

The hardest part of the creative process is ultimately starting and gritting your teeth through the initial attempts, giving yourself full permission to be completely bad at something new. The medium stands larger than any beliefs we possess rooted in self-doubt, whether we accept it or not. We can shamelessly carry a resolve to create things that might be bad in pursuit of something more meaningful than our doubts and insecurities.