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Practice Makes Perfection

I am a naturally neat, organized, and meticulous person. I enjoy sorting my books and make up into different containers and shelves according to size, color and type. The beginning of school is one of my favorite times of year for the opportunity to buy new matching folders and notebooks with colorful pencils and clean pink erasers. While this quality gives me a clearly-laid-out planner, it also makes me anxious and highly disappointed in my own short comings. This was a major problem for my personal happiness until I learned a new skill that came along with a new life philosophy.
My older cousin, who I greatly admire, is talented at many things. Her bread knots and apple pie are to die for and she is incredibly gifted at taking something boring and turning it into something beautiful. When I was in seventh grade she took the time to teach me one of her greatest talents- knitting. She makes beautiful lace shawls and intricate cabled shoulder bags as if it were as simple as tying her shoes. From two basic stitches, the knit and the purl stitch, she showed me a whole world of patterns and yarn and needles. I watched her fingers fly, turning the yarn into fabric for a beautiful scarf, demonstrating the basic stitches one at a time for me. When my turn came I clumsily held the needles and tangled the previously neat yarn, all my stitches came out tight and knotted and my very short and lumpy scarf was full of holes. I was so frustrated by my inability to match my cousin’s swift and skilled knitting abilities that I just gave up. If it wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t going to take part.
I saw my beloved cousin again over Christmas. She brought me a gift of my own needles and soft alpaca yarn. She promised that if I gave it another shot, I would be able to create things like she did in no time. Begrudgingly I sat down to another lesson, this one going more smoothly. Soon I had a neat square with only a few mistakes and I felt ready to conquer the knitting world. In that spirit I took on a project that many experienced knitters are frightened to contemplate; I was going to make a teddy bear. It included all sorts of stitches and terms I had never seen before: knit two together or “k2tog” and knit one front and back or “k1 f&b”, yarn overs, slip stitches, kitchner stitch, and on and on. I worked diligently, having to redo his bottom three times. It was often frustrating but in a few short months I had completed my very own teddy bear.
He was ugly, his head twice the size of his body and one leg much longer than the other. His eyes were crooked and his ears sewn on lopsided but I loved him for all the care that I had put into making him. As I fell deeper in love with my new hobby I made beautiful socks and a near perfect ballerina doll along with a whole troop of cute animals. Even though he hadn’t turned out right, the teddy bear had taught me all sorts of new stitches and given me lots of practice. The more I practiced the better I got, and I realized that what adults had told me all my life was true, practice does make perfect. From a bear with stuffing coming out of his armpits I learned that I don’t need to look at my shortcoming and pitfalls as failure. What I don’t succeed at in the beginning, I can practice at and create a work of beauty. It’s better not to worry about the knots and tangles, but to look at them as part of the project of creating my own success.





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