More than one person has now suggested that I did not begin the 10,000 Hours project as a complete beginner to knitting. My first reaction was to mentally go, “Hey, buddy! That calls my behavior and sense of ethics into question. What’d I ever do to you?” That passed quickly since the people didn’t really seem to be out to slander my character. But then I wondered if they really understood the project. The real point is to find out what it’s like to take and to document a journey from absolute beginner to supposed master. If I had chosen a field I already knew something about it would negate the whole premise. I’m also not sure what I would gain from such a strange lie. Personally, I’m looking forward to the random milestones. When I get to 5,000 hours (what I’ve started calling Amateur Hour) what kind of skills will I have learned. And, of course, the ultimate goal of 10,000 hours… I can only imagine what that will look & feel like. Will I be knitting insanely complex and impressive objects? Will I be speed knitting? Or will I just be a really competent knitter? I don’t know. True, I can steer myself in certain directions, but at this stage of the game (a little less than 5% in) I have no idea what I will look or knit like when I cross that finish line.
I have to suppose that my accusers mean it as a compliment; that my knitting must seem to exceed their expectations of someone who started only four months ago. But it’s not your average four months of taking up a new craft. I’ve been knitting for well over 400 hours now, generally averaging 5 hours a day. Knitting is, essentially, my new part-time job. I’m guessing that given that kind of practice time and the amount of effort I’ve put into learning new skills and techniques we could all expect my finished objects to look about like they do. (The good and the bad.)
Even I have developed a somewhat skewed sense of what “beginning knitting” is though. I keep assuming that if it’s something I’ve managed to learn in the past couple of months then it must qualify as “beginning knitting.” But I should remember that close to 500 hours of directed practice probably pushes some of those skills into the intermediate category. I have no idea. It’s all pretty subjective which is part of what makes this journey so intriguing to me.
The second livestream broadcast will be this Friday, June 3rd, 12 PM – 8 PM Eastern Join the conversation and give us your thoughts on being a “beginner.”