I think that just about everyone I have spoken to has never really given themselves credit for what they really can do. Is that people are really that modest, or is that we are not really sure how to evaluate our work.
Okay, it is a given, most everyone never considers themselves a “Master” at the crafts they follow. I think this is because the more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know. That classic learning process that when you think that after you accomplish this next skill there is nothing left to learn, but you get there and realize that there is a completely new level that you have yet to understand. It is almost like mountain climbing, you get to one peak thinking that it is the top, but then you see a higher peak. But at least with mountain climbing there really is a “highest” peak, which is not really true in the crafts. So you may have reached the peak of one skill, just to be a beginner starting on a new one. I believe that this is why many people, who may be very skilled in the craft, might only consider themselves an Intermediate or maybe advanced, but never an expert. It is also a reason I believe others always feel like a beginner, even though their work shows hours of practice.
So how do you assess your work?
First I should preface this by stating that I do not think that you should place a label of yourself of your skill. I believe that people tend to live up to a label, and not their potential. However sometimes it is necessary to reflect on what we already know in order to understand what we have yet to grasp. With that in mind there are some ways to “self-assess” by asking some questions of ourselves.
· What are my goals?
· Have I accomplished the goals I had when I started this process or technique?
· Is my work even and consistent?
· Do I understand the concepts for the project?
· Can I expand upon the process or technique and “play” with it?
· Do I feel comfortable with the concentration level I use to complete the technique?
· Can I explain the process, if only to myself, without reference to outside materials?
· Are you happy with what you are doing?
The answers to the questions above will vary from person to person, just as a skill assessment is not a definitive answer, but self reflection reveals more to yourself then others- just as it should. Do not be overly critical when addressing your answers, but sit back and attempt to be as open minded and objective as possible.
This self assessment does not translate readily to a pattern that you may pick up, with their skill level indicators. These “skill” levels are defined by the publication, but some use the guidelines of the Craft Yarn Council of America. They are designed to help gauge a patterns difficulty and have some outline has to how they qualify. Basically it outlines a “Beginner” level as a project for first-time crocheters using basic stitches and minimal shaping. An “Easy” level are projects that use basic stitches and repetitive patterns, have simple color changes and shaping as well as simple finishing. The level of “Intermediate” indicates that a project uses a variety of techniques, such as basic lace or color work patterns, which has mid-level shaping and finishing. Finally “Experienced” level is reserved for projects that have intricate stitch patterns, techniques and dimension, such as non-repeating patterns, multi-color techniques, fine threads, small hooks, and detailed shaping and refined finishing.
You can not accurately define your abilities by the skills assessed to a pattern, as your world of crochet, or any craft for that matter, is not so narrowly or neatly packaged. By reflecting on how we have grown, and where we would like to grow to, we can really expand our skills and give ourselves the credit we really do deserve. We are often our own worst critic, and do not see that we have grown and expanded our craft, not just for ourselves but for all of those that are touched by the work of our hands.
Remember to continue to GROW.