Yes, I’ve heard that old saying too. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Supposedly to be an explanation of how it’s easier to teach something new to someone younger. That expression has been around since the 1500s, and quite possibly just as inaccurate then as it is now.
To my way of thinking: it depends on the dog.
From time to time, I try to teach myself a few new tricks. I like to think I can knit and am mostly self-taught when it comes to that. There’s something oddly self-satisfying about the repetitive hand motions which accompany knitting, crocheting or hand spinning. While researching hand spinning, I came across a general statement about how Gandhi used spinning as a form of meditation and if he did, I understand how that works. My mind is clear, yet focused, and I can use that time to allow the most amazing creative thoughts to develop. Multiple points of view(s) are explored, plot points developed, dialogue planned, characters fleshed out: when I use that time as a technique for writing, it frees my creative consciousness to go to a whole other place. I’m not just spinning or knitting. I’m WORKing my brain! If I knit while riding a recumbent bicycle, I’m working my body as well. (Before you ask, the answer is yes.)
My friends who knit socks are encouraging me to give socks a try. So I’ve watched them, watched videos, knit and UNknit the same sock multiple times. The sock has to fit my foot and calf, right? (Yes) But it will go in a shoe, so does it matter if the toe is all the way closed? (Yes) Turning the heel part of the sock is a whole-other-matter. And you need two socks that sort-of match to have a pair of them.
My creative path to making socks is evolving. I can make two fairly good “tube” socks, with no heel. I am learning to knit from the toe-up and I enjoy having made my own double pointed knitting needles out of wooden dowel sticks. Granted, my work looks like a tiny porcupine with all those needles sticking out of it but that’s not what’s important. Just like those messy first drafts, I am working it out. Even if I have to unknit later, even that will have taught me something about the process. I will learn to knit a heel; short rows seem to be the way to go. There are SO many ways to knit a sock.
Looks like a toe has begun to form, doesn’t it? As I keep going, maybe the rest of the sock will appear.
As I keep writing or drawing, I’m fairly certain the ideas will come together, too.
I’d show you a photograph of one of my dogs, but she’s not in the mood to pose for a photograph. The offer of extra kibble-bits just won’t do it.
The dogs suggest I come back later. They’re wise to me.
I think I’ll go knit. Or write. Or draw.