Those of us who make things by hand know that imperfections are inherent in the end result. But that's what makes handmades perfect: their uniqueness, and the unique marks of the maker. I make a good many things by hand, and usually I'm very pleased by how they turn out. But my process is very rarely a smooth one: I make and remake, I rip out seams and sweaters, I improvise alterations and adjustments, and on occasion, I start again from scratch. Because if there are imperfections that are perfectly wabi-sabi, there are also imperfections that ruin a project, at least in the eye of the maker. But this, again, is the joy of handmaking: you can make, and just as easily unmake, to make things even better!
When I write about those frequent, sometimes frustrating episodes, I often get comments like: "You're so patient!" Well, let me tell you: I probably spend so much time fixing degrees of imperfection precisely because I'm not all that patient. While many of my errors happen because my life right now isn't quite zen enough for handmade projects, and because working in "my studio" (ie the kitchen table, or the car, or wherever I am while hanging around waiting for my kids to finish school, tennis, dance, piano) I rarely have the atmosphere of peace and calm for real, sustained concentration, many other mistakes are my own fault. For instance, I never make a swatch (gasp!) - that little test piece of crochet stitches that has no other use than potentially saving hours or days of (wrong) work. I just have no patience for making swatches.
But I do have the patience for making and remaking, or I wouldn't love making things by hand. Each time I rip out rows of work, I know that I've learned something, and that I can improve my project with this change. I find this process of making and learning and creating - acts that sustain and nourish each other -both thrilling and satisfying. Sure, it takes time, but the end result, with all the history of work and imagining embedded in it, is something that always makes me proud of what my hands have made.