Now you have the Senior Cat's description of what I have been knitting lately.
I admit he has described lace knitting this way before. He says it "looks complicated" and that he doesn't understand how I do it.
I have muttered things about "basic arithmetic" and "follow a chart" and "concentration" - and a few other things as well. I keep saying "it's not hard".
I am not talking about the physical act of knitting here but about the arithmetic, the need to follow the pattern, and the concentration required. There are things I cannot do in knitting - like make a "nupp" - those tiny long bobbles characteristic in Estonian lace. I know how to make one but I have never been able to actually do it. Using "cobweb" weight yarn has also proved beyond my capacities. Both things require excellent fine motor skills. I don't have those and I am not going to waste my knitting time on trying to do something I won't succeed at. There are other things I need to do and want to learn and then do. I can still tell other people how to do these things if they really need to know - or if they want to know.
I think it might be that "want to know" part that is so important. People look at something else someone has made. They can like it and admire it and they can even say "I wish I could do that" but the reality is they don't want to put the effort in to learning how to do something.
I was reminded very forcefully of this yesterday. For the past few years I have been helping a small group of teenagers learn to knit. They were taught the basics by a late friend of mine. They have gone on meeting ever since then and they have continued to knit and to learn more about knitting. The youngest of them is particularly creative. He often makes finger puppets out of the last short lengths of whatever he has been using. He passes them on to the many doctors of his acquaintance and they are used to distract young patients.
M....knows all about this. He spent a good deal of his young life in and out of hospital. So did the other members of the group. They all make things for other people, never for themselves.
Yesterday I saw M... in the local shopping centre. He wheeled up to me and said, "Cat I need you to show me how to do something. I looked it up on You Tube but I still don't get it exactly. I'll send you an email. Okay?"
Of course it is "okay". He's already tried. If I can't work it out then I know other people who might be able to help. He's got exams right now but sets aside a short time each day for his creative activities.
The other four in the group are just the same. They all "want to know". They haven't let serious health issues get in the way of learning, of having a worthwhile hobby that allows them to help others. All of them have put a great deal of effort into their hobby and seem to get even more from it. M...is inclined to look at people who say, "I wish I could do that" and respond, "Well I guess you could if you really wanted to." He knows most people really don't want to do "that" at all. He wants to know - and so does the rest of the group.
And I consider myself incredibly fortunate because their "want to know" has taught me an incredible amount as well.