Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Starved for success

I have a terrible tendency to give up on every task that I take on.

I've done it all. Painting, sculpting, watercolor, you name it. If I haven't done it yet, I have plans to. My amazing imagination always gets the better of me and it usually ends with the repeated revelation that I suck at everything I like to do. If I don't like to do it, I'm awesome at it. I've told myself since I was a little girl that one day I'd be *that* artist. Maybe not known world wide, but known well enough to have a small following and for my ideas to eventually pan out and become a suitable living for me.

Cakes make me mad before they're ever done baking. Leveling and base icing them takes about all the patience I have. By the time I'm supposed to decorate them, I've usually lost all interest and don't want to continue.

About six months before youngest daughter was born, I decided I was going to learn embroidery. I learned basic outlining, but never the intricate filled - in stuff that everyone does. I lost interest after a couple weeks anyway, and the piece I was working on is in the bottom of a trunk, a long way from finished.

My next decision was to learn counted cross-stitch. I threw myself into it with all the enthusiasm I had. I bought a ridiculous amount of kits. I got some outrageously priced patterns. I bought yarn and cloth and all the accessories. Including a bag so that I could carry it in the car with me.

I worked hard on a Lightning McQueen piece for my oldest son. Then one day I made about 8 stitches too many in a section. I was mad. So I put it down and have never picked it back up. The patterns and kits are in the trunk with the embroidery. Abandoned.

Last summer, I decided I was going to learn to make glass stuff. Starting with beads. I told myself I could make some awesome beads and turn them into jewelry and that would be my ticket to the Rich Artist status I've been chasing my entire life. Then we discovered we were expecting the baby we'd been hoping for. I became incredibly sick, as expected, and the glass was put on the back burner. Next, it was winter and I certainly wasn't going to work in the cold garage. I suppose eventually we'll finish the art studio in the basement, but that's a ways off still.

On New Year's Eve, I decided on a whim that I was going to learn to knit. So husband and I went to WalMart and got some yarn and a beginner's knitting kit. Yarn puritans at this point are having a collective heart attack at the thought of my purchasing *gasp* ACRYLIC yarn. Red Heart Super Saver, no less. But I can justify it for two reasons; I didn't know what I was doing to start with, and I'm well aware of my tendency to quit.

I made a scarf. All garter stitch. It's orange with purple and white stripes at each end. Clemson colors. It perfectly demonstrates the fact that I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. There are whole sections where I obviously stopped counting my stitches. It's an awful scarf. Really. I gave it to my son. He loves it. But that's because he doesn't know how bad it really is.

Next, I made a hat to go with said scarf. It's orange. And it's awful for multiple reasons.

After that came a smaller version of the same hat. Made in Caron Simply Soft acrylics. I didn't follow the directions for finishing it, though, and it's got a goofy uneven point at the top. I figured I'd make it look better by tying some long yarn strands to the top. That certainly didn't help. I've decided I'll give it to the new baby when she gets here in May.

A few days ago, I decided it was time to learn to knit of fixed circular needles. I seem to have slightly less than the required number of brain cells to do so correctly. I can do rib stitching just fine. But on circular needles, it seems to suddenly turn into rocket science. My rows become uneven, my stitches are backward, twisted, dropped... You name it. And there's no *apparent* reason for it. I MADE SURE to count as I went along.

Around the ninth or tenth time I tore it all out and started over again, I decided I was going to finish it whether or not it was messed up, whether or not it killed me. So I kept right on truckin'. This morning, I reached the point in the pattern that said "When there are too few stitches to continue on circular needles, switch to double-pointed needles".

I didn't even panic.

Instead, I went to youtube and watched a video on how to knit with double-pointed needles. Looked a little complicated, but I threw myself right into it. It was EASY. I kept on going. I was at the last row! Wow. I'm kicking ass!

As I picked up my tapestry needle to sew the last 7 stitches closed... Disaster struck. I pulled the needle out of all seven of the remaining stitches. they unraveled for four or five rows. Dropped stitches don't scare me. Multiple dropped stitches that unravel a LONG way do scare me. I diligently went and fixed them all. Or so I thought. I tied up the top, weaved in the end, and went back to check my work. More dropped stitches I didn't see.

In short, I spent a half hour fixing holes from dropped stitches. It looks okay enough. I gave it to daughter. Too big. But I suppose that's okay as I won't have to make another one in a few months' time.

As for now, it's almost noon. I suppose I should go find some lunch for the kids. I'm giving serious thought to starting another beret for myself. But I know it will drive me crazy. Besides, I really should go finish the squares for the baby blanket I'm making.

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