Friday, 7 October 2011

Beginner Projects

Having just retaught myself how to crochet, I've been thinking about how I learn to do things, specifically crafts, and I realized something: I don't like beginner projects. Full stop, end of - I don't do them. I understand the point, mastering one step before moving on to the next, but I don't want to invest time in a pointless finished project. This is why most of my crafting abilities are self-taught rather than learned at my mother's knee, even though I grew up in a crafty house.

My mother, when it came time to pass on her DIY skills, picked age-appropriate projects similar to the ones on which she cut her crafty teeth. When I wanted to learn to sew she bought a print half-apron for me - it was one piece printed on a single sheet of fabric and one would cut it out, sew the waist-band in half lengthwise and hem the edge of the apron. I think I got as far as cutting it out and pinning the waistband. I didn't want an apron, let alone one that looked like that apron, and even though I wanted to learn to sew, I refused to work on the project. That was the end of the sewing lessons.

Fast foward to Uni/college where I started dancing (Irish ceili, English country, and Victorian ballroom) and wanted appropriate costumes. That summer I sat down at my mother's sewing machine and made a Victorian ballgown from the underwear out, buying only the shoes and corset. I started with the bloomers and chemise (with pin-tucks and lace!), then a 5' diameter hoopskirt (11 hoops), a skirt (cartridge pleats), a ballgown bodice (boned, lined and trimmed in lace), and then a day-bodice with velvet trim. I also made a flannel-lined wool cloak and a plain chemise and bloomers for Renfaire. That was my beginner project. Did I do everything right? No. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did I ask a lot of questions and redo things? You betcha. But I sat down to make myself a ballgown and by-golly I did it.

I am the same way with cooking, with knitting, even with programming. I want to hit the ground running and I have boundless faith in my ability to figure things out (or ask for help when I need it). My first knitting project following a pattern was a cable-edged shawl. Uber-complicated? No, but certainly something of which I could - was and am - be proud.

1 comment:

  1. This is really inspiring. As you know I wish I could sew but I've never learned.

    You are awesome sauce and I'm glad I know you.