Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WWW: Learning to Be a Beginner

There are two words that can describe me quite accurately when it comes to learning a new skill: stubborn and lazy.

When I graduated from college I received a "Senior Superlative" from my classmates that dubbed me:
Most Likely to Skip Class but Still Help You Study for the Exam.

It's missing the A.

It's true. I probably attended about 50% of my classes and managed to get either the highest or second highest score in every one of them (in Junior and Senior year, that is). The level of effort that I had to apply in order to do well on tests was pretty minimum. Don't get me wrong, I did have a full schedule and I did work hard. I had a full time job. I was in a lab. I helped T.A. a class. I tutored people on the side. I was in a couple clubs. I wrote an Honors Thesis. My college degree didn't come easy, but my test grades always did.

I'm not bragging. The reason I did so well was because I was extremely interested in the topics I was learning. I loved everything about Speech and Hearing sciences. I soaked up everything that was introduced almost immediately. It was EASY for me to learn the material because I just UNDERSTOOD it.

That's how I want everything that I'm interested in to be. I want to be able to be the best quilter, the best seamstress, the best home decorator, the best photographer, the best knitter, etc. Seriously, I want to be the best at all things creative. I can't ever decide on one thing that I want to devote my time to because I love it all. But recently I realized that I can't be the best at everything. I can be good at anything I want, but I can't be the best at everything.

I hate that. I can't deal with that. Actually, my brain is hurting thinking about that.

I am making a quilt right now for Autumn. It's supposed to measure out at the end at 48" x 60". It's going to be closer to 40" by 50". I just couldn't get the seams correct on all my 9-piece blocks. I'm partially apathetic to this and partially really annoyed with myself. I keep thinking, "man, I should really give up on quilting after this one. I clearly am not cut out for this."

Yep, that's what I am thinking after my very first attempt at a quilt. I didn't take any classes. I haven't read any books on the process. But, because it's not turning out perfectly on my first try, I'm over it.

Luckily, I have realized this about myself. I have come to understand that when faced with a challenge, I'd prefer to give up than push through. But, what kind of an example is that for Autumn? Not to mention, how boring is life without challenges?

So, I'm forcing myself to push through to the end of this quilt. I am going to start a new quilt following this and I am going to be more meticulous about my seams. I am going to be patient with the process. But most importantly, I am going to accept my mistakes as building blocks on my road to learning to be better. No more craft jumping and never going back. I am going to force myself to stick with things that I love doing, even if I'm not great at it from the very beginning. I know that I'll still be making a large variety of crafty things, but when I start a project, I'll finish it. And if it's not perfect, I'll have another go at it later.

Learning to be a beginner is hard. But we all have to start somewhere, don't we?


Oh. P.S. Here's a picture of all of the quilt pieces laid out in the appropriate pattern. I've sewn the first 4 rows together and have 6 rows left to do. I clearly didn't allow myself enough time. Why? Because I feel like I need to be on an expert's schedule. Goodness, I have extremely high ambitions and very little patience (or grip on reality, for that matter).

1 comment:

  1. Your crafting habits sound so much like me! If it doesn't go my way after several whole hearted attempts, I want to chuck it out the window and never think about it again. I'm feeling that way about my whole life (aside from Alex and Chip, I'd never try throwing them out the window) right now and don't want to bother with any of it. Decorating, crafting, housework....