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A little encouragement

Have you even found a pattern that you really want to make but which looks way beyond your skills? What do you do? Make it anyway? Sigh and put it aside, wishing you could make it "someday" (but never actually arriving at that someday)?

I want to encourage you to go ahead and give that challenging project (or even a challenging yarn) a try. Although many of us knit or crochet because it is our source of relaxation and we don't want to feel frustrated with our projects, sometimes working through a little frustration is worth it in the end.

I had three experiences last year where I pushed through the frustration and was determined to make things work, and I'm happy to say that on the other side of the frustration is a huge sense of accomplishment:

1. I tried to learn how to crochet again last year. I tried years ago and just didn't really "get it" and I hadn't tried again before now (thinking that I just wasn't meant to be a crocheter). But at the retreat I went to last September, I took a beginner crochet class and something just clicked. I still have a lot to learn, but now I truly feel like I can learn it and crochet some projects.

2. I bought a circular sock machine and struggled with getting a simple tube without dropping stitches frequently. I kept trying, watched tutorials, and got a how to book. I realized there was something I had set up incorrectly on the machine. Once I fixed that, I found myself moving forward and making a nice tube with very few dropped stitches.

3. I'd wanted to make Sizzle Pop by Lesley Anne Robinson for quite a while. Years ago I tried brioche and it just didn't quite work for me. I'd avoided it until it became all the rage. So I tried again last year and it finally clicked. But I was still unsure about going beyond simple brioche and trying increases and decreases. But Sizzle Pop just kept calling my name, so I started it. And ripped it out and started it. And ripped it out and started it. I restarted it more times than I can remember. But then suddenly I found myself moving beyond those first few rows and finding the rhythm in the pattern. And I finished it and plan to do more brioche! (Here's my project on Ravelry.)

Had I given up at the first signs of frustration or decided that my attempts years ago were enough and not tried again, I wouldn't be doing three things now that I'm really enjoying. I want you to get past those points of frustration (by sheer determination if need be) and to the point of enjoyment. But to do that, you have to sometimes go through the frustration.

Don't be upset at yourself if you have to rip out a project multiple times. Don't be upset if you have to find a different yarn for the pattern or pattern for the yarn because the two you'd originally put together didn't work. Don't be upset if you need to ask for help to get past the frustration point. Do what you need to do to move past the frustration and get to the enjoyment point.

And yet, sometimes, it's just not the right time for a particular project or skill. Don't be upset with yourself if you put it aside because it's just not working now. But -- and this is the important part -- make sure to come back to that project or skill in a few months or a year. You just might surprise yourself when something that seemed too hard last year comes much more easily now. After all, you have another year of experience to draw from, so it's normal for that to happen. I just don't want to see you give up and never try that project/skill again.

So here's my challenge to you. Think about something you tried to do in your crafting life a year or more ago that just didn't work out. Give it another try now and see what happens. Maybe you need another year to build your skills, but maybe, just maybe, you're ready for it now when you weren't back then.

And then tell me how it went. Either send me a message or comment on this post. I can't wait to hear all the things you're giving another try and now finding successful!

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