Iterations

Block printed beaver shaped pillow

I worked on pillow prototypes this weekend.

Working through these sewing projects has reminded me that when you take a many years-long break from something such as sewing, it takes some time to re-learn and remember techniques. My ambition sometimes gets ahead of me when it comes to planning for how much I can get accomplished in a weekend, but when little details hang me up, these days I appreciate them as part of the process. Back in the old days when I would sew, I'd often throw in the towel long before I'd perfected something. Today I prefer to throw out (metaphorically, I keep my scraps) the iterations and keep working until I'm happy.

I've realized this translates well into many facets of my life today. I'm learning to play guitar, still, in my 40s. I don't expect I'll ever get really good at it. My goal is to be able to play and sing around the campfire, and for The Machinist and I to play together (he's an actual, very good guitar player, but he's patient with my fumbling). I took guitar lessons when I was 16. All of my boyfriends played guitar, and I didn't know any girls who played, so I thought it would be cool. It didn't click. I grew frustrated that I didn't pick it up quickly, so I put it down. Now I don't care that I'm terrible, that I play the same six folk songs over and over again. I just get pleasure in doing something different with my brain, something both relaxing, meditative, and mentally strengthening. And when I do notice progress, I'm amazed and wonderous at this process of learning.

I've been kind of stuffed in my studio lately, attempting to push through projects that may be square pegs in round holes. I don't know yet. It's frustration and joy, and uncertainty and confidence.

How do you stretch when you've become stiff from overwork or monotony? What is your pleasurable challenge?