• Lisa

Still Learning

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

Cotton Bouclé yarn by Very Eclectic
Very Eclectic Cotton Bouclé Yarn.

I was designing a pattern for this cotton bouclé yarn I've been selling since last fall. I like to offer two patterns (knit and crochet) for each of the yarns I sell: simple, quick designs that can be made with one or two skeins. Anyway, I thought a turtleneck cowl that flared out over the shoulders would be nice. It wasn't going well, and I restarted it three times. It was finally finished last week! slid down my neck and fanned out like a clown collar. Stupid idiot! I know better. The yarn is heavy, and cotton doesn't have the elasticity of wool. Sorry, no pics of of the bouclé clown collar. I unraveled it. Now I'm working on a completely different pattern for that yarn.

Stay at it till you get it right. I should embroider that on a pillow. Back in the “good old days” before Covid-19 sometimes getting it right would take a year or longer, because I didn't have the luxury of time. I could only work on new designs and ideas here and there, often months apart. There were always shows, and orders, and building more stock. No shows this summer, and I have time to consider...what if?

Back in May I was trying to figure out a new way to make buttons. There were grand ideas that required purchasing new expensive equipment, FUN, but I don't have the space or money for that. Then it came to me...polymer clay. So I did a little research. So many possibilities. But I didn't know the first thing about it, an absolute beginner.

I was like my students who would get so frustrated when first learning how to mix colors, paint on fabric, make a pattern, knit, etc. They wanted to create immediate perfection, but mostly made a mess. That's ok, that's how we learn. I told them, “You're doing fine, you've never done this before. Just keep working. You'll get better.” And if they were determined to keep at it, they did.

My early attempts with polymer clay buttons.
Some early "not very successful buttons".

So that was my mantra. In the beginning I made lots of mistakes, messes and ugly buttons. Still do. Fortunately no one saw them except the trash, before now. Here are some of "less fortunates" on the left. Among them are bad color choices, canes that I over handled, bad placement, scorching in the oven, and bad embossing. Now, when I get reasonably comfortable with a technique I challenge myself. There's so much more to learn. It's important to keep moving a little ahead of your comfort zone. And when I'm totally frustrated and want to chunk it all out the window my little inner cheerleader picks up her pom-poms and shouts KEEP GOING! And I do, mostly.

Now, after two months, I'm producing a few “somewhat decent” buttons. Many still go in the trash. I have a long way to go, but am happy with my progress. I keep one sample of every button I make for reference, and to remind myself how much I have improved. Someday soon they will be on the website.

Nicely made polymer clay buttons.
I'm much happier with these.

What about you? What new things have you learned? Whatever you want to do, stay at it till you get it right, and then keep going.

Be well, and keep creating,


August 1, 2020

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