A Bit of a Vent—Dealing With Setbacks

At the beginning of the year, with that new-year-new-beginning feeling, I felt inspired to tackle some long-standing crochet WIPs (works in progress). I began by thinking about a trouble spot in my yarn room.

Orphan Granny Squares

This is a picture of some solid and traditional granny squares I crocheted from scrap yarn. I made them without any plan thinking I would just throw together something scrappy. Once I saw them together though, I didn’t like them. I know people make things with any scraps they have, but my perfectionistic side kicked in and there was no way I could conceive of going forward. I wound up doing nothing for months and the squares continued to clutter up the bed in my yarn room and make me crazy every time I saw them. My yarn room is supposed to be my happy place.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you insane your whole life.”

Anne Lamott, writer — Found on www.SaturdayGift.com by Cristina Morero

So, I was determined to do something, even if it was a mistake. I took a good chunk of the squares and made them into a nice pillow top. I am very happy with it.

I decided for the back I wanted to use up some fabric stash. I was excited about this because I have wanted to learn to meld crochet and fabric together. I did some research and discovered I needed to order a special type of crochet hook. Well…okay I can wait. And besides, I will have a new skill and a new crochet hook!

With the way shipping has been lately, I had to wait longer than I thought I would. It didn’t help I kept receiving inaccurate, cheery emails from the seller, “Your package will arrive tomorrow!” But I was determined to remain positive. After all, I was making progress on my WIPs and I was proud of my stick-to-itiveness. Finally, the day came when I got the package.

Okay! Now, I will pick a fabric from my stash—or so I thought. The pieces I wanted to use weren’t the right size. Ugh….  I really had my heart set on a particular fabric. Once again, I consoled myself—“Well, I can make a trip to the fabric store and that will be fun.” At least it did go off without a hitch and that was encouraging. Once home, I consulted the crochet hook instruction booklet and found I would need to do some simple zig zag stitching around the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying when crocheted to the pillow top.

I got my machine set up and began to stitch. But for some reason, my machine didn’t want to zig zag. I tried different settings and all it would do was a straight stitch. At this point, I started to sink and felt like there’s something working against me.

Being a mental health counselor, I am very good at seeing possibility though. So, once again I come up with a positive re-frame, “My little sewing machine needs servicing anyway. I haven’t done a thing to it in 30 years.” I looked up a local shop and faithfully lugged the little one in.

To my delight, they took only a few minutes to look it over, oiled it, and it began zig zagging! I wasn’t charged a penny! Hallelujah! I triumphantly brought my faithful craft companion home.

The next day, I decided to work on another long-term frustrating sewing project that a relative asked me to do. That’s a story for another time. The zig zag worked beautifully, and I made good progress on that project. But when I went back to the fabric for my pillow, depressingly, the zig zag function wasn’t working again.

And so, that’s where I’m at. I will need to make another trip to the repair shop if I want to continue. Meanwhile, the squares, albeit joined, are still just sitting there, making me crazy. I’ve run out of re-focusing and re-frames to say to myself. I could crochet a pillow back, but that really isn’t what I want.

I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if this were the only project I experienced such bad luck, but I’ve experienced long setbacks with almost everything I’m working on lately. Truthfully, it makes it very hard for me to feel motivated or confident I can finish anything. Sometimes, it’s just hard to power through.

Interestingly, I remember feeling this way at about the same time last year. I don’t know if it has to do with the lower energy I experience during wintertime or not. The way I dealt with it then, was to pick up something simple and repetitive. It helped, but I am loathe to add more projects to the WIP pile at this point.

As I am writing this, this is the phase of the 3rd quarter moon. I’ve become more interested in pairing my energy and focus based on the cycles of the moon. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and so, I bought the book Moonology by Yasmin Boland. This is what she has to say about the influence of the 3rd quarter moon, “Although we might feel tired during this part of the cycle, this is no time to stop or rest on our laurels. There’s tension at this time: a result of the hard angle between the egotistical Sun and the emotional Moon. … This is also a very good time to break bad habits.” The message here for me is to find the courage to try again and get the machine fixed. I need to let go of the expectation (ego) that a project will be done by a certain time. In the past, I would have just started something else (emotion). But I want to break the bad habit of creating more and more projects for myself when I have so many in progress. In the short term, I feel some relief trying something new, but in the long run, that’s just one more thing on the WIP pile.

That reminds me, I think I wrote about something similar in my last blog post—Anything worth doing won’t be simple. Sometimes, it’s annoying as you know what, but in the end, the finished piece is more precious to us. And so, I keep on.

Have any crafting war stories you would like to vent about?