I'm feeling pretty good about a recent accomplishment. I set a goal and stuck with it even when it got frustrating to the point of tears. I decided I wanted to make something fun for my family for Christmas presents. I had a cool pattern for making Polar Fleece Socks. There was just one problem with that. I don't sew. Not that I don't usually sew or I don't care to sew. I mean I don't sew at ALL, like I never really learned. I don't even thread needles.
But I do own a sewing machine that I bought about 35 years ago. I've hauled that darn thing all over the country with me every time we moved. A few different times in the past 20 years I had actually tried to make various items. Most of the results of those early efforts were somewhere between disappointment and disaster. So I gave up. I just never got rid of the machine.
I knew from experience from all my failed attempts in the past that just going at it alone was not likely to turn out much different, no matter how enthusiastic my intentions might be. So this time I found someone who has MUCH successful experience sewing to help me get started. We made the first pair of socks together at her house to show me the ropes. Then,she gave my old machine a thorough review and oiling, pronouncing it a dandy despite it's age and years of neglect. So, armed with renewed confidence and determination I set off for home to continue the project solo.
Enter ominous music from movie Jaws at this point.
Suffice it to say that initially all did not go well. At one point I was terribly frustrated, convinced I was incapable. One pair of socks had it's stitching done wrong and ripped out three different times. (I know, I'm a dork. How hard could this be??)
But this time I DID NOT QUIT.
I kept at it. My first pair on my own didn't look all that great. The seams on the ribbing cuffs did not match up quite right with the seam on the sock. The pattern of the fleece on one foot did not match the pattern position on the other foot. They were maybe just a tad lopsided. But you know what? They were still cozy and warm. So rather than tear them out again or give up, I kept going.
EVENTUALLY I had produced five pairs of polar fleece socks with contrasting soles and ribbing cuffs that were down right acceptable. They were NOT perfect by any means. But I still gave them to my family as gifts and they loved them. See!
There were several key lessons learned by this process...
1) When learning a new skill it really helps to have a guide who knows what they are doing.
2) Perfection is not the goal. It's ok to have high standards, but if I am not willing to tolerate some mistakes along the way I'll never learn anything new.
3) It really did get easier by the 5th pair. If I just keep at it long enough, it gets better.
I don't know if I am ever going to be a skilled seamstress. But I'm pretty darned proud of those socks. And I aim to keep trying and keep learning. Sewing can be a cool thing. Besides, I've carried around that silly machine for a long time. It's long overdue to be put to good use!
It's about time I learned that I can make something besides just Macaroni angels!