Beginning Again

Every month, this creative project, in some ways, makes me a beginner again. This month, being a beginner at crochet made me frustrated. I’ll be honest, I have not picked up any creative project that is completely new or foreign to me. I did embroidery, which I hadn’t really tried before. But I did learn basic stitches from my aunt when I was young and I did cross stitch occasionally over the years. Video-last month- was not a big success, but I also have been doing videos for my youtube project for over a year. NANOWRIMO is writing and I have been writing off and on for myself for decades. This month, crochet is a project I grew up adjacent to. My mother crocheted. My neighbors crocheted. Didn’t everyone have the crocheted blankets in 70s brown, yellow, and orange laying around the house? I know all of my neighbors did. They also seemed to have the ones that were throws that were patches of crochet webbed together and not one complete blanket. Instead, it was hundreds off circles connected leaving gaps where cold air would come in. Despite all of that crocheting around me, I never had a crocheted hat or scarf or set of mittens in the winter.

I tried to learn to crochet once. When I was 16 and pregnant. But after a few attempts I was frustrated and really though sitting still for hours to finish it was too boring. At the beginning of this month when I started, I was frustrated. I watched multiple videos trying to find the best one to help me figure out how to hold the crochet hook and how to make it work. I started and restarted at least 5 times. And finally I started to get the hang of the basic stitch. And I’ve made a scarf so far. It’s kind of small, like a scarf for a 9 year old. But I finished it.

Being a beginner again is hard. And to do it repeatedly month after month is definitely a different experience. I’ve been wondering what 6 months of starting over translates into over time. Will I be more flexible? More confident? Or will I just get tired of it? Perhaps I find myself more sure of what I like and don’t like. One thing I find that I do like, is that I do like alternating storytelling projects with hands on crafts. For example, I did NANOWRIMO followed by embroidery. And with crafts, I like having a useful finished product. For example, I like having an embroidered dish towel that you can actually use. I really want to do pottery but it’s a challenge to find a pottery class that is for one month or even single lessons. They are usually 8 week courses.

When is the last time you were a beginner?


25K Words Later: Nanowimo is done!

Month 1 Complete

Creative project: Nanowrimo

Last night, when I went to bed my phone said it was 19 degrees outside. Nineteen. Winter has arrived in the Pacific Northwest and I need to get into a habit of taking Vit D. Gray skies and lots of time indoors are here.

For November, I did nanowrimo and although I did write 25k +/- words, I didn’t finish my project. Towards the end, I started to wonder if this project was really one I wanted to put out into the world. Typically, that kind of doubt is centered on whether I want people to read what I wrote because they might think it’s terrible? Or did I just overshare-now everyone will know what I think?? But this time, I really found myself glad that wrote it and organized it for my sake but perhaps that was enough.

I wrote about walking and the time we spent walking the Camino de Santiago this year. It was and continues to be a strange, adventurous year. Perhaps all of that work of writing was more of a good exercise in reflection so I could move on to the next things.

This month, I am looking forward to switching creative modes and I am working on embroidery. Not just as a task or skill that ends in a product, but also as a creative endeavor. I am starting the month by practicing stitches with this simple embroidery project.

After I finish this, I am planning to create something of my own design. We will see how it goes. Anyone else getting creative this winter?