About 24 hours from now I will be putting up the first stitch from TAST 2012, for the 2013 re-run! YAY!!
Not that it’s going to be a big revealed secret or anything! The list is right over there at pintangle! It’s even here, just behind that tab that says “The Stitches by Week”
But that first Stitch of the Week post tomorrow will be the starting gun for this marathon that will take us through 48 stitches in the same number of weeks. It’s obvious that I dropped out of the marathon last year, and I have heard so many comments to the effect that “it got to be too much” from others that also dropped it.
Really, though, how much time does one need to spend on each stitch in order to figure it out? Realistically, I can get a new stitch down on fabric in just a few minutes; can’t you, too? Will it be such a hardship to carve out 10-20 minutes, over a 7-day period, each week this year, to intensely focus on one small thing? Not. I play Words With Friends on facebook more minutes than that every day! But I don’t turn it into a looming event in my life…
TAST is meant to be an EXCUSE 😉 so we can sit down on a Tuesday, take some stitches, and improve our skills. No one is making us do it or giving us a grade. It’s supposed to be fun! Sure, sometimes Tuesday isn’t the right day. But it could be, because we’re only talking about a 20 minute time-out 🙂
But obviously it hasn’t worked out that way for some people. Like me! Here’s why: I let the scheduling and my own expectations of doing things a certain way become too important, and the enjoyment of a craft become trivial. All work, no fun.
I see so many reasons why TAST is more important than those 10-20 minutes, but those reasons should ADD to the fun, not take it away. It is all a matter of your mindset. So here I am, tweaking my mindset.
Here are 3 reasons why it is going to be Fun, A Goal, Joyful, Important, and Meaningful to carve out (at least) those 10-20 minutes each Tuesday and hopefully more as each week goes by. It will NOT become a burden, a frustration, an obligation.
And I made myself some corresponding rules — you can share — to keep it from being a burden 🙂
1. I’ll be sharing an activity with others that also have our — my — love of hand-crafting, fiber, design, and creativity. Doing this together with other TAST stitchers gives me the feeling of being part of a community where I fit. That’s always good!
Rule 1: Become part of the stitching community, even if it is just in your thoughts! Enjoy the new friends, personalities, and talents! But don’t be intimidated by them.
2. I want each stitch to become part of my creative vocabulary when I am speaking to my fabric and threads. TAST isn’t just teaching me stitches, it gives me the encouragement to play with them, and puts so many examples at my fingertips!
I want to be so familiar with a stitch that it flows from my needle. I want to be able to visualize how it can uniquely accent that particular area on my fabric. I need to play with it and make it my BFF. But now we’re entering the potential problem area — the part that can turn the fun into a burden: our own expectations of how much we should accomplish each week.
Rule 2: Let your only expectation be: that you are joyfully more familiar with the Stitch of the Week than you were before. PERIOD. However you accomplish that is up to you and your reality.
3. I need to practice using these stitches beyond the samples I work, so that I can develop good judgement and discrimination when to use them. I want to master variations and embellishment options. I want to put each stitch to work! The only way that is going to happen is by practicing, and when is it going to be easiest to practice but when I already have needle in hand and instructions in front of me.
Now we’re adding more minutes each week plus some prep work, and that can stretch into a couple hours or even a whole day. Oh, no! :-O A couple hours doing something I am loving, that I yearn to learn, that feeds my creative soul. I should never start viewing anything like that as a burden!
Rule 3: Don’t stifle your own creativity — be prepared with materials, supplies, and free time. Enjoy your preparations with excited anticipation, then play!
There we go! This was for me, but if it helps you, too, then Hurray!