When I was 9 years old my school teacher told me that I was a 'Jack of all trades and a master of none.' I had no idea what she meant so when I got home I asked my mother who explained. I was quite upset at the time, not because I was a JOAT, in fact, I quite agreed with the description. I knew I didn't finish things and was quite aware that something new was so much more interesting than something already started; I was upset because I'd never realised that this was the wrong way to be.
For many years I've had the JOAT label in the back of my mind and I've tried SO hard to overcome it by mastering something, anything! But, it just hasn't happened. I've tried quite a few things over the years but I find it hard to stick to one thing and do it really, really well. There are too many distractions and I want to try them all.
What's wrong with this sort of youthful JOAT enthusiasm anyway?
As you can see I didn't care then about this distraction being useful, didn't care if it fitted or if there was enough wool. I just wanted to make it!
Charlotte Bronte wrote something wonderfully liberating about this conundrum, “Better to try all things and find all empty, than to try nothing and leave your life a blank.”
Great words of wisdom, Charlotte, and nothing said about doing those things fantastically well either.
So, I was really pleased to have found Annette's beautiful blog, My Rose Valley, and the uplifting post about being easily distracted. I felt I had stumbled across a kindred spirit (although she's incredibly talented and very productive by the looks of things), plus any woman who makes cat fleas sound endearing is my sort of person.
I followed the suggestion that I should lay out all of my unfinished projects in front of me and find out the following: 'What do I love? Do I know my style? How big is my WiP pile?'
The first knitting bag I went through was the loveliest, really great colours.
Then a bag of assorted fabrics that really don't look good together.
But, I'm procrastinating by showing you individual bags. This is the lot..!
And it's not quite what I thought it would be. Frankly I thought there was a lot more. I did search around for other bags of enthusiasm but this was it. My brain had played a trick on me and made this benign collection of unfinished items into a monster. I was instantly relieved.
I was also surprised by the colours - quite subdued when all my current inspirations are powerfully vibrant. I don't think it represents my loves, passions or creativity at all and I'm still unsure of what could be considered 'my style.' But, you know that's all OK! When the pile of stuff above is complete I will embark on something that's purely me, whatever that is...it will be interesting to find out.
In the mean time, this is the one item that didn't make the collection...
It was my first attempt at a blanket when I relearned to crochet in January this year. I loved it at first then hated it. I think it was the addition of orange and purple (although I love them both), it just made me dislike it and I still don't know why. It's possible that my crochet had improved and I just didn't want to repeat rows of the same stitch.
And this is what it will become, the beautiful shell blanket minus the orange and purple. I may introduce lemon into it for some contrast, not sure yet.
I'm really pleased at how much my hooky has improved in just a few months.
I'm finding it hard to put this project down and I've had a couple of late nights with it already after making sure the Cow'n'Wolf are tucked up safely and the Musician Husband is snoring sleeping gently upstairs. It's hard to ignore the calling of those repetitive addictive stitches. I also have to thank Annette for her beautiful shell pattern which I've used for this project. As you can see I've been really inspired by her blog and it's fantastic that people out there are willing to to share this sort of craft passion.
But before I allowed myself the total pleasure of sitting in the sun hooking shells, I had unravelling to do...
But before long I was trying hard to ignore the impulse to hook instead of unravel. Then I found myself distracted by the scissors.
Would you believe that these shiny, shiny scissors with clinically precise cutting edges are my first nursing scissors from 1984? All of you who have worked out my age at this point please do not log off. Louise Bourgeois was 'cutting edge' way into her 90s. Also my brain is still firmly 26 years old.
Back to the scissors - they look almost perfect and were carried around various hospitals in various uniforms as we moved from hats and starched aprons over the years to tunics and trousers, so they've seen some sights.
...they have been sterilised.
Here is the unravelling chair...with actual real June sunshine.
On reflection I realised most of the work I'm doing at the moment is for charity projects. This is hopefully the reason why the colours aren't too vibrant. The most pressing of these events is the Little Love Project. It's organised for June 12th and there will be a whole blog about it coming up. There's 25 of us knitting and sewing all day so it should be a really good experience. Also, everything gets finished, no messing!
As one of the projects is for prem babies, I've used the beautifully soft blissy bag for holding the wool.
How pretty and snuggly!
Yet there's one evil thing in our midst...Magic Loop! I just can't get on with them at all. It's not their fault, it's totally mine. That bit of loopy plastic (no matter how small I buy them) drives me MAD and my knitting speed slows to near stall. I'm not too hot on DPNs either but I have to choose one or the other as prems can't have a whacking great seam running up the inside of their hats.
So, I'm persevering and will let you know the outcome.
On a much easier note, these small blankets were lovely to make and top of the 'most needed' list from our local hospitals.
See, I'm going off at a tangent again. Back to the unravelling.
It took an unexpectedly long time to undo the portion of blanket I'd hooked but finally all the wool was neatly balled up. The Musician Husband took a break from TV cricket/football/rugby/golf/sleeping and brought out some fizzy pineapple and orange juice, packed with big ice cubes to remind us it's Summer.
So, I sat with my new shell stitch project and enjoyed the afternoon. No further distractions.
Later on I found this piece of wisdom on the internet (yes, really!):
The inability to focus seems to be linked to greater creativity. Researchers at Harvard University tested 100 high-IQ undergraduates on their ability to tune out irrelevant stimuli, like the buzz of an air-conditioner or background chatter at a cocktail party. They then compared these results to a series of metrics that determined each student's level of creativity. Those participants who were classified as "eminent creative achievers" were seven times more likely to be easily distracted.
But there is a catch: A similar study conducted at the University of Toronto found all the excess stimuli that those who struggle to focus are exposed to only increases creativity if that person has the ability to separate the information that is useful from what serves no purpose.
Well, that's no problem at all then. I think I've got it just right...what do you reckon?