Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sometimes Hobbies do not turn out as Expected

By Christina VanGinkel

Hobbies can often have obvious highs and lows. If your hobby is crafting, the satisfaction of completing a project you have worked on for days, even weeks or months, and having the finished project turn out as good as or even better than you expected is an obvious high. On the opposite side, the disappointment of putting in time and dollars for supplies, only to not have the project turn out as you envisioned it would, when you started it, can be a definite low.

When my mother was homebound in her later years, she often had results that could have easily been classified as the second outcome above. Crocheted hats and mittens that were lopsided, plastic canvas tissue cover boxes that never fit over their intended sizes quite right, and beaded key chains and other small beaded trinkets that looked like nothing any of us had ever seen before. Yet, if you asked her if she enjoyed crafting, she would tell you that it was her favorite hobby and she could not believe she had not tried some of the crafts before. She was never intimidated by a new craft, and would delve wholeheartedly into each and every project she ever tried. Some things did turn out beautifully, such as the afghan blankets that she made her children, and all of her grandchildren. For the other projects that were not quite right, she would often laugh about what the results were, and then would give the item to one of the younger grandkids or if the item was truly bad, rip it apart if possible and start over, trying to figure out where it was that she made the error.

If you are new to crafting as a hobby, there is a lot to be learned from such an attitude. No, not every project will turn out as you envisioned, even after you no longer consider yourself past the beginner stage with many crafts. Maybe a size will be wrong, a color as bad a choice as you could have picked, or you will miss stitches, whole rows, what have you. When something like this happens though, the best thing you can do is to try to learn from whatever mistake it was that occurred, and start something new.

I cannot tell you how many times when I first began crocheting that I tore out not only stitches, but also complete rounds and rows, even half a mitten or a good portion of a blanket or throw at a time. One of my early projects was a pair of booties that I made for my daughter as an infant. The first bootie looked adorable, awhile the second one kept turning out with a toe so small that it looked like it was half a bootie. I must have ripped out the foot of the bootie ten times before I figured out that it was not the pattern or even the way I was reading it that was wrong, as I already had one perfectly looking and fitting one, but that I had picked up the wrong hook size! Of course, it was small!

Once I realized what the problem was, I felt a bit dumb, but I did not toss it all aside and not finish the booties. I not only finished that pair, but through the years, I made numerous pairs for both my own kids and as gifts for friends and family. If I had given up because that first pair was not coming together as I had envisioned it, I would have missed out on a lot more than a single pair of booties. I would have missed many smiles and a thank you from those who I gave booties and blankets, and many of the other crafts I made and gave away.

The thing is, I still craft, and I still make mistakes, yet I enjoy crafting as a very important part of my life. If you have tried a hobby of any type, whether it is a crafting hobby, assembling models, racing midget cars, or what have you, and things have not turned out exactly as you have expected, be fair to yourself, and give the hobby another chance. Hobbies are enjoyable, but that does not mean they are always simple. Try it, maybe even a third or fourth if it is something you have always wanted or dreamed of doing. Who knows, it might become a hobby that is very much a part of your life. Now back to my own hobbies. I have booties to make for a friend and mittens to crochet for my grandson!

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