Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Trying a new thing challenge. Join me!

Readers, I’ve been remiss! I did a post a while ago about wanting to do a thing where we all tried to learn a new skill and blogged about it, and then I got my cold and forgot. Anyway I’ve remembered, I’ve got a Mr Linky (bottom of the post) and I thought, if anyone wanted to have a go, you could blog and leave me a link and I’ll do a round up in a fortnight or so.

It can be small or large, a technique, a whole new skill, a recipe, anything. I was thinking of the kind of things you’ve always wanted to try, but something’s stopped you quite getting round to it: fear of failure or something like that. If that’s the case, then I’m officially giving you absolution. Yes I am! I’m afraid I can’t give you absolution if you’ve murdered someone/ given a pussycat a lion cut or something else terrible, but, if you’re wanting to, for example, try and make soap but you’re worried you’ll spend a lot of money on lye and oils and whatnot and then it won’t work, well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter, the only way you can fail is by not trying, it’s all good practice and when in three years’ time you’re rivalling Lush you can look back on your first attempt with a wry smile and affection. Take the plunge! Blog posts detailing abject failure, fury, and drinking Bacardi Breezers to get over the whole affair are just as welcome as ones where it all goes perfectly and you get a new skill out of it.
I think in general it's supposed to be thinner
What am I going to do, you ask. Well, I thought I might have a go at spinning. I have had a very brief trial run and I was rubbish, so I am going to have another go and I will tell you about it when I have got more to tell (rather than ‘God what a strange thing to do, how does everybody ever manage this???’) which is where I am at the moment. Is that everybody’s initial thought when they try something new? And I am going to have another go at playing my guitar,
It took me 45 minutes to upload this. Sometimes I think I will crack and buy a new computer
Because I can play just the two songs and beyond that I fail. I sometimes wonder if I should get a different guitar book rather than Russ Shipton, as he seems to feel that the prospect of being able to play Hey Jude ought to be an incentive to me. It isn’t. I don’t want to play Hey Jude and actually I don’t want anybody else to play it either, I think they should all stop.

What is it that stops you trying something new? I mean, I think we can probably all agree that Hey Jude ought to put anyone off (oh go on, I know everyone else in the world loves it), but generally what stops me is perfectionism. I am a mad perfectionist and I feel I ought to do things absolutely perfectly on my very first try: I don’t like having to learn things. I somehow subconsciously feel it is wrong. Rachel had a Voltaire quote on her blog about the best being the enemy of the good and I thought this was very true, although in my case if I am not careful the best is the enemy of me actually getting off my bum and doing anything at all. It also puts me off things when I feel I am going to have to spend a lot on materials to start with, and this is why I get so narky with craft books which tell you to only use the best materials, because I feel that can put people off starting (although to be fair perhaps it encourages some people? All very confusing). Anyway, whatever it is that is stopping you doing something you have always fancied, here is your challenge: suck it and see, then put your post on my Mr Linky so others can either learn or be impressed. As for me, if I can conquer the spinning/ guitar fear I will be a short-term happy bunny. I don’t think there’s anything else I’m eyeing up at the moment. No, I’m pretty sure my conscience is clear and I’m not going to need to go buying equipment or forcing my cockeyed creations on loved ones or boring on about technique or anything like that. Honestly.
No special equipment necessary! Watch out Manolo!


Marushka C. said...

How will I ever choose what to try for this? So many possibilities...

pinkundine said...

I know what you mean about perfectionism - I get discouraged and quit if I'm not completely good at something straight away...

Not sure what I'd pick for this - my current reason for not trying anything new is lack of time to spend on what I already do!

Vivianne said...

I think Blue Peter is responsible for so much disappointment. The thing is, one's stuff so rarely turns out like the expert's/author's ...we forget they usually have a team to do it for them. Of course, it's easy then. I'm looking at you, Martha Stewart.

Rachel said...

Hmm, reasons for not doing things. There are so many:
Spinning: No wheel and not sure how to go about contacting farmers who might sell me a fleece for 50p (as opposed to ready-to-spin wool for considerably more).
Liquid soap making: Shortage of uncontaminated wood ash for making potassium hydroxide.
Making a solar panel: The radiators needed for this are still attached to the walls of our house, and we haven't entirely decided not to use them for central heating next winter. Also, I have a nagging feeling that plumbing may not be the kind of skill that you can learn from the internet.
Converting my sewing machine to treadle-power: Lack of a suitable piece of wood for the table-top part, relevant skills and, probably, tools.
Knitting socks: The wool I have earmarked for this is still part of a cardigan and I'm reluctant to destroy something when I have no confidence in my ability to make the new thing.

I'm not sure which of these I'll tackle for your challenge, but I promise I will do something, if not one of these then something else. The last one looks like the most pathetic reason, but I'd like to try something more ambitious. Socks will be my fall-back if I don't manage anything bigger.

Sara said...

I'll join you!!!

Kim said...

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a blogger award. You can find out more here:

Also, I would love to join in with your challenge! I've been trying to learn how to spin too, and it's going less than well! I'm determined to get it though!! Have you any tips you can share?

Much love,

Anonymous said...

Susie, I've given you an award because I like your blog. :) I want this to be a compliment and not a burden, so please take it in that spirit!

Susie said...

Right ladies. {Cracks knuckles}. (And thank you so much for the awards, Kim and Julia, much appreciated!).

Rachel: spinning: can you start with a drop spindle? Cheaper than a wheel ++ you can make one yourself (I mean, I couldn't, but I bet you could). Wool to spin - I am a bit wussy and would say buy some prepared tops first and then engage with sheep later (but I am wussy). I got some with my spindle and the whole thing was about £15 (but that is still £15, admittedly).
Potassium hydroxide rendering/ solar panels/ treadles, this is just beyond my experience and I am impressed that you would even consider it ;-).
Socks, this I can do {cracks knuckles again}. I started with the super simple knitwit sock pattern which you can find on Ravelry, socks are not undoably hard, use bamboo needles though if you are using double pointed ones.

Kim, I have no tips yet about spinning because I agree with you, it is hard! I'm just going to plug away for a bit and comfort myself that I am better at it than Noro because I am knitting with my first Noro at the moment and I hate to court controversy but it is really not spun very well. Good luck with your spinning endeavours, I am with you in spirit!

April said...

I'm going to try and get rid of my toe nail fungus. Let me rephrase that. I *am* going to get rid of my toe nail fungus. Much more positive. Watch for regular updates on my blog!

Rachel said...

Hi Susie. I've just posted a second link here, which looks very greedy, but you now have one describing abject failure and one describing success. As for spinning, I'll be blogging about that soon, too, as I went to a class last week. It was difficult, but I'm willing to bet a drop spindle would be a lot more difficult. A friend has promised me long-term loan of her wheel, which makes the whole business a lot cheaper (though we do have to fetch it from Yorkshire). As for wool, I mentioned this to a friend, who said, "You need to speak to Gethin the champion sheep-shearer" and lo! There he was in the pub on Friday (I love living in Wales!) Unfortunately I didn't catch his name, so didn't realise it was him until he'd gone, but at least I might recognise him if I see him again.