Knowing When To Stop

Since I was a child I’ve gone through major crafty obsessions. They usually last about six years. First it was pottery, then sewing, the silk painting, oil painting, and then knitting. At the same time there were brief flirtations with other crafts and hobbies, like calligraphy, wood carving, dyeing, and spinning, but they never held my attention like the obsessions did.

My obsession with sewing taught me a valuable lesson: don’t force yourself to continue with a hobby after the thrill is gone. After having made a lot of my clothes in my mid teens and early twenties, and even doing a course on making my own patterns, I was pretty committed to this hobby. Then one day my ex pointed out that I always got in a foul mood when I was sewing, and I suddenly realised that he was right – I wasn’t enjoying sewing any more. In fact, I now hated it. I’d pushed myself to continue with the sewing for far too long, bothered by my huge fabric stash and the long list of projects waiting to be made.

Eventually I gave away and sold most of my fabric stash and patterns. But I do still occasionally bring out the sewing machine to whip up something simple. Like these:

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Pyramid door stops, made with calico and cotton tape, and stuffed with wheat from some extra wheat bag hotties that I wasn’t using. They’re much easier to nudge into place with your foot than those little wooden wedges.

Having learned from my sewing hobby, I know not to get so hung up on the size of my yarn stash or to-do list of projects that I spoil the fun of knitting. And I also know from my silk painting hobby that there really is a point where you (and your friends and family) already have more than enough scarves. That’s when it’s time to try something new. And probably find something else to get obessed with.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll never sew/paint/knit again.

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