Friday, February 15, 2013

Resistance is Futile

Everybody has “that thing” that they procrastinate doing for as long as they can.  Admit it.  You know you have one.  It could be cleaning out the basement, or going to the dentist, or doing your taxes.  We avoid it at all costs.  We feed it with excuses until it becomes the giant elephant in the room that we’d rather paper train and take for a walk than actually address the dreaded task.  My elephant was a craft project.

The lovely ladies at Modern Makers invited the Bombshells to create an installation for a fiber based exhibit.  I didn't know much more beyond the invite, but was excited by the prospect of working with other great artists on something that was sure to be fun.  I pictured our yarn filled hi-jinks and camaraderie.  I thought, “I’m a Bombshell.  We knit.  I’m a bad ass knitter.  I got this.” Then I found myself staring down the barrel of a metaphorical gun loaded with embroidery floss.

The beginning’s a bit of a blur now.  I think I may have blocked out parts of it.  I remember staring blankly at the piles of fabrics, embroidery hoops, and printed instructions on the floor at Pinky’s house.  I think I was actually trying to figure out where the yarn hi-jinks were hidden while simultaneously trying to squelch the rising panic I felt at the back of my throat.  I quickly grabbed two pieces and high tailed it home so I could process the complexity of what I’d committed myself to.  I told myself, “Kitty, you’re a domestic goddess.  You can do this.” I could totally fake my way through this, right?  Right?!

Over the next few weeks I watched every YouTube video demonstrating embroidery, French knots (Damn you, French knots!) and hand tying quilts I could find.  I bought water soluble markers and floss.  I did not, however, make a single stitch.  I stared at my pile of craft supplies willing it to complete itself.  I was frustrated.  I was afraid of letting down the Bombshells.  This girl was most definitely out of her depth.  When I could avoid it no more, I finally picked up my hoop and began my embroidery.  I tortured myself over which stitches to use.  I tore out my work and started over so many times I lost count.  I fantasized about burning it all in a pile in my backyard and dancing around the flames in victory over this project from Hell.  My Waterloo.  My elephant.  Then, I worried about what the neighbors would think and realized I didn't want to go to the trouble of buying another embroidery hoop, so that was totally out.

Then, something unexpected happened.  My outlook shifted after a few difficult days of stitching.  Maybe it was craft induced Stockholm Syndrome or maybe I just found my Zen.  My mantra changed from “I hate this.  I hate this.  I hate this.” to “Hey, this doesn't look half bad.” to “This is kind of fun.”  I somehow managed to get my pieces done by the deadline to install our work for the art opening.  I was relieved to be done and eager to drop it off.  I walked into the Modern Makers gallery and stopped dead in my tracks.  Many of the other Bombshell pieces were already assembled and hanging on a wall.  I was speechless for a full minute (And, believe me, that’s a long time for this girl to be quiet).  Each of our pieces perfectly flowed into the next.  We created a beautiful tactile art installation for the blind.  I knew one of my pieces had a word in script and in Braille that I embroidered.  I just never imagined it would all look so gorgeous.  I ran my fingers over each fabric filled hoop marveling at the delicate work everyone had done.  I finally saw the bigger picture and understood the painstaking work was all worth it.

My lesson was a humbling one.  It’s important to remind ourselves that sometimes we lack perspective.  That the little thing we so desperately avoid because we don’t like it, we’re afraid, or we just don’t want to deal with it, isn't nearly as bad as we let it become by trying to ignore it.  To sum it up, quit your bitching and just get it done.  You might be pleasantly surprised by the result.

Until next time…

Hugs & Stitches,
Kitty Knitter