Sunday, October 11, 2009

What I learned this week...

I must confess - one of the reasons I selected the macrame book this week was because I knew that I would have limited time to work on a project (busy week at work) and I thought it was going to be pretty easy. Just knots, right? HA!

For my first attempt, I wanted to make the necklace on the cover (dare to be great). After an hour of working I realized that it was going to take a long time to finish - probably because I was working with some pretty thin cord (which translates to tiny knots). First lesson learned: start with something simple when attempting an unfamiliar technique.

My next attempt was the red bracelet in the picture - I never quite figured out the starting instructions on how to make the loop for the clasp so I winged it and continued on to make the bracelet. That was followed by the orange one which came out kind of knarled. The next night, I thought that maybe the problem was the kind of cord I was using. I decided to try again, using black leather cord. That one did come out much smoother with more uniform knots and I'm much happier with the result.

While at work, on endless hold waiting for the IRS to answer a question, I thought about my lackluster red and orange bracelets. I realized that part of the problem was my frame of mind the night I made them - it's been a busy and frustrating week at work as we try to wind up tax season, dragging procrastinators into the office with the last of their information. I've been feeling a bit agitated and tired and, for some reason, have really been missing my Mom this week. After some thought, I realized that my knarled uneven knots are reflective of my mood this week, not any problem with the cord or the book. Second lesson learned: no matter how I try to put on a happy face when I'm working on something, my true mood comes through in my work.

Being the stubborn person that I am, I decided to attempt yet one more project (this book was NOT going to get the better of me!). I found a set of purse handles and a couple of yarns. I was going to make a macrame purse and don't even try to stop me! I started it on Friday night, around 9pm, after dinner - fatter yarn = bigger knots, it would go fast, right? HA! Here's a photo of my "work in progress" purse:

I'm planning on finishing this and will post a photo when I do (don't hold your breath, lol). The purse has been fun to do but reminded me of why I don't knit or do crochet projects that require counting a lot of stitches. I have the worst time keeping track! My mother was a talented knitter who made elaborate sweaters with cables and all kinds of designs. Her mother was a skilled crocheter who made teeny tiny flowers with the skinniest crochet cotton. Well, I guess it's not genetic because I'm having trouble with a simple pattern of big fat knots! Lesson #3 learned: Projects involving counting knots and/or stitches are a challenge for me.

It is a lovely book with some beautiful projects and I will re-visit it someday (I'd still like to make the necklace on the cover). I will wait until I'm in a different frame of mind, I think.

Though I can not claim to be a master of macrame, I did get an idea from doing these projects that I am going to use in a future project - if it works I'll show you some pictures of what I was inspired to do. One of the reasons I like to learn so many different techniques is so I can figure out ways to put my own twist on them to make something unique. That is also one of the reasons I take a lot of classes - learning how to handle different materials and tools gives me freedom to play and find my own voice.

Here's looking forward to October 16th and the official end to tax season 2009.

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