The Saga of the Socks Continues

In the last article, I discussed my distressing and difficult sock project (The Socks from Hell), and how I didn’t enjoy the process at all, and the best thing about the whole thing was when it was over and the socks were on my feet (which almost didn’t happen, incidentally).

So why, you ask me, did you start the project at all, if you were so incompetently able to manage it? Why not do something easier?

Good question, one I asked myself a few times, and one that painters and draftsmen and creative types of all kinds often ask themselves too. But the answer always wound up being this:

The project isn’t too hard for you, dear.

Another restful, peaceful image to take your mind off of whatever is frustrating you. Homeland 3, part of the Homeland series, by Steve Henderson.
Another restful, peaceful image to take your mind off of whatever is frustrating you.
Homeland 3, part of the Homeland series, by Steve Henderson.

I can knit socks — I’ve got a whole drawer of them — and while I can’t do it with my eyes closed, I can do it while watching an action movie, which is pretty much the same thing.

The new technique I faced with the Socks from Hell (for you knitters out there), while challenging, was not beyond my ability, but it was a stretch (er, no pun intended), and I was up for that challenge. I knew that in order to meet it I would need to allow myself extra time, focused concentration, and the permission and expectation to make mistakes. I also limited myself to the one challenging technique, which was fortunate — and wise — because I managed to mess up on that one technique enough times that I had no room to mess up on another.

And upon completion, by golly I was much better at that technique, and I’ll be able to incorporate it into another project without so much agony and ripping out of stitches.

If you find yourself painting with your eyes closed, or whipping out canvases while keeping up with Daniel Craig on the latest James Bond movie, maybe it’s time to plan to frustrate yourself by learning how to paint with a new, different, potentially (and most probably) frustrating painting technique, and giving yourself permission to get really, really flummoxed.

You’ll be pretty impressed with yourself by the end.

–Carolyn

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