Thursday, October 7, 2010

Trying to Keep Things Fun

Have you ever gotten so involved in a hobby that it starts to feel more like work than anything else?  I get that way about my crochet quite often, it seems.  I think part of it stems from the fact that now that I am not working, I don't have much in the way of deadlines going on in my life, so I like to impose deadlines on my projects.  Sometimes it's a deadline dictated by outside circumstances (i.e., when I am making a present for someone and therefore do actually have to have it finished within a certain time frame), and sometimes a project stretches out for so long that I have to set a deadline or it just won't get finished. 

I'm not saying that deadlines, for hobbies or otherwise, are a bad thing necessarily.  They can be a decent motivator.  But where do you draw the line between when something you love doing stops feeling like fun and starts to feel like it's a job?  For the most part crochet, for me, is more about the actual act of crocheting than it is about the finished project.  But you can only make so many blankets for yourself, and so the bulk of my projects are gifts for other people.  And when that is the case, it is all too easy to get more focused on the end result than on the process itself, which is the part I really enjoy.  Not to say I don't love giving a handmade gift to someone I care about, but I crochet because I really do like to do it.  The fact that it usually results in something that might make my loved ones happy too, well, that's just a bonus.  I usually try to avoid the chance of getting myself too stressed out over a project by planning in advance and leaving myself plenty of time in which to make the item.  But sometimes I lose track of time and get a late start, or I don't decide I am going to make a gift for someone until I barely have the time to do it, or I just get a whole lot of "deadlines" right next to each other on the calendar.

I'm having one of those times right now.  As you know, I went to a wedding this past weekend and made a blanket for the couple.  I started that blanket shortly after making scarves for an anniversary present to my grandparents who are right now in Ireland celebrating their anniversary.  The scarves came right after the blanket for a former roommate of mine who got married at the start of September.  And we have another wedding to go to this coming Saturday.  I just finished that blanket last night.  Thankfully that was my last big project (read:  blanket) to make this year, but I do have three smaller birthday present projects I want to make before the end of the year (started the first this morning), and two sweaters I would like to make for myself.  Plus whatever I end up making for my husband and daughter for their Christmas stockings (because I always decide at the last minute that I need to do that).  Sigh.  (Inhales deeply.  Exhales slowly.)

There's also the matter of the October, November, and December swap squares I need to make for my sister, too.  Not to mention the two or three knitting kits I've got hanging out in my stash because, hey, wasn't I going to teach myself how to knit this year?  AND my stash really needs a reorg in the worst way.

I was talking to my sister about my projects yesterday and I realized that I have gotten to the point where I am thinking of my crochet projects as my job again, rather than as a way to occupy my time and hands.  It's times like these when I need to just take a moment and remind myself of a few key things:

No one asked me to take all of this on--it was all totally my idea.

It's not the end of the world if something doesn't get finished on time--people who love me will understand.

It is okay to put the yarn down for a little while (or a few days) and just go do something else I enjoy instead.

It is also okay if, two seconds after I put down the yarn, my daughter grabs the skein and runs off with it, unraveling my last three rows of work and leaving a big ol' trail of yarn for the kitty to chase and get all tangled up in.  If a project has stopped being fun for me, at least they're still enjoying it.

I started crocheting again to add a little extra joy to my life and for no other reason.

So, even though I have a a few projects left to do this year, I am going to plan to just take those projects easy.  And when next year gets here, well, I'll deal with the knitting then.  

And now for something completely different, here are a few fun things for your Thursday Happy:

Apparently kitties find hedgehogs lacking in conversational skills.  (Alternate title:  Kitties Make Their Own Fun)

Here's my daughter trying on her first Halloween costume (yeah, she was around last Halloween, but no costume):

I don't want to grow up!

And lastly, apparently unicorns do still exist in Canada (maybe). 

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