I learned to crochet as a kid and made more afghans than I can remember. Once I ran out of patterns that seemed interesting I started making doilies and coasters and booties out of thread. I loved these delicate little things and there was more to learn, more of a challenge. I've sewn randomly through all my crafting phases, making clothes, stuffed animals, and quilts. Then I moved to a much cooler climate and warm woolens sounded appealing but crocheting didn't sound fun (I knew how to do it already.) and the fabric it created wasn't really something I wanted to wear. So, of course, I needed to learn to knit. I knit socks, lace shawls, hats and scarves. I taught a couple of ladies at work to knit. Then I needed to learn to spin because if you knit, you should be able to spin. (Right? OK, I know that's just me.) I learned to scrapbook, but it seemed I spent more time pulling it all out and cleaning it up than actually working on my projects, and so far I haven't felt the need to get more pictures printed.
I am still interested in all of the things I have learned, but, while I wouldn't say I have mastered them, I know them well enough that most of the challenge is gone. I feel like I could pick up a pattern, complete it and modify it to suit my needs if it isn't exactly what I want or make my own pattern from scratch if need be.
Last Christmas I was looking for gifts for my coworkers and came up with embroidered tea towels. They seemed perfect. I could afford them, personalize them for each person that I knew well and find some fun general patterns for those I didn't. I had done some counted cross stitch in the past, and basic embroidery to decorate little edges of dresses or socks, but not anything that I would consider embroidery for the sake of it. I ordered towels and iron on patterns from Colonial Patterns and didn't get bored once. It seemed very much like coloring. Choosing a picture for each person, picking out colors as I go, blending some and using different shades of the same color to create depth even when all I did was stem stitch all combined to keep me interested and feeling like I was learning something new. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it.
Then I found the patterns for my niece's puppy quilt and discovered the wealth of patterns on Flickr and Etsy. Enough to keep me busy for a life time right? Of course! Any subject you can think of is already covered....
Ivy: Hey! I've got an idea!
Me: What's that?
Me: Jonathan and Kelly have cornered the market on that idea already.
Ivy: No, I mean Grady's quilt!
Me: We haven't finished London's quilt yet.
Ivy: So? Grady needs one.
Me: But we haven't finished.... oh never mind... what's your idea?
Ivy: Grady's Circus!
Me: Hey.... I like that. Did we see a pattern or something somewhere?
Ivy: Grady isn't even a year old yet. I'm pretty sure the bearded lady is going to be over his head. Besides that's not what I want.....
Me: Ok... I'll bite. What do you have in mind?
Ivy: I want it to look like a Circus poster!
Me: hmmm ok.... I can see that.... The quilt part would be easy enough but we'll need to find some pictures for the embroidery or are you thinking applique? We don't draw. Remember?
Ivy: Embroidery. We draw stick figures.
Me: Not well and do you really want a stick figure circus?
Fast Forward a full weekend of circus picture Surfing later.
Ivy: Ok, I don't like any of these. Well, this one is lovely, but not quite right and we can’t copy. We'll just have to make our own.
Me: We don't draw. We have ummmm.... proportion issues....
Ivy: So we'll learn and there's that program.... Look the icon is right there... We'll use that.
Me: That program makes me say bad words and you cry and then I say more bad words.
Ivy: That's because we don't know how to use it. We'll get a book.
Me: You always say we'll get a book.
Ivy: That's because it works.
And you know what........