On Trying Something New

In many ways I’m glad I have this journal, my blog, to look back on. The main reason being that I can see how I’ve progressed in my own creativity. I tried to think what would it be like if I hadn’t ever started my blog, but yet still made things? I think it would easily get to the point where I wouldn’t be able to remember how things started, or how I learned, or the mistakes made along the way. It’s so easy to look at someone’s work and see a stunning finished product and think to yourself, gosh, I’ll never be that great, almost to the point of not even trying. That’s such a sad thing to think, but I think it’s a common one even if it’s something we don’t actually admit or say out loud.

I’m trying to catch myself in saying that as well. I feel like I certainly hold myself back from making things simply because they appear too challenging. Also, to have expectations that everything will turn out perfect the first time is ridiculous. I mean, why would anyone be great at something the first time they tried something? I hear this in my daughters sometimes, too. And I’m trying to be the positive voice inside their heads, that says to try it anyway. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you want, even if no one else likes it, even when you don’t believe in yourself. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be perfect or impressing your friends. Imagine how many times you’ve tried something new and it didn’t go as planned — and you gave up after that. I’ve done it myself so many times, too. Don’t let the lack of skill prevent you, keep trying. It may not be the same ending as you envisioned, but maybe it’ll lead you down an entirely new road. Isn’t that the magic part?

You always have a choice. Look back on the risks and chances you take, maybe some lead you to new things you couldn’t have imagined? And now look back and imagine you never took those risks? And how different your life would be. It’s simple things like, I tried arm knitting today, I didn’t love it. I’m going to finish the project anyway. And then re-evaluate what drew me to that project in the first place. Of course this doesn’t apply to just creativity. Maybe you tried running for exercise. You ran a few miles, but then it got too tough, so you stopped. What if you kept going and it ended up being your favorite activity? Or you took the risk of joining a book club. You didn’t know anyone, but you went anyway. And those friends you made in the club ended up being some of your best friends? Imagine if you never went to the club?

I don’t want to hold myself back. I don’t think anyone does. But not taking risks or trying something new, staying in your comfort zone can be a sad place. So I’m going to continue to try new things. And try not to worry if they take forever and end up being a lump at the bottom of my garbage can. I’m going to put myself out there and try to make a new friend, even if it never ends up working out.

So for my next couple of projects I’m going to try and finish my arm knit pillow. I’m also going to take a small step in trying to make jeans (again), I’m going to try sewing just the fly front with some scrap denim, just that tiny part of the process. I know I’ll learn more than if I had never tried in the first place. That’s such a good feeling and I won’t look back and wonder why I never tried in the first place.

19 thoughts on “On Trying Something New

  1. Laura K Swan says:

    What a great role model you are for your girls! I believe we put so much pressure to get things right the first time that we forget the process is what drew us to the project in the first place.

  2. I love this post, as it is a reminder to me how important it is to model for my kids to try new things even if I fail miserably. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Anne says:

    What a great post! I totally agree with you. When I just started sewing I tried all sorts of things that didn’t work. But I tried because I wanted to learn. Nowadays I’m afraid I will fail on new things or I read on the web that it’s difficult so I don’t start… Not something I want my children to learn.
    After reading this post I decided to reconsider some things and make myself try 2 things!!

  4. Renee says:

    Anna, I love what you do with all your creativity! Thank you for sharing and inspiring all of us ( your fans). My mom started my sisters and I sewing when we were pretty young because I wanted to make cloths for my dolls. I always loved her creativity and it inspired me because I could see how much joy it gave her. My sisters and I get together most weekends to sew and work on projects together and we laugh a lot at our mistakes , which are many! But, we have such a good time and always enjoy the creative process of learning from our “mistakes”

  5. fragulina says:

    So right! Try something new is really a great part of the process but it is also something difficult to
    do. Your post is so inspiring and, as I’m learning knitting in these days, I really need it 😉

  6. erin says:

    Great reminder, Anna! I’m in the process of jean making. I basted the seams, fitted them, adjusted the pattern and pieces and stalled out when it came to actually doing the sewing. I think I need to pick it back up and see if I can’t just get it done!

  7. Donna Baker says:

    I just love your honest, raw posts. I’m so glad you started your blog too. I’ve tried so many things over the years, it’s been so enriching. Some things I loved and stuck with and other things I’m glad I tried but it was just for a season. I’ve not regretted anything. You’re such a good mom I can tell!

  8. Laurel W Krynock says:

    All so true, Anna! I think in a way the media-driven world we live in leads us to compare ourselves to others too much, and it’s easy to conclude that we’re just not good enough at something. Hand-quilting is something that I’ve always wanted to love and be able to do well, but I’ve definitely struggled when I’ve tried it. You’ve inspired me to try again. Beautiful post!

  9. says:

    I love this post Anna! It is true about comfort zones. I’m going to step out of mine and attempt to make a swim suit this spring. Change happens when we step out of our comfort zones!

  10. Rebecca says:

    I’m still working on sewing clothes that fit. I keep telling myself that pattern adjustments are normal, just like RTW doesn’t fit everyone. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when I try on my hilariously bad muslins. Thanks for the reminder to keep trying!

  11. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE this post Anna! Your message resonates…and additionally…your post reminds me of why I love blogs.

  12. Heather says:

    I really, really love this post. I live in New England, where skating is a prerequisite, and hockey is king! My husband and boys play hockey – and though I’ve lived here all my life, I can’t even skate. My boys really, really really want me to take skating lessons so we can all skate together. The truth is, I’m afraid to try! What if I fall constantly, what if I break my arm and can’t knit/sew/whatever, what if what if what if.

    The truth is, I know I would be so proud of myself for doing something I’m so afraid of. And it would be an amazing lesson for my kids if I actually walked the walk, since I urge them to be brave all the time. Thank you for the inspiration – I think that will be my goal for the fall when lessons start again 🙂

    I also learn something every single time I make one of your patterns, and as crazy as it sounds because it is just sewing – I get scared before I do some of those too. I have an almost completely finished 241 tote sitting in my wip pile because I have been too chicken to sew an adjustable strap. I won’t wait for fall to tackle that one!!

  13. Mabel says:

    Anna 👏👏👏 An inspirational post . This is reason why we follow your blog !!

  14. Sommer says:

    This spoke to my heart as I struggle with these feelings daily. Your message was right on time and I’m grateful for it. Perhaps I’ll even attempt to make your super tote bag (a pattern that I’ve had for over a year but too fearful to try). Thanks for your candor!

  15. Sarah says:

    Can I suggest a resource for sewing the jeans and specifically the fly? …
    Angela Wolf
    She has a website, YouTube videos, a jeans making craftsy class, etc. … she is amazingly helpful.
    If your looking for a way to make the jeans a tad less stressful, I recommend her.

  16. liz n. says:

    The online jeans-sewing course from Closet Case Patterns is worth investing in if you’ve never sewn jeans before. I found the course after Karen at Fringe Association posted about sewing her own jeans, and I’m really, really glad I took the plunge! I don’t think I’m ever going to buy a pair of jeans again.

  17. Marta says:

    I am totally with you, Anna! I have said many times that I am so glad I have my blog so I can look back on all my past projects and adventures–both to relive some of the memories and just as often so I can remember how I did something!

  18. Sharon says:

    Great post! It is definitely nice to have a written reminder. I have even printed parts of it. I love reading the book and reliving the parts of our life. Writing it is intimidating some days, but it is good practice. Thanks for the prompt to try something new!

  19. Kristin says:

    First– your arm knitting looks luscious! Second– I keep my blog for the same reason you mentioned. I want a journal of my crafty adventures. I love looking back on what I have done. It’s like a virtual scrapbook. =)

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