Sisyphus is a figure in Greek mythology. He was a king who cheated death twice, among other things, and was punished by Zeus, king of the gods, to spend eternity rolling a boulder up a hill, only for it to fall down again every time it got near the top.
This patchwork blanket is becoming a Sisyphian challenge. Every time I think I’m getting somewhere, I wind up feeling like I’m practically at the beginning again.
When I started, I thought it wouldn’t be every seam. Well, it’s become clear – to me, if not to anyone else – that so many of Mum’s seams were dodgy enough for me not to trust them, it’s not really worth picking and choosing which ones to reinforce: all of them is easier.
That meant going back to the beginning, the early blocks that I’d sewed, in order to catch every last seam. Fine. I did that, and went back to the last eight blocks.
Then, with six to go, I happened to glance back at those earlier blocks again. And compared my own seams to the seams I’ve been doing more recently. And…….yeah. So it took me a while to get into the swing of sewing, I guess? But some of my early seams are loose and in comparison to the later ones….just not up to a satisfactory standard.
Yes, I know. Everyone else in the world most likely, would be satisfied. But I’m suffering from a major attack of perfectionitis at the moment, and it’s not good enough for me. So I have been ripping out my own stitches and redoing those seams. Yes, really.
I could cry, I really could. Sometimes being a perfectionist is good. I would argue it’s one of the ways I’ve achieved a small measure of success with my crochet designs – by being a perfectionist. But sometimes…ugh, sometimes it’s agonising, it really is. The frustration is immense. I feel myself getting more and more stressed, less and less able to stop working on the project, exhausted and daunted by how much is left to do.
In the past, when this has happened, I’ve had an actual outside voice telling me to do the sensible thing and put the project away for a while. It’s normally crochet. I cannot tell you the hours I’ve spent comparing one square to another to make sure their sizes are absolutely perfect – and it’s certainly spilled over into my crochet projects this time. I’ve been working on a blanket with mini skeins from my 2020 yarn advent calendar and yes, I was comparing square after square to make sure each one was perfect, even though I know how forgiving crochet is of this kind of size differential (we’re talking millimetres here, not centimetres!).
In the past, Mum would have seen this mounting frustration and she would have reminded me that putting it away for a while and working on something different isn’t a bad thing. It’s very hard, when lost in internal frustration, to make that decision for oneself, and Mum always provided that external voice. Work on something small, she’d say. Something quick. Just to break things up a bit.
She’s not here now, of course. However! I am really proud to say that I’ve actually managed to do it for myself! Oh yes. I have put the patchwork blanket ‘away’. It’s still near my armchair/work area, but it’s in a closed plastic storage box. Lid on, clips secured, project out of bounds for a week or so. Well done me!
Instead I’ve been working on the crochet blanket I mentioned above, and I changed tactics with it. I hadn’t planned to do JAYG with it – I happen to like crocheting together piles of beautiful squares – but one of the benefits of join-as-you-go is that you can’t spend forever checking each square against a dozen different ones.
Since it’s a ‘nine-patch’ style layout, I’m working up five squares at a time from each mini skein in turn, then using Stylecraft Bellissima in ‘single cream’ to join them together. Once the nine-patch is done, I’m working around each patch and joining it to the previous patches, so there’s not even a problem with sitting there checking the nine-patch against previous nine-patches!!
There’s still some opportunity for checking, but not as much.
And seriously, it’s much faster to zip along making squares when you don’t have to check each one against loads of others before deciding the size is perfect.
I’m nearly halfway through this blanket now, and I think I’m going to keep going until it’s done, and only then go back to sewing. A change is as good as a rest. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop checking my own old seams, but hopefully I will be able to take a breath, do the work I need to do, and plod on until the end without getting too worked up again.
I sincerely wish you all a frustration-free, crochet filed Sunday 😀