Learning New Things

Is it just me, or is everyone as stimulated as I am by making things?  Whether it’s cooking or crafts, I’m just “in my element” when I’m making something.  And if it’s something I’ve never made before, well that’s a whole other level of fun, mystery, and sometimes frustration.

In the last three days I’ve made at least three new things.  I’m not telling you this to brag.  If anything, I hope it will inspire you to try something new yourself.  Maybe you’ll want to try one of the things I’ve done, or maybe you have something else you’ve always wanted to try – well, there’s no time like the present!

On Monday, I mastered the purl stitch in knitting.  This is the third time in twenty years I’ve tried to learn to knit.  This time it may have stuck, thanks to:

  • Eve Hildebrant – Master knitter and my co-host at the Folk School who has taught plenty of people to knit – even people like me who’ve tried twice before without success….
  • Sarah Bennett and Dorothy Wilkins:  Work study students at the Folk School who learned to knit while there and progressed quite rapidly in just six weeks!
  • A Knitting instructor from England who was at JCCFS while I was.  Her name escapes me at the moment, but she sat with me one evening and helped me perfect my technique.

All of those folks believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself (which, in my eyes, makes them all excellent teachers).  I saw Eve on Tuesday night and showed off my work.  She smiled a knowing grin – she’s believed in my knitting abilities since day one.  Maybe I’m pushing a little too much, but I found a sweater pattern yesterday that I want to work on for my next project….

Stockinette Stitch

On Tuesday, I made sugared pecans.  They’re one of those things that, when I first sampled them at my friend Tara’s house, I thought would be hard to make, but Tara assured me it was easy – and she was right.

Last night, I started work on making a new journal.  I took a miniature books class at the Folk School.  Then, my friend Sarah expanded my horizons and helped me make my first book with pockets.  After a couple of those, I now have the confidence to try a book I’ve never made before.

Making a mini-book at the John C. Campbell Folk School
A book with pockets on one side and....
a notebook on the other.
Picking the papers
Making the Covers
Ready for gluing and sewing

So if you’re feeling kind of “blah” lately, I recommend trying to make something new – it’s a high quite unlike any other:)


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara Winter says:

    No, it isn’t just you! I made the same discovery one day when I was baking cookies. The epiphany, however, was that it didn’t matter at all what I was making…cookies or writing or creating a new seminar. It was the Making part that thrills me.

  2. Yes! That’s what it is. Whether it’s writing or organizing or making a dish I’ve made a billion times before – the art of “making” things….hmm…I was trying to find a theme for this year – I thought I had one but I might play around with “making” for a bit….

  3. Bob Cox says:

    Yet another delightful thought!

  4. Rebecca, I also am most stimulated when making something new and even more so when I create with a friend or group. It doesn’t matter to me what the end product is as much as the process of making.

  5. Glenda says:

    That sense of accomplishment is a wonderful High, Rebecca. I feel it when I complete a poem, or write a story, or take a photo that turns out just as I wanted. We love to create something with our own hands and your knitting and your bookmaking and your cooking are all fine accomplishments.
    I think this is one of the best parts of life.

    1. Bob Cox says:

      If you ever get a chance to have Rebecca create a beautiful space for you with her decluttering business go for it! Another of her creative activities.

      1. Thanks Bob:) Glad you are enjoying your “new” closet.

  6. Heidi Oosterhof says:

    How did you make those sugarcoated pecans?

    1. Hi Heidi –
      Here’s the recipe. Do let me know how they turn out!

      Candied Pecans

      1lb large pecan halves
      1 egg white
      1 tsp Cold water
      1 cup sugar
      1 tsp ground cinnamon
      1 tsp salt

      Beat water and egg white until frothy. Mix well with pecans. Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt; mix well with pecans. Spread on one large or 2 small cookie sheets. Bake at 225 for one hour, stirring occasionally.

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