Sunday, 17 October 2010

Back up the learning curve I go

I really enjoy making yubinuki (thimble rings) because they are fairly quick projects that can be stitched up in an afternoon. I haven't made heaps of them, less than 20, so I consider them a new skill. I have been so busy recently that I haven't had any 'spare' time to allocate to thimble making, and also I hadn't wanted to open the gorgeous silk thimble thread sets that Miho brought from Japan for me. But this week I had a little window of free time (read: procrastination and diversion from other projects) so I did treat myself to making some thimbles. I have almost completed 4 this week.

Here is the first one... abandoned half way through due to being too big in diameter and too poorly stitched on a dodgy base made with two strips of bias stitched together to make them wider... in case you are wondering - no it doesn't really work.

Here is number two (left)... this time I made my own bias strip but while the width was fine the length was too short so the join popped open a tiny bit. The stitching on it is better but the measuring was still a bit off so there are a couple of gaps. The circumference is still too big at 3.9cm. Also here we have number three(right)... I made the base but didn't even stitch on it because it think the bias might pull out at the join again. I was going to practice on it but really why would I bother to disappoint myself. So I have said goodbye to this one.

Here is number four... I made an even smaller base 3cm using Debi's paper method (I like this tutorial). Ok I think I am getting there now. Stitching much more even and made on a better base... I lashed out and spent $3 on some wider bias tape and  now my hands are getting more used to stitching on this small scale.

Here is number five... Still in progress but I think you will be able to see where I'm going with this one. This is also my first attempt at stitching paths in two opposite directions.

Did you guess I have been trying to make beads this week? I have been inspired by the lovely beads made by Dorian E  which have been submitted over on Chloe Patricia's Share your thimbles site. I am also inspired greatly by Quiltsummse's thimbles at the same site. You could also win one of the monthly thimbles given away at this flickr group just by trying out thimble making for yourself and entering the draw.

This thimble experience made me reflect on a saying I often hear... use it or lose it. Ok so this is usually in reference to avoiding hoarding for example if you haven't worn an item in 12 months donate it to charity, etc... but actually this translates to new skills too.

If you have recently learned any new skill (drive a car, speak a foreign language, or make a new craft etc) and then fail to use that skill for an extended period it seems to disappear. You need to relearn and practice to get back up the learning curve to where you were before. This is depicted in the graph above: The red line shows an unbroken chain of learning and practice and the blue line shows what happens if you stop using the skill. As you can see by stopping using the skill in between the two thresholds you will likely slide backwards to the first threshold. The good news is that going from 'I suck' to 'I kick ass' a second time is an even quicker curve.

So if you hit a stumbling block with your new skill acquisition or had to take a break from using your new skills, just try again, for a short time it may seem impossible but stick with it because very quickly you'll find you can 'kick ass' again.


  1. I love the learning curve! That is exactly what I have been thinking as I pick up thimbles again after a little hiatus. Your beads are looking great. I love the way the design changes as it gets stretched onto the bead shape.

  2. Hello Rebecca,
    It's difficult to stitch the tall rings since the threads covering the body run long and steep, and as a result the some thread get loose. To keep all the threads where they are supposed to be, I recommend some weaving so that the thread they hold each other nicely.
    Thank you for mentioning my photo sharing group. This month we have three participants so far... Take care. Chloe Patricia