Have you watched any of the Nailed It! show on…Hulu, I think. Maybe Netflix. Anyhow , it’s pretty amusing and speaks well to the current mentality which seems to make us believe that watching someone do something enough times will mean we can now take on an air of judgmental self-satisfaction when watching these shows. Clocking hours on TV or Craftsy makes us an immediate know-it-all in watercolor despite never having painted. I like to watch crafty things that I may NEVER do, I confess. I knew a pretty good tango when I saw one during my Dancing With the Stars phase, and I have an excellent sense of rhythm from 30 years of music lessons! Alas, I am an instrumentalist, not a dancer. I can’t judge a cake based on someone’s hilarious failure to be Martha Stewart, but I’ve known several bakers over the course of my lifetime, and they all cringe at Cupcake Wars. My friends feel a bit like the food entertainment industry is failing to let us know that we are NOT going to become Ina Garten just by watching Barefoot Contessa reruns. Baking is a lifetime of artistry, patience, and science.
I feel a bit the same way when I see a new longarmer posting to one of the many groups. I want to take each of them aside and explain to them that these aren’t your usual Singers that Grandma taught you to sew on, even if your fancy Bernina is gorgeous. Learning just to run your own particular brand of machine is going to be a chore. You’ll have tension issues. Everyone does. You’ll have days where you can’t get it all cleaned and oiled and threaded before you have to pick up a kid somewhere while trying to keep the cat off of it because a longarm IS NOT a hammock, despite what several mewing voices at my house tell you.
Learning to run your longarm AND do something that looks good takes practice. I have no idea when I’ll turn this into a full time adventure, but I know I’m not ready yet. I feel like I’m just getting my legs under me after five months of this. I get great stitches consistently. I can make pretty ok swirls. I’m starting to get the hang of doing feathers. But it’s going to be a while. I’m not Angela Walters. But I am a pianist who knows that practice topped off with more practice is the best way to get ready. I’m not trying to discourage anyone. On the contrary, I’m exhorting you to have patience and give yourself room to learn. The beauty in playing an instrument comes from the hard work and attention you’ve paid to getting it right. Go easy on yourself.
Meanwhile, I’ll just stay here cutting eight gazillion squares for the Ombré Gems Quiltalong because I should have started cutting earlier. I am always tragically overcommitted in my life and one day will find the balance that I seek. But that day is not today, so quilt onward, friends.