Posted on 16 Comments

Redirecting my efforts

After gushing so excitedly about granny squares and clay last weekend, you’d think I’d have gone millefiori crazy, made a small pile of afghan canes, written up a fabulous tutorial, put it up for sale in the download shop, and then hopped up and down yelling, “go check it out! you’ll love it! you’ll learn something!”

That was the plan, actually, but it kind of backfired.

I did, in fact, sit down to make another afghan cane. I chose my colors carefully, came up with an innovative and intricate design on paper, set up my camera, and spent two hours building my cane and photographing every step.  When the magic moment came, I sliced into the cane, and instead of “oooooooooh!” I thought “meh.”

The colors were so unremarkable, so uninspiring, and just a bit muddy. I couldn’t use this cane in a tutorial whose main purpose was to say “look at the cool thing you can do with colors!”   Meh.

So the next day I re-thought my innovative and intricate design, as well as my color choices, went clay shopping, and tried again.  Over the course of two days, I employed my (new and improved) revolutionary cane-construction plan, photographing every step, only to get to the very last part and discover that there was a good reason why people didn’t make canes this way.  It didn’t want to fit together nicely at all.  I pushed, prodded, and squeezed until it was rectangular enough to reduce properly. When it was roughly rectangular, I examined it carefully, and wouldn’t you know it? During the last step of the assembly, I’d oriented the two halves in opposite directions.  And because of all of my pushing, prodding, and squeezing, there was no way in the world to take it apart and assemble it properly. And so once again, I didn’t have “oooooooooh!” I had “argh.”

I definitely couldn’t publish a tutorial based on that mess! Argh.

And so it was that I wasted two days and ten packages of Sculpey this week, and ended up with nothing to show for it.

This cane-making thing can be frustrating, particularly when you’ve got a design that is so complicated it’s impossible to know whether it’s going to work until you are nearly at the end of the assembly process.  It’s even more of a kick in the head when you thought you were being clever. But you weren’t.

So, poop.  POOP, I say!

I refuse to be defeated by this idea, but I also think I kind of need to tear myself away from it for a few days.

Concentrate on something a little different…

Like, maybe, converting all of the tutorials and patterns in the download shop to ebook formats?

Yes, I think that might hit the spot nicely.  So as of last night, I’m learning how to convert all of my downloadable tutorials into EPUB and MOBI formats so that they can be read on the Nook and Kindle, respectively!  I’ve been wanting to do this for ages, and as luck would have it, I happen to live with an expert on the subject. (That would be Neil, BTW.)

So, I may not have that afghan cane tutorial written or photographed just yet, but when I do, I’ll be able to offer it in all kinds of formats, for all kinds of readers.  Yay!

I love indulging my inner nerd now and then.

P.S. I may have given up working on that cane for a few days, but I’ve still got my hands in the clay in other ways. It’s not too late to order a custom crochet hook.  But do hurry, though.  I will have to cut off the ordering in a day or two so that I can get my supplies. Thanks!


Posted on 16 Comments

16 thoughts on “Redirecting my efforts

  1. I think this must be a regular occurrence for caners past a certain point – I feel your pain!

    1. I think you’re right. Especially if you’re the type that likes to push yourself a little with each new project. After a while, that’s a lot of pushing.

  2. I have only just started watching your blog, and I have no idea what caning is, but I totally understand needing to step away from a project for a while – it happens all the time with my art. 🙂

    1. It’s probably a feeling most creative-types know well! A cane, in case you were wondering, is a block of clay that has a pattern running all the way through it. You can slice off thin cross-sections and use them to decorate things. The block that the crochet hook is leaning against here is a cane.

  3. I was just talking to my girlfriends at Little Stitch ( about failed design attempts! I love that you posted about a mistake. Is it just me or is it frustrating when you only see the successes on other people’s blogs?

    I feel like it’s misleading to beginners who are “failing” so often and feel like “I’ll never get there.” Me – I’m uplifted when I see the 8 failed attempts before getting to the 1 final design that you love.

    PS Totally impressed by your ebook project! You’re quite a do-er!

    1. “Do-er” sounds so much nicer than “nerd,” LOL! I’ll take it 🙂

      I agree. I think a little bit of keeping-it-real is a good thing in this blog world. It’s so easy to think other people are perfect, and to beat yourself up because you’re not!

  4. I’m like you in that I would have tried to make one cane that would change color throughout the length – much less work than making several one-color canes. But maybe these would be worth the effort since presumably they’d give more consistent results. (I’m sure this has crossed your mind.) Good luck with future attempts.

    1. Actually, the unpredictability of it is exactly what I like! I want to be able to take a few starting colors, plug them into a formula, and be slightly surprised by the results. I say “slightly” because I do know in general terms what will happen, but still each slice has slight variations that make it a bit of an adventure. I love that!

      Thanks for the good luck wishes. I did manage to have success this afternoon on my third attempt (yay!).

  5. Thank you for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. While many bloggers tend to show only the good, it’s refreshing to find someone who is human and humble enough to admit and share an unsuccessful project! I look forward to your next post. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    1. Aw, thanks. I’ll think you find that I post a lot of “bad and ugly” around here, LOL!
      I look forward to my next post, too… I actually managed to accomplish what I was trying to accomplish earlier, and I’m looking forward to sharing!

  6. @LittleStitchers another one of my blog friends is posting "craft debacles!"

  7. Thanks for the education. I thought cane was another term for a crochet hook! Also thanks for a look at your creative/troubleshooting/writing process. I’m working through some similiar stuff in a new quilt I’m working on. Don’t give up – just step away for a bit.

    Take care!

    1. I am sorry about that – I tend to forget that not everyone here is a polymer person. It’s funny, too, because I’d bet at this point in my blog’s evolution, the number of people here fluent in polymer clay is far less than the number who wonder what the heck I’m talking about!

      I’m glad you were able to figure it out 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing! I love it! 😀

    1. Thanks for your feedback! 🙂

  9. I hope the conversion to e-book format won’t mean the deletion of PDFs – I don’t have an e-book, don’t intend to get one and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I generally rely on PDFs. Sorry the caning wouldn’t cooperate; I hate when that happens.

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