It has been a while since I hosted a discussion topic, and several have been percolating in my brain. Over the course of the past few weeks, I recognized that I was repeatedly finding myself stuck on several projects. Basically, there comes a point in the creative process when the item in question is in an Ugly Duckling Phase. When I am baking, it is that moment right before the dough mixes together and congeals and flour is flying (I make a mess in the kitchen). When I am paper piecing, it is when my craft room is exploded with bits of fabric and paper ev.ery.where.
Quick side note: this phrase comes directly from my husband. He has years of experience making things, and he truly developed a sense of the Ugly Duckling Phase when he was doing sheet metal work to rebuild a 1943 GPW (original army jeep).
On Tuesday night, I had the opportunity to talk about this topic a bit on the weekly #HonestCraftRoomies Periscope blog hop that Kitty @Night Quilter has cultivated (it is a fun weekly video chat hop across craft rooms that I recommend you consider checking out). The topic for Tuesday night was our Quilting Strengths and Weaknesses. I have found that a weakness for me is when a project hits the Ugly Duckling Phase. It is really easy to panic a bit, get frustrated, and set a project aside. Recently, I had a few projects with deadlines the forced me to face the Ugly Duckling Phase head on.
And you know what? I learned a lot about myself, my resiliency, and how with a change in perspective and support, a large challenge can be overcome. I talked a bit about one of those challenges on Tuesday with my Crosshatch Quilting tips, and I talked a bit more about another one with my Tips for Squaring a Quilt.
For me, when faced with a challenge, like the tucks in the quilt top I developed while crosshatch quilting, I find it best to get away from it for a while. I take a break and take a walk (getting out in nature helps me see perspective on topics all the time), or go to the gym, or have a cup of tea. And when I cannot come up with a solution on my own, I call in the big guns of reinforcement: I talk with my husband.
I used to feel ashamed when I needed to pull out my seam ripper. This past week, I have come to appreciate the beauty of the seam ripper in the creative process. What an amazing tool that can help me undo something. It is rare in life we get a “redo” like we do in software, and with that small mental adjustment, I think I can celebrate my seam ripper instead of fear its necessity.
Can you recognize times when you have had to work through an Ugly Duckling Phase and come out on the other side renewed and more excited about the end result? What helps you work through the difficult moments in a project that require a leap of faith and determination to see it through?