Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Knitting, baking and the Karate Kid

"You should help me out with sewing up my latest knitting commission." said my darling wife as we headed for the lift at our local station. "I'll even pay you for each one you sew up."

I readily agreed, much to Sim's surprise. You see, I've started to learn that she is often right, and in any event, life is a little more entertaining when I go along with her suggestions. I'm trying to say "no" less. I was enthused enough that I said I could totally do ten!

Then I got home and was shown how to do what I needed to. My stubby, ungainly fingers got it wrong time and time again. I shouted at the knitting and swore and felt like throwing it across the room. In the time I was given I managed perhaps a quarter of one, not ten.

Then, there was the recent work bake off... Which resulted in the above cow pat resembling chocolate cake. It didn't finish cooking at the expected time, the icing melted when I put it on, and all in all it took twice as long as I thought it was...

So, why am I talking about this?

Well, firstly because I was reminded about a Cracked article I read recently (http://www.cracked.com/article_18544_how-the-karate-kid-ruined-modern-world.html) about how people of my generation expect things to be too easy.

Secondly? Well, it made me realise that I have actually been painting for quite a long time now, and I actually know what I'm doing a lot more than I realise! And some of the stuff I'm doing now probably isn't obvious or simple for people who are just starting out.

I am not some genius painter and modeller - but I am capable of being a lot better at it than I was when I started getting back into the hobby... Because I enjoy painting the hours of practice I have put into it don't really feel like hours of practice. That has probably made me underestimate the effort I've made in improving my painting.

Similarly, my writing has improved from the time spent on producing this blog - I am regularly writing words for others to read. Practice doesn't make perfect, but it certainly leads to improvements!

The moral of the story is that everything you want to do, whether hobby or work related, takes an investment of time and effort. With things you really enjoy that time will fly past, but you still out the time in. Very few worthwhile things, whether baking, knitting, or painting model figures can achieve mastery in a day. But a little bit of regular practice will definitely see improvement.

Spend three months painting for twenty minutes every day and compare a model from the first day with a model from the last day - I think it likely you will see a significant improvement, even if most days you will not have seen any change because it has happened gradually.

(The cake was edible, by the way - just not really very appealing to look at...)


  1. I can't agree more than I actually do. ONe year of blogging with the regular painting needed to feed the blog has raised my modelling/pianting level far more than th elast 10 years of touching models whenever I had nothing else to do...
    Same goes with pretty much everything else too, your advice is one of the best I can think of to people who get frustrated by lack of improvement.

    1. I also accept that as I am interested in many different things, I am not going to master any of them without compromising and dropping some of them.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. But what about the knitting ?

    1. Two evenings of knitting earnt me less than a pound. That was a different kind of learning experience I won't repeat...

  3. I would be all over that cake.

    My (lack of) waistline is testament to this.