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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Motivation Through Punishment?

I think that I have mentioned the about 10 projects that have been very close to their completion for months and years in a previous post.  I have told myself many times that I really ought to get most of them done before I move on to something new...   I have also thought a lot about a pretty interesting interview I read a while back.  I can't recall the magazine (it may have been Women's Health, which is kinda ironic in itself...), nor who was interviewed, but the lady in question was an avid marathon runner (I know, I shouldn't curse like that... ;-)).
The journalist asked the runner how she kept herself motivated to get out there, every single day no matter the weather, and just run, run, and run for hours.  The runner answered that she motivated herself by training herself mentally.  If she ever even touched the thought that she was bored, tired or not motivated to run, she would punish herself by adding on five extra miles to her regular distance just for daring to think something negative!  She claimed that this way, she had trained herself never to think anything bad about her running goals.  I think that the concept is fascinating!!!  It seems that the conclusion is that we can essentially brainwash ourselves...

I decided to try this "trick" this week.  I am having a really hard time finishing up the stitching on Gay Ann Rogers' Townhouse (if you have not seen her designs before, here is a link to her web-site).  I think that GAR is a very talented designer!  However, her instructions are very hard to follow for me.  GAR is a needlepoint designer and that is likely the main cause as to why her instructions are very different to what I am used to, making it more difficult to stay on track.
I took the Townhouse internet class last year and was a bit taken aback when a chart-pack consisting on over 50 pages worth of instructions arrived in the mail.  Gasp!!  For weeks, we did nothing but nun-stitches and I have a feeling that we lost a lot of the students already at this stage.  There was plenty of braided stitches and cross-stitches over 1 to fiddle with too, so this means that many hours get poured into a very small object.  Don't get me wrong; I am not whining, just saying that my motivation croaked a bit...  I have picked up the townhouse every now and then an gotten sections done that way.
The only part that I have left to do now are the flowers in the window boxes.  I decided to enhance the flowers by using spider-web stitch, so that has significantly increased the time it will take to complete the flowers (original design calls for straight stitches), but I think that the result is worth it.  Anyway, my "motivation by self-punishment" is that I have told myself that unless I finish up the stitching of this piece, I am not allowed to bring any other pieces with me to the weekend stitch-retreat that begins on Thursday evening...  So far, it has actually worked well and I do believe that I will get'er done!  3 more spider-web roses to go and some assorted greens and that will be it!  Here is a pic of the progress:

Another memory has been rolling around in my head here lately as well.  I recall back about 7-10 years ago when I used to lurk pretty frequently at the Teresa Wentzler Bulletin Board (TWBB).  One of the stitchers confessed to use that she had so many WIPs and UFOs that she did not know what to do.  Her problem was that every time she started a new project, she got the biggest adrenaline rush.  She basically was addicted to starting a new cross-stitch project.  (I assume that if she has not detoxed since, she is having a lot of fun in the Crazy January Challenge this year...)
I have been thinking about what I feel in regards to stitching.  I enjoy the beginning of the project too, but many times I am more worried than excited - will the linen pick work with the floss/did I start in the location/is the linen cut large enough?  I think that the most enjoyable part to me is the growing process.  I like filling in large areas of the same stitch or repeating patterns, since that way, I can let the thoughts wander and just relax my mind.  This is why I tend to skip a lot of designs with confetti stitches.  I also like the very last stitch in the finishing step - when I can stand back, and draw a sigh of satisfaction.
My adrenaline rush is more related to stash enhancement, by the way.  That is probably definitely where I need to do my "detox".

It would be really interesting to hear other thoughts on these subjects.  Do you motivate yourself by punishment?  Which part of the stitching process do you enjoy the most

Oh, and wish me luck, or I won't be having a whole lot of fun stitching this weekend...  ;-}


  1. Maybe you could wear a hairshirt instead Jenny. Do NOT tell my husband about that crazy marathoner. I had words with him just last night about the time his running takes away from being a normal husband (have to eat this, take a nap, be grumpy if he doesn't get a nap blah, blah, blah) Anyway, I hope you finish that town house and don't forget to bring $$ so you can shop the trunk shows and add to that stash!!

  2. LOL!!! Well, you're doing great so far by 'punishing' yourself into stitching. :D

    I'm a destination stitcher, as one of my best friends say. I loathe starting, I start to enjoy the middle, but I love the end.

  3. I motivate myself by thinking of the goal and by how happy I will when/if I reach the goal :)

    The roses are so pretty. The look kind of advanced?

    Pusspuss syster