fail friday :: visit from *the long thread*

another friday, and this one marks the final in the november fail friday series (sniff), it would make me a little sad except I decided to extend it into december right up to the Christmas holiday (yay!).  consider it the accompaniment to all your holiday making!  in case you are new here, fail friday is a series of guest posts showcasing and celebrating sewing and crafting failures.  why? because the more honest we can be the more we can embrace the imperfection and enjoy all the stitching, sewing, knitting and making without that big looming perfect hanging over us.

you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.  ~mary pickford

with that, I am so excited to welcome ellen luckett baker as the final november guest blogger.  I have admired ellen’s work for such a long time…before she had written books and designed an amazing fabric collection, when she was just an amazing blogger and sewer.  and now! well, she has taken her great talents and her friendly, encouraging voice and brought it to the amazing (and pretty, oh so pretty) book 1,2,3 Sew published by Chronicle Book and the follow-up 1,2,3 Quilt, which will be available from Chronicle Books in Fall 2013.  ellen is also the designer behind the first fabric collection that made me want to take out a big loan, live like a shut-in and sew constantly.  her collection, Stamped, is so elegant and playful and also is a cotton/linen blend for the Japanese company Kokka(I do love me some japanese linen)…so many amazing things rolled into one!

you can read all about her craft and sewing projects on her blog The Long Thread.  ellen lives in Atlanta with her husband and two daughters.

welcome ellen!


Thanks to Melissa for asking me to be part of this Fail Friday series! It’s refreshing to see a realistic look at the process of making things.

I believe that mistakes are simply part of the creative process, so I don’t see them as failures, by rather as experiments that teach us along the way.  And as it happens, I had a couple interesting failures just yesterday as I was trying my hand at wet felting again after a few years.

Obviously, these didn’t turn into felt balls as I’d intended, but I’m sure my nine-year-old can turn these wool fuzzes into something great for her dolls.  And every time I make a stuffed animal, my dog is sure to get a new toy from one of my cast-off experiments.

As I was thinking about this post, I kept coming back to this Michael Jordan quote that my dad sent me a while back after I’d been rejected by a fabric company.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

My father is an optimist who after every meal says “That’s the best meal I’ve ever had!” I did not inherit his cheerful outlook on life, nor his affinity for inspirational quotes.  And I’m not know for perseverance.  After college, I had a job in a chain music store and when it became clear that I would have to wear a blue button-down shirt every day, I left for my lunch break and never came back! But the quote my father sent actually made me think.  The more chances we take, the more opportunity we have for failure; but when we take chances, we also open ourselves up to the possibility of success.

I have found that I fail repeatedly when making things.  I taught myself to sew by trial and error and I hate reading directions.  I even hang pictures on the wall without a measuring tape, making holes in the wall repeatedly until I get it right.  I find that when I make a mistake while sewing, I just have to take a break to relieve the frustration.  Then I can come back an hour late, the next day, or even after a month and try again with renewed determination and more knowledge than I had before, because now at least I know one thing that doesn’t work!  I don’t know if it comes from getting older or becoming a mother, but I just don’t want to give up any more.


what a wonderful way to end the november fail fridays! I feel positively filled with inspiration (and a little weepy!).  thanks ellen.  do check out her post here about what became of her felting project!

keep watch for next month when we welcome no big dill, gypsy forest, and the stitch coach!  want to share your ‘fail’? add it to the flickr group and tell your story!  I’d love to get that growing and share a few here come January!

2 Comments on fail friday :: visit from *the long thread*

  1. Stephinie (gypsyforest)
    December 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm (5 years ago)

    loved this~
    and I’m totally inspired to take photos of my mistakes to share in the flickr group!

    • ahappystitch
      December 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks lovely! I am excited about the flickr group, too….though, holiday preparation is making me slow on all fronts these days!


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