Hobby Focus, Revisited

Back near the beginning of this year, I wrote a post about my intentions to be more intentional in the area of hobbies. I talked about how I’m a dabbler, and that while there’s nothing wrong with dabbling, I thought it would be nice to devote some more focused time to a few hobbies, to dive a little deeper, to see if a hobby (or multiple hobbies) would become more of a passion — something in which I could excel.

So. How has it gone?

Very much like you might expect, if you remember that at heart, I am a dabbler.

I did choose a hobby for January and another one for February.

And I did devote more time to those hobbies than I might otherwise have done.

But…I did still feel restless, called to dip my toe into other hobby waters, discontent to stick with just one. I made progress, but not as much as I had hoped, perhaps.

January’s hobby was knitting.

The good news is, my husband got a scarf out of the whole deal, and he seems to like it very much. He wears it regularly and has told me on numerous occasions how glad he is that I made it for him. I know that if I hadn’t been very deliberate about setting aside time to knit, the scarf would never have been finished. It would still be “in progress,” and most likely sitting — in its unfinished state — next to my favorite seat on the couch.

I also made a hat for C.(13). While he thanked me and seemed pleased, I know it’s not a great hat. It was a rather plain hat (since I have rather plain skills when it comes to knitting). And my fitting and finishing abilities are greatly lacking, so it’s a little big and not the most sturdy of items.

Finally, I began a baby hat that promised to teach me a variety of knitting skills since it contains multiple panels, all done in different stitches

Notice I said I “began” a baby hat. It is unfinished. What can I say? January ended and I was on to the next hobby. I do still plan to finish the hat, but I’m not making any promises as to when.

Things I learned during my month of knitting:

  1. Knitting can be a relaxing way to spend an evening. It gets me off my laptop and is a nice way to pass the time if I’m hanging out with someone who is watching TV.
  2. I have no desire to knit large items. Afghans? No thanks. Sweaters? Nope. Any knitting I do will most likely remain small-scale: hats, scarves, etc.
  3. I do not have a deep and abiding desire to master knitting. It’s true. While I enjoyed the process and the results, I didn’t approach my knitting with zeal or excitement. I think it will remain, for me, a nice pastime, something I’m glad to know how to do, but not something I truly love.

On to February…

February’s hobby was bread-baking.

I do not have a bread machine at this time, so I divided the month between using the method from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and making sourdough bread from a starter I purchased from King Arthur Flour. The results of both approaches were yummy and satisfying. I’m growing more confident in baking with yeast (something I feared for many years), and my guys were always excited when another freshly-made loaf came out of the oven.

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Unfortunately, I like bread. A lot. And a fresh loaf is practically irresistible to me. I want nothing more than to slice it and slather it with butter. All of it. Which, as you might imagine, would not be the healthiest choice I could make. So admittedly, as the month went on, the frequency of my bread-making lagged a bit. But only because I was trying to make wiser food choices…and sometimes that required me to not make bread.

Things I learned from my month of bread-baking:

  1. I genuinely enjoy baking. I knew this before, but this month of extra baking just reinforced it. I definitely get more fulfillment from a loaf of bread than from a knitted baby hat. Don’t ask me why; I just do.
  2. Baking with yeast isn’t so bad. Yeast doughs can be a bit temperamental, but if I don’t get hung up on precise times and volumes and doubling and so on, and just work with the dough a bit more…I can still get very good results.
  3. I think my guys prefer bread to knitted products as well.

March is just around the corner. So what is next for me?

It’s an aspect of the hobby I kept dabbling in during January and February (while I was supposed to be focused on knitting and baking): Photography. I haven’t been able to put my camera down. One reason is because I’ve committed to doing a “picture a day” scrapbook again this year. But another reason is that I really do want to improve my photography skills. It’s something that interests me, appeals to my detail-oriented nature, and allows me to better capture life with my favorite people.

I’ve already taken an online class in basic photography, so in March, I’m going to explore “post processing” a bit. In other words, I’m going to learn more about how to use Photoshop to enhance the color, white balance, contrast, etc. in the photos I take. I must admit, I’m rather excited.

Maybe this hobby — the one that’s been calling to me so far this year — will be the one I settle in with and stay with for a while. We’ll see.

Comments

  1. I love your stories! I do enjoy reading them and seeing your life unfold :-)
    Knitting is not for me…I gave that one up years ago (like 29 when I made a sweater with my grandma’s help for my one year old!), bread baking I do love…but my bread machine broke and I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen at night after working. Now photography…I have and do take many pictures. I did the day2day picture last year and that was hard work, but fun, and I got my book done, ordered and received, so one year done. Now I am not using photoshop, for some reason I think it’s much to hard. I use Creative Memories StoryBook and that does what I need it to do. But the website I like to watch to get Photo taking inspiration is Nick Kelsh. I don’t know if you have heard of him, but he is doing a fantastic job of teaching us non-professionals how to take pictures. Here is his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/how.to.photograph.your.baby and here his website http://www.howtophotographyourbaby.com/ You might find something of interest in either of these sites. If you go on my blog you can see a few pages I am creating…that is one hobby that I truly like working on :-)

  2. “I think my guys prefer bread to knitted products as well.” LOL, love that. I tried bread-baking in early married days, but it came out so heavy and was so discouraging after all the time and work put into it. I should probably try it again some time except, like you, it’s almost impossible to resist eating great amounts of it when ti first comes out of the oven.

    I have never experimented with photoshop and such but probably should. My kids are very good with it.
    Barbara H.´s last post ..What’s On Your Nighstand: FebruaryMy Profile

  3. I have long wanted to learn to knit, but strangely enough, not to knit anything. I just want to know that I know how to do it! Ditto for crochet.
    We have our fourth baby due mid-to-late April, so of course, being the procrastinator and the one who always has to have a deadline to really push myself, I have committed to 1) learning how to use the serger my husband gave me for Christmas to make cloth diapers and burp cloths and 2) catching up on my boys’ scrapbooks before Baby gets here. I, too, like commenter #1 use Creative Memories, but I use their Memory Manager and print what I want out. So right now, I’ve got a year’s worth of pictures spread out on one table in our loft and my sewing set up on another table. When I get off the computer (blogs are addictive), and after homeschooling is done for the day, I work a bit. Dabbling? Yes, I get that!

  4. I love your idea of “Hobby Focus.” Whether it’s dabbling or settling on one thing, the intentionality of it seems to me to be an excellent idea! I’m going to think more about this for myself … while I continue to watch your progress. Have fun!
    alisonwonderland´s last post ..An Unquenchable Thirstby Mary JohnsonMy Profile

  5. Isn’t it interesting that hobbies are still work, but the kind that doesn’t matter if we get paid well, or at all, for doing them? And, removing the striving from “anything worth doing is worth doing well” is relaxing work — or hobby.

  6. I used to feel that way about knitting, but this time around picking it up I have discovered my love for it. I do like smaller projects, though. I’m just about finished a wrap that I am making for myself for the hospital and I am getting stressed about not being done in time for tomorrow! I love making small things, though. And it is amazing what skills you can practice knitting small projects!

  7. An inspired post if ever I saw one! :)

    Bread is my love language, a fact my dear bread-baking friend appreciates and encourages. I am too timid to attempt bread on my own apart from my bread machine but even with the bread machine, fresh baked bread smells (and tastes) divine!!
    Lisa writes…´s last post ..What’s On My Nightstand, FebruaryMy Profile

  8. I love my scarf!
    I love your bread!
    I love your pictures!
    I love your blog!
    And yes, I love you!

  9. Yay on two good months! I can’t wait to see your results of March!

  10. This has to be one of the most unique and fun “resolutions” I have ever seen! I wonder what I would ditch if I focused attention on it only for a month to see how much I REALLy liked it or was really very good at it. Hmm. This is really, really cool.

    And I would also like a piece of your bread, please. Slathered with butter, of course!!

  11. I love this and love reading about your progress and the things you’ve learned. I think I mentioned before (in your last post) that I’m a dabbler, too. I love this idea of trying something for a month. By the way, I’m also doing a photo-a-day (365) project, which is taking up a lot of time. It’s fun, but very challenging. Good luck with your March project!

  12. This is great! I’ve been working on a goals update to post myself. I really think it’s okay that you’re a dabbler :) But I like your idea of focus too.
    Jennifer, Snapshot´s last post ..What’s on My Nightstand – February 2012My Profile

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  1. Who Am I? » says:

    [...] delve into, effort with, finish and so on.  Then I came to a realization, while I was reading a blogger’s description of herself about being a DABBLER.  What is a dabbler [...]

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