do – overs – the agony and the ecstasy

I got about 85% done with my mushroom pattern and decided to scrap all the photos and start over. The text for the steps is all good but I didn’t like the photos. I struggled with them throughout the process, re-shot one section to try to make myself feel better about them, re-edited, applied some photo shop magic but it was all for not – they weren’t what I wanted and they were not frankly – good enough. It’s so painful to come to that place and make that decision this far into a project. Or rather- it’s painful UNTIL I make that decision.  I agonized over it for a couple days – wondering if I was being too critical or using perfectionism to procrastinate because I got cold feet –  sometimes at the end I get nervous and look for flaws so I can delay – this is not that. They just weren’t good enough.

mushroom pattern shoot
So I decided, started over and felt better right away. The extra work is far less painful than publishing something I don’t feel good about.  I put together a new step shooting set up before beginning that made everything easier. It’s not fancy but it works well and I got through half the photography today.

mushroom pattern photos

mushroom pattern photos
I’m much happier with the new photos – they are simpler, clearer, more consistent and prettier than the others (gorgeous fabrics courtesy of Sri Threads). I’ll sail through the rest of the photography tomorrow morning and drop them into the document over the weekend.

And in other news –  a little more progress on my Fortuny creatures:  a recently finished owl – in Fortuny Simboli (cinnamon and copper).

fortuny owl in simboli

fortuny simboli owl


  1. Hi Ann, I love the pictures of your shooting set up, it looks like a good space to work, light and airy…the green fabric on the mushroom is beautiful, so full of texture….best of all is your new owl, he’s wonderful and is reminding me very much of a samurai, there’s something very kimono like about his plumage.
    Years ago when I was at college I went to the Fortuny museum in Venice, it was so beautiful, every time you mention their fabrics I am taken back in my memories.

  2. Hi Ann!!
    Looking forward to the pattern 🙂 Right now I am reading the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon….totally absolutely love them but perhaps not your cup of tea…xo Dees

  3. Deborah

    Hi Anne,
    I so look forward to your e-mails! They calm my spirit and new possibilities take shape as I examine every detail in every picture. I would like to suggest a book called A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. I listened to the audio-book then checked it out from the library and read it. And come on, just because of the title……….

  4. Deb Gelet

    Hello Anne,

    I use your lovely emails as my own avoidance behavior practice when I am fussing over details in my own textile works…and honestly, I thank you for that. I always come away inspired to carry on!

    My heart was swept away by Tony Doerr’s beautiful work, All the Light We Cannot See. Haunting story of a young, blind French girl who finds herself hiding away from the threat of Nazi capture and is ultimately befriended by a young German radio operator. Tony’s magical descriptions send my mind reeling for days.

    Thanks for being out there in the world!

  5. Tierney Barden

    I also stopped by to suggest All the Light We Cannot See. As always, thank you for giving us a peek into your process. Inspirational!

  6. I understand that agony and ecstasy of do-overs! I see your laptop there and wondered whether you shoot tethered, or does it just happen to be sitting there?

  7. Linda Grieve

    Hi Anne, I am so looking forward to seeing your mushroom pattern – thank you for taking the time and effort to make it as perfect as it can be. I love your photo of the sewing set up. It looks like a beautiful still life.
    I also find your emails to be very calming to the spirit.
    I have just finished reading ‘The Light Between Oceans’ by M L Stedman which is about the unfolding of events on a remote lighthouse island and about the difficult choices we sometimes have to make and the tragic circumstances which can ensue.

  8. Anne: Consider ‘All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. This won the Pulitzer Prize. I have committed to five books for my summer reading. On #3 now.

    This is a slow time for others as well, it’s hot, people go on vacations, etc… It is a good time to take some time for your self. I am and have embraced it. Although I do need to remind myself now and again,


  9. Hello Anne, This is my first time emailing anybody! Just wanted you to know that everyone loves and appreciates your work. Creating patterns, making them fit, and the process of producing a pattern with step by step instructions and pictures to go along with it is much harder than people think. I appreciate the time and patience you put into every piece. Being a perfectionist (me too!) can be an asset–the work (yours) is beautiful. Just a thought that has helped me in the past is that sometimes a little time away from your project can be a good thing. It can give you a fresh perspective and the desire to finish it! Hang in there! I’m looking forward to your mushroom pattern. I absolutely love them and all your owls too!

    • annwood

      Hi Cathy,

      Your first email ever! Thanks so much – you made my day. And yes – stepping away was just the thing – I’m sailing happily through it now – feeling so much better!

  10. Suzanne

    Hi Ann — beautiful photos, great post. If you’re in the mood for non-fiction, I am currently reading “Living with a Wild God,” by Barbara Ehrenreich, one of my favorite sociologist/activist/writers. I’ve read all her other books, also nonfiction, but this one is a memoir of her personal search from a very young age about why we exist. Raised in an atheist household, she is faced with the dilemma of seeking answers on her own & considered by friends as an outsider for her lack of religious affiliation. Then one cataclysmic event (I haven’t gotten that far in the book yet, so no spoiler) changes everything, challenging what she thought was real & rational and is so utterly non-scientific that she’s never spoken of it to anyone until this book. I highly recommend it, but! whatever you choose, put your feet up & read!

  11. Ruth Hoefert

    I look so forward to your emails! Thank you for your honesty about your season. I am one of those multiple book readers. the two I am the most right now are Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and Sahara by Clive Cussler. The first is nonfiction about Louie Zamperini and the second is a mystery.

  12. annwood

    Thank you so much to everybody who recommended books! So appreciated. I also wanted to add some interesting titles that were emailed to this marvelous list :

    “The Silver Dark Sea” and “Corrag” are my two favorite books ever. Susan Fletcher.
    (There is another Susan Fletcher who is popular so do not get confused)

    “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness. Impossible to put down and it begins a trilogy!!!!

    The Snowchild by Elowyn Ivey is a beautifully written 1st novel. It will take you away from your doldrums.

    The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro

    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

    The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

    The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

    Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

    “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.  I do not look at those standardized doctor consent forms the same way since reading this book.  I found it fascinating, riveting, and heart wrenching.  A story that has its roots in the cold, sterile world of scientific research told from an all too human perspective.  I was so glad to have read this woman’s (and her daughter’s) story. 

    The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. Fascinating book.

    “The Blue Castle” by L.M.Montgomery. It is positively excellent and one of my
    very favorite books ever!!

  13. I’m fascinated by that amazing cloud pin cushion. 🙂 So beautiful. I love that you’re publishing patterns.

  14. Hi Ann .I hope you are feeling better.Love the owl.He has a very stern look,as if he has something on his mind.He sure is a handsome bird.Thanks for your sharing.Hope you feel better,carol

Comments are closed.