The best is yet to come – Mastering any skill with only 6 hours per week.

I just received a wonderful email from the team at Inspirations.  I love being on their mailing list, and seeing all of the beautiful hand embroidery projects that their contributors create, and I love that there is always something in their newsletter as inspiration.

Today, their newsletter began with a finding from a study done in 1993 by the American Psychological Association where they theorise that if you put in 10,000 hours of practice – you can become an expert in anything.

Now thinking about this, I believe that there are certain people who have “gifts” which make it easier for them to do some things better than others, but all of us have the ability to succeed depending on how dedicated and passionate we are.  However I am sure you will agree with me that any sort of crafting, and particularly learning a new technique – requires many hours of practice to create a magnificent project.


I have often been guilty of trying something, not being happy when I am not an instant success.  On the other hand, when I learnt typing and shorthand, we had to practice for 3 hours per day on each, over a 5 day week, for a 40 week period (and we were expected to do homework as well) – so at the end of business college, I already had 600 hours under my belt.

The great thing about crafting, or for that matter, learning any new skill, is that wherever you are at – beginner, proficient, or master class – there is always something new to learn, and, your best needlework is ahead of you.


For those just starting out in machine embroidery, try to dedicate a few hours each week to learning a new skill with your machine, or trying a new project or technique.  These days with the internet, there are so many ways to find information about different trends and techniques, and there are many online courses where you can meet people from around the world who share your passions.  The other joy of practice, is that you will become more confident, and may very well create the new trend or technique yourself.

I have worked on the math of the 10,000 hour principal, and setting aside 6 hours in total a week (I have chosen six hours, as for me this is workable.  I could do either 3 hours each day of the weekend, or two hours for three days a week after the kids have gone to bed), you would become an “expert” in just 4.5 years.  Now this sounds like a large number, however when you think about it, it is really not.


I am also seeing this as inspiration in a business sense – if I spend 6 hours per week, focusing on the areas in my business that I am not that great in, I could be on my way to being an expert in only four and a half years.  Now in four and a half years (hopefully) I will still be here, so I might as well be working towards something that I am passionate about at the same time as I am getting older.

As a final thought – remember that we all have the opportunity to learn new tricks, and to create new projects.  There are more stitches to be stitched, more threads to be unpicked.  However many hours you can find to dedicate to your craft – (in the words of the Carpenters) It’s only just begun.

Share with us.  What is a skill that you would like to master?  Can you see yourself finding an extra six hours per week to start your journey of mastering a skill?

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

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