Mike’s 3-Tries Theory aka Third Time’s a Charm

Our friend, Mike, has a 3-Tries Theory. Meaning, it takes at least three tries for a project to be exactly how you want it.

The FIRST TRY is really a test. You test the elements, the process and even the idea. How will these colors look together? How do I do this technique? Will this idea even work?

On the SECOND TRY, you look at the first and think, “I’d like it better if I did this,” or “I wonder what would happen if I did that instead?”

By the time you get to the THIRD TRY, you’ve worked out all the kinks and your project springs to life! Sometimes we get it just right the first time, but I think there is great truth in Mike’s 3-Tries Theory. He accepts if fully and there’s great freedom in that.
The first cut of the scissors or the first stroke of the brush, are often the hardest. Mike is willing to dive in and give it a try, because he’s already accepted that it might not work out the first time around…and he’s okay with that!

I’m typically not one to start a project without thinking it through, obsessing over it and even sketching it out. That’s why I have this long list of Unfinished Projects. I spend all my time plotting and planning. Creativity can be exhausting!
This past weekend, I stepped out of my comfort zone and started a project without planning it to death. I know. Shocking!  Fortunately for me, I got it right on the first try, but I was willing to bag the entire thing if it didn’t work out, and that was liberating.
I bought these linen shirts a few years ago. I thought I was so clever buying the style in three colors, but do you ever get something home and realize it just doesn’t work? That’s how I felt about these. No matter how many times I gave them another chance, they just didn’t fit…right. I was going to pack them up for Goodwill, but I have this thing for linen. I mean, it’s L-I-N-E-N and I love linen. And this linen was in great shape. Surely there was something I could make out of it?
I decided to make a runner for a long side-table we have. And then I just did it. I simply took my rotary blade and cut the shirts into strips.
Well, I didn’t just lose all abandon and do it. I did cut each color the same width, but the lengths were random. And the pieces weren’t cut perfectly either. I then found some black linen that was left over from a skirt I made this summer and added it to the mix. Perfect.
I decided on a width to fit my table, and if my pieces weren’t long enough, I’d sew on a piece of black until I achieved the desired length. I laid them out along the way (because I can’t be completely random) and pieced and sewed until it fit the length of the table.
I added about a one-inch border to frame it and then used every bit of black I had to piece the back. I sewed the two with right sides together and flipped it right side out.
I had no idea I’d love it so much!

5 thoughts on “Mike’s 3-Tries Theory aka Third Time’s a Charm

  1. This is fantastic! I love the bold colors together and makes a bigger statement as a runner than a plain old shirt! I also have a thing for linen and have saved a few of my husbands shirts, and now you have inspired me to use them.

  2. These colors look great and I love the idea of starting a project without too much planning and agonizing over it. I spend way too much time doing that. Last week at the fabric store I realized they were having the last day of Christmas fabric on sale so I took a few minutes to sketch out a simple table topper and bought enough Christmas fabric (at 40% off) to make a table topper for my sister and one for me.
    Thanks for the go-with-the-flow inspiration!

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