My Surprising Secret to Wild Creativity

As a Creative ( I just LOVE that title), I always have dozens
of projects on the go at the same time.  Some are in their infancy
(i.e. still in my head…) while others are almost ready to set out on
their own into the big, wide world, as finished pieces.Rainbow Knitting Handwork Homeschool

Many people ask me how I manage to make & design so many things
while homeschooling AND teaching handwork AND running a home.

I’ll tell you but first – come & meet a FEW of my current creative “babies”…

Knit Squirrel Body Handwork Homeschool

It’s quite a challenge juggling my handwork ideas when I want to make things for my children, my husband (& sometimes even myself) as well as my friends & family AND design projects for our homeschool lessons and my courses (the rainbow knit above is going to be part of The COLOUR Lessons). 

Knit Quilting Technique Handwork Homeschool

This fun bit of “quilted” knitting is actually part of a project which I’m making for my daughter –luckily I know enough about my multiple-making tendencies that I made sure to design it a size bigger than she is.  So far, it’s been on the needles for almost a year!

It was while I was knitting this pattern, that I decided it would be a great addition to
The KNIT Lessons – perfect for a knitter who has learned the basics & is ready
for something a bit more challenging!  That’s one perk of having so many things in
my “making” queue – creative cross-fertilization.

Hand dyed mohair Handwork Homeschool

Colour is always a HUGE inspiration for me!  I bought this mohair (it was white) from a local farm, yes – I met the goats who grew this ever-so-soft yarn.  It’s part of another
long-term project, this time for my Mother (I’m blessed with a VERY patient family
– but then, 
who wouldn’t wait for something this beautiful?)

My plan was to dye it & then knit it. Well, I’ve finally done the dyeing part, now I just have to design something small enough to make with only 2 skeins & get it knit.  I’m aiming
for Christmas…I may yet come in under the 18 month mark on this one!

cashmere cable knit fingerless gloves Handwork Homeschool

At this point, you’re thinking that it might make sense for me to scale back my ambitions
& just focus on a project or two at a time.

Perhaps –  but then what would I do when I find myself with a few minutes in the car (that’s when I knit basic stuff) or when I discover an incredible cabled pattern (above) that calls out & insists that I try it right away (especially, when it’s done in cashmere) ?

Each project demands a different level of concentration (usually several, depending
on which stage I’m at) so I can always find something that suits every situation.

As an artist, I have to push myself beyond my comfort zone occasionally in order to stay fresh & inspired – it took me years to understand this.  I used to knit straight from the pattern book hoping that the knitting alone would be enough – but it wasn’t.

Quilted Knitting Pattern - Handwork Homeschool - The KNIT Lessons

After a while, you can get pretty good at knitting or sewing or any other creative endeavour.  They’re still lots of fun to do but I found that trying to be safe & not experiment leaves some of the excitement out.  Switching the yarn weight, changing
the measurements or even an entire motif in a project has become second nature to me.

My dear friend, Agnes, always laughs at how long it takes me to actually START a project –
well, if you’re going off into uncharted territory, you better be prepared, right?!?

Embroidery designs Handwork Homeschool

Every book I read, city I visit, website I peruse & even nature herself adds a little
bit more to my idea catalogue.  I keep sketchbooks & files filled with tiny sketches, a descriptive word or 2, pages from magazines, swatches of fabric & scraps of yarn.

To the casual observer, they may look like nothing more than a jumble.

Yet, I’m always amazed every time I open one & can immediately remember exactly why each fragment is there.  When I think of the ideas that would have evaporated if I hadn’t
managed to catch them,  it makes me want to run & hug my filing cabinet!

THE SECRET

What, you may very well ask, IS my secret to being wildly creative?

Simple, I allow myself to multi-make!

I have a strict NO multi-tasking rule – I’ve read about the side-effects
of trying to do too many things at once (not so good).  That rule holds true
everywhere else in my life EXCEPT in the creative realm.  There, I don’t
feel a shred of guilt if I want to brainstorm, collect materials, knit, sew or
felt something new before I finish previous projects.

It’s strangely liberating & definitely inspiring!

Want to add a dash of wild to your making?

Here are a few KEY points to consider :

  • always have at least 3 projects on the go (it’s OK to mix crafts & media)
  • keep your eyes open – inspiration can come from the oddest places
  • make notes, swatches, sketches (those 3 AM moments are a gold mine!)
  • set a “finish by” date for a few projects (be nice to yourself & add a week or 2)
  • let other projects “ripen” over time ( luckily yarn, fabric & paint keep well)
  • the more you make, the more you’ll want to make… and most importantly-
  • remember, your kids are watching – you’re setting a great example for them
    wild creativity is the way of the future!

Hand dyed merino wool cable knit sweater Handwork Homeschool

What’s swirling near the top of my mind & strewn about my studio lately?

  • Lots of knitting (as ever), even this cabled sweater for ME (!)
  • Clothes for Miss Brighit ( she’s the Waldorf doll I made for The DOLL Lessons)
  • Some little animals for my daughter’s Kindergarten Nature Table (I’m thinking   squirrels & maybe a fox  – still deciding whether to knit, sew or needle felt them…)
  • How-To Dye Mohair with food colouring video
  • Many Celtic & Viking motifs (my son is in Grade 4 this year) – form drawing, anyone?

Oh, and I’m also putting the finishing touches on my new online magazine,

The Alchemy Notes (watch for it in soon).

Tell me (or better yet show me) what projects you have on the go in the comment section – I’d love to know what you’re up to!

Happy Making!

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P.S. Interested in seeing these projects when they’re finished?  Click HERE to become
a Handwork Homeschooler.

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6 Responses to My Surprising Secret to Wild Creativity

  1. Monique says:

    Nice article Elizabeth !
    You know what ? During many years I tried to change my propensity to do several things together : drawing, knitting, embroidery, weaving, sewing, writing, and so on… until i accepted myself like that ! Now i authorize myself to create all i want to create 🙂 It is soooooooo good !
    Warmly 🙂

    Like

    • Monique – I agree – it’s so important to realize that being creative can be a central part of your life – not just something you try to squeeze in between everything else you do every day. I think that if more people felt this way – they would be happier AND there would be so many more great pieces of handwork in the world!!

      Like

  2. Donna says:

    You are so right on. I have at least 3 projects on the needles at all times. I reach for whatever is calling my creative soul at the moment. I usually have something on the loom and at least 2 different spinning projects going as well. Add to that yarn dying and some painting/drawing and my plate is pretty full. And my house is messy but who cares? Oh and I LOVE your notebook. I would decorate my office with doodles if I could! You can see my crafty chaos at http://knit1spin2.blogspot.com

    Like

  3. Selena@lookwerelearning says:

    I’ve had the same blanket sitting on my circular needles for over 8 months, so now I don’t feel so bad about that….lol. I tend to multi-task, which is bad. I think I’ll switch to multi-crafting! 🙂

    Like

    • Now you’ve got it! That way I see it, there’s no reason to ever feel bad about making something lovely… a blanket is a perfect long-term project because nobody will outgrow it ( yes, I’ve made things that were too small for the intended child when they were finally finished because I took too long!)

      Have fun!

      Like

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