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.
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”…
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).
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.
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!
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.
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?!?
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!
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!
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…)
- A 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!
P.S. Interested in seeing these projects when they’re finished? Click HERE to become
a Handwork Homeschooler.