Sunday, March 13, 2016

Making space for creativity...

It's been a good week in a lot of respects.   I'm (sort of) reading The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin.   I say I'm sort of reading it because, well...I keep carrying it around with me and laying it down and sometimes days go by before I think about it again (out of sight, out of mind).   But I went looking for it and found it just so I could show it to you.

I recently finished reading though Secret #2, which is Honoring Your Inspirations.  A good deal of material in that section deals with making and maintaining space in which to be creative.   Whether that space is a large studio, a spare bedroom, or a corner of a desk, we need to make room for creativity.  And we need to create habits for keeping it orderly and ready to work in, and in doing that we honor our inspirations and creativity.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

Now, I'm going to back up a moment (literally) and show you where I actually found this book a few minutes ago...

Go ahead and laugh.  I certainly did.  The irony of wanting to tell you about progress I'm making on making space for creativity and finding this book in the middle of a pile of "stuff" compelled me to take a picture and talk about this.  By the way, the only thing I changed before snapping the picture is to remove a notepad that was laying on top of the book.  A notepad I was using to make a list of items I'm gathering to donate to the local thrift shop.

Now, this space was cleaned and purged just a few days ago, and the items sitting here that are obviously not in their right places are actually testaments to my creativity.  The "fabric" to the left of the book is a stack of Bible-times costumes I made before we moved into our present house - nearly 18 years ago (the last time any of it was actually used was for a Bible-times VBS program - approximately 19 years ago).  The folded piece of beige material is a little tunic I made for my then 6 year-old child more than 21 years ago!  He turns 27 next month.  With my youngest turning 21 in the fall, I finally decided it's probably safe to get rid of it - to get rid of all the costumes - I mean, seriously...  I don't envision the need (or desire) to ever again wear a shapeless  tunic that I crafted out of a bed sheet two decades ago.   And I don't think my husband is going to miss his either...   They need to move closer to their final resting places (I'm thinking a closet at church where such costumes may, on occasion, come in handy for one reason or another).  Yeah, that sounds like a plan.  But for some reason last week, they landed here, on my newly cleaned off desk space, and haven't been moved. 

The rest of the items?   Well, the box under the book holds (among other things) buttons.  I had it out because I was in search of buttons a couple of days ago to finish my pillow project.  The pen next to the iron must have fallen off the notepad. The iron needed to be put somewhere quickly yesterday as I was needing to head out the door right after I used it.   You see, I wanted to get the blanket I had just finished pinned out and steamed so it could have the whole day to dry.  And the little book the iron is sitting on is a library discard which holds a bunch of miniature pictures of famous pieces of art that I had gotten out to see what I might do with the pictures (make refrigerator magnets?  Gift tags? Cards?)  I don't know.  I never did figure it out so it's still there, serving as a trivet for my iron.

I could go on, but you get the picture.  By the way...lest you're tempted to feel bad because your "creative space" looks worse than this, don't.  This is just what I'm willing to show you.  Consider it merely exhibit A for how to NOT "honor one's inspirations". I will forgo showing exhibits B, C, D, and...   That's right.  This little desk area is not the only corner surface room where I stash and dash until the items accumulate to the point where trying to call it my creative space is farcical.   We all know it's nearly impossible to have inspiration in a mess like this.

While the above picture (and this post) might not give the impression that this book (12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women) is helping me any, what you can't see is the trash bag of stuff that needed throwing away, and that actually got thrown away.  Or the box that is being filled up to take to the thrift store.  And frankly, once the items in the above picture are put back in their places I do have a nice little work area there for some creative pursuits.  I obviously need to work on the habit of putting away, but weeding out what was becoming just too much stuff was begun with inspiration gleaned in the first two chapters of the above book.  So Yay! I recommend the book.  It's not going to work magic, but if you enjoy reading about how other women create, get control of their spaces, draw inspiration, etc... you may find this an interesting read.

And actually, I do think clearing out some stuff brought clarity and some motivation to finish the two projects pictured below.

First up is my button-front pillow - created using the Corner to Corner crochet stitch pattern.  I'm liking the blues and greens.

The yarn is Red Heart Boutique Treasures in the color, Mosaic.  It's a roving, self-striping yarn made with 70% acrylic, 30% wool.  I have mixed feelings about the yarn - it's not the easiest to work with - wanting to pull right apart sometimes, and wanting to cling to itself other times.  The combination of fibers feels wonderfully soft as a pillow, but I'm pretty sure it would be scratchy as a scarf or anything else worn close to the skin.  It's a pretty yarn, but there are probably few things I'd actually make with it in the end.  I like my pillow, but I let's just say, I probably won't be stocking up on this yarn.

And now....drumroll, please...  

I finished the Arrowhead Blanket I started last year!  Started on April 18th, to be exact - and today is March 13th.  I can't tell you how happy I am that I finished it before a whole year passed.  There is no good reason why this took so long.  It's not a hard stitch pattern - at all.  I'm thinking I just grew tired of the beiges and kept looking for infusions of color in other projects.  Seeing the picture below makes me wish I had a den. It strikes me as masculine and den-like. 

After a blocking and then machine washing and drying, it came out super soft.  And I love it.  While the pictures show this in totally neutral tones, it actually has a bit of a yellow tint to it (at least it does in my house's lighting).  It's beyond me why my couch's yellow undertone comes through in a picture, but similar tones completely disappear from the blanket in the very same shot.

I find the arrow shapes fascinating, both for their visual appeal, and because of the texture they provide.  And while the front of this blanket is its whole point (pun totally intended), the back's not bad either.  I don't think I've ever before made a blanket that has two different sides and I find it fun to have two different looks in one afghan.  Here's a shot showing the front and the back:

And with those two WIPs finished up, I am freely moving back into and onto finishing my next project.  While the last two blankets I've made may become gifts, next on the hook is a blanket just for me.  A pretty sea-blue, soft-as-a-cloud, spring-weight blanket to drape over the livingroom couch.  It's a dream to crochet.  Maybe next week I'll provide a progress picture...

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our weekly thread on Ravelry.  It's a friendly and creative bunch!


  1. Your corner to corner pillow case is such a stunning colour and it's a lovely pattern too. I love your blanket, well done at sticking with it.

  2. I think the pillow looks awesome. I love the blues and greens and all the texture in the pattern.

    And the arrowhead blanket is amazing. It definitely looks very classic and neutral on my screen. It's good that the front and back are both attractive - blanket patterns that disappoint on the wrong side bug me to no end.

    I'm a bit obsessive about clear space, so my work area is entirely uncluttered. Any sort of mess or unfinished stuff makes me feel a bit panicky and stressed. I guess we all work differently!

    1. I could use some of that obsessiveness. ;^) I can get obsessive about cleanliness, but orderliness is another thing all together. As is I need to develop habits about putting away. And interestingly...this book isn't a how too at all, but it's really been inspiring simply reading about how other people make room for creativity (room in their physical environment, but also room mentally and perhaps even spiritually. It's making me want to develop those habits in a way a how-to book just doesn't seem to touch. I should have written that in my post. ;^)

  3. The pillow is wonderful. The colors are so nice and cheery. And the blanket.....It is beyond words. I really like it and the colors you chose for it are perfect. I can imagine all that neutral tone would get a bit boring, but the end results is what it is all about. Good luck on organizing your space. I do that 2-3 times a year and it only lasts for about a week each time. Seems our craft spaces are the best place to just lay something "until I have time to put it away".

    1. Thank you, Marsha. Yes, I think for many of us, the challenge isn't the cleaning and even putting order to things, but rather holding to the resolve to keeping our spaces orderly is the challenge. The above space is cleared off once more. We'll see how long I can keep it that way this time.

  4. Ohhh the pillow is lovely but the blanket is just gorgeous! I too am a fan of those neutral tones but I can see how after a time they'd become boring. It's great how the back offers a different way to show it off but I love the texture of the front. As for clean spaces, it's good isn't it to clear out our creative spaces, it's like dusting off the mind and letting more creativity flow.

    1. Yes, I think that's exactly what happens, Ruth!

  5. Such lovely projects! The blanket is just mind blowing, Becki! So much work went into it. The colors, the texture - everything is perfect! And you are so brave to show your creative space - most of the time mine is such a mess :)

    1. Thank you, Alina. I'm not so brave. It's just that the irony of a book that was inspiring me to clear out/off my creative spaces was laying atop clutter was just to good to not share. lol


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