Design Mojo

Morning fog

This week, I experienced a revolutionary creative nudge I needed. (Creative nudge, as opposed to creative fudge where a bunch of creatives swear in frustration and eat chocolate).

I participated in the free 5 Shawls 5 Days challenge, did not complete it in window to qualify for prizes, but also did not give up. I simply tried again the next day. I learned something new from each shape, despite having made a gazillion shawls already.

Francoise of Aroha Knits has developed such an inviting and encouraging system that I’d love to participate in her design workshop at some magical point when I have expendable funds. She says she plans to offer the free shawl challenge twice more this year in addition to a few other challenges, so if you’re interested, there’s plenty of opportunity.

Here’s what’s so revolutionary that I learned from this. You don’t need a lot to be creative. I took this on during a week I did 80 hours of freelance work. I’ve been stressed about bills (my heat requires two large payments per winter) and finally made half of what I need to meet January’s. I even dropped my weekly knitting group the past few weeks, one of my few social events, in order to take on more paid work.

I constantly have design ideas bursting in my mind, some on paper, BUT here comes this little design coach saying, “You can try this for only 30 minutes a day for five days.” For free. Making one tiny exploration sample felt entirely different from following someone else’s pattern. It showed me all I need is 30 minutes to make a prototype of anything.

So late at night after all I could do was done, I worked on a shape, washed the shape, blocked and dried it. Finally, I have proven without a reasonable doubt I don’t need to listen to all those voices in my head telling me, “You don’t have enough space, time or money in your life to design anything. If you focus on this, your life will become unbalanced. Your priority has to be paid work.”

Triangle, experiment with made up as I went lace motif
Crescent – Made up as I went, a bit of stranded colorwork and eyelets, blocking pins created five points at edge
Asymmetrical Triangle – Learned why this shape is not best to attempt a lace motif unless at the widest edge or few-stitch repeat lace. Knit-purl textures a much better fit.
3/4 Square – Eyelet edging worked well here –
this shape gives me so many ideas
Square – Spent most time on this one, three trials to master the first few rows after pinhole cast-on – gave up DPNs. Magic loop worked for me. Now that I have this down, I intend to make the baby blanket promised to my cousin months ago this way.

A few precious moments outside, on Parks & Rec new expanded trails. Thank you, Parks & Rec. Yay!

Creative Intentions

My awesome sister offered a wonderfully helpful two-hour workshop I attended this weekend to assist creatives in getting clear about 2019 dreams for our work and energy. It’s the first time I’ve been able to participate in an offering (due to location and my dog allergies). I’ve always loved seeing her assemblage art creations, but now that I’ve experienced a workshop, I can personally strongly recommend her work to anyone, and not just because she’s family. She’s skilled at facilitating conversations and offering suggestions and support on anyone’s creative journey.

Here’s a quote I chose from the random fortune telling method in Sara’s workshop. Each quote people pulled from a container was based on one general practice focus for creating anything. The practice I pulled was TRUST.

When you write, speak with complete self-trust and do not timidly qualify ….Later, if you find what you wrote isn’t true, accept the new truth. Consistency is the horror of the world.

~ Brenda Ueland

I love and needed that last line very loud and clear. After a period of chaos, I’ve worked so hard to build consistency into my life that the structure is calcifying, soon to turn to stone, rather than fertile space for creativity. And I also needed this because I’ve been brewing a bravely personal blog post that I only want to write if I can make it useful to the theme of hand making. I now feel emboldened to attempt to write down these thoughts in a positive way that may speak to someone else out there who has similar experience.

After the workshop, I was able to clarify two main creative intentions for 2019, with more on back burner just in case I become Wonder Woman overnight and access some unknown superpower that allows me to accomplish more than the first two.

  • Set aside weekly time to explore and play with knit design concepts I have in mind, with a goal of writing and making one solid pattern by year’s end…letting go of pressure to perfect and sell but rather play with inspired design elements. I need to break through this “has to be done this way” barrier I’ve felt with protocols I see successful designers do (hire testers and tech editors) and just get my designs flowing in some form.
  • Host a low-key one-day fiber arts retreat in the woods, open to makers of all abilities. I love to learn about all fiber-related skills and can offer my assistance with beginning knitting. Everyone can be a teacher of what they know best, so I hope to encourage a gathering for anything portable someone wishes to focus on for a day, broken up by nature time, potluck food and conversation.

Back burner intentions.

  • Research cameras and lights for filming tutorials and video podcasts so that I can create high quality knitting and Nature content that engages community. At this time, I don’t have resources to invest, but I can research options.
  • Conduct interviews with local sheep and alpaca farmers and natural dye experts in order to learn from them and share their wisdom.
  • Create and collect questions to post that engage people and build community around what I love about making and knitting.

Next post will be my response to a forum led by Maria of Ninja Chickens from a maker asking where to find affordable wool/yarn to work with, especially when financially constrained. I realized after I shared my ambitious Make Nine 2019 on Instagram that I was going to need to answer that question myself. Buying a large size sweater’s quantity of yarn I’d really love to work with is in the range of $200, and that’s out of reach for many of us. Finding alternatives that still contain wool and natural fiber for under $50 is possible, you just need to know where to look.