Tag Archive | creativity

Knitting, Drawing, and Kids

Last week was a big one: school started back up for my kids. I have a freshman and a senior. (Look at that boy! 14 and he’s already taller than both me and the girl, even in her new heels!)

IMG_4330

HOW? How is that possible, when I can remember them both when they were tiny and silly and goofy? I’m in total denial that my girl is a senior; I haven’t cried yet. YET. But I know it’s coming. I’m bracing myself. It’ll probably hit at the marching band Senior Night, when they recognize seniors and their parents on the field. I can’t believe that will be us this year. Speaking of band, Friday was the first game of the season, which means it was the first time I got to see both kids perform in the marching band.

IMG_4342

Yeah, it’s going to be a fun year. Emotional, but fun. I’m so excited to see the girl do amazing things this year and beyond.

I have been knitting a bit lately, just not as much as usual. I’ve got a second sock almost to the toe, which is good because I’m a little tired of this pair. It’s dragged on too long.

fullsizeoutput_c87

It’s probably dragging because I’ve been focusing on the baby blanket, the second of two I’m making for a friend who recently had twins. The good news is, I’m on the second to last skein of yarn! The bad news is, I’m tired of it.

fullsizeoutput_c88

But I love the color and the pattern and I can’t wait to gift it. Maybe I can finish this week? At least I can if I don’t get distracted by more enticing projects, like the Zuzu’s Petals I’m making in this stunning Ella Rae Lace Merino DK. Yes, it really is THAT BRIGHT!

fullsizeoutput_c8b

Yum! I just love it! And I just realized the blue theme I’ve got going in my knitting. No wonder I’m itching to cast on something new; I need some variation! I’m also ready for fall knits: bulky cowls, thick merino, hats, mittens…

Yesterday we were kid-free for a bit so the husband and I went on a fun creative date. In cleaning out my craft room yesterday, I discovered a vintage Parker pen. It belonged either to my dad or my husband’s grandmother (and yes, I do feel bad not remembering). I knew it was a Parker, and a bit of research told me it was a Vector, but I couldn’t get it open to put in a refill.

Well, that required a visit to the Pen Place. The kind woman had special pliers that could loosen the ┬ábody without damaging the pen, and of course she had refills available too. Despite finding two pens I really liked (both Lamy; I’m drawn to the smooth writing) I resisted and only bought some fun color ink cartridges. It was tough. And really only happened because my birthday is coming up so I know I have gifts coming my way!

After the pen store, we visited Blick Art Materials, since I’ve got this hankering to learn to draw. That, and I’ve always loved browsing through art supplies. That’s probably the only reason I want to to learn to draw: to be able to use all the pretty things!

IMG_4383

Again, I practiced restraint and purchased just two drawing pencils instead of the nifty set of eight in the metal tin. I’ve decided to earn those; they can be my treat when I improve a bit, if I still enjoy the process. What I like about this book is the encouragement that really counters my self-doubt, and the emphasis on the process rather than the final drawing. I went through the first two lessons and then my assignment was to draw three things that are special to me. The first attempts were pretty rough and discouraging, to be honest. But I kept going, and my kind family encouraged me and gave me a few pointers, and at the end of the evening I had this:

fullsizeoutput_c8c

And that pleases me! Although, looking at it now, I see a bit I can do differently to make it better. Maybe I need to try again today!

So many crafts, so little time. Sigh.

Thoughts on Creativity

It’s only within the last few years that I’ve been able to think of myself as a creative person. I always thought creative people were the artists, the clothing designers, published authors, the people who can bring things to life just from their mind. Me? I wrote stories that didn’t go anywhere. I made jewelry for a few years, then I scrapbooked for a few years. I knit and crochet, but I use other people’s yarns and other people’s patterns and just replicate them.

But guys, you know what? I AM creative. I write stories that haven’t been written before, about characters I make up. I have three complete manuscripts. Three full-length book-type things. Sure, they haven’t been published. Doesn’t mean they’re not creative. And it doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. Maybe those were just the ones I needed to get out before writing The One.

I’m always struggling with self-worth as far as writing goes, swinging from “Yes! I’m a great writer!” to “Who do I think I am, thinking someone else will want to read this?” Because I’ve never published a book, I think I’m not a writer. Well. That’s dumb. And I just have to keep telling myself that. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve written short stories and novel-length stories and filled a dozen journals and I’ve kept this blog for three years now. I don’t write every day, but I keep coming back to writing. I am a writer.

Wow. It wasn’t until I wrote that, that I realized how true it is. I keep coming back to writing.

With my yarn, I put colors and textures and patterns together. I’m the one who chooses what will go with what. I don’t think I’ve ever used the recommended yarn for any pattern, and I don’t think I’ve ever even made a pattern in the same color(s) as the designer. I take their ideas and put my own spin on them. That IS creative.

And for a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine the yarn and the writing. I want to write a book where yarn/knitting is a focal point. I’ve tried, and it hasn’t worked yet. But I’m going to keep trying.

I don’t know why, but I am flush with creative energy right now, and it feels awesome. The focus has turned away from knitting and back toward writing, but that’s kind of typical for me. I tend to focus obsessively on one thing for a while, then move on. I’m not done with knitting, not at all! I spent three hours at a football game last night and was delighted to have the time to knit on the baby blanket. But in the evenings, or weekends like this, my brain is gravitating toward writing.

Not just writing, either. I’ve always wished I could draw well, and I always told myself I just couldn’t do it. Then a few days ago I was admiring a selection of drawing books and the husband said, “Why don’t you try it? You never know.” And for some reason, this time I agreed. Why not, indeed. I didn’t have to show anyone if I didn’t want to. I might not be great. But what if I could make pictures that pleased me? That would be pretty cool. So I might be heading to the library to check out some how-tos for beginners (if you have recommendations, please share!) and I’ve got a little sketch pad and a drawing pencil itching to be used. And because it’s uncomfortable and scary for me, I’m going to share my first attempt, a cube copied from a book.

FullSizeRender

It’s not great. It’s a first attempt. I don’t think it’s going to come naturally to me the way it does for my kids, or the way writing does to me. I’m not going to be the next big artist, and that’s all right. For me, it’s okay that it’s recognizable, and it was fun.

I guess what I take from all of this is that I’m redefining what success means to me. Success is about the leap, the journey, the effort. And I don’t want to be afraid of success anymore.