'You can't use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have.' Maya Angelou
Hello, dear readers! It's been a while, eh? The last quarter of 2016 was a very busy one indeed, and I had definitely burnt out by the end of the year. In fact, I'm still feeling the effects of the end-of-year creative burnout now, 20 days into the new year. So I've been trying to give myself fresh new impetus, and allow myself time to explore new ways of being creative, and see how that influences my writing, blogging, IG photography and crochet design. So, having been listening to a few podcasts and read a few blogs, I've decided to adopt a word for the year. I dare say some of you have been mulling this over too; it's a fabulous way to inspire oneself from within, don't you think?
So, my word for the year is (drum roll please...)
I feel like all work and no play has brought me to a point where all crochet is work, and therefore after a period of time, this then becomes a chore. Which is not fair- on me, or the people who love my work and continue to use my skills and willingness to design. So I want to do is try lots of new things, and see how they influence my crochet design. This could be learning new skills entirely, or trying new stitches or techniques within the making I already practice.
So when it comes to crochet, I think it's important to make some more things for me, just experimenting. I've been lucky enough to work with the exciting folks at www.lovecrochet.com, who send me their lovely yarns to play with, and allow me to come up with some fresh new accessories ideas. I enjoy it so much, and some of my favourite quick-to-make and stylish designs have been with these guys. Hop over to the blog here to see my free patterns.
I want to crochet with some of my more luxurious yarn stash, and part of that will be using these beautiful undyed, natural and British fibres to make a triangular shawl. Too many distractions are stopping my from hooking right now! I also want to try some more textural stitches, and my new job working with a new magazine series called Simple Stylish Crochet (only out in Germany right now) is allowing me to do this, and really explore and expand my crochet skills base. It's hard work but usually involves elements of creativity and playfulness, so will continue to inspire me throughout the year. Also- this gorgeous new book from Claire Mongomerie! I love Claire's palette, and I just know there's still so much for me to learn. I'm going to start with the simple phone cover- love it!
When it comes to knitting, there's so much I want to learn! I want to try more cables, sock knitting and colour work, and pretty much use some of my starting-to-become-epic stash. I've cleared most of my unused stash now, and kept my favourite acrylics (more on that later). Leaving a lovely selection of luxury yarns! I'm trying to stop myself stashing beautiful yarns and actually use them. So I'm joining a mystery knit-along! The Curious Handmade #snowmeltmkal begins next month and will reveal a pattern week-by-week over five weeks, which seems perfectly reasonable, time-scale wise.
Here are me three chosen yarns, all fingering-weight and from deep stash:
I love how each skein is attached to a memory of where and when it was bought. The pale grey is a beautiful alpaca- Angel from The Chester Wool Co. - and was bought at Bridport Yarn last summer, when we went to stay at lovely Lilac Cottage. It was a blissful family holiday, and we really liked Bridport. The Slate grey in the centre is an incredible baby camel and silk blend, bought from a stand called Sparkleduck at the 2016 Waltham Abbey Wool Show. I went with my mum, as she lives in Waltham Abbey, and we went back to hers and I taught her to crochet afterwards. It was a lovely, freezing, sunny winter's day and I admit I have not yet used any of the yarn I bought. So now I should! The beautiful mustard yellow is very special to me- it's the ultimate mustard luxury yarn and I cannot wait to see how it knits up. It's DyeForYarn merino and silk, this colour way is Golden Beehive, dyed especially for Loop. I bought it on a trip to Loop on my birthday in 2015! So I'm getting really exciting about the mystery knit-along or 'MKAL'. I love Helen's Curious Handmade podcast, so do pop along and add it to your list if you're a knitter or general yarnivore like me.
Finally, I've got this beautiful and very cool knitting kit from We Are Knitters, and already cast on! I'll show you more next time with a progress update. (ps have you noticed my current grey obsession?!)
Anyway, if you want to explore your creativity and 'playfulness', I can't recommend enough Kate O'Sullivan's podcast 'A Playful Day', enough, where she explores creativity in all its forms- cookery, illustration, knitting, botany and everything in between. And while you're at it, I also love the PomPom Quarterly magazine's podcast- Pomcast! fun and giggles and of course knitting. I don't have time to watch video ones sadly, but if you do try Potter and Bloom and Cherry Heart. Links in the sidebar I believe. Do you have a favourite podcast to recommend?
Stay in touch guys! I'll be back soon with more yarn talk.