general stuff
maybe she’s born with it…

maybe she’s born with it…

…maybe its hyperfixation and an obsession with starting all the projects. It can be very easy to cast a glance at a post, after fifteen years of crafting in this space, and think “oh that’s clever, I could never do that”. The truth is, I’m not talented, I’m not clever, I’ve just spent a whole lot of time practising and refining my skills. Most of what I do falls firmly in the orbit of “crafts”, where it’s less about creativity and more about following the steps. And follow them I have, over and over…until I got bored and move onto a different type of steps to follow.

My most recent crochet blanket, for instance, is looking fabulous, and I love how it’s coming together. It’s also a far cry from where I started.

On the left, my very first “granny square”, barely recognisable as what it was supposed to be. On the right, my most recent photo of my current blanket. Fourteen years and a million light years in difference. My crochet has improved, as has my photos. The first, from memory, was just chucked on my ironing board, and snapped with my old D50 DSLR. The right, I am on my kitchen bench, so still nothing fancy. I’ve changed my framing and composition though, and added props that tell the story of what I’m up to. In fact, this photo is so not fancy, that it was snapped and edited on my phone.

I didn’t start my blog knowing how to take interesting photos. I practiced and played and developed my style over the time. In the same way, I didn’t pick up my crochet hook and immediately know how to crochet a pretty rainbow mandala. I made a very dodgy square, hated it, considered never crocheting again. It took a couple of months to work up the courage to try again, and this time I had much more success, thanks to a highly recommended book – one that held such a dear place in my heart that I have only just let it leave my possession in the Great Unpacking Destash.

From granny squares to ripples, and I came unstuck again once I didn’t have nice clear chain spaces to work into. It took me a couple of attempts, and frogging them again, to start using stitch markers. By the end of the blanket, I could recognise the increase and decrease stitches, but at the beginning? Not a chance.

And from there it was just a matter of practice and repetition and googling a stitch I didn’t know. Even in my current project, I am often referring back to the stitch guide to make sure I’m doing a popcorn or a bubble or a cluster the right way.

Creativity is just like any other muscle in our bodies. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes. It struck me yesterday, how quick we are to declare ourselves as not-creative – I had two friends over for a card making afternoon, and while I helped out a bit, for the most part, they just hooked in and created some really cute cards with some fabulous ideas. As we chatted, it came out one likes to make mosaic pavers. The other used to enjoy painting, back in her pre-children days. Both of them swore they weren’t creative and seemed to think I knew exactly what I was doing like some paragon of creativity, and yet they both clearly do not need my enabling to do anything at all. The “skills” they were impressed by? Just my usual, garden variety “winging it, fake it til you make it” trademark style!

Obviously, there are things that are easier for some people than others – I’m famously uncoordinated, and it makes my crochet quite slow compared to a lot of people. We all have our own aptitudes and strengths, but creativity isn’t an all or nothing kind of thing. It’s less about innate skill, and more about a spirit of playfulness, of curiosity, of adventure. It’s about tackling a thing head on and thinking “how hard could it be?”. At it’s core, it’s about taking chances and seeing what happens.

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