Monday, August 25, 2014

August 26 – Creative Blog Hop

My globe-trotting friend Alli over at Champagne and Qiviut wrote for The Creative Blog Hop and tagged me to participate next. If you've found your way here through her blog, or anyone else participating in The Creative Blog Hop, welcome!

This seemed like it might be an interesting exercise. The survey is short and sweet, so here goes!


1. What am I working on?
Sometimes I think it might be easier to list the things that I'm not working on, because my WIP list is long these days. In addition to the Christmas socks, the hostess-gift washcloths and the African flower hexagon afghan, I'm trying to finish up a couple of pairs of socks for myself, and I also recently started my Rhinebeck sweater. Oh, and then there's the embroidery project I've got going on in the background, the fibre I mean to finish spinning, and that project bag I was going to sew...


2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In my mind there are as many ways to create as there are people to do the creating, so I'd hope that we're all different in one way or another. However, as I've made the transition from magazine craft editor to freelance editor over the past 18 months, I've been happy to notice the joy come back into crafting for me. I no longer have to devote valuable creative energy to coming up with ideas of things to make with paper towel and white glue, or devising Halloween costumes (always my least favourite), or sourcing fun foam or googly eyes. The freedom to choose my own projects—and to pick them up or drop them at will—has made making things so much better.


3. Why do I create/write what I do?
I grew up in a household where someone was always making something, whether that meant dinner, a tiny model airplane, a dress or a fence; making things was passed down through both nature and nurture. I think that it's important to satisfy your creative urges, both for your mind and your body; in the modern era it's vital that we work to maintain important crafting traditions, that we continue to value our hands (the original digital technology!) and that we cultivate the state of flow—a bit of respite for our tired, worried minds.

I knit because I like it – I like everything about working with yarn. The colour, the texture, the craft; the seemingly infinite ways to combine and recombine two basic stitches. I also like it because it's portable—so much easier to take along on a commute than my sewing machine. Finally, I knit because it's one of the most tangible, durable ways I know to communicate my love and caring for someone. A handknit sock lasts a lot longer than a fancy birthday cake!


Because I work with words, so much of what I write is determined by other people and their needs. My favourite assignments when I'm working involve talking to people about their passions and translating those stories to the printed page. On the other hand, here, I like to capture the tiny moments in my days that I think are worth sharing.


  
4. How does my creating/writing process work? 
The creating part is the easy part—once I've chosen a pattern and a yarn to work with (and given the part-time yarn-store job, I'm certainly not short of inspiration!), I'm content to knit just about anywhere, although my favourite accompaniment is a good juicy British murder mystery on the computer. I try to squeeze a bit of knitting into everyday—I especially love taking half an hour in the morning to organize my current projects and fuss with my knitting notions kit. Getting everything in order seems to help me settle my mind before I sit down to start a writing or editing project.


As far as writing, there's a lot of stand-up, sit-down, walk-around involved in the process. Also making tea and looking out the window, and recreational dictionary reading. When I finally get started—after I've written and deleted half a dozen absolutely ridiculous first sentences and cranked out half a dozen puns on Twitter—hours can pass without my noticing. Then it's a matter of cutting, rewriting and refining (which involves much more tea, sometimes a phone call or three, and usually cookies). Going for a walk helps if I'm stuck, and so does baking; anything that lets me put the verbal part of my brain into neutral while I go through the motions of some sort of productive activity. I walk the same path through the graveyard or make the same cookies each time; it has to be almost automatic in order to let my brain sort the words out.

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Thank you to Alli for inviting me to join in—and thank you for reading along. I'd like to tag my friend Christina to participate next. She was my roommate at Squam last year, and she's an awesomely talented Jill-of-all-crafts, from knitting to sewing to quilting to weaving. She also experiments with dyeing and does amazing things with recycled and upcycled yarn and fabrics—every project she posts makes me look at my own craft in a different way. I hope you'll pay her a visit!

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