17.09.12

I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity recently. Thinking about it, reading about it. I think most of us either see ourselves as ‘Creative’ or not. Me, not. I wasn’t the arty kind growing up, and that’s what creative means in my head. But I’m coming to see that we are all creative, in our own way. When I come up with colourway names, I’m being creative. When I put fabrics together for a quilt, that’s creative. We’re creative when we cook a meal, when we select an outfit, when we take photographs, when we decorate our homes. There’s need for creativity in virtually every aspect of our lives (apart from maybe doing our taxes!). We are all creative types – in our own unique way.

I’ve read some interesting books recently on nurturing creativity.

Mastering Creative Anxiety

This is excellent, a step by step journey through the stages of anxiety that come with creativity. Completion anxiety, that’s my biggest problem! The main message that I’m getting from this book is that everything brings its own anxiety.When you want to be creative (and I strongly believe that we all have that drive, and that suppressing it is one of the reasons that many people go through life unhappy, frustrated, resentful of others), but you hold back for fear of failure (or fear of anything), that creates anxiety in you. Going ahead and being creative brings anxiety too, but at least then you have something to show for it! In principle I think this applies to life in general. Whatever we do will bring us some level of anxiety, but choosing to hold back from life to try to evade that anxiety is counter productive, since holding back and saying no to life results in it’s own special brand of anxiety and misery.

The Creative Habit

Hmm, I didn’t like this so much. Written by a ballet dancer and choreographer, it is very much about discipline. It’s a drill sergeant kind of book. Show up, don’t make excuses, get your creative work done. That might work for some people (and especially so in certain creative fields, like dancing, where you need tremendous discipline), but I found it a little grating.

Making Your Creative Dreams Real

Written by the wonderful Sark, this was much more my kind of book. A gentle, encouraging, hand holding, compassionate look at the struggles we face when trying to follow creative dreams. I especially like her suggestion to move in the right direction by practising micro movements. However nervous we feel about a project, we can make tiny little movements that bring us closer to success, even five or ten minutes spent on something will add up if done regularly. I find this approach works very well for me, a kind of edging up to the project without looking it directly in the eye. Very often you find that once you’ve done a few minutes, momentum will carry you forward to do more – and if not, at least you’ve taken one or two steps to where you want to be.

And with that, I’m off to do some sewing!!

(Look, I finally got a design wall! A little too late for this project, which would have taken quite a different direction if I could have seen it laid out as I went along, but never mind. I begin to think that quilters who say that the design wall is the next most important tool to your sewing machine are right!)

13.08.12

Don’t look now, but I think I’ve got a blog post in me…………….

How are you today, my dears? Good? I hope so. I’m just chugging along here, working, living, trying to take shows and holidays and little upheavals in my stride (and failing, of course, because I’m one of the world’s Flappers). I’m at my happiest when life is quiet and routine and every day’s to-do list numbers no more than the fingers of one hand. Which it doesn’t at the moment. We’ve got a higgledy-piggledy few weeks ahead of us. I’ll detail how that affects you:

There will be the usual update on Sunday August 19th, then nothing on Sunday August 26th (as we are at the Bluefaced show in Chester), then an update on Sunday September 2nd, then nothing on Sunday September 9th (as we are away on holiday), then back to normal on Sunday September 16th. Pha-eww.

I’m bringing about three times as much yarn to the show as I think will be necessary, mainly because I just couldn’t stop adding favourite bases to the list. Here’s what we will have (and what is to come over the next few weeks on the shop updates):

Miranda 2ply
Miranda 4ply
Gretchen 2ply
Gretchen 4ply
Sylvia 2ply
Sylvia 4ply
Sylvia DK
Hannah
Martha Sport
Martha DK
Pamela (gold)
Betsy
Juliet
Olivia Lace
Olivia Sock
Audrey 2ply
Audrey 4ply
Natasha 2ply
Natasha 4ply
Esme
Valerie
Catherine

Sound good? Good.

Now then, onto non-Posh matters, because I’m embarrassed to see how many of the posts in the last few months have been about the business. Believe it or not, that’s not what this blog is really about. But I’ve been making a conscious effort to spend less time online – it’s better for my health & energy levels, and it helps with productivity too. Speaking of which, here are some of the projects that have been engaging my time & attention recently…….

Quill

AKA the project of doom……..

As you can see, I’ve nearly finished the knitted on edging on one side. I got that far and lost all will to live. It has been stuffed in my knitting bag ever since. I will finish it, I will, but I need enough time to elapse first in order to forget how much I hate it right now. Eleventy billion stitches, and so help me Bob I will never do another knitted on edging.

But look how smooshy it is. LOVE Catherine. Sheepy, squidgy goodness.

Blair

I’m knitting this in the Martha Sport A Is For Apple that one of my lovely friends gifted me. This is my first project in Martha Sport, and I am loving it. Cushy and velvety and knitting into a nice firm fabric. Blair is a pretty easy, fun pattern, and I am whipping along on it. Hope to have it finished by autumn. I see this cardigan over a plaid shirt & jeans. Cosy.

Loulouthi Cushion

This cushion is a shameless copy of this one, from the fabulous Anna Maria Horner. (When I grow up, can I please be her? Thank you.) The fabric is from her Loulouthi cotton range, and I’m embroidering it in naive running stitch, well, quilting it really, since it has a batting behind it. I adore this sort of stitching. I have high ambitions, one day, of hand quilting a quilt.

I’m planning to stitch us up some new pretty cushions for the living room, all different kinds & styles, but in this cheerful, bohemian jumble of colour. Neutrals? YAWN.

Elinor’s Quilt 

I am nearly done with a quilt that I’m making for my sweet niece, Elinor. She’s recently moved home, and is starting a new school in September, and I thought that something cozy and cuddly would be just the ticket. She’s thirteen going on fourteen, and not a particularly girly girl, so I wanted to make a quilt that was fun and modern and fresh. She picked out some of the colours, and I went from there. I ended up with a scrappy log cabin type quilt. I never get tired of those variations.

It’s pieced and quilted, and just waiting for its binding now. I’m trying a new way of attaching the binding, which I’m a little nervous about, so I might postpone it until I’ve done some experimenting with binding some little quilted coasters. I’ll show you it when it’s finished, of course.

As my Pinterest pals will know, I’ve been madly pinning quilting/stitching inspiration lately. During the hotter summer days, working with cool cotton is more appealing that sitting down with a lapful of woolly knitting. Plus I love the improv creativity that I can put into quilting – I don’t have that same courage or inspiration when it comes to knitting, and hardly ever deviate even a little from a pattern.

But in my world, there’s room for more than one craft, a little sewing, a little embroidery, a little knitting….. Each has its mood, its season, its corner. I ask you, again and again, HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE WITHOUT CRAFTS???!!!

Whew, that was some blog post. It’s feast or famine here at Posh! Hugs to each one of you, have a wonderful week.

25.06.12

Some friends had their first baby last week, and I’d promised them a quilt. We didn’t know if it was going to be a boy or girl (it’s a boy!), so I tried to choose fabrics that would work for both sexes. Forgive the dreadful photos, shooting quilts is definitely a skill that I need to work on! It really wasn’t anywhere near as ripply as it looks in the photos.

I did a simple random squares/rectangles for the front, which really showed off the fun fabrics.

Then the back had three wonky log cabin blocks, along the bottom edge.

I had the most fun with them – in fact, I did those before sewing the rest of the quilt. Then the quilt was finished with a simple meandering quilting stitch. I haven’t had a chance to give it to them yet, I hope they like it!

22.02.12

“We must do creative work for the inside of us, not the reaction of the outside world.” – SARK

I am needy. I hate to admit this, I’m embarrassed to admit it. But I am. I crave approval. I want pats on the back, and congratulatory speeches and kudos. I want a Princess crown and a seat of honour and a best in show certificate.

And I want this at every single thing I do.


This is not good. It stifles you. It weighs heavily upon creativity and slows you down.

I have read, and reread the words of SARK, quoted above. I get it, cerebrally, but I don’t get it emotionally. When I create something, I want it to be recognised and praised. To me, that’s the whole point.

And yet it is so NOT the point.

I dabble my toes in the water of many different forms of creativity, and never get any further than that with any of them, and this is why. I give something a go, and then sit back and wait for the crowds of well-wishers, the trumpet fanfares, the bouquets flung onto the stage.

And they don’t come. It’s mortifying. Worse still is the next stage. I go, needy and slightly whiny, to my desired audience, and request feedback, in a gently passive aggressive way. Sometimes, I will seek the opinion of a loved one on my work. We both know I don’t want their opinion really, I want a gold star, but you can’t come right out and ask for that. There are certain protocols to being an adult.

But it doesn’t work, they never say the right thing, or they don’t say it enough times or with enough emphasis.


I sulk. I abandon the project and refuse to talk about it ever again.

Or at other times, if my creativity has found an outlet in some form of crafting, I may offer to make something for a loved one or friend.

Heaven help you if you are on the list of my potential crafting recipients. It’s a weighty responsibility. 


The first hurdle to be got over is your reception of my offer. If you are very very clever, you will pick up on my initial hints, dropped like bait into the water. If you are wise and compassionate, you will immediately seize upon these hints, and fervently beg to be allowed to receive one of my pet projects.

But sadly, not even the closest of my loved ones, who know me so well, tend to pick up on my hints. I am forced to come out into the open, and make an Offer. I do this casually, of course, because, y’know, it’s cool if you don’t want my crafting (it really isn’t). This is probably your last chance. Jump at it, if you have any love or pity for me. Seize it eagerly. It allows me to leave with some shred of my dignity. We can both pretend it was your idea.

Or you could be quite honest, and say, no thanks.

There are certain advantages to this course – primarily, I will never ask you again.

I may never speak to you again either, so you’ll have to weigh that up too. I may even tell everyone, with hot indignation, how you spurned me.

(They will sympathise with you, don’t worry.)

But let’s assume you said yes. You might even be genuinely excited about it. Let’s hope so. You will need that to get you through the next few stages.

  1. Planning. I will bug you, to the point of madness, about what I am to make, and in what colours, and which style, and what exactly do you want, and are you sure? Are you sure???
  2. Making. You will need progress reports and photos/show’n’tells at every stage. Every half stage. There will not be a step along the way that you will not share with me. You will feel that it would have been easier to make the thing yourself. You may be right. But we’re in this together now, and don’t you forget it.
  3. Giving. This is the most critical stage. Much depends on how you receive this project. My nerves will be strung out. I have already made up my mind that this things Sucks, and that you will Hate It. I will be in a state of bitter resentment, directed mainly at you. Why did I agree to this? Why did I think I could do it? Whatever you do, do NOT be honest about how you feel or what you think of it. Even if I set a crafty trap for you, by pointing out its flaws and mistakes myself. Coo. Squeal. Make little moaning sounds. Hold it to your chest. If you can produce a few tears, better still. 
  4. Maintenance. Oh yes, you thought this was over, but it’s not. I need you to tell me, every time I see you, how amazing it is. How much you love it. How and where and when you are using it. How much you appreciate my work. How talented I am. How I should really sell/exhibit my work. Bonus points if you can get your friends/family to mention to me how much you love it and how amazing it is. 
So, there you have it. I am a High Maintenance Creative. How you go from that to creating just for the fun of it, just for your own satisfaction, I have no idea. If you know, do tell me. 
I might even make you something, as a thank you gift. 
You’ll love it, I promise.