Category Archives: You Live You Learn

4 Reads to Help You Get Out of a Creative Slump

Over the last 2 years or so, due to major stress, I’ve been really struggling creatively. Not necessarily coming up with ideas, but implementing them. Going from making and creating all the time to completing nada was a horrible feeling. Honestly that feeling probably helped pushed me away more from any small idea I came up with.

This may be something that is fairly common for everyone at different points in their lives.

Recently I took it upon myself to make some changes in my life that could possibly help with my problem.

  • I’ve created a very loose schedule for myself. If something really important comes up, OK I’ll have to craft another time
  • I’m starting with smaller projects to help me get back into the groove
  • I’m going to try and be kinder to myself and spend more time doing things I enjoy
  • I’m going to get back into using a sketchbook as often as possible

Those a few of the very basic steps I’ve taken and should help me out!

Below I’ve included a few links to some articles that cover some more in-depth ideas.

Please let me know what you’ve done if you’ve ever felt this way!

XO Jane – The Creative Slump: 4 Tips For Finding Your Way Out Of Them

Alyson Stanfield – 10 Paths to Help You Emerge from a Creative Slump

Aileen Swanson – How to “Sketch Book” Your Way Out Of A Creative Slump

Stepping Into Big – 5 Ways Out of a Creative Slump

 

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Mittens To Match My Hat – Phase 1

20140608-220327-79407574.jpg

What is that you ask? Well it’s my first major attempt at knitting with needles. Ok so there is obviously room for improvement, but overall I’m ok with the way it went.

I need to make sure I’m not picking up stitches as often and when I do solve the problem a little better. Casting on was easy. I’d been taught before and it came back to me fairly quickly. Casting off was trickier. I might try it with a crochet hook next as this wool tends to split a lot.

Alrighty so I’ll make another one of these and then make my mitts.

Watch this space! 🙂

Loom Knitting (or A Tiny Hat)

So the eBay fairy arrived again yesterday, this time bringing Classic Knit Knitting Looms. There were four looms, a loom pick and yarn needle included.
loom 1
I decided I would make a hat with a brim. Now the person I was making the hat for has a very small head, so I went for a small loom (too small, but I’ll get to that).
loom 2
I wrapped the yarn around each peg. Once I had gone around the loom, I went around it again this time I created a row above the original row.
loom 3
Using the loom pick I lifted the bottom loop over the top of the peg and worked my way around the loom. I started on the peg just to the right of the outside peg where you fasten your yarn to begin with. Once I finished this I pushed every loop down and added another top row of loops and did the whole thing again.

I decided I was going to add a brim to my hat. Once I got to a length of about 4inches  pushed my loops down and I lifted the loops from the bottom of the piece (so the very first row of loops I did) on to their corresponding pegs and knit over them (using them as the 2nd row of loops on the pegs).
loom 4
I then carried on until the hat was about 8 inches long. I then wove together the top, and voila I had a hat!
loom 7
Now even though I made this for a person with a really small head, I feel this is too small and will make another with a bigger loom. I think I’ll make a wool flower for the new hat as well…and maybe some fingerless mitts! Oh the possibilities! 🙂

I purchased these with a different plan in mind, but this was quite fun! It reminded me of this little knitting set I had when I was a kid. Good times!

Another Prototype – Same Sweater – Mittens

So I had the arms left over from the sweater I felted the other day and decided to try some fingerless mittens with a thumb hole.
mitts1
I figured out where I wanted my thumb to come through and picked the stitches in the seam so it could pop out. I also straightened out the ends.
mitts2
The arms were a bit too wide so I turned them inside out sewed a straight line down from the seam and cut off the excess.
mitts4
Again, because I’m really trying to get my stitching skills up there, I used blanket stitch around the thumb hole and the bottom of the mitts.
mitts3
I like these because you can change the length of the mitten.

Overall I think these are super cute. I need to tweak the design a bit and continue to work on my hand stitching, but I like them. They would come in handy in so many situations.

Prototype – Totebag From Felted Sweater

So the other day my friend’s mom kindly gave me a couple of 100% wool sweaters (Thank you Mrs Ray!). I had a cool idea for one but wasn’t sure if I could make it work.

First things first. I felted the sweater (washed it at 40 degrees on a regular cycle). If you want to try this 100% wool is the easiest way to go, something that can’t be machine washed may work.
2
I decided I was going to make a bag. I wanted to keep the sweater in one piece as much as I could. I cut the arms off, cutting just next the seam. I then cut the neck out. Now this is where I made a mistake, but I’ll get to that later.
3
I flipped the sweater around so the handles (and seams) were together.

I decided I wanted a square(ish) bottom so I kind of folded/tucked the ends in on themselves hoping that would work. I then pinned the bottom and sewed straight across the bottom of the sweater. The square corners basically worked so I am pretty happy with that.
4
I turned the sweater out so I could have a look at it and didn’t like the seams down the front and back of the bag so I decided to attach some pockets. One on the back and a little double pocket on the front. I’m still practicing my hand sewing, so blanket stitch all around!
7
pockets

As a prototype I’m pretty happy with this. I can see where I need to make changes. I cut too much out around the neck and arms, and need to do something with the straps so the aren’t as bulky. I will definitely be working on this and trying more in the future. I’d like to line them as well. Most importantly it was fun 🙂

Mittens!….oh meh.

So…I normally always make a (measured) pattern, but I got a little gung-ho today. “The rest of my felted wool will make rockin’ mittens!” I thought to myself and drew up a quick mitten shape around my hand on tracing paper. Well the mitten I drew was a cartoon mitt, not a functional in real life mitt.
mitts2

Still this didn’t stop me! I was excited, I was going to make pretty mittens! I was oh so close…

So I cut out my pieces, sewed them up…then noticed they looked a little funny…then tried them on. Oh dear. There was way too much fabric between my thumb and the rest of my hand. It was like a tiny little cartoon thumb, not a human opposable thumb.

I picked the stitches out and tried to save them. I basically did. They fit which is great, I just didn’t give myself enough of a seam allowance so I don’t think they would last long if I wore them through the winter. I plan on either attempting to fix them again, or making kids mittens out of them.
mitts1

Too bad, but I did it to myself! You live, you learn. Probably didn’t help that I was being watched by 15-20 cows the whole time. The brown one in this photo was staring at me for ages. Ya, it’s their fault, they threw me off 😉
cows