Selecting Yarn for a Pattern

I have a lot of patterns. I have a lot of yarn. I don’t necessarily buy yarn for every pattern I have that I want to make. That would be a bit much, even for me. So what do I do?

First, I go through the yarn I already have (and can access because some of it is in storage in the garage). Honestly, I usually find something to use in that. If I don’t, then I go yarn shopping.

It’s such a hardship.

I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.

But seriously, what do you do if you have a pattern you want but you don’t have the yarn that goes with it? Read the pattern and find the recommended yarn. Then check the labels on the yarn you have. Is any of it comparable?

Check the fiber. If it’s a wool blend, do you have a similar yarn? What weight does the pattern call for? If it’s chunky and you only have worsted, can you hold two strands together and make it work?

I do this often enough that I honestly don’t really think about it. I’ve even substituted different weights of yarn. I have one pattern that calls for DK or sport yarn. I don’t have any. Instead, I’m using worsted weight yarn (probably what you think of when you think of yarn) and went up to a larger crochet hook to accommodate it.

The only advice I have for selecting yarn for a pattern or for substituting yarn is this: If you like it, use it. You might need to experiment to get the right hook or needle for the look you want, but it will (usually) work out.

Why usually?

It doesn’t work so well if you’re making garments. Then you do want to use as similar a yarn as possible to what the pattern calls for.

 

 

Other Creative Work

I talk about writing often enough here that you might wonder if I do any other creative work. I do.

I knit, crochet, make jewelry, do handlettering, and make greeting cards. I primarily crochet, though.

I love shawls and scarves. I’ve recently made an infinity scarf and a cowl for Christmas gifts. I’m working on one that’s called a “Dragon Belly Shawl.” It’s gorgeous! After it’s done, I’m going to make a pair of dragon-scale fingerless gloves/mitts.

I do offer things for sale, but most of what I make is gifted to different people for different reasons.

Recently, I’ve had to slow down. I’ve developed tendonitis and it’s taking forever to get well, even with a brace and exercises. (Yes, I even type with the brace on.)

Taking My Own Advice

jen1Back in October, I posted about Creative Self-Care. I have to admit that I haven’t really done that myself. I’ve been in get-it-done mode.

You know how it is.

You have your list. You’re checking it twice. You’re gonna find out who’s naughty… Wait. Wrong list. And I’m not Santa.

Anyway, you have your list and you double- and triple-check to make sure you’re dong everything you want to do. Then a hiccup comes along and makes you adjust your plan, but you’re still determined to get it done.

You don’t take time for you. You get run down. You don’t feel all that great. You’re trying to do everything right, but you’re… just… so… tired.

I’m there.

There are a lot of reasons for it, not just being busy and trying to get things done, but that is part of it.

I’ve decided to lighten up on myself. I’m not going to harp on what I have or haven’t done, because that’s not the point.

I am going to rest. I am going to do things for me. That includes reading and listening to podcasts just for the fun of it. If my wrist cooperates, that means making a “dragon belly” shawl and some dragon-scale fingerless gloves. Or starting them, anyway.

It means slowing down and taking my own advice.

 

It’s OK to Be Down

I typically aim for two posts a week. Last week, I had three. This week, unless I do one tomorrow, I will only have one. I could list a dozen excuses for it, but I won’t.

I’ll offer you this instead:

I resisted writing this post. I didn’t want to be one to say it’s okay to be down in the dumps. It’s okay to have days where you don’t feel creative and can’t force it no matter what you do. It’s okay to have days where you just want to hide from the world and ignore everyone.

I didn’t want to say it not because it’s not true. Every last word of that paragraph above is the truth.

I didn’t want to say it because you see it and hear it in so many other places. But, the last couple weeks, I’ve felt it. For the most part, I’ve pushed through, but some days I didn’t.

That’s also why I’ve resisted this post. I didn’t want to say all of the above is okay because I’ve been there. I am there. I’m trying to get past it.

One of our dogs died. He had cancer.
We’ve had some family stuff going on.
I’ve had some medical stuff going on.

I’ve let myself feel the feelings. I have felt sad, frustrated, aggravated, and mad. I’ve still written, edited, posted, and crocheted. On the days where I didn’t want to do anything, I still crocheted.

I walked around and looked at exhibits at the county fair, thinking that would give me some ideas and motivation back. I walked around Hobby Lobby for the same reasons.

Did it help?

Yes and no.

I’m getting back to it. I edited another chapter of RealmWalker: New Beginnings tonight. I did what I do when I really need to get to work. I turned on some music without lyrics, pet Gabby (another dog, she’s a shih-tzu), and got to work.

It feels good to be getting back in the swing of things. More importantly, it reminded me that even though I didn’t want to write this post, I really should. Just because we see messages like this in other places doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share our own.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself.

Do that.

Please.

Who Are You?

(c) 2017 Richard R. Barron
Used with permission

Whether we realize it or not, who we are is essential to our creativity. This is brought home to me quite often since I do have some limitations on what I can/can’t do because of my eyesight.

In my jewelry-making, I don’t use bead-weaving techniques or even very many seed beads (those tiny beads often sold in tubes) because it’s too difficult for me to see the holes in the beads. When I crochet, so far I haven’t used the tiny steel hooks for similar reasons.

In order to define myself as a creative, I have to consider, and often work around, these issues. Sometimes I indulge in a little what-if.

What if I didn’t have to think about those things? What if I could just do what I wanted to do without thinking about accommodations or the size and type of the materials I want to use?

Usually, I write that off as an exercise in futility. (Pun intended. Sometimes even what and how I choose to write is determined by these issues.) But…

What if there was a way that those issues could be rendered irrelevant?

What if there was something that would let me see better than I have ever seen in my life? (I was born legally blind.)

There is.

It’s called eSight Eyewear electronic glasses. (The link will open in a new tab/window.) Remember the guy in Star Trek that had funky glasses that allowed him to see? What was once only in the realm of science fiction is a reality, folks.

But, as of right now, it’s rather out of reach for me, unless I have help. And I’m working on that. There will be some new things coming soon that will help me raise money for it. And any sale of my books, jewelry, photos, or crocheted/knit items will go toward that.

eSight’s tagline/hashtag is #everyonedeservestosee. I believe it. Do you?

Boredom vs. Quiet

Let’s revisit the poll I posted a few days ago. I asked if boredom was necessary for creatives. I didn’t get a lot of response, but that’s OK. I got a couple comments — here and on other social media platforms — that helped me formulate what I want to say.

On my Facebook page, Terri M. said:

I’m not a writer or whatever, BUT I have come up with some of my greatest garden or craft ideas while sitting here doing nothing 

On the poll post, Janet said:

I think a quiet mind is needful to be creative with words. A frantic life seldom produces much. I don’t call it boredom though. Just quiet.

That is, in a nutshell, where I stand. Or sit.

As for the poll, it is still open, but results so far are evenly split between yes and no about boredom being necessary for creatives.

I have never liked being bored. It’s just not me, if that makes sense. I have always, as long as I can remember, had something with me to ensure I am never bored. That may be a pen and paper (even scrap paper in the bottom of my purse or other bag), a book to read, a sketchbook, or something to knit or crochet. I have a cousin who has commented that she has never seen me when I don’t have something to do.

That is intentional.

That is not to say I don’t have quiet time or downtime. I do. I just structure it differently. My quiet time comes in the short meditations I have started doing. It comes in the times when I am knitting or crocheting and the pattern doesn’t require a lot of attention. It comes in doodling in a sketchbook or writing practice/Morning Pages (refer to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron if this is a new concept to you – I highly recommend that book/study).

Everyone is different. Don’t let anyone tell you that the way you do something or what you call something is wrong. It might be different, but it’s not wrong. Especially if it works for you.

What I call downtime or quiet time may indeed be boredom to someone else. Whatever you call it, it boils down to this: We need to give ourselves time for ideas to form and incubate so we can continue our creative work.  Whatever name you give to that incubation time doesn’t really matter. It’s what you do with the results of it that count.

And who decides if it counts?

You.

Let’s Get This Party Started!

Photo of Jen NippsHello! And welcome to the July Ultimate Blog Challenge.

During this month, I will be posting a lot more than I would normally. (OK, given my lack of posts lately, anything would be more than normal, but let’s not go there.)

In the vein of introducing myself, let me give you a few, somewhat random, facts about me.

  1. I am a writer.
  2. I am very interested in the area of creativity.
  3. I believe everyone is creative.
  4. I write fiction under a pen name (Kat O’Reilly).
  5. I am working on edits for book one of a romantic suspense novel series.
  6. I live in Oklahoma.
  7. I am legally blind.
  8. I knit and crochet.
  9. I play too many games on Facebook and on my Kindle.
  10. I love fountain pens,
  11. I enjoy reading.
  12. I love notebooks (and many kinds of stationery).
  13. I am going to Weight Watchers.
  14. I have recently started stamping and making greeting cards.
  15. I love helping people recognize and utilize their creativity.

I think that’s enough. You now have 15 random facts about me. Ask me any questions you might have in the comments and tell me one fact about you. Let’s get to know each other a little bit since we’re going to be spending a lot of time together this month.