A few weeks ago the lovely Brandy from Stitched Up asked me if I wanted to join her in a creative blog hop. I finally got around to answering the questions – sorry for taking so long!
What am I working on?
Honestly…..a few too many things. I’m doing a large cable knit blanket which is a Christmas/house warming present for a friend, I’m hand-quilting a rainbow quilt, I’m backing a monstrously sized patchwork blanket with fabric to make it more hard-wearing, I’m swatching for a slouchy beanie and designing some fair isle for a doggie Christmas sweater. And resisting the urge to buy yarn to make a cardigan for myself…..(not until the quilt is done!)
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Right now I wouldn’t say that I have a genre. I dabble in everything really… drawing, painting, but over the course of the last 2 years I’ve been really drawn towards re-discovering knitting and learning how to sew. My mam taught me how to knit when I was little, I knew how to cast on, how to knit, purl, rib, garter, stockinette, and cast off. I never read a pattern or used anything other than my mams leftover yarn scraps. In essence I knew how to make anything that was a square or rectangle….so I made scarves. Then my Mam stopped knitting (I don’t remember why exactly – but she stopped half-way through making my dad a sweater) and I lost interest.
[A tiny Boomer with one of first ever knits]
Fast-forward 20-ish years and after moving to America from Ireland and trying to furnish a house I discovered Michaels….and pinterest. From that moment on I was doomed. I realized that with a little effort I could make things like blankets in the exact colour I wanted fairly cheaply. And so I bought a pair of needles, a couple of balls of a cheap acrylic yarn and found a pattern I liked and made my first blanket. I was hooked! Funny story after my mam saw that I was knitting again she got inspired to start again too. She not only finished my dad’s sweater (17 years after it was started!) but she’s since made sweaters for herself, baby clothes for 3 babies and a sweater for me.
Mhhhhh so how does my work differ from others.....it probably doesn’t, I’m heavily influenced by pinterest, by ravelry and by other sewing and knitting bloggers and I’m totally ok with that!
Why do I write/create what I do?
Well like I mentioned my desire to make things started out of a need for soft furnishing and artwork, so I made blankets, cushion covers and painted canvases to take away the stark bareness of an empty house. After 2-3 months of being in America I realized that so much of my life was changing so quickly, I was in a new place, having new experiences, learning new crafts etc and if I didn’t stop and appreciate it, it could be gone before I realized it. So I started this blog, a simple space to document my adventures in America and my progress in learning how to sew and challenging myself with my knitting.
It was definitely one of my better decisions. I’ve “met” so many wonderful people online who share my interests (something which is hard to do when you’re a new person in a small town) and best of all I’ve been encouraged to not only document my finished projects, some of which have been gifted to people far away that I might not even see again, but also the process….the things that worked out and the things that didn’t. I’ve learnt so much in the last year along. Every new project I try has at least one aspect that I’ve never done before…hand-stitching, cable cast on…..etc. every project teaches me something new. Every project makes me want to get a little bit better. That’s the joy of crafting.
How does my creative process work?
I love to plan. Sometimes I think that planning a project is almost as much fun as making it. The first project I seriously planned every inch of was my first quilt. I agonized over the choice of fabric, I browsed fabric stores online and selected a palette, then used powerpoint to make a mock-up of how I thought the quilt would look using those fabrics. I played with the design and the layout and eventually went to JoAnns with the print out in hand so that I could attempt to buy similar fabric cheaper.
[Using powerpoint to plan and design]
I’ve now started to do a similar method with all my projects. The rainbow quilt was first mocked up as a red ombre quilt using 6 different shades of red, and as a rainbow design…I was having difficulty deciding between the two designs…. but then I couldn’t find enough shades of red in the store so rainbow fabric quarters it was. Just recently I’ve started to use excel to design a cable pattern for knitting – it took several goes (and a lot of frogged swatches) but eventually I landed on a design I loved.
I try to stockpile ideas – sometimes I have so many ideas and other times not a clue what I want to do. I try to write down all my ideas, sometimes I even draw a quick sketch, so that I always have this big list of “next project” ideas going on. I love the creative process, I love following other peoples patterns and being able to make them my own with my choice of colour, I love making up my own designs, or tweaking other designs until they’re perfect for me. That’s the joy of hand-made – it might not be everyone’s perfect but it’s my perfect.
I’d like to nominate Deborah from Caffeine Girl Creates to participate in the blog hop – hers was one the first knitting blogs I starting reading over a year ago and she inspired me to branch out and try more complex knitting techniques…her socks are fab!