KAL Week 2 ~ Leaning into Creativity
Hi friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that you are ready to begin knitting this week. I'm excited to dive into this week's blog topic and hope it will resonate with you! This week I write all about why creativity through making things is so important and how it has the potential to change us for the better. My hope is that this encourages you to lean into knitting, making and creativity of any sort, through this knitalong and beyond. This weekend, we have an event with Stephen West and later on in May with Gaye Glasspie. Through these zoom interviews, I hope to get to the heart of how knitting brought them closer to themselves and gave them a sense of freedom to create whatever it is that resonates with them most. It might be a good time for you to think about what, if any, goals or intentions you might have for yourself during this KAL.
I thought I'd kick things off with a quote that endlessly resonates with me:
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso
Knitting has brought me in closer touch with my own creative spirit who I think of as a creative little kit. After a few years of more seriously knitting all the time, I started expressing myself more freely through my designs and projects. Knitting and designing yarn became a way for me to tap into that little girl who was endlessly creative growing up and who didn’t care too much about what others thought about her. That has been extremely liberating and fun and it’s hard to overstate how much that’s meant to me. It feels like most of our lives, at least for me, our sense of creative expression is beaten out of us by society and the idea of trying to fit in. For me, fear has played a role. I have a lot of fear around being able to support myself and my family through my work, even owning a business feels like this incredible risk. This fear negatively affected my creativity, creating a state of low level but constant worry. It was my Penguono Sweater that inspired me to begin moving past the block of fear. As I knit this sweater (which took the better part of a year and involved a garbage bag of yarn!) I got into a creative flow state and just went with it. It brought so much joy and opened up a whole new world of knitting to me! It helped me wake up that creative person I was as a kid. Finding a road back to myself, feels like coming home, like just being me. It feels so darn good. I love expressing who I am and what I like through what I made and wear. The fear I feel is still there but knitting with reckless creative abandon is helping, A LOT!
There’s a book that I dove into last fall that has had a big impact in how I think about creativity. It’s called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’m going to quote a few passages from her book below and I invite you think about these or journal on them if you feel moved.
“How do you know if you’re creatively blocked?...Do you tell yourself that if only you took your creative potential seriously, you might:
- Stop telling yourself, ‘It’s too late.’
- Stop waiting until you make enough money to do something you’d really love.
- Stop telling yourself, ‘It’s just my ego’ whenever you yearn for a more creative life.
- Stop fearing that your family and friends would think you crazy.
- Stop telling yourself that creativity is a luxury and that you should be grateful for what you’ve got.”
Even though I consider myself creative, so many of these resonate with me. The author gives us a few pieces of homework to encourage our creativity to come out. If you feel moved, pick up her book for all the juicy details. The two big ideas are journaling every morning in what she calls stream of consciousness morning pages and artists dates with yourself.
If you’re newer to knitting or to embracing creativity, it’s important to give yourself lots of love as you get started. Julia Cameron says, “Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.” Doesn’t that feel like a giant exhale? It’s ok to be a beginner, to try new things, to mess up and begin again. I love how knitting lends itself well to this. We can rip out our yarn and reuse it pretty easily. Don’t beat yourself up, just keep going! You can bet when I look back at some of my first knitting projects I cringe because I had no idea what I was doing but through each project, I got a little better.
For many of us, especially during the pandemic, we’ve given so much to others. Many of us played the part of caregivers in some capacity – whether it’s going beyond the role of parent to teacher for our kids or caring for an aging relative – of course it could also mean working yourself to the bone too as super employee of the year! It can be so hard to set boundaries and carve out creative time for ourselves. When I read this in Julia’s book, I stopped and must have read it over five times because it describes so many of my friends who sacrifice so much of themselves for their families and work. Julie writes, “Often creativity is blocked by falling in with other people’s plans for us. We want to set aside time for our creative work, but we feel we should do something else instead. As blocked creatives, we focus not on our responsibilities to ourselves, but on our responsibilities to others. We tend to think such behavior makes use good people. It doesn’t. It makes us frustrated people. The essential element in nurturing our creativity lies in nurturing ourselves.” Some of you might be thinking yeah but…I genuinely do have all of these responsibilities. I get it, me too! BUT, is there one hour you can carve out somewhere in your day for your own creativity – it could even by 20 minutes. I adore this podcast episode with Elizabeth Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton. When Glennon started her blog, the hardest part about actually writing it was NOT watching TV at night so that she could get to bed early. When she made this small change in her routine, it was easier for her to wake up early, before her kids got up, go into her closet and write for an hour. Is there a shift like this that might benefit you? I’d love to hear about it.
Lastly, with all of this in mind, is there anything that you hope to get out of this KAL? I encourage you to think about this a little as we dive in in earnest this week. Maybe you are already embracing knitting and creativity full time in your life and this KAL is all about connecting with other knitters. Or maybe it’s about learning new knitting skills. Whatever it is, be gentle with yourself! For me, I’d love to get in some knitting time on each of these projects every day. I’d like to push my creativity a little by experimenting with new techniques and color combinations to see where it all leads. I'd like to be inspired by those knitting with me. If you feel moved, leave me a comment below and let me know what you hope to get out it as well as if this post resonates with anything in your own life! Stay tuned for an email from me with all the details on our zoom with Stephen West this weekend too!
Big Hugs ~ Amy