Friday, July 30, 2010

Treading water

I'm working on another journal page, but it's not ready yet and I started writing a post about how I'm struggling a little to keep the creative juices flowing right now, but it was depressing and I prefer to avoid depressing because life's just better when you try to find the upside.  Even when the upside is in deep cover.  So I decided to show you one of my side projects instead.

I made these guys back when the weather was still cool and there were far fewer daylight hours.  I was learning how to knit socks from the toe up with one long circular needle -- the magic loop method -- and these guys just seemed like way more fun.

The centre front of this little fish is fashioned exactly the way you'd create a sock toe and the rest of his body is an improvised set of stitch increases and decreases.  The eyes and fins are cut from wool felt that I made by knitting swatches of wool yarn and washing the heck out of them in hot, soapy water.

I used almost the same method for my little octopus friend.  I began at the top of his head and increased and decreased until I had something that vaguely resembled the head of an octopus (or possibly a light bulb.)

For the tentacles, I cast a bunch of stitches on a pair of regular straight needles and knit into the front and back of each stitch for a couple of rows, then knit a few more rows, and when I cast off, the tentacles just naturally curled up. 

In the end, they were indeed fun to make.  They helped me learn a few new techniques and they've since found good homes in my daughters' toy boxes and the occasional leading role in their imaginative play.

As for my creative juices, I suppose they'll return when they're good and ready.  What about you?  What do you do to rev up your creative energy?  Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Your projects are very cute! I don't really have any tips - I think time and space are the two key ingredients for people who seem naturally creative like yourself - so, maybe you just need more of it, and it will come soon. I hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks, Carin! I think you're right about the time and space. (If only there was a magical, quick fix . . . ) Hope you have a great weekend too!

  3. When I'm in a creative slump I get out and search for inspiration. I know I'm not going to get any ideas sitting at home, so I try to experience something new: a new hiking path near my home, a new restaurant, take a class in something I don't know enough about, or see a movie that's been on my 'must-see' list for way too long. I find my creativity is a roller coaster ride no matter what I do, but it can be fun to find new things to add to my thoughts so I can come up with fresh, new ideas.
    Good luck!

  4. No ideas, I look to great pages like yours :)
    I also check out Ravelry and Etsy, always stir up those creative juices. By the way I love your little sea friends and don't you love using one needle and the magic loop method. This is the only way I will knit in the round these days.
    Hope this helps. Your journal pages have made it so easy for me to jouranl that I have shared them with my 81 year old father and he loves how they help jog his memory.
    Keep up the great work

  5. I have a couple of things I do. Sometimes I'll work on small bookmarks. The outcome doesn't have to be fabulous...but I'm making something.
    The other thing that works for me is to look through a great book or magazine. Too often I do that late at night though, and lose the oomph come morning.

    Also, I love Twyla Tharp's book on creativity.

  6. Thanks TD, Elizabeth and Amy!

    TD: So true! (I have been sitting at home -- banging my head against the computer -- and nothing's happening.) Thanks for all the great tips. A hike sounds perfect!

    Elizabeth: I completely agree with you about the magic loop. Bye bye double pointed needles!

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so touched by your experience with your father. Sending hugs right back at you!

    Amy: I love the idea of continuing to create even through a slow period. It's much harder to start again after a break than to keep working right through it, isn't it? Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Very cute! I arrived from One Pretty Thing and was delighted to find your wonderful journal pages! Thank you so much!

    And to renew my creative energy I seek out new blogs to read and enjoy -- thank you for renewing mine!

  8. Thanks, Pink Rufflez! Here's to renewing our creative energy!

  9. Your creations are awesome! Makes me wish we lived closer so you could teach me to knit.

  10. Thanks, Scribbler! I'd totally teach you to knit!

  11. These are adorable! I've been wanting to learn how to knit socks. I guess I need to learn how to knit with round needles first...
    To spark my creativity, I look at blogs and flickr photos and then when I find something I like, I start a scrapbook page, doodle or sew something. Right now I have a bunch of quilt projects on the go. Many Perhaps too many


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.