It’s Not The Goal!

Goals have to be written down, otherwise they are just dreams you have in your head that flit about randomly. So today is the day we all get in gear and write down our goals for 2014, right? How many of those goals will be fulfilled, though? Will they die by the end of the month?

Writing down goals is not magic. The magic is in the adventure, the journey to the goal. Unless you have a plan for the journey, a goal is just something written down on yet another list. Here is an example from my 2014 goal list:

Spin more.
Weave more.
Design more.

Yes, those are all good goals, but writing them down doesn’t get me anywhere unless I have a plan of how to accomplish them. For me, that means getting projects in front of me where I have to trip over them (out of sight is definitely out of mind for me). So get out a big piece of paper and some crayons/pencils/pens and begin drawing/mapping/writing your plan. Here is an example of the plan for one of my goals – to spin more in 2014:

Move the spinning wheel to the sunny place next to the window in the studio.
Place a basket next to the wheel with all the bobbins of singles to be plied.
Place a basket next to the wheel with a wonderfully fun fiber in it to be spun first.
Decide on a time each day that will be set aside for spinning and calendar it – the hour after lunch each day.
Find a pattern to knit/crochet/weave and set aside the fiber to spin for it.
Spin at least 30 minutes a day toward a project.
Put my spindle and some fiber into my spindle bag and put that into my carry-everywhere bag so I can spin during ‘waiting’ times.

That should propel me toward the goal I have set for myself with spinning – to have a lot of usable yarn spun for projects!

The other great way to accomplish those goals is to force yourself to travel the road you have mapped to reach your goal every day for 30 days! Once you have done something for 30 days, it becomes a habit and will propel you forward on your adventure.

YES, PERMISSION GRANTED to get out a big sheet of paper and some crayons, pencils, and pens and begin drawing/mapping/writing what roads you will take to reach your goals! This really is fun – give it a try!

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Almost Instant Gratification

Sometimes I get myself involved in what I call a time-intensive project. This is usually something like a sweater, afghan, or the tree I am ‘growing’ in my studio using two sticks and some string. These are fun and challenging projects, though at some point in the process, there comes a lack of enthusiasm brought on by the appearance of work with no visible benefit, where I feel like I am knitting but the project is not growing. This is the time when I abandon my time-intensive project – temporarily, and do an almost instant gratification (AIG) project. This has to be something that moves me forward without taking much time. These days, it is likely to move me to my loom.

My most recent AIG was the project bag I wrote about earlier (pics in the next blog entry). This is for a swap, so it moved me closer to finishing my swap package. Since it was the first time I had tried weaving a bag, this gave me a challenge. Also, I am woefully deficient in the area of color – monochromatic is my friend! Though it is only two colors, it was a challenge for me placing the colors in the warp and weft. The bag actually took me longer than my usual AIGs, but I divided it into several parts that I could do bit by bit and still achieve the desired result within a minimum time span. Part 1 – do all the math and warp the loom; Part 2 – weave; Part 3 – do the bag finishing; Part 4 – make the strap, sew it on, and cut the fringe to the proper length. It was all the same project, but I could see real progress every day and in a very short amount of time. This gave me the forward momentum I needed to keep going on my sweater because while I was knitting away, I was thinking about the next part of the weaving project.

Usually, my AIGs are even quicker: mini-sock earrings/stitch markers, dishcloths, amigurumi, puppets, and such. One or two evenings and they are done. AIGs keep me moving, motivated, and happy! They get me out of a rut and back into the joy of creating. An artist friend once gave me two landscape paintings that were only three-inch circles. The detail was amazing, but she said that they take her very little time and she uses them as AIGs to keep motivated when her larger paintings near completion and she is tempted to abandon the work to begin something new. AIGs are not instant gratification because they take a bit longer than an instant. They do, however, take such a short amount of time that my interest does not wane before they are finished and I get a sense of accomplishment. I love giving myself permission to do an AIG! So…

PERMISSION GRANTED to do an Almost Instant Gratification project this week!

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The Joy of Startitis

The Joy of Startitis

Startitis is an affliction with which I am well acquainted. I believe this is because I am all about the process and not necessarily the product. I want to see how something works and if a finished product is a result, that’s great. If not, I do not always consider it a negative. A recent example would be the sweater I started. This sweater appeals to me on many levels: it has some complex stitch patterns, is knitted from the top down – a true favorite feature for me, would be knitted in a color that has fascinated me for several years, and is a garment that I normally do not design. I got two sticks and some string and quickly finished about ¼ of the sweater. Now the pattern work is finished, the fun part is over, and the mindless knitting is all that is ahead for me. Now I’m coaxing/urging/cajoling myself to work on it until I finish it because: (a) I want to wear it; (b) I want to show off the fun design features to my friends; and (c) I do not need another project simply lying around taking up ‘guilt’ space.

I have found in these instances that there is great joy in startitis. When I hit the inevitable slump of mindless work, I can indulge in more startitis to get moving forward again. Once I have started several projects – stay tuned for Almost Instant Gratification coming in a future post, I then can rotate them and get all of them moving forward, thus eliminating a bit of one-project boredom. A by-product of this method is that people think I am a knitting Speedy Gonzalez. I end up getting to the point where I am almost finished with several projects. That is when I decide to get everything done so I can move on. I will spend a week working on one project after another to get several finished. Everyone sees the many finished projects and think, “WOW! She is really fast. Look at all she’s done!” Somehow they miss the long periods in between when nothing is produced. Unless they are mystery buffs, I have noticed that the power of observation is not a strong suit of most people.

Are you stuck in a rut with only one or two projects of mindless work? Here is permission to start another project today. Get yourself another pad of paper or a blank document on your computer screen, flip to a new page in your sketch pad, grab two sticks – or one hook – and some string and begin something new. You may find, as I do, that it revitalizes you, gives you creative energy, and helps you re-energize your creative life!


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A ‘Permission Granted’ Kind of Day Needed

Let’s give some permission to move forward with some creative fun! I have been dithering with getting a piece off my rigid heddle loom. It is completed, but needs some hemstitching at the end. Then, because it is a small project bag for sock knitting, I want to line it. Such simple tasks, and I know they will be enjoyable – and challenging since this is my first such project – but hesitation has turned to procrastination. I want someone to give me permission to move forward and not worry if I mess it up. It is a project bag for Pete’s sake! No one will be worse off if it is not perfect! So PERMISSION GRANTED to be less than perfect with this project – I will move forward on it today and complete it this week! I am giving myself the rest of the week because there is going to be a learning curve on whatever I decide to do with the ends – fringe, beads, buttons????? I’ll post results by no later than November 10.

In other news, I have gotten on a better schedule for my designing. The new Winter Games: Team Spirit Hat pattern has been completed and test knitted. The matching scarf is now in the testing phase. Now to get the mitts pattern written and tested and the whole shebang can be put on Ravelry. Deadline: November 30. Pics will go up so you can see all the fun colors of these patterns and have them just in time to knit for the 2014 games in February!

PERMISSION GRANTED to be creative for at least an hour today! Go for it!

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Elizabeth’s Tip for the Day:

Read the pattern/project instructions – all the way through! It is amazing how much easier everything looks when you are no longer facing a complete unknown. Also, you will see where you can improve on the original design/construction making it easier and more your own.

Elizabeth’s Belief of the Day:

Patterns are guidelines, not mandates. Feel free to change color, texture, form, finishing, or everything about the pattern. Be brave and follow your own creative preferences using the pattern as a guideline.

Elizabeth’s Action Item of the Day:

Take one hour (come on, you can find one hour!) and indulge a passion!

We Seek Permission To Be Creative:

Yes, permission granted to take one hour for your creativity today. Always wanted to paint but wanted someone to tell you it was okay because you have never done it before? – permission granted. Wanted to try that new stitch for a three-dimensional structure? – Permission Granted. Afraid someone will laugh at your creative ideas so you need a push to do them anyway – PERMISSION GRANTED to do them with joy and abandon!

Remember: Today you are granted permission for at least one hour of creativity!

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Granting Permission for Creative Lives

This blog is about moving beyond the fear and insecurity and getting to the heart of your creative projects.

Most of this blog will deal with the fiber arts, but writing, fine arts, and other creative ventures all have a place here.

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