Those of you who read regularly will know that over the last year or so I've been getting back into sewing. First quilting, then some bag making and last month (in a surprise twist I would never have predicted) I've picked up knitting and crochet.
I learned to knit in primary school but never really did a lot and pretty much gave it up altogether by the end of high school. I preferred cross stitch and did a bit of clothes sewing back then. It's interesting coming back to these things (and picking up new things like quilting and crochet) and seeing how my approach has changed. Back then I was really focused on finishing the thing. I liked the end result more than the process itself. Now I find that I'm happier to slow down and enjoy the process. I enjoy the how and learning a new technique (though in true virgo fashion I approach learning with much reading and studying and trying things out on 'practice' projects). I still like the end product and being able to say "I made it" but it's the doing that's more the point (apart from cutting stuff out in sewing...I don't think I'm ever going to love cutting stuff out). I think the change is partly due to age and partly due to the fact that now I do this stuff both as relaxation and as another facet of creativity.
Enjoying the process is an important part of being creative. Particularly writing. There's enough about publishing and the business side that's frustrating so trying to keep discovering the joy in the actual storytelling bit (even through the teeth pulling slogging parts) is vital. Given I do the other craft things as pure relaxation it's even more important to enjoy what I'm doing.
The other thing I'm finding interesting is the fact that (at least with sewing) I'm starting to experiment a bit more. To tweak patterns or try and make something I see that I think is cool without a full pattern. I was taught to sew in a very much "follow the pattern" fashion. I used to sew mostly clothes so that was probably a good thing (bag modification have far less potential for disaster than clothes, you can't end up with a three armed bag after all). These days I don't really want to sew clothes (though I am going to do a sewing stretch fabric course because if there's anything I'm likely to want to sew it'll be the sorts of stretchy tops and things I wear regularly) so I'm experimenting a bit more. The internet helps. There's no end of advice and people sharing what they've tried. It never really occurred to me before to stray far from the patterned path. But now I take the side roads more regularly. It's fun to try stuff out and see what works. I'll be interested to see whether I get more adventurous in my knitting and crochet too as I get back into the swing of them.
I think this is kind of like developing your writing process. Most people who write books would probably confess to having a dire first novel (or bits of one or more than one) under the mattress. I think it's because when you first sit down to write something you do it the way you think a book "should be". Whether that's following some mythic formula or what you've read you should do. But as you write more and get more confident and relax, you start to write books your way. The stories you want to write instead of stories written how they're 'meant to be'. You find your voice. You play. You learn what works for you, what interests your muse and you, what makes your stories shine.
Anyway, there is kind of point to this post. This is my writing blog and I try and keep the focus on the writing with some random wanderings on other life stuff. But I also want somewhere to talk about my sewing etc from a more technical viewpoint, what I'm doing, how I did it, what I used etc etc. Given I imagine that this would be about as exciting as watching paint dry to some of you, I'm going to move that stuff over to a different blog. I'll probably still talk about the creative side of craft here and how it helps with the writing but the detail will be over on the new blog. Which is here. We'll see how it works out.
Both blogs will show up in my twitter feed but I haven't figured out whether I'll post a "New craft post" type thing here when I post there or whatever. I'm just going to let it evolve. And now, given the dreaded work lurgy is stalking me again, I'm going to go veg on the couch and stare at the TV.