Sunday, September 30, 2012

Feel-better tips for creative folk

You will probably not be surprised to learn that, although I am pretty successful at resetting myself however briefly to 'chirpy', I'm feeling pretty crummy these days.  Let's face it: it's no fun to lose your mum.  But there are lots of things in life that aren't fun, unlike the clever things we find to compensate for them.

Here are the tricks I tried over the past couple of days - next time you feel miserable or just plain bored, maybe one of them will help you out.  

1/ I watched the spoof western Support Your Local Sheriff and put in about 8 rounds on a sock.  Then I realized I'd done a superfluous yarn over on the last round before I started those 8, so I unpicked the stitches one by one for all 8 rows plus another half I didn't notice till too late.  And: I didn't care.

DK weight cashmere-blend yarn, people.  The best friend of the emotionally needy.

2/ I revisited a tutorial on how to use an Ashford Knitter's Loom.

It was nice.  I really like the music and how down to earth Kate is.  I also took my Knitter's Loom out of its bag and looked at it.  And then I put it back again.  Even though I've owned this loom since May and have been longing to find time to play with it, it felt too much like work.  I figured that was  a sign it wasn't going to help just now.

3/ I watched the next video recommended by YouTube, even though I don't speak or comprehend the language.

I love this clever use of buttons.  And the rest of this artist's work, which is all posted on her site, is also fab.  You don't need the language to figure out how to make this bracelet, but it was enough for me just to watch it being done so I stopped there.

4/ Instead, I cleared everything Not Autumn out of my closet and played with ideas for wearing my new not-handknit socks:

Not pictured: the short, felted wool skirt that goes with this combo.  Later I went shopping to fill in the gaps exposed by the loss of all those out of season things.  I've come home with a black pair of skinny jeans with a sort of snakeskin sheen I don't know whether I can carry off, but hey: it's new and different.  New and different is a good idea right now.  Clear uncluttered spaces are also a good idea.  It's a win-win.

4/  Continuing on the decluttering track, I wound some skeins of yarn I spun in July into cakes ...

and then a skein of Stoddart romney/mohair fingering I got in April ...

and when I was putting them safely into moth-deterring bags I noticed this nice fiber I spun a while back ...

and thought about knitting with it Right Now.  But I didn't do it.  That wasn't really what I wanted either - I was just grateful to have more neglected work out of the way.

5/ When I realized I have no excuse not to spend the hour between appointments I have tomorrow on either side of a much-neglected-by-me gym, I finally did something about the fact that I don't use the amazingly effective elliptical trainer there because it bores me clear out of my mind and, frankly, cooking shows on mute aren't much help.

Yes: I charged my very old iPod and bought an audiobook for it.

I wasn't too worried about which audiobook - when I started my break from writing fiction I started another from reading fiction, so most things are new to me now - but then I remembered loving the way the words are assembled in The Graveyard Book.  So I bought Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.  Which is read by Neil Gaiman, apparently over the course of twelve hours.  If I make myself stick to listening to it only while on the elliptical machine twelve hours has got to be good for something, don't you think?

(seems a bit unjust on Neil Gaiman, doesn't it - not only writing the book, but then having to record his reading of the entirety of it.  I've listened to a bit of it already though and I must say I'm grateful for his commitment.)

6/ While I was clearing up the closet I found some roving I got in a Twisted Fiber Art Club, called 'Festive'.  Just what I needed.  After thinking about it overnight I decided to go ahead and divide it into sections, which would not in itself commit me to spinning it right away ...

... but it turned out this was something I did want to do, so as I write this I've just finishing spinning all the singles.  I'll show you pictures later in the week because they are so pretty and it's too dark now for my camera to work any magic at all.

I feel a lot better tonight than I did on Friday night when I started all this.  It was good to get closure on a few things, and move a few things into their next stage.  Nice to exert some control over my surroundings.  Nice to eat carrot cake in between ideas.

I wonder what I'll do tomorrow?

I know what I hope you'll do tomorrow: something that makes you happy.  See you then!

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