General

What am I doing!?

It’s been some time since I last checked in, since I’ve felt the need to put words to thoughts. But to words I find myself returning, I find them so much easier and are my comfort zone.

My last post on needing to put words to thoughts happened last August here. Since then I’ve been mostly happy to just be. To take things as they come. I’ve tried not to worry about how things are different now but I still worry about that worry. The ability to talk myself both in and out of things still remains.

For instance at the start of this year, I began a podcast. Why someone so introverted would put themselves through that is still a question I’ve not been able to answer. I’ve done a number of episodes and I’ve been relatively happy with them but the willingness to sit down and record an episode in the last month has vanished. I feel because I started it I should be recording and posting regularly, otherwise why start it. I dislike starting something and then not finishing it, that seems a little pointless to my mind. So that’s one internal argument. The other internal argument is I’m not feeling in a chatty interactive mood and I don’t wish to record when I’m feeling like that. In the last few months I’ve tried to make the commitment to myself to only do those things that where possible I want to and do more things I enjoy. I’m quite prone to guilting myself into doing things I think I should be doing and not because I actually want to. So perhaps now you can see the internal debates that go on.

My answer to the dilemma, at the moment, is to write.

So here I am, and like I said, I find it so much easier to return to words.

I also noticed that my blog has been neglected with only the weekly making posts happening here. So it seemed like the best and most natural solution. It certainly doesn’t mean that I’m any good at writing but over the last few months I’ve realised writing is something I really enjoy. It’s mentally challenging and yet enjoyably creative.

In recent months I’ve tried hard to make the conscious decision to stop guilting myself into doing things because I think I should, and instead do more things I want and that I enjoy. It seems pretty obvious that I should only be doing things I want and enjoy doesn’t it? Why I perhaps wasn’t is a question for another time.

So what else, other than writing, have I been doing and enjoying.

In my making life all you need do is read back through the months and months of weekly updates to see creatively what I’ve been doing. I think going forward I need to get back to giving those individual projects their time in the spotlight and put the projects to words and not just visual referencing in podcasts. Getting the details and process of a project across in only words and pictures is different to showing in vlog format but is something I want to challenge myself to do again. They are skills I want to remember. There was a time some years ago when blogs were all I used to show off and talk about projects and I enjoyed the process. Perhaps this maybe one reason why I wish to write about projects rather than talk about them.

Up until Christmas I spent a good chunk of my time updating some skills that although I still had, they were perhaps a little out of date. So I’ve gotten re-trained. I still have a couple of modules to complete but in the coming months those should be finished and I then have the option to return to the work force. It needs to be weighed up against family life and commitments which of course will and do come first, but I like knowing I have the option. The mental challenge that this brought reminded me not only how important it is to be mentally challenged but also how much I enjoy that aspect of things!

Last August I made the decision to join Slimming World. I’ve never been quite happy with my weight over the years of having children and I had convinced myself that I didn’t have the time to give to myself to do something about it. This of course is just rubbish. In the months previous to joining there were a couple of things I wanted to change about my diet. Firstly, I switched the tea I drank from regular black tea to herbal tea, predominately mint tea. I cut coffee out of my diet completely for months in order to break the addiction of it and now can enjoy one or two coffees a week without needing or wanting to have more. Secondly I also cut butter out of my diet. Both of these were relatively easy to accomplish but there were a couple of other changes I wanted to make. I wanted to cut down on the amount of carbs I was eating along with sugar. Before I began to make those changes I joined Slimming World and over the months since I joined both of these things I’ve managed to cut down to a level now where I’m happy with the changes to my diet. I discovered that too many carbs were part of the reason I was putting on weight so cutting down on the amount of them has led to loosing weight. To date I’ve now lost 2 stone (12kg/26lb approx) and have a little bit more to go. Now I have to say, it’s not that I enjoy dieting but I wanted to make the changes to my diet more than anything and I love the changes that doing this has brought, not only to my figure which is a plus, but how I feel about myself in general.

After Christmas with most of my course modules complete I found I had some free time and I thought about what else I could do that I might challenge and enjoy myself. About then I saw a local group advertise a couch to 5k challenge. I mentioned it to my cousin and we both decided we’d join and encourage each other. The aim of the group was to get those who joined going from a couch (non-active) position to walking or running (whichever they preferred) 5k by the end of the 8 week program. It’s not that my cousin and I had any great love for running  but we decided we’d work in the walking/running group within the challenge. I wanted to run the entire 5k by the end of the challenge. So we started out walking parts and running other parts and over the 8 week period we had built up to mostly running all of the 5k. On the last week of the challenge I did indeed run the entire 5k. In the weeks since the program ended we’ve both kept it up and I certainly have found a new enjoyment for it. Nobody is more surprised by that other than me. I would have always said there was no way I’d start running or enjoy it but here I am four months into the year and I’ve met the first challenge, to run 5k, and I’m now working on completing the next personal challenge, to run 10k. I’m not interested in running races or doing timed events, I run purely for myself and for my own enjoyment. Some of the time I run with others, some of the time I run alone. I love the thinking time as well as the time alone this gives me, not to mention the health benefits so it seems this has been a win win and it will be interesting to see where this goes in the coming months of this year.

Reading over all of that makes it seem like life has been quite hectic and that I’ve been doing quite a lot but it hasn’t been like that. Each thing I’ve taken on was taken on with intent and purpose. I’ve thought about what I’ve wanted to accomplish from each thing and some have turned out to be things I’ve enjoyed more than I would have originally said (running in particular), others I’ve found I need to think as to what purpose and intent continuing with them will bring (podcasting).

The purpose of this post has been to recap the last 8 months and bring a little clarity and focus to what I’m enjoying, to what I’m doing, and to what I want to keep doing.  Obviously with intent and purpose.

 

 

General

Where has all the colour gone?

The changes in my attitude towards colour has been an interesting development. One that when I stopped and thought about it, didn’t really surprise me.

I’ve loved looking at colours and matching them, finding what goes with them, what compliments them and I really loved finding the unusual colour pairings that just seemed to work. Using colour as an expression of a design was something I loved most of all. I loved bright, muted, neutral, each had their place and in being a designer, it was rather helpful having a love of colour.

Now, all those same colours, that months ago brought so much joy, are screaming at me. They are too loud, and garish, and they feel like they are attacking my senses.

But my attitude towards colour was from a designer point of view, and even though as a designer I leaned towards romantic colours, that is not who I am or what truly expresses me anymore.

IMG_5310

This sock, a recent cast on, just seems to sum it all up. I’ve used two colours I loved. I had them picked out to work together, and went to them when I wanted to cast on a pair of socks. All past tense. The one thing I didn’t account for was my changed attitude to colour. I now can’t stand these colours, either singly or combined. I’ve tried to like them, after all I liked them before, surely I should still like them?

But no matter how much I try they just scream at me.

So if I now accept that I just don’t like these colours, and most other colours, what do I do now?

The easy option for these socks is to rip out the pattern, and not knit them with these colours. Easy, decision made, now this is no longer an issue.

But that left me with the question, “Where has all the colour gone?”

If colour is an expression of how we are feeling, and for me right now, my whole world has lost it’s colour, and I don’t feel my world is monochrome either, where on the colour spectrum am I now?

Neutral is where. Colours that while some may say are boring, to me, they are just quietly being themselves. I now crave colours that soothe MY soul, and whisper to MY spirit. I now no longer have to allow designs their expression. Now, I can have colours that allow my introverted self just get on with being my true me.

Only sometimes now, I wonder, if that means colour is gone?

But it’s not really gone, colour has just morphed itself, and is expressing ME as I always have been.

Ruth.

 

General

The Gift of Time

Time is precious, and I think there is no greater gift, than the gift of time. What is the gift of time? The gift of time is what I’m giving myself. The time to have new adventures when I want, because they look like something I’d like to do, or because they are something I’ve wanted to do but thought I didn’t have the time to be able to do.

It’s so easy to forget that you have time to do things, you just have to make it. It becomes so easy to use the excuse of not having time to not do things, that you end up in that circle. When I began this blog, I posted first with a little information HERE about why I was starting fresh with a new blog. I explained a little about what brought me to that point, and what I was doing, and hoped to do. Today though I feel the need to expand on that a little as I’ve made a decision that affects the foreseeable future.

When I took this summer off after the passing of my Mum, it was to give myself some space and time. Some space to deal with my grief, but also to take a step back from my work life while I made some decisions. While my grief is still on going with most days having good and bad moments and it will be like that for quite some time, I have made some decisions. The space I took helped to clarify some points with regards to my work life and it put some things into perspective about what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t want to do.

But first let me give a little more back ground information. You may or may not know me as the designer behind Knitterarium and what I explained in my first post (link above), was how I felt before my Mum died. With her passing, all that happened was it halted me in my tracks, it has made me take stock of what I wanted to do with my time and ultimately what I want to do with my life. All of this I would say is fairly natural, or at least to me it is. While most told me it was only a result of my Mum passing and I would feel different in time, only my Mum, family, and those close friends who I had confided in before my Mum’s passing, will truly know that this was a problem that was there before recent events.

I know I told everyone I’d make a decision by September but I see no point in putting off sharing my decision when the decision has been made now. I won’t be returning to designing or Knitterarium. I’ve closed up my shop and website and while I’m keeping my social media accounts in the unlikely event I decide to return, which I’m not ruling out, the social media accounts will have no activity on them. I see no point in putting off experiencing my gift of time, in wasting any moments in doing the things I want to do. You can of course follow my crafty adventures here on the blog or on my Instagram feed HERE. 

So here I now find myself on the brink of some new adventures, some I’ve already planned but a great many more as yet unknown to me. They may be good, they may be bad, but one thing is for sure they will be an adventure.

Ruth.

 

General

The beginning…

There are times when you need to start off with a fresh new notebook, clean and unsullied, and that first blank page in the notebook holds so much promise. It can be anything, can hold anything and can lead to anywhere!

That’s what this post is, the first blank page of this journey. A chance to reinvent and start fresh after recent months, a chance to return to enjoying the fruits of my creative mind.

Loss and grief have a way of making you take stock. Look at where you are and where you’re going and asking yourself if that’s the direction you want to be headed in. These things had been to the forefront of my mind already and I wouldn’t have done anything about those thoughts if life hadn’t stepped in and made me take stock.

While I’ve always had a creative mind, in typical fashion I can’t remember a time I wasn’t creative, and as a creative it invariably starts off as hobbies. The dream is always to then be able to be paid to work at that hobby.

A few years ago I followed that dream and began to design and write knitting patterns. It was finally a chance to let my creative mind flow and expand. Ideas came to fruition and it was a joy to see others take as much delight in recreating those designs for themselves. It will be the thing I think I will miss most. The thing with being a creative in business for yourself is the hours that you put in and at first you don’t mind, after all, you’re just getting started. You are trying to build up your profile, get off the ground and get your designs out there and I did, for more than two years I gave it my all, my profile rose and my designs were out there but in recent months the more I worked the less I enjoyed it. All the hours I worked just seemed to add up with little to nothing in return and in the two years I produced and sold patterns, none of them ended in profit. I was still only covering costs. On the one hand I was feeding my creative mind but as a business I was failing. Not only was I not being paid for the endless hours I was putting in and missing away from family but I was seeing a lot of the same old things. I was starting to feel undervalued and in a rat race of producing more, to be noticed more, in order to make the business begin to pay for itself. I was resentful and I disliked how I was beginning to feel towards my work and design.

Then as I said life stepped in and helped me make the decision I was so reluctant to make, reluctant in fact to admit. When I took this summer off it became quickly apparent how much I’d been tied to the business and how much I’d lost the love of just creating.

At first I didn’t create anything, instead immersing myself in the books I’d long forgotten to read, the books I so wanted to read but had no time to read. Then I slowly began to create just for me again, with no pressure, and with no time frame. There were no deadlines to meet and I could start and finish when I wanted to. I began to once again enjoy the time I spent creating. I thought about what other things I’d wanted to do but didn’t have time to do. Sewing was top of the list. I’d always wanted to learn to sew my own clothes so I set about taking steps to do just that. I took a couple of lessons and started from there. This led me onto being able to realise the other dream of creating a me made wardrobe. With this in mind I finally picked up my knitting needles and chose a garment pattern that I had wanted to make but again, didn’t have time to. This garment fed into my dream of a me made wardrobe and so I started from there.

I’m working now on one project at a time. Enjoying every aspect of each project, from the deciding of the item either knitted or sewn. The materials I’ll need, whether they’ll fit in with my overall aesthetic and how they will work in my wardrobe. I am now able to slow down to a pace I like, a pace that allows me enjoy each of the moments of life and not just count those moments.

So that’s where I am at the moment, just enjoying being creative again, one project at a time.

Ruth.