Live creatively and add simple beauty to your life

Live creatively Everyday Crochet Shawl restarting creativity

I’ve been reflecting on how I can best live creatively and boost my wellbeing by creating moments of simple beauty in my everyday life. Podcast 119 from Kathryn at Crafternoon Treats!

This video was published Friday 25 June, 6pm UK time! The Suddenly its Summer is free with yarn orders in my Etsy update Friday June 25th, 6pm UK time. It will also be available on Ravelry and the pattern bought on its own is 25% off until 31 July 2021 (no code needed). Patrons in the four higher tiers also get this crochet pattern FREE!

As you know, I’ve been producing some monthly reflection videos for my YouTube channel and, as you may not know, I’ve been adding more blog posts to my website recently. I’ve been inspired to write again, to think about crochet design, to live creatively in all sorts of ways as a result. Its funny isn’t it, how changing the things you do really impacts on how you feel and how you see life?

Just by looking back on each month, I’ve become aware of my need to focus on adding simple beauty to my life whenever I can. Whether that is creating a lovely colourway in the dyepots, smelling the scent of roses in my summer garden, creating a beautiful crochet shawl, or just lighting a scented candle, tidying my workspace and adding some garden flowers. It really does make a huge difference.

Taking my own advice to live creatively

For years I spend a lot of time stating that I was not creative. I could not draw or paint a picture with accurate perspective, I was not able to design things, write music or produce great works of art. But to live creatively, you don’t need to do any of those things. Creativity is an in-built need, a drive to express yourself using any creative outlet you can get your hands on.

And being hands-on is the key. To live creatively, all you need to do is create something lovely. That may be a freshly made bed, a lovely meal, a vase of wildflowers, a crochet shawl, a crochet sweater, a tidy and pleasing bookshelf, dressing table or dresser.

It may never make the grade to be in an interiors magazine or on the front cover of a crochet magazine, or make any sort of news headline. But that does not matter. Not a jot. The value of it is in your pleasure at creating it, seeing it, living with it and enjoying it. It adds richness to your life, and potentially those around you, your family, your friends.

Creativity is a resource that cannot be spread too thinly. It can’t be wasted. The more of it you use, the more you have and the more you grow. To live creatively is one of the greatest of life’s pleasures but how many of you, like me, spend their time insisting you really can’t be that creative?

Suddenly its Summer one skein easy crochet shawl

After months of procrastination and self doubt, I finally managed to put aside my fears and design a crochet shawl. I’ve been wanting to do more crochet design for so long, but have really held myself back. A case of can’t, can’t, can’t equals won’t!!

During my reflections, my walks though the local countryside and my new habit of journalling, I’ve had a bit of a revelation and I hope I can inspire you to have the same mindset change. I am creative, you are creative, we just don’t quite believe it do we?

I hope that my efforts with the Suddenly its Summer shawl will encourage you to have a go at something you’ve been putting off too. Its a one-skein shawl but its not one that I’ve seen out there. Its one that I’ve longed to have but haven’t been able to find a pattern for. But isn’t that the main reason people design shawls?

The process has not been plain sailing or easy, but I set myself a deadline, I’ve worked at it and I’ve ignored that horrible inner voice that’s been trying to tell me, no, can’t do that. The fact that I’m putting it out there, releasing it in a kit form with my one-skein colourways on Etsy, with a paid pattern option on Ravelry and Etsy, is enough. Even if its not a great success in terms of sales numbers or revenue, its something that I’ve wanted to do, and that I have finally had the courage to step up and complete. Its such a great feeling!

The Suddenly its Summer is released on Ravelry and Etsy Friday June 25th, 6pm UK time. 25% off until 31 July 2021.

What Patreon means to me to live creatively

I opened a Patreon space a few years ago now, never expecting people to sign up and subscribe. But you did and I have now a wonderful supportive community of yarn lovers who not only sign up month after month and year after year, but who also inspire me greatly in my podcasting, videoing and general crafty efforts.

Last month, I released a series of five video tutorials showing how to make the Meditation mandala. I put so much of myself into those videos, into the design and into the tutorial and wanted them to inspire others to make a mandala, even if they’d not felt able to attempt it before.

Well, a couple of weeks later I was despondent, thinking they were a complete flop. None of the tutorial videos had had more than a few hundred views and relatively few comments. Same for the blog posts, very few visitors. It may be that they gain views over time, but for the moment, I just felt a big failure. I had spent so much time away from making other types of videos, away from my Etsy shop, away from yarn dyeing, to do something that seemed to be a waste of time.

But one comment from one of my Patrons, after I had voiced this in one of our Patron only videos, brought me up short. She said she had it bookmarked and was planning to make it soon, and that I should not worry, just keep on creatiing. Keep. On. Creating.

Do you ever have a moment when your perspective on things seems to tilt and shift suddenly and you see things in a different way. Well, that’s what happened to me when I read that comment. I realised, in that split second, that all my angst about algorithms, analytics, viewing figures, what makes a good YouTube video, key words blah, blah, blah is totally irrelevant. If I don’t enjoy what I produce, if I don’t just create things that I love and that inspire me, how is that going to be loved and inspire anyone else?

Rediscovering my need to live creatively

So, goodbye analytics, you will still be there if I feel the need to have a peek but, to be honest, my need to live creatively is what should drive me and its what should drive all of us. If you are reading this or watch my channel, you are creative. You are a crocheter, a knitter and probably much more. You have the skills and motivation to fill your life with creativity. So, don’t be like I was, hindered by thinking I should be focusing on the ‘rules’ and making a ‘success’ of projects. Being creative is the beginning, middle and end. Its all you actually need to live creatively.

I wrote a post a while ago, about just showing up and using staying power as a way to stay motivated. Which is all good, and I think that is a part of running a creative business, for sure. But the power to be creative comes from the freedom to know that you can just explore and express your creative side, whatever it looks like, whether you show it to anyone else or not, and no matter if it never goes viral!

For the first time in months, probably longer, I feel more empowered now to really start enjoying my creativity and celebrating it, rather than trying to put it in a box and think of myself as doing a ‘job’. Let’s hope I do continue to earn money through it though, or I might be having to apply for a job in Tesco 🙂

My Afternoon Tea shawl – progress has been made!

I’m using my Stylecraft Batik yarns to make the SisLove Half Circle shawl by SisHandMade and I’ve called mine the Afternoon Teat shawl. This is a free crochet pattern and is written entirely as a series of charts. Its a lovely design, but you have to be chart-confident to be comfortable with making it.

That’s all I’ve got time for in this episode but if you would like to see more of my videos, please do subscribe to my channel and check out my recent exploration of purple sprouting broccoli as a resource in natural dyeing: