Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday Thoughts - Creative blockages

Do you have things that you just don't or won't attempt when it comes to crafting? Things that you would sort of kinda maybe want to try... that you admire when others do them ... get craft envy over... but are too scared to try yourself?

I do ... please reassure me that I'm not alone.

There are a few things that I have struggled with... or just plain avoided doing.

One of these has been paper piecing. It was something that I had admired, thought about, mulled on, wished I could do it, thought I should try it but not done a darn thing about learning it... for years. This year, thanks to a challenge put out by Sandy from Quilting For the Rest of Us,  I have taken on paper piecing. I have also joined Fandom in Stitches 30 week Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt along called Project of Doom (POD) which is all paper pieced. I have found several other paper pieced patterns which delight the geeks in my life and made them - Doctor Who and Minion related. I have watched a Craftsy Class by Carol Doak on paper piecing. I am inspired to complete the projects she demonstrated and have even ordered the Add a Quarter Inch ruler that she recommends. (I have not succumbed to the special paper she recommends. I stick to copy paper)

So that is one of my craft monkeys off my back

Another one has been zippers. Through out my sewing life zippers have been something I have avoided as much as possible. I did learn to put them in back in high school Home Ec but I seem to average putting one in every 10 years so each time I have to relearn - get someone to show me and usually that means I get them to do it. My first serious foray into sewing was stretch sewing through the local Knitwit shop. I did several of their classes and became a certified Knitwit!! Then I got into patchwork. Both of these branches of sewing are pretty well zipper (and button) free. (this was NOT a coincidence)

This year though I have sat down and watched a YouTube video on making zipper pouches and was confident enough to go ahead and make 3 zipper pouches one after another. I then put a zipper in a cushion I made for my daughter Fangirl. Bam. I was so happy and excited that I ordered some zippers on line and accepted the gift of 5 zippers from a friend who had a stash. I haven't put another one in since BUT am determined to sew another few of those little pouches this weekend to contribute to Our Rainbow House - Hand Made Love . We are going to have a stall at the end of March so are making a stock pile for that.

The last of my crafty nemesis is printing on fabric... using the computer. This is something I have admired so often in others. I love the projects that they have made. What a great way to personalize a project. Yes I wanted to do that. I have taken classes at quilt shows - at least 2. I have bought product. I have talked to people who have done it... but haven't done it myself.  was scared I would mess it up. It seemed complicated and the potential for it to go wrong seemed huge.

I bit the bullet at the meeting for Hand Made Love. I suggested that we should have a little label to go on our items. I offered to design and print some out. Gulp. I designed them - sent them to the group for approval (never heard back so assumed they approved) I decided to day to print some out. I found my packet of printer fabric... I read the instructions. I did a test print on paper. I printed them out... oops wrong side. I tried again... it got stuck. I tried again... upside down again. Cleaned up the printer roller by running several sheets of paper through it (cause it had printed on the shiny side there was ink on the rollers) Finally got one sheet through... pretty good. Then I got adventurous. I decided that I would do some a little bigger. I got the sheet in the right way (I do learn eventually) but twice it has become stuck when printing through so I was about to give up but one last go and through it went.

That is 3 Crafty Nemesis - monkeys on my back dealt with and its not even a 6th of the way through the year. That is a pretty good start. I sometimes think that overcoming one hurdle/challenge/monkey on your back makes you game enough to try another - gives you confidence to have a red hot go at something. To have another go even if you fail the first time.

It can work the other way too ... sometimes when things go badly for us we stop trying, we are reluctant to stick our neck out, to attempt something new. Sometimes we do have to nurture ourselves, do some comfort crafting on things familiar and dear, rebuild our creative fire. But it is always good to keep venturing out - testing ourselves, challenging ourselves.

I am so glad that this year I am feeling brave and adventurous and ready to try a few new things.


  1. You are so good about taking on new challenges! I love the labels!

  2. I'm making my third Fandom in Stitches Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt. I learned to paper piece about two years ago and love it. I also use regular copy paper since my printer prefers it to the specialty paper.

  3. Yay for you! I still cringe when I need to use zippers, but for the most part I think I finally got it. Paper piecing is so much fun! I don't do a lot of it and mostly they are easy patterns. Printing on fabric I have never kicked butt!

  4. yay for you for taking on challenges! I was afraid of paper piecing too, but now I just love it. The thing I'm afraid of is machine quilting. Just no good at it, and always afraid I'll ruin a beautifully pieced quilt. I really should get over it, but it looks like a huge mountain to climb! (Love those minions, by the way!)

  5. Just now reading this post. So happy for you that you've learned all these things! I tend to put off things that are beyond my comfort zone. Probably why I'm dragging my heels on art quilts right now.