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Inish Mohr, Aran Islands, Ireland

Scene from the Aran Island of Inish Mohr. Gorgeous, rugged and home to the famous Aran knit sweaters.

Hello, I’m back! It’s been awhile since I’ve created an original post, and I’ve spent a couple of sleepless nights beating myself up for that. “Do you want to be a blogger, or not?” I chide myself. Well, I do, so here I am, despite some feelings of doubt and frustration right now.

  • I was in Ireland for just over three weeks and that was fantastic. Now that I’m back home, I’ve not regained much interest in my prevacation life. I had high hopes of posting some pictures and talking about all the great yarn, fiber and handmade discoveries I had made. Exciting stuff! Well, it’s still coming. Promise.
  • Upon return, I found myself a little overwhelmed by the need to produce some new work for the local art center’s holiday shopping event. Because it’s an art gallery throughout the year and a juried shopping event to boot, I put pressure on myself to produce some crocheted works of art; creations that will knock people over with their audacity and quality. Best of show stuff. No pressure, though!
  • I also remembered that I had promised some new items to the owner of a popular shop that features local artists. She wanted some new items for the holiday shopping season, and I was honored to be included. I also needed to pick up some items I already had in her shop that had been languishing for several weeks (summer stuff). Because it’s important that if we support merchants who are willing to work with local artists and crafts people, I feel a joyful duty to participate. New stuff. Great stuff. Stuff that will sell.

OK, challenging, yes, but something I could handle. Or could I?

StorylineCreation

The bucket hat. I crocheted embroidery thread with the slate yarn and pleated the sides to add some interest. The finishing touch: an embroidered embellishment.

o give it some “dimension”

The first project–a soft bucket hat–started out with me full of enthusiasm and an idea full or promise, but the end result? Not what I expected or even liked that well. I didn’t give up, though. “Trust the process,” my usual mantra during times like this, helped some, but still failed to restore the excitement and focus that usually flourished once a project was underway. After setting it aside for a few days, I returned with some renewed interest and made a couple of changes that helped, yet the boredom remained. Worse, that feeling was now mixed with frustration and the dreaded voice of self-doubt.

There were deadlines to meet, though, so I soldiered on finishing the mate to some fingerless gloves I had started several months earlier. Luckily, I found the yarn and remembered which size hook to use and was able to make both gloves the same size. Yay for me! Victory was short-lived, however, when I discovered the buttons I purchased last year specifically for this project, had disappeared. They were just sitting patiently with glove number one for weeks (months, even) until I needed them. Now they are gone. Vanished. Evaporated. Vaporized. I’m sure that someday they will turn up in a weird parallel universe along with my husband’s nylon vest, my son’s retainer, numerous unmatched socks and single earrings.

After many heavy sighs and internal mantra-chanting (TRUST THE PROCESS, idiot!) the gloves were finally finished with a cute pair of vintage buttons (from my mom’s button jar). I even liked them better than those that went missing. Still, no excitement. Only the urgent need to take a nap.

StorylineCreations hat

This is a hat made with the expensive Zombie Barbeque yarn. You can’t see them, but I attached little black skulls and little bone buttons.

No nap! I distract myself by pulling out some super-expensive, wildly colored, variegated yarn that I had purchased last summer while full of excitement, optimism and design ideas (photo on right). And…nothing. What was I going to make with this? My blank mind competed with my doubting mind which competed with my frustrated mind. They were soon silenced by the enthusiastic nap mind, yelling “pick me, pick me;” much like the annoying coworker who hijacks every meeting with her misguided enthusiasm. But today I welcome the interruption and allow myself to hide under the covers with my heating pad while I suck my thumb (No thumb! Kidding about the thumb!).

This, my friends, is burnout. When you welcome naps before 2:00 pm  and start seeing your thoughts as annoying coworkers (when you don’t even work), you are over the edge. How do you find the way back?

Don’t do what I did! Beware of trying to kick start your creative force by checking out your favorite blogs or scanning the gorgeous photos on Tumblr and Instagram. I tried this approach. Instead of inspired, I was demoralized. There are some incredibly talented people out there! They not only crochet, knit or weave stunning, original creations, they also tap dance and perform brain surgery in their spare time. Why even try?

I’ll tell you why. You have something to offer, creating gives you pleasure and these inevitable challenging dry spells often lead to a creative spurt that takes you in a whole new direction. But, that creative spurt will remain out of reach unless–unless–you try one more time. So once again, I start over. If it takes a nap, a walk outside, a long look at the sky or the theme from Gladiator, I do it. And keep doing it until I’m ready to start again. And, BTW, give yourself a freakin’ break! I’m sure you’ve heard that life is hard. You are here disprove that notion. Life is not hard, it’s life. Your life, your one and only precious life. That’s all you need to know.

Well, almost…

Found this brilliant passage yesterday that seemed to be speaking directly to me: “Create ridiculous standards for yourself and then savor the inevitable failure. Learn from it. Live it. Let the ground crack and rocks crumble around you because that’s how something amazing grows, through the cracks.” (From the incredible Mark Manson. You intimidate me with your writing, but I like you anyway!)

When-it-is-time-to-wait-you-must-wait1

Wise words. Take heed my crafting friends and artists!

And finally, enough said. Go forth and create. Make your mark! Leave a legacy (or at least a bunch of unique handmade creations for your survivors to fight over) and a long, long  to-do list.

And finally, finally: Like StorylineCreations on Facebook.

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6 thoughts on “Feeling frustrated

  1. I dig the bucket hat. I’ve been working on a cloche for so long I’ve forgotten the pattern…. I bought a felt one at a hat shop in Long Beach and thought, well maybe I’ll just embellish this one. Keep up the good blog!

    Like

    • Thanks, Cindy. The hat is at DVAC right now for the holiday art to buy. If you want something similar in a different color, let me know. Wow. What a gift to have you read my blog and comment.

      Like

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