Many women I talk to say that creativity and self-expression is something they cannot live without, and that perhaps it has become even more important in their life as they age. How do you express yourself? And how do you incorporate creativity in your daily life?
As a busy mother with a full-time job, I took a long break from knitting, which I learned from my mother at a young age and used as a creative outlet until I got married and had kids.
Now that I have more time to myself, I find that creating things with my hands adds a very special satisfaction to my life. Creating knitted items to wear – in favourite colours and materials – is for me a great way of adding that extra spark to my life and to the wardrobe.
Does this type of creative self-expression become more important as we age? Many women look back at their lives to find out who they really are. They know themselves better and remember how their grandmothers, mothers, aunts and friends built on tradition to create beautiful items of quality.
For me, my self-expression and creativity is all about knitting and yarn. I have always been passionate about working with natural fibers and scrumptious yarns. Knitting has a long tradition, which I cherish.
For many centuries, before factories and industrialisation took over, women were self-reliant on their spinning, weaving, knitting and sewing skills to create garments for themselves and their family, and household goods too. The techniques and styles were passed down from mother to daughter. Men knitted too, but for women the activity was closely related to their role as nurturers in the family setting.
In today’s world, knitting has seen a huge upswing in popularity, and women and men are taking up knitting and posting photographs of their creations and patterns on social media. This vibrant community of knitters from all corners of the world shares its inspiration online, along with online knitting and yarn businesses.
Many women I know talk about how fun it is to finally have the time to be obsessed about materials, styles and designs. Why not build in the creative aspect of our fascination and “make” the object of our desire ourselves? This is a great way of truly expressing who we are. And it is an exciting and meaningful journey to explore all the possibilities for what we can create with our hands.
When I look for an item to knit, I search for different designs and materials to get inspiration before investing my time. My advice to new knitters is to enjoy the process of exploration, when you have honed your basic skills as a knitter.
Rushing to the yarn shop without a sense of what you are looking for and a fairly firm idea for a project might put you in the group with thousands of other knitters: You will end up with an unfinished project and stashes of yarn at home, but “nothing to knit,” because you’ll never have the right yarn in your stash for your newest fabulous idea.
Enjoy the journey of researching your next knitting project and the creative process: use the Internet to look for similar designs and compare colors, fiber types and patterns. Take notes about why you like a certain design, and what you want to use it for. Create a small corner in your home where you keep a collection of things you like. After a short while you will be surprised at how you are gravitating towards your special preferences.
Here are three things you can do to get started in the world of creative knitting, or restart your knitting as the case may be:
First, find out what you are fascinated and inspired by and spend time exploring your preference and interests. Collect examples of styles and find colors that are right for you – they can be mood boosters – a soft pink for example, or a special yellow. Draw inspiration from your own lifestyle and focus on things that will make you excited and happy.
Second, join a local knitting circle to get in touch with other knitters to share ideas and get feedback on your creations. Knitters are very generous people who love to share their tricks and techniques.
Third, start expressing yourself – one lovely item at a time, or several all at once! As you become better at seeing and assessing the crazy fabulous market of yarn and fiber out there, you will learn to tune into your own special creative juices.
For knitting inspiration, start small with mini cowls for all occasions with patterns available in many Etsy shops. Search Pinterest for knitting, or go to Ravelry with its large selection of knitting patterns made by amateur knitters work-wide.
Tell me what you especially like in modern day creative knitting and crocheting? First of all, do you yourself knit or crochet, and do you have a special style or preference? How do you find inspiration? Please share in the comments.