Please Mind the Gap

It has been far too long since I’ve had chance to update my blog thanks to a rather excessive amount of international travel. I’ve blogged before about the joys and tribulations of travel and how to try and find ways to stop all your craft projects getting lost in work-in-progress (WIP) oblivion while on the road but I really need to learn to take my own advice.

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The worst part is I’m still not quite done with the anxious hours at airports. I have a few days of respite at home before the final leg starts. With any luck, I can get some sleep after that and I might finally be on the correct time zone and not jet lagged before New Year!

However, despite a busy work schedule, I have found a few hours to sneak off to a few fabric markets and craft classes, including an amazing opportunity to learn some weaving techniques in the place they were created. In a few weeks I’ll be sharing some photos of all of this as well as some crafty travel guides to one of my favourite cities, Kyoto.

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In the meantime, I’m trying not to feel too frustrated about how far behind I am on various projects. Please don’t ask about my Royal School of Needlework piece! I don’t really have any deadlines for most of my pieces, except some exam preparation to finish for next May but I really am suffering with ‘too many ideas’ at the moment. I’ve had the chance to pick up some really interesting new threads and material too so I just want to get the chance to experiment.

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While I think a change of scenery and exposure to different textile traditions is immensely beneficial for idea generation, it can be a little hard to escape being overwhelmed by it all. ‘Overwhelm’ is one of those trendy facets of modern life, usually uttered in the same breath as telling you the utter necessity for ‘mindfulness’, that describes the feeling of just having so much to do that you end up paralysed with anxiety and not doing any of it.

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I think we can all identify somewhat with starting at a work-in-progress list long enough to keep you occupied for the next ten years while being completely flummoxed at what to do that evening. Some very smart people limit their WIP list to a maximum number of items but I made peace a while ago with the fact that in terms of crafting, I want to do what I want to do and there is no point to limiting myself to not learning new techniques. I may never be a knitting grandmaster but I will be knitting/frogging with my own handspun, handdyed silk and embroidering a few sparkly bits on because why the hell not.

I have found that keeping an ideas and WIP journal very helpful for this kind of approach. Much like in a science lab, there is no such thing as writing down too much information to help you resume projects. Even if you think you will be able to clearly differentiate embroidery thread colours in retrospect, it really eliminates a lot of doubt if you have the numbers scribbled down as well. If you’re feeling stuck for ideas, it also acts as a sort of crafting ‘menu’ for what would you like to do today and ensures that you don’t lose those moments of inspiration.

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I am looking forward to getting back to writing regularly, my own bed and sharing some of my recent adventures with you all. I hope you’ve all been having lots of success with your own projects!

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8 thoughts on “Please Mind the Gap

  1. Well lucky you! Can totally relate to the lengthy lists of WIP projects. I now have a “5 Things To Do” list for daily requirements (usually work-related) and an Annual “55 To Do” list for all that other optional (fun) stuff that can’t be completed quickly. Two and a half years later, and I’ve started many projects that never made it to the List of 55… But at least I feel more organised about it!

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    • That’s a really nice ideal, I think I’d have to add an order of magnitude or two to adapt the annual list for my purposes but I’m glad it helps you feel organised! Do projects that don’t make the list just get binned?

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      • Ha. Well, projects that don’t make the list are often those that I start and then actually finish – so they never require being added to the list to prod me into completing them! Most of the paintings on my blog fit this category come to think of it… Since starting my blog/painting in earnest, I have cut back on other hobbies quite intentionally – just to give myself room to really try to improve my skills. I actually feel better for it; though my list of 55 drags on toward being a decade old rather than an annual To Do list!

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