Why Do You Knit?

Thursday, 13 September 2018

I first learnt to knit when I was quite young, it's not something I took up regularly until I was late into my twenties because I needed something that quietened my mind. I find the repetitiveness of counting stitches in each pattern repeat soothing and meditative, the concentration it requires tends to block out all peripheral noises, and I discovered it was a good way for people not to annoy the stressed woman with stabby sticks in her hands during my lunch hour at my old toxic as hell office job.

I am not a great knitter but I am not a dedicated knitter either, I still have a cardigan that needs to be finished that I started in January and even then I'm not sure I want to because I can't decide whether I like it or not. I'm not very good at knitting cardigans and I need to take more time to adjust patterns to my figure rather than just knit according to instructions. I like to knit when I watch TV, I'm one of those people who can't just sit there and watch TV my hands feels restless otherwise, so I knit. If it's something I've knitted before I'll knit something with pattern repeats, if not I'll knit something that requires less attention like knitting stocking stitch of something.

At the moment I'm trying to learn more stitch combinations, I still catch knit brioche stitch without watching a video first each time, one day it will click and stick in my brain but not just yet. I need to work on gauge, this why I probably shouldn't knit when watching a tv or a movie, tension affects your tension if that makes sense.

I currently have a cubbyholes full of wool some bought, some donated, I don't use high quality wool or hand dyed because I basically don't have the funds. Knitting is an expensive hobby and that is not a criticism it's just a fact because good quality supplies cost money! Something that is not really appreciated when it comes to creativity. I don't knit professionally and I never will because I'm a slow knitter and I like to do it to relax, I'm also a selfish knitter and only like to knit for myself and my husband. I've decided in my me made wardrobe plans that I want to add some decent knitted pieces for winter, so I'm prepared to wait and save up for some decent wool for some really nice intarsia patterns I've found and taking into account how long it takes me to knit, they should be ready around 2025!

I'm using up my old stash for practice, I'm might sell the sample pieces for funds for new projects for my me made wardrobe but I'm in no hurry, that's the things about selfish knitting, you can take your time.

Sewing For Love Not Money

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Whilst I don't have much to show at the moment in way or work or projects and to get me back in the practice of writing, I thought I'd cover some creative related topics that I think are important or interesting etc.

There was an article recently about how hobbies are important outlet and they shouldn't be valued in terms of money. I forget where I read it now but the fundamental basis was that it's good to have a creative outlet whether it be knitting, sewing, or this case making different types of devilled eggs for fun not for money. Your hobby doesn't have to any any rhyme or reason behind it other than you love it, their is no wasted time in something you enjoy no matter how trivial someone finds it.

We have become obsessed with putting a monetary value on things, people see you making something and automatically their brain goes kerching and they're telling you should sell your stuff. The best bit it they would never buy your stuff because it's not their thing but you would make loads of money from it. They think they're helping but actually the fact of the matter is there are loads of people out there who think like that aren't actually willing to spend the money! So you learn to nod in agreement and say thanks I'll give that some thought whilst mentally filing it in the shredder.

The thing is it's actually incredibly easy to believe these people because we what to think our work has value and it does, just not the value we think it has. Making stuff and then trying to sell it can actually hard work and can be at times very demoralising, I have learnt that a lot of people at the end of the day just don't appreciate how much supplies costs, and then factoring in the skills and time it takes to make that item. I call these the 'I can make that' brigade. You will always encounter one at a fair or event who loudly declares whilst inspecting your item 'I can make that' whilst looking smug and occasionally will add 'for half the cost' as an extra twist for the knife. I've learnt not to take these personally because these people are not actually crafters or artists because if they were, they would definitely not say these things.

But I have learnt over the years not to focus on the people who say but the people who do. People see you making things and they say you should sell your stuff because that is how they value time, time is money or it's just a waste. This is obviously not true, as I said before there is no wasted time if you enjoy something. Hobbies are meant to be relaxing, they are meant to be enjoyed as soon as you start equating your time to a monetary value then it's no longer a hobby and anyone who's run a business knows that running business is not a hobby! But when you both your work and your hobbies are creative, it's important not to let the lines blur too much and now I'm kind of dividing my creativity into more distinctive camps.

As I move into a more art based career, I'm going back to spending more time sewing for me than anything else. Yes I have a few cushion covers and tote bags to finish but in regards to clothes, I was toying about starting my own line and considering I got to a point where I wasn't even enjoying sewing myself for various reasons, why bother starting something that stressful and time consuming if you're not gonna enjoy it. But I want to get back into making my own clothes especially learning how to make trousers and some nice coats because it's really hard to find decent trousers and coats that will last without spending a bucket load of money, which I do think you should invest in your wardrobe staples but that is a conversation for another time. 

I want to get back to sewing my own clothes because I like learning new techniques and the challenge. I want to get back to sewing my own clothes because I get to know me better especially as I'm at that age where my body is beginning to go through a lot of changes on top of other issues I already have, it also serves to remind me that none of us as a standard one size fits all shape. I like sewing because I can express myself through the clothes I wear, yes buying from shops is easier and I get no everyone has the time or resources to make their own clothes but to a certain degree I can make something a bit different to everyone else. I can draw inspiration from different styles I have seen and mix them up for my own.

Anyway the next time someone tries to value you work or even devalue it by comparing it's worth to something else, remember you don't owe them any explanation! Why you create is none of their damn business!

Getting Back On Track

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

I've been self employed for just over four years now, it has definitely been a roller coaster of a ride full of learning curves thrown in with the ups and downs. This year has been bit of a down, up until last Christmas things were on the up and and up and then suddenly it was like I was cut off, business plummeted! Now I know we're not supposed to talk about the downsides of business but I think that is rubbish, all we see are the good stories and successes but we rarely see the journey that goes with it which is definitely not smooth sailing all the way. And if it is, well that's cool but for the majority it can be a bit daunting, as only seeing successes can make you feel a bit of a failure, even if the intention is the opposite but I'm not here to talk about that. So things were going great and then they weren't and to be honest it left me a little baffled. Of course the economic uncertainty and the fluctuating pound is probably not helping but the sudden crash in business left me a little wounded and out of sorts. So I decided with the unscheduled break to try and make good use of my time.

When I became self employed I didn't really have a plan, well I had a half a plan but I had to make a decision, carry on in a job that was mentally and physically breaking me, or jump ship and take a chance. I took the chance and in a bid to get going I did what I knew and that was to make things, it was better than doing nothing. I get that not everybody has those options, trust me I was at breaking point and it was always my plan to be a freelance creative but in a job that left me with no mental energy at the  end of the day, it was hard to set that up on the side. I saw an opportunity and took it, to be honest I would not have been able to do that without he support of my partner and for that I'm very grateful.

My plan was always to do art and writing but I started making handmade items instead because that was what I could do with the resources I had at that time. I also got into selling vintage because that is something else I knew how to do and it served it's purpose for that time. So with things quietening down it gave me a chance to revisit and rethink my career plan and finally get back on track with my original goals, and I've spent a good part of the year clearing out the old to make way for the new. Now that is pretty much done, I have created enough space both physically and mentally to finally start. Apart of me keeps putting it off because of fear, I've had so many failures and things not work out, it's like can I take one more hot but you have to keep trying. It's important to bear in mind that your passions may not always be the making of you, mostly it's down to timing but sometimes things are just not meant to be but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try, right?

So I have to learn to draw and paint again, it's been so long my skills are very rusty. And I need to start putting aside dedicated time for writing and other things. I also want to get back to making my clothes again, everything has been on hold and the longer I leave it the more practice I'm going to need, so really I just need to get on with it. I have some online courses I've dug out out to give me a kick start. One is a Seamwork build your wardrobe course, the other is a Gala Darling radical self love art journal course, I have also been planning some projects of my own. One is a painting project, I think I've nearly pinned down the topic but needs just a tiny bit more refining, although I haven't decided if it will just 100 paintings or 100 consecutive days project. The other is a 100 hoops project which won't be done daily because I can't stitch that fast in that much detail but it is a good way to use up the 100 embroidery hoops I have hoarded in my work room! Eventually I will want to sell them in my web shop, I'm trying to move away from relying on Etsy now that it's just a free for all and focusing on investors instead of sellers! So my plan is to open a stand alone probably on big cartel of shopify, haven't decided yet.

The thing with getting back on track is sometimes it's just best to just dive in and get on with it. I have months where I'm not inspired to make anything and then today I wanted to make all the things, which is good because I need to clear out the last of my supplies which I'm using for a small Halloween and Christmas collection. I'm literally using what I have left over, so that's gonna be fun and very shiny collection (seriously I have a lot of rhinestones to use up!). I also have a lot of half started projects to finish but on the plus side my goal of clearing out all the old stuff by the end of the year looks to be on track, especially now the weather has cooled down and I can also get back to knitting in the evenings.

Anyway I think I've rambled enough, suffice to say I have enough to get on with for the moment, I will be back with updates soon!

A Fresh Start

Sunday, 2 September 2018


So it turns out I can't stay away from blogging. I know everyone is now on the vlogging/youtube wagon but to be honest I'm just far too awkward about my face and voice being on camera. I just about get through doing an insta story without dying of embarrassment and that are thirty five retakes and the fact it vanishes are 24 hours!

But yes I'm back blogging! I've been blogging for nearly ten years now in one guise or another when I re-branded my last site and upgraded it to be all professional etc and forked out loads of money, unbeknown to me I was actually in the middle of a little career shift and I just felt obligated to an over cluttered blog that had no idea what direction it was going in but there was an lesson and something was learned and also due to financial cut backs I've had to make I got rid of the blog and all the gumpf that went a long with it and took a little break to rethink and regroup over the summer.

I originally set up another blog for my ramblings which I'm still keeping because even though I went through a whole streamlining process to try and manage everything by keeping it all in one place, I realised that I didn't really need to do that and that it's okay to actually keep things separate and in their own domains as it were. Being a creative it can be hard to separate the personal from the professional but I wanted this blog to be a bit more relaxed and just show off all the creative things I do whether it be work or for my own pleasure, or something for the home etc, I'm not creating a schedule I want this to be pressure free place and will just post when I can.

I started out as a creative blogger back in 2009, I blogged under The Crafty Ms De Vil for quite a number of years, as with life the blog went through it's changes as I did and also so did the whole bloggosphere but I like blogging and I'm not afraid to start a whole new blog from scratch. Sometimes it's just good to with nothing and build it from there rather than shoehorning in stuff in the hope that it fits. So I've gone back to basics and also where I started blogging, here on blogger I guess I've come full circle! 

What will I write about, everything I guess. There is painting, sewing, knitting, embroidery, cooking, decorating, I basically have too many interests to keep it refined and focused! Not that there is anything wrong with keeping it refined and focused of course. Blog about what you want to, blog about things that interest you, blog about your passions, maybe 10 people read, maybe even a hundred, or maybe nobody will read it, does that make it pointless not if you get satisfaction out of it. sometimes you just need an outlet, some people will share your passions, others not so much. Just do it anyway!
Tasha M Campbell 2018 - (present). Powered by Blogger.

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