Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Creating...

Its a question posed more times than I can count.  One that is slipped into my inbox, asked on my facebook page, posed in person.

"Where do you get it?  The time to create?  To sew and knit, with so many children at home?"

We all have the same 24 hours, after all.  And I think about the question long after I've responded with some flip answer (I'm noticing most of my answers are about deflecting these days...) about my house being a mess, etc.  I circle down and ruminate and think I might just have found what lies at the core of it all.

I believe creativity is a natural tendency present in humans -a gift, yet another way we mirror and magnify the Master Creator.  When I read a pattern, sometimes I just sit and marvel at this, a lowly sock or mitten or some other utilitarian piece of clothing.  The engineering present, the idea that someone came up with to take these two sticks, wrap a bit of string about them and somehow come up with something that fits and works perfectly to a fill a need - its really a marvelous bit of human ingenuity.

I've always been someone who is hands on.  Someone who has had to do something for myself.  As a child and a teen, it wasn't enough to hear someone say "do this, not that."  I had to see for myself.  Of course this resulted in a lot of heartache over the years, this need to do things on my own, not take others' words for it.  I see this progression in my own work with sewing, knitting, etc.  How I just throw myself headfirst into a project and learn valuable lessons along the way.  Like pressing seams in quilting.  Or checking gauge in knitting.  It wasn't enough for me to read that you should always do that - I had to see for myself the reason behind the trouble.

Over time after trying things this way and that, I come up with something of value.  I think that is what keeps me coming back again and again.  Slipping the baby in a sweater worn by his older brother, I catch my breath and realize that maybe this will be a family heirloom.  His are the second set of brown eyes peeping at me from out of this dear little hood, a legacy of their own.  Something catches inside me.

His chubby baby bottom keeps my lap warm and his little hands clutch at the yarn when we sit together on the couch and I knit a bit slowly to make sure I don't poke sensitive baby skin with a wayward needle.  My kids will remember me this way: creating.  Reading patterns.  Learning new things, day after day. Another type of family heirloom, the legacy of lifetime learning.  One I'm proud to pass on.  Its not the knitting or sewing itself that matters, but what it conveys.

All this is well and good, but you're still wondering - the time, where does it come from?  To be honest, like everything else, it has to be prioritized.  Sometimes that's easy, and I find the time to spend night after night quilting and leave the machine out and sweep straight pins off the floor away from vulnerable toes.  Other times I knit a row while drilling spelling words and then set a piece aside.  There are days, sometimes weeks, that pass without much at all.  When the stresses and outside demands leave me motionless at the end of the day, unable to do much more than pour myself into bed.

But when I come back to it, my hands move automatically and I think yes, yes this is part of me.  This is part of the joy that is my life.  Something worth doing, for today, tomorrow, and beyond.

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  1. hi lydia, beautiful green sweater! does it zip up the back? my grandmother knitted one exactly that pattern for her first baby back in the 40s and she gave it to me recently for my little boy. amazing that you have the same pattern!!

  2. I get asked this question a lot too, and I just always wonder why more people can't fit something creative into their lives. We all live busy, fast-paced lives whether we want to or not, when multiple kids are a part of them. But taking a small chunk out of the day to do something with your hands and create something is a priority for me. It completes my day, it relieves stress and like you said it shows your child it's a part of you and it in turn gives them something. Whether you're making them something or not. I LOVE the first pic of that munchkin. So cute!

  3. Rebekah - It is the vintage zip up the back baby sweater! Growing up we had a few of those sweaters passed around that my Grandma had knitted. Apparently the pattern was printed in a few knitting magazines back in the 40's and 50's. When I joined Ravelry a few years back, I found it again - this time it had been passed down for a few generations by "word of mouth" and a kind knitter sent me her typed up directions. Its just like the one Grandma made <3.

  4. I absolutely love this post! And that your children are getting a sense of the artistic and creative just by watching you and partaking in the process. Just beautiful! And the sweater is so gorgeous.

  5. Awesome post and I love that you are not letting go of some of your joys (meaning talent and hobbies) in the midst of 'children'. It is something relaxing for you and creative and really wonderful.


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