Fox it is!

A while back I asked on my Cultivating Creativity FB page for people to say what I should paint next. A giraffe, a tiger or a fox. It was simply a fun exercise for me and a way for me to extend myself by painting out of my comfort zone. The fox was my least favourite choice to paint, it’s just not an animal I connect with. But I thought perhaps I could give it a go. I thought painting the giraffe could be fun, and the tiger something a little challenging.

Everyone who commented suggested the fox. So, I painted the fox. Twice.

The first attempt I wasn’t at all happy with. I’d grabbed the wrong colour, though crazy colours do work with this technique, I just don’t feel it came together in this instance. I couldn’t get the nose right. It was a warm day and the paint was drying quickly making it tricky to do adjustments. At the end of the session, I just felt that I could do ‘better’ but not that day. about to start

The image I used for inspiration was in colour. I remembered that it should be in black and white in order to see clearly the low, mid and high tones. I copied my print of the fox into black and white. Got together my three favourite colours I like to paint with and I attempted to paint the fox again.

first attempt

I also decided not to try and rush, and gave myself permission to take as long as I needed. This time, it took my half the time to paint the fox. Giving myself as much time as I needed took the pressure off, and helped. Having the image in black and white also made a big difference to see the different tones better. And I’d painted the fox before, so I had some experience to draw on.

This is the first time I’ve gone back and painted the same subject again because I wanted to ‘improve’ the outcome, and my skill set. Because of these benefits I’m even tempted to try to paint the fox for a third time. For now, I’ve got lots of other subjects to paint, so a third re-visit isn’t in the near future, but might happen one time. What I can do, is apply what I’ve learnt here not just to other animal paintings in this style (I’m sure I’ll do the giraffe and tiger at some stage). second attempt

second attempt finished

The painting of the fox serviced a bigger purpose, of also making me more aware of my process, so it has been a good exercise to do. And despite good intentions, creative projects don’t always work out well the first time, and that it all part of the process.

Now, onto the next project! (which is to re-paint a rose!)

foxes painted

Importance of Tools

Often, I approach my creative projects with too much excitement and enthusiasm and simply jump in because I can’t wait to get started. Recently, while at the yarn shop I fell in love with some yellow yarn. I bought it home with a project in mind.

I didn’t get far into the project before I realised the yarn wasn’t right for the stitching I wanted to do. I’d not thought about that. I just figured all yarn would go with any type of stitch.

With enough projects on the go I returned the yarn, and bought some that would be better suited. I could’ve kept the yellow yarn, but really I have enough yarn in my house!

A small incident, but it reminded me of the importance of having the right tools for the project at hand. Sure I had yarn, the right sized hook, but not the right yarn for the stitch I wanted to learn. Not dissimilar to when I’m writing. I’m very particular about the pen I use, the notebook I have and where I sit and write. The tools used are important and while I know this, I hadn’t translated this across to my crocheting projects. I even know this when drawing and painting. I thought it would be simple.

Yarn + hook + stitch = pretty blanket.

But there was more to consider.

So now this is something I will think about when starting a new project. It was a good little lesson to learn or perhaps a good reminder to think of the importance of tools, and how they work together to produce a finished project.

Have you had a similar experience? Please share below in the comments below.

yellow yarn as a background

Frog It!

I’m getting into my crocheting crafts as a way to relax, learn, and make things which have practical value for me and to have some fun. start stitch blanket

edges dont align

 

When doing craft it’s not all fun though. I’ve learnt that a new stitch, star stitch, wasn’t turning out like I’d hoped. Rows were decreasing, and I unravelled hours of work but still couldn’t manage to get the rows to line up.

I realised my skill set needed a project that was simpler. I had to do more practise and get experience before going back to the star stitch. Having to unravelled the stitches left me feeling heavy and disillusioned.

frog it

I did some searches online, watched a few YouTube videos and found what I thought was an easier project. A new project naturally called for different yarn and so a trip to the shops was in order.

With new yarn in hand and the recommended crochet hook I settled down to begin learning how to do the stitch, waffle weave. It was fine, I could do it. The problem was the yarn I’d chosen wasn’t right for the stitch and I needed a bigger hook.

waffle weave

 

This time, I wasn’t as disillusioned because I’d come across a new term.

I frogged it!

Rip it, rip it, rip it up!

frog it for waffle weave

Frog it sounds much better than undoing, or unravelling. It even makes me laugh when I’m undoing all my hours of hard work, which helps ease the frustration of having to start a project again or redo a section.

 

The language used makes a big difference. If I’m saying I’m unravelling or undoing, or deleting or unpicking depending on the creative project, then these terms have a heaviness to them, they weigh down my already deflated mood. Whereas frog it, because I’m saying ‘rip it’ over and over quickly sounds like a frog. This makes light of the situation and I don’t feel so frustrated at having to go back a few steps or start again from scratch. I can even have a giggle at the use of the term which lightens my mood and helps me to be motivated to get back into the project.

It didn’t stop there. With new yarn, I started again. But the hook wasn’t big enough, so once more I frogged it.

By going back with a bigger sized hook, and starting again I felt much happier with the forming blanket because I was creating a project to the best of my ability which helped to generate the feeling of satisfaction, progress, and achievement.

Creative projects, like any project can go off track, but with the use of some fun words it can be turned around. And creative projects largely have the purpose of not just of creative expression but also of undergoing a journey, giving a feeling of satisfaction, a chance to learn, exploration and provide a sense of achievement.

And are fun.

When the project doesn’t go to plan why not think of a frog, laugh and get back to it? It’s a more positive mindset that leads to more creativity and fun.

Was there a time when you’ve used positive, or fun words to help you go back and fix up a creative project? Please share below in the comments.

Lilliana

One Blanket Finished

This particular crochet baby blanket has had a bit of a journey in its creation. I started out using star stitch but struggled to keep the rows the same length. While the stitching looked great, the blanket was slowly getting narrow which really was no good.

Determined to get it right and learn how to do the stitch I frogged it for the wonky rows and gave it another go. The second time around I was a little better – but only for a few rows before I once again dropped a stitch at the end of each row.unravelled yarn

Why couldn’t I get this?

I re-watched the YouTube video, found a few more to try and help learn how to do the star stitch. I just couldn’t get it right. Then I decided this particular stitch was simply too hard for me right now. I finished off the row I was working on, folded the blanket in half and cringed at how narrow it was becoming. project gone wrong

For a moment I thought I could do a fancy edging to hide the mistake. That could have worked. But it wasn’t satisfying for me. I’d know the blanket wasn’t finished correctly, and while I had done my best I really felt I could do better. This blanket simply didn’t meet the personal standard I set for myself.

I had tried. I had frogged it, twice. Then re-watched videos but it wasn’t coming together. So I decided I needed to use a different stitch and/or pattern, something that was more suitable to my skill level. I had no idea what that was.

I posted on FB, my friends thought don’t worry, do a fancy border. But it wasn’t good enough for me.

So I put a post on a crocheting group asking for suggestions how I could use this yarn to make a baby blanket – one that was easy!

The responses were to try courner2corner (C2C) pattern; it was quick and easy. I searched YouTube, found a great video or two which explained the pattern well, and I started again, with the same yarn and a slightly bigger hook.

And the result was much better. I have a baby blanket that keeps its shape, it was quick and easy, and much more enjoyable for me to stitch. And I completed the blanket well before baby’s due date.

None of this process, or hours and hours of work are seen in the final product. And it’s very likely I’ll soon forget how I had to problem solve, persist, and practise to finish this creative project.

finished corner 2 corner

Sometimes it’s more about me and how I can adapt to a current project. When to persist, but also when to realise that maybe there’s another approach to be taken – one that’s easier and less stressful, but just as satisfying when the project is finally completed. And I can say, the blanket is finished to the best of my current ability. I can tackle harder projects once I’ve practised some more.

 

What projects have you started which have taken unexpected turns but still results in being finished? Please share in the comments below.

 

Lilliana Rose

 coffee clip art steam