December 14, 2018

Creative Tools

     Creative tools, I’ve got them all. I’ve got knitting needles in every size and crochet hooks as well. I’ve got simple tools like pencils and complicated apparatuses like a knitting machine. I have a beautiful spinning wheel and a lovely loom, tatting shuttles from decades ago and stashes of yarn I bought only this morning. I love crafting and beautiful tools make art a joy to create. When I began sewing and knitting as an eight-year-old I learned first from my grandmother and my mother. My grandmother did it all, but her finest art was made with her trusty sewing machine. I will remember her delightful Sunbonnet quilts all of my life.

One of my knitting bags

     My mother knit fancy argyle socks with patterns from the 50s. I remember her making a pair that had a beer mug in the design, a frothy angora yarn representing the foam in the mug.

A collection of my knitting needles

     As I grew up I learned from neighbors and teachers in home economics classes in high school. All my life I found creative friends and neighbors that shared my love and desire to make things. There was wonderful Mrs. Haygood, an avid sewer who lived up the street, she had the best collection of sewing notions around. Mrs. Barbieri, the mother of a childhood friend, had a huge pair of wooden knitting needles that she lent to me, a perfect learning tool for young fingers. Over fifty-plus years I have held many tools, but then, about the time my youngest daughter was born, a new and amazing tool was available. The internet. Now I am never at loss for inspiration or instruction. The world of handcrafts is at my fingertips and I go to it every day.

Some of my weaving tools

     Now any person who wants to learn how to knit or crochet needs only to visit YouTube or Knittinghelp. There are videos there that cost nothing and never run out of patience. You can play them again and again at your own pace and certainly become a great knitter. The same is true for tatting and painting and weaving and playing the guitar.

     I am asked often where I get my ideas and out of the vast ocean of sites online I have found a few that are easy to navigate and specific to my needs. If I want to find a basic design for most general crafting there is nothing that beats Pinterest. Whether you are planning a wedding and want to light the tables or you need ideas to inspire you to make easy curtains for your home, or even just clean your oven, it is a fountain of creativity and inspiration. Over the years I find that I use search engines less and less for creative inspiration and look more towards Pinterest. If I were to find any fault with the site, it is that it is really easy to lose precious creating time while I’m simply strolling through ideas. I visit it daily but then I try to walk away and actually make something.

A sampling of some of my "pins" on Pinterest

     When I knit or crochet my favorite place to visit is Ravelry. The whole concept of the site is fantastic! On Ravelry you create a free account and there you can post your knit and crochet creations. With a picture and some basic information on your project, such as, what yarn you used and what size needle, you become part of an amazing database of fellow knitters from all over the world. Before I knit or crochet anything anymore I pay Ravelry a visit. There I can find a pattern, many are free, or if I have a pattern already, I can see the journey that other knitters have taken with that project. I learn who made it successfully and who failed and why. I can see it in other colors and other types of yarns. The great knitters of Ravelry will whine of the project was boring and applaud their success when they make something beautiful. If you work in yarn you must visit there! If you go there find me as Veil. Here are a few of my projects I have posted there.

A Baby Bib

 A sweater for a grandson on my spinning wheel

A large knitting bag from suede yarn

 A knit scrap blanket

A pretty baby afghan

     Another site I visit is Etsy. If you have never been there it is a shopping site where you can find many beautiful items made by other crafters. I make a lot of things myself, but certainly not everything. For example, I don’t own a kiln for pottery. I’d love to and I do know how to throw clay on a pottery wheel but alas I don’t. On Etsy there is beautiful pottery and I have a fantastic bowl from a local potter. If I can’t make it myself there is likely someone there who will.

A stunning yarn bowl by Meredith Soto at Dandelion Pottery 

     As always, I hope you are inspired to go out and learn, to make something wonderful and enjoy some of the crafts made by all the creative people in the world. You can reach out right now find them right there online. But, there is something that is a better tool than any needle or site, and that is you. Your imagination and your own two hands are the best tools in the world. It is you, and what you create that is the real amazing tool. I hope you use that to create every day. 

Thanks for visiting. Please come again!

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