1st week of Spring: thinking about process and play

I hope you’ve enjoyed a great week.

This week has been a bit busy on my end: there have been a few unexpected (time-consuming) things to attend to at home and, of course, the larger academic project I’m working on. But, it hasn’t been so busy that I did not find time to play with my doll patterns, felt, and flosses.

Beyond all language and metrics of productivity, the time I spend making dolls / making things for the dolls is essentially that: play. In contrast to my recent knitting projects (where I had a clear pattern to work, directions to follow), a lot of my doll-crafting time feels a bit like a state of suspension – with the work being invented as I go, I feel my grip on goal-direction loosen and lose its unilinear quality: many solutions to problems or dilemmas crop up, or work themselves out over a week or two after playing with and testing out different alternatives. In this state, crafting feels both hazy and focused. On the one hand, working feels like walking through dreams – like being given license to wander and explore, precisely because so many things are possible. At the same time, my usual sensitivities become a bit more acute, acuity sharpens (mostly for the better!). I’d like to write a longer post on my thoughts on this process, but for the time being, I’ll say that recovering a space and sense of play and open-endedness (design!) is becoming a major route to enabling my creativity and well-being (no big surprise there, perhaps!).

I’ve also taken, recently, to using notebooks as little homes to organize ideas for different crafting media. It’s nice to have separate, offline spaces for collecting, gathering, sketching, diarizing, and jotting down. For me, it’s otherwise easy for various projects to get jumbled up (and meld into an overwhelming mega-project), or for me to forget that perfect idea that came in the shower. I’m not a multi-tasker, but more of a serial single-tasker (and I very much struggle with making the transitions in between). Hence, the need for little homes where the different ideas can find kinship, cross-pollinate, and lead a happy existence until I’m able to properly attend to them. Taking out one of these books and putting it on my one-and-only work desk also signals to me that I’m entering the zone for that particular project. When space is limited, these books help me to set the tone and intention for a work session.

play.jpg
Let’s not let the best ideas get tangled up like that floss: the orange book is for doll-making & blogging, the white one for knitting, and the black one for drawings.

And, on the doll front…

Last week, I bought some extra skeins of floss and, having learned some lessons from the previous project, a set of doll needlesย (just saying that brings me a flicker of excitement).

floss - needle.jpg

The bigger doll needles in the set measure 3 inches (compare with the regular hand-sewing needle above). Doll needles are long, ample-eyed, and are super for stitching through multiple doll parts and fabric-layers with thick, heavier-duty thread. They make the sewing of classic doll button joints, for instance, 1000 times easier.

In that arena, it looks like last week’s deer-friendย is anticipating some company.

2nd deer1-2

You know, after all, what they say about March: it comes in like a lion, and goes out like a… doe (that’s the saying, right?).

Looking forward to catching up with your creative goings on, and wishing you a great Easter / weekend!

How do you organize your work on multiple media and/or projects? (notebooks, schedules, workspaces, other methods?). And, do you distinguish between work on patterns designed and generated by others, and those you design yourself?

17 thoughts on “1st week of Spring: thinking about process and play

  1. Your felt does are so cute together. This pose is even cuter! As far as your organization question goes, I think I need to come up with a system because I don’t have one, really. I did get a notebook for jotting down DMC numbers I needed when I took up cross stitching again. It helps with the shopping and avoiding duplicates. I should have one for knitting and crochet, especially these days, because, for example, I wrote down my numbers for my sock heels on a post-it and that post-it will no doubt get lost some day. I have no system for keeping track of patterns I’d like to do and sometimes I’m like, “I really want to knit or crochet that thingy I saw” and then I don’t remember where I saw it or what it was and I have fish through books and magazines.

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    1. Thanks, Tony! I think it’s only right to give a lone doll some company. ๐Ÿ™‚ Me, too – I also often jot things on post-it notes! I’ve been practicing sticking the notes into the books. Let’s see if this helps me lose less info, lol. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and process. I’m always curious about how the very prolific makers like yourself get things done!

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  2. I love the idea of being a serial single-tasker! It’s definitely a concept I can get behind. And your notebooks are a wonderful way to honor the life and energy of individual projects. Just looking at them makes me happy. And your little blue doe! Oh, my! โค๏ธ

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  3. Great post – I love hearing about your creative process. And doll needles – gasp! How fun! I cannot wait to see that new blue feltie friend be brought to life by your creativity! I don’t know how you find time for all you do.

    I used to use multiple journals, but for the past year, I’ve been combining everything into one bullet journal. There’s a table of contents in the front, so I can keep track of where I have jotted down song lyrics or come up with a creative idea amidst the daily jumble. I have found keeping it all in one place to be helpful, as my mind can be scattered!

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  4. Thank you for reading, Weekes! I’ve lucked out this semester of the school year. There has been more time than usual to work on a few crafty exploits, though it can be hard to find a balance when things pick up.

    Ooh, that sounds like a great idea actually. Centralizing everything in one bullet journal sounds like a great way to house the different ideas, and with fewer notebooks liable to be missed or misplaced (I like the handy table of contents!). It sounds, too, like a very good way to keep the songwriting muses close at hand! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!

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  5. I like a good notebook (or several)! And yours are very pretty as well as useful! I do a similar thing as well – I’ve a knitting notebook where I keep track of ideas, yarn swatches and patterns, another book for noting down what my knitting students are up to, small portable notebooks for on-the-go jottings, a sketchbook… Oh, wait. Now I realise why there’s no space in my house! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’d also be pretty lost without my week-to-view diary – online calendars just don’t have the same appeal. It’s great that you’ve found some more doll-making time, too… And that you’re getting so much out of the process! Creating your own softie characters is addictive, isn’t it? I can’t wait to see your latest one when (s)he is ready! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. How interesting that you also work with multiple notebooks. I like your idea of dedicating a single book to swatches and patterns. Knitting generates lots of ‘data,’ and I’m still trying to find a way to organize it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also use a weekly-view diary and, as you know, the Beastie calendar pages have joined the organizational arsenal this year! (I tried Google calendar but always find myself going back to paper as well).

      And yes, the softies are totally addictive (toy-making is such fun!). Thanks for reading! Cheers!

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      1. Yes, much as I’d love to embrace “paperless”, I just don’t remember things unless I write them down! Plus it’s pretty hard to stick lovely tactile yarn scraps to a computer screen. I actually started into a new knitting journal yesterday… Oooh, the excitement of all those empty pages to fill!

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