What am I working on?
In knitting - a big, cozy, tweedy sweater to wear this winter. Something that will (hopefully) fit comfortably over my expanding belly. I also have a sweater vest and a pair of socks on the needles.
In sewing - two patchwork quilts made from scrap fabrics found in my stash or at the thrift store. I'm sewing these by hand using the paper method.
And around the house - the nesting process has begun, which, for me, means finishing up a long list of projects: painting those chairs in the dining room, setting up a space for the baby and re-organizing the house. A lot more creativity goes into all of this than one might think, especially when you're prone to DIYing solutions whenever possible while somehow making everything aesthetically pleasing.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I'm not sure how much of what I do actually differs except maybe in tastes. I like neutrals and pops of color (usually jewel tones), and I'm very inspired by nature. Bright rainbow colors generally aren't my thing, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps I'm looking to be soothed rather than stimulated.
Other than that, whether it's knitting, DIY house projects or handmade gifts for friends and family, the things I create have to be beautiful (to me) and serve a legitimate purpose. I don't like to make things that won't get used, to the point that if I spend a month knitting a sweater and I don't like it, I'll take the time to rip back and make the necessary adjustments, or I'll frog the whole thing and use the yarn for something else.
Why do I write/create what I do?
I write because I have to. It keeps me sane and grounded, and when I'm not writing here or for work, I'm scribbling away in my journal.
The same could be said for my knitting, crocheting, cooking, gardening, sewing and other handmade endeavors. I've always known that living a slower, more simple life was the only way to keep from getting out of touch with myself. I was severely depressed in my early 20's because I had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do, and I did everything I could to avoid the future because the standard college-educated American career track looked so incredibly unappealing to me. It wasn't until I started writing and creating that I began to discover who I was, and found a more sustainable and healthy pace to exist in.
Not everything I teach myself to make and do becomes a hobby. For instance, knitting has definitely struck a chord with me, but I'm not totally sure I'll be interested in taking up spinning or dyeing my own yarn. Still, it's important for me to take the time to learn and try these things if for no other reason than to understand the meaning behind a hand-knit sweater and the garment industry and the difference between fast and slow fashion. The same holds true for food and gardening, and so many other things. I'm motivated by the idea of connecting with and understanding the basic necessities I used to take for granted.
How does my writing/illustration/creative process work?
For creative projects, I have a 'research mode' and a 'get stuff done' mode. The research mode can go on for days - weeks, even - and consists of gathering inspiration, reading tutorials, looking up the right materials and generally getting myself comfortable with the idea of diving into the work.
Often, my research mode covers more than one project, which makes it easy for me to go from finishing one thing to starting the next. I only work on one project at a time (usually), which makes it seem like I get things done quickly when there was actually a lot of behind-the-scenes work that went into preparing it.
As for writing, my mind will prod around certain topics, phrases or words throughout the day, and I try to always write those things down somewhere so I can refer to them later. I have a lot of notes with fragment sentences or ideas, and sometimes they'll connect into a bigger picture.
For work and home, I usually start all my writing on paper. There's something about having the pen in my hand that lets me breathe and think more clearly about what I want to say. Once I've figured out how to begin, I can usually transfer over to the computer and finish from there.
A big thank you to both Kristina and Ness for inviting me to participate! If you haven't seen their blogs, you definitely should. They are two of my faves. And because I'm getting this post in just under (or on) the two week wire, I'll have to take a cue from Ness and edit this post later to insert the folks who I've e-mailed to ask about participating once they've replied. Check back later to see who's next on the blog hop!*
*Update: For the next stops on the Creative Blog Hop, check out these posts from Lola Nova and Adventures in Making!