Baking,  MachineKnitting,  Personal,  Polymer Clay,  Sewing

Craft Boredom Cycles and The Very Long Year

This is a less informational/more personal post than I normally put here, so if you’re not in the mood for a ramble, you may want to skip it. I just wanted to share something that I have noticed about myself. I have seen several people mentioning it lately, so I don’t think it’s limited to just me. Crafting Boredom.

Do you ever get afflicted? By this I mean, do you ever look at your heap of supplies for this hobby you have, that you LOVE, and just…don’t wanna? It’s happened to me before, many times. The first time it was hand knitting/crochet. I had a lot of yarn, all kinds of needles and hooks and whatnot, and I just didn’t feel like doing it. For a long time, actually. So, I assumed that I no longer liked to do those things, and gave away a lot of yarn. I did keep the needles and hooks, mostly because I didn’t know what to do with them. They got stuffed into a closet, and life went on.

I had also recently gotten heavily into sewing at that time. It started with cloth diapers and some basic clothes for my kid, ended with me thinking, “This is so fun, I’m going to do this for a side hustle” and amassing a ton of supplies for all the diapers I was going to make. I did make a lot of diapers and things, and I did enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but then after a time I just…didn’t want to sew anymore. (I was really into running at that point. Yes, me. Running. Don’t laugh, there was a time!) Then we decided to move, so that meant packing everything away while we were showing the house and moving. I can’t say how long I had everything packed up, but it was a long time. Months. Some of my fabric bins went into storage, and I didn’t get them out for a long time after we moved.

But I eventually did get them back, and while going through my pretty fabrics, was inspired again to get back to the machine and make some other things, improve my skills, try new fabrics, etc.. I had another baby, and of course wanted to make some fun baby stuff, decided to expand my product line to include children’s clothing, did an in-person craft show that was quite successful, and then…promptly lost the momentum right after that show.

But then…what was this urge, coming over me…I felt like…hand knitting?! So I started picking up some yarn and needles for the first time in forever. I believe this was in 2016, and I had “quit” knitting in 2010, but probably hadn’t touched it since 2009? I was never a very prolific or skilled hand-knitter, more of an “adventurous beginner”, who had never completed an actual garment, despite starting a couple. My crochet skills were more advanced, but I hadn’t picked that up in years either.

A lot of things had changed since I had done my big yarn purge. Social media became huge, YouTube makes learning new skills faster and easier, Instagram is full of yarny goodness, and all of a sudden I decided I was going to hand knit my kid a sweater. I found one – no seaming, made in the round, and I did it! I completed that sweater, and two more. Around this time I got to thinking…wouldn’t it be nice if I could make my own knit fabrics for sewing? (Can you see where this is going?)

I remembered my grandfather had a knitting machine when I was a kid, and decided to check out Kijiji. A Singer 360 soon found its way to me, and ever since then I have been machine and hand knitting, and buying and reselling knitting machines to create what I think is my ultimate fleet. Oh and I also found a love for vintage sewing machines, found a cheap embroidery machine and learned to use that, oh and I wanted to try polymer clay sculpting so I did some of that, and on and on.

There are always periods where I’m more into one thing than another. Sometimes I feel like embroidering everything for weeks on end, then I might be at the knitting machine for a while, then I need to sew things, or get really into baking for a bit. The momentum for each craft ebbs and flows – almost with the seasons, I have noticed. Google photos will pop up photos from a year ago, or two, and it is hilarious to see that I was in almost exactly the same “phase.” I have learned to accept that the muse comes and goes, if you will, haha. It’s just how I am. Of course if there are things I need to do, I will do them, but that burst of “OOOH I just have to make this thing!” are a lot more fickle.

BUT, for the last couple of months…I just…don’t wanna do anything. I look at my knitting machines, sitting unloved, and so much beautiful yarn, and I just…don’t feel like it. I look at my fabrics and sewing machines, and aside from short testing sessions or completing things I have to do, I just think, “meh.” The idea of cutting the sweater knit I’ve had sitting there earmarked for a cardigan, is so blah, I just can’t. I haven’t taken the cover off my embroidery machine in months. Making dinner is such a chore that I can’t even think about baking.

I know that I’ll get over it eventually, and I’m assuming a lot of this has to do with being sequestered in our homes for a calendar year at this point. As much as I love crafting, I think anyone would be a little tired of the same old same old. What do I really want to do? I want to go out! I want to eat in a restaurant and go browse a thrift store, and go to the library, and go to a concert – oh man, do I ever want to go drink a nasty uncovered beer from a probably-dirty solo cup at a concert! I would like to go to a baseball game. I want to watch my kids play sports, play in the park, ooh karaoke would be fun! I would desperately love to go to a craft show and see what other people have made – you get the idea.

My point is, I’m trying to be gentle with myself. I have been around the sun enough times to know that my urge to make things goes in cycles anyway, so I’m not making any rash decisions or getting rid of any equipment. I’m not overly alarmed by my lack of motivation at the moment, because I think it’s understandable given the state of the world. I am trying not to look at the last year and scold myself for my “lack of productivity,” because this year hasn’t been a normal year for anyone. And I actually did get a lot done, albeit a lot of the same things. Between September and December I was knitting like a fiend, every spare waking minute, pretty much, so maybe I’m a little burnt out at the moment. And even though we are doing well as a family, I think all of the “unknowns” – what’s going to happen, how will this affect everything – and uncertainty have been mentally taxing. We’ve had to adjust to online school. It’s winter, so outside is kind of not as fun as it could be. And there’s an element of sadness of course – so many people are not OK. It’s a lot.

Are you feeling the same way? Be gentle on yourself, really. If you’re really and truly done with something, hey so be it. But it doesn’t hurt to wait a few months before you go on a craft purge. Warmer weather, longer daylight hours, maybe-hopefully-at-some-point getting out of lockdown, seeing something really cool on Instagram that you just HAVE to try…inspiration comes on in weird ways. I’m trying to do other things to boost my mood while I wait for my next burst. And when I do get it, I’m hoping I won’t have to pick up a new craft because I’m seriously out of room – in both the calendar and the craft room!

Stay safe, hang in there, and happy (eventual) crafting.

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