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Saturday, 8 July 2017

Striking While the Inspiration is Hot

misc crafting supplies
What did I make with this in twenty minutes?
I assume that if you're reading this, you're a sewing person and probably crafty or creative in general.

What I'd like to know is how and when you harness your creativity.

The moment you find yourself thinking, "hey I'd like to do/make that", are you then able to take advantage of that more or less immediately, or is that a virtual impossibility?

If you let go of those moments, what happens to that initial spark of inspiration? How do you keep it alive? Does it join an ever increasing list of "must do"s? (And if so, do you actually keep such a record?)

On the other hand, if you're one of those people who instantly does something the moment it strikes you, how exactly do you manage that?

I'm asking a lot of questions today, aren't I? (Jot down your answers right now and share them with me in a comment later.)

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It occurred to me recently that I'd like to know how "crafty" people craft. Obviously, those who have jobs are somewhat hindered by them, but it would still be interesting to know how they manage their moments of inspiration.

Ultimately, I'm curious about this: does crafting when the inspiration strikes produce a better final result than putting it off for some other time?

Let me give you an example. Last December, I came upon a suggestion to use a separate pin cushion to keep track of "lightly used" sewing machine needles. It seemed like a great idea since I had been keeping mine in various ways that often saw me confuse my "keepers" with my "waiting to be thrown away-ers".

Not really needing a tutorial to make a pin cushion, I quickly gathered up the supplies that you see at the top of this post and created this little guy in under half an hour. With a preconceived idea of what it should look like, I knew it would be quick. (For me, crafting on the fly requires that the project be small and easily accomplished. I have a thing for "quick wins".)

pin cushion crafted by eSheep Designs
A pin cushion in less than half an hour...

The body is made out of two circles (between four and five inches in diameter) of red felt. I cut an "x" in the middle of one of them for turning and stuffing purposes (cotton balls) and then sewed the two together all the way around the edge.

While I would have preferred to use embroidery floss, I resorted to this intriguing spool of variegated thread that was part of my care package. (That has certainly been the gift that keeps on giving!)

variegated nylon thread
Red and black nylon thread...

While it's not as thick as embroidery floss, once doubled up, it worked fine to segment my tomato and add the required definition. On the other hand, repeatedly feeding the needle through the same place in the centre of this thing was not entirely easy to do.

After my stuffed sheep project, I only had uneven scraps of black and white felt left, so I used the old "fold into quarters and cut" freehand method to create flower shapes out of what I had. Then I stacked them on top of the exposed hole in the middle of the tomato.

pin cushion crafted by eSheep Designs
This was pretty much a free form "quick to completion" project... just what one needs for crafting on the fly!

Most tutorials will tell you to close up that hole by hand-sewing it; I didn't bother. I also didn't bother securing the flowers in any way.

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For the finishing touches, I found three red buttons in my bag 'o' buttons, each with four holes. I stacked them up, stuck some pins down those holes to hold everything together and my "inspired in the moment" crafting project was done. Other than the sewing together of the circles, I did this standing at my kitchen counter, a mere twenty minutes before starting dinner.

pin cushion crafted by eSheep Designs
A quick and easy satisfaction of a crafty inspiration...

And here it is, holding two of my "can still use" sewing machine needles.

I love how this little thing turned out. Had the thought been shoved aside, it probably never would have been made. Which is certainly not to imply that this pin cushion is a life-altering addition to my world, but sometimes maybe we should just take those inspired moments and run with them.

I actually had a couple of those moments late last year. Along with this little pin cushion, a lightbulb came on in my head about refashioning fleece scarves and also about making quickie lip balm carriers. Both ideas were well received.

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Take a look at my Pride & Prejudice throw pillow made with a fat quarter!

Unfortunately, I'll never be able to measure in any quantitative fashion whether one produces a better product the moment inspiration strikes versus waiting for later. I did, however, have a recent experience with a scheduled project that ended up giving me all kinds of grief. (You'll see it in a couple of weeks.) And just a few days ago, I ran an impromptu paracord bracelet making session with visiting relatives that was highly successful, because everyone involved was gung ho to try it in that moment. Would it have turned out so well had I told them beforehand that "I'm going to give you a paracord tying class tonight"? Dunno...

What are your thoughts on that?


  1. I need to start a project right away otherwise I forget about them when the next inspiration strikes.

    1. Yes, like so many of us who occasionally (?) procrastinate, sometimes a project just doesn't get done unless it's done right then and there.

  2. I am a handspinner, knitter, and weaver. All of which take a good deal of time to accomplish and rarely is equipment free to follow up on an inspiration immediately. I try to keep pictures, drafts, etc. that relate to the inspiration and revisit them from time to time and the idea get refined over time. So it is usually a long time from inspiration to project.

    1. Interesting to hear the about the logistics involved with other types of crafting in this context. (I suppose it's near impossible to run with an inspiration when the inspiration is "immense"!) I like your organized approach to the challenge; we should all do that.

  3. Sometimes I drop everything and sew when inspiration hits. Have just finished a flannelette quilt top which wasn't on the To Do list - thought of it, did it and happy with the result. Doesn't always work that way. Last time I did that I ended up not happy with it and ripped it apart to make something else. I think I seem to have the same success rate whether the project is planned or not - hard to tell.

  4. You have brought up some great things to think about, Rochelle! Interesting that you posted this about the same time I was contemplating trying a new project. It seems that whenever I'm attracted to a new project, the said project requires a new tool or something else new I can't buy locally, can't substitute, or have never tried. So depending on the logistics of acquiring everything, it can take a bit of time to actually attempt it. Meanwhile, I will read through the directions or research about it a few times to get familiar with it and see if I really want to do it. The first one is never the best one (there's always the moment of "NEVER AGAIN"--but it almost always passes), so I've learned to let it be the one I learn on. It takes around 3 tries to really start to get into the groove on something and know whether or not it is worth it (I'm either a really slow learner or...something else...not sure what, LOL).

    I just finished a #1 and ended up having issues to think through about things I would do differently, and it could have been the end right there--but I loved the concept too much to give up! So there will be a number 2!


  5. Hey, Rochelle! I adore you little buttony, flowery pincushion. And the post brings up cool questions about creativity. My own bursts tend to be centered around moments when I'm in my work room actually touching, organizing or searching through my stash of materials. I will have an aha moment as I come across something I had forgotten about. Or two or more somethings that suddenly seem to go together. Then there's a frenzy of urgent crafting, and it's totally a crap shoot as to whether it turns out well or not.


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