A Less Creative Holiday

I'm having a hard time feeling very creative these days.

Not because I'm not creating, but with Christmas fast approaching I am feeling the crunch on my holiday making. Last year I knit a gift for each of our immediate family members because we were buying a house, and by buying my supplies in bulk I was able to keep our Christmas expenses much lower than previous years. This year I just started buying presents earlier and vowed not to give handmade. Well, that worked for almost everyone, but turns out I just can't help myself. A few weeks ago I got a bug to make some sewn gifts for one family member, and then I decided to knit for another, and before you know it I've got several makes on the go.

Luckily I finished Pasha's holiday sweater (modeled photos to come), and there are no stockings to knit this year, so I think I'll have everything done in time.

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The other real damper on my creativity has been this pregnancy. I'm in the home stretch now and it's taking a toll on my energy. I'm tired all the time (shocker) and I can't sit at my sewing machine for long before my foot starts significantly swelling. The result is small progress on a lot of projects -- not really conducive to documenting or creating a sense of accomplishment.

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But it's not all bad. The upside of this need to rest is the increased amount of time I get to spend enjoying the holiday season with Pasha. He is obsessed with Christmas trees, demanding that ours be lit at all times and squealing with glee when he sees others at various locations around town. He was also quite excited that his favorite singer, Leslie Odom Jr, has a Christmas album. Yes, my one year old has a favorite singer, which might sound weird to other people but if that's the only way to keep him calm in the car, then by golly I will get all of Mr Odom Jr's albums.

In any case, hopefully come Christmas I'll have more interesting things to share with you. In the meantime, I hope you are having a lovely holiday season whatever you choose to celebrate.

Stepping Back In

*poke poke* Is anyone still here?

Oh guys, my life has been a true study of inertia lately. Or entropy, depending on your view (and here I thought I'd never use that class on Newton I foolishly took my last semester of university). Trying to find time to sit down and write devolved to trying to find time to explain to you why I needed to find time which devolved into trying to find the motivation to come back and tell you about why I needed to explain about finding time. Basically I went into a writing death spiral where I seemed incapable of actually sitting at my laptop.

Or, to put it another way, I am almost 30 weeks pregnant and I have an eighteen month old. 

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But ultimately I found that though I missed you, if I had to choose between creating things and writing about the things I created, I needed to do the creating. I spend so much time explaining things and keeping my brain engaged in what is going on around me (not my natural state), that I've craved time to just sit and knit, or sew, or just doze on the couch if I'm honest. We hosted Thanksgiving this year, which was lovely but required way more extroverting than I do on a regular basis.

And beyond even all of that is the fact that several of my current WIPs involve something I said I wasn't going to do this year -- online yarn purchasing.

L-R: Makers Haven, Suburban Stitcher, Stress Knits, Gracelynn Wool

L-R: Makers Haven, Suburban Stitcher, Stress Knits, Gracelynn Wool

I know, I know. I made it until September only buying yarn in physical shops or festivals and knitting in large part from stash. But then everyone started releasing their monthly clubs for October, my birthday month, and my resolve shattered. I got four clubs for my birthday, and that was supposed to be it, but it seems once the floodgates open there is no closing them. I've been a lot more restrained since, but there has definitely been a little more purchasindg in the month since.

But the good news is I am already putting it to good use, so that's a win of sorts. Right? Right.

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Making Things Easier

I don't know about you

but I have a tendency to make things harder on myself than they need to be. For everyone else I am full of second chances and accommodations, but for myself? For myself I never give an inch. Giving myself a break just isn't something that comes naturally to me. Especially now that I'm a mom -- it feels like any mistake I make or step back that I take could impact my child. And I know that's crazy, so I'm trying to make things easier on myself.

Back around Mother's Day I told you guys about my struggles with Postpartum Depression (PPD). What I didn't know at the time was that I was pregnant and what I didn't detail in my post is that I was taking medication to help with it. I'm not ashamed that I chose to take pills because it made me a much better mom for Pasha and helped me to be the mom I want to be -- easy-going, less anxious, and willing to get in the muck if it meant we had a good time. But once I found out about Stormy all of that changed. The primary reason I struggled so much over the summer is that I was coming off of this medication and the side effects were horrid. I'm better now but the end result is that I don't want to go back on them again if I can help it, so I've started working with a counselor to tackle the remains of my PPD and prepare for the upheaval that will be another baby (I also understand that not everyone can come off of their medication during pregnancy. Whatever makes it possible for you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, I support you. You, mama, are a rock star no matter what).

The big issue we keep circling back to is the pressure that I put on myself. Pressure to be a good mom, pressure to be a good wife, pressure to have a beautiful home, etc. I've started to work on stepping back, looking at my major goals be they for the day, the week, etc, and find ways to make them easier on myself. For example, I've started doing a load of laundry every day. Just one. That much I can get washed, dried, and put away while wrangling a very curious toddler (who really likes to help).

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This approach of finding ways to make things easier has started finding its way into my knitting as well. Until recently I never used a cable needle. Sometimes I really needed one, but I was determined to make it work without because it was something small I could take pride in. But on my Chuck this time I used a cable needle the whole way. This made it a lot more fun to work on and much less frustrating if Pasha needed something RIGHT NOW MOM in the middle of a cable row.

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As you can see I am applying the same thought to the sleeve decreases. Do you know how much lighter I feel not having to keep all those counts in my head? It's not that I can't, or even shouldn't, it's that I don't have to.

Do you have strategies you use to bring ease to your knitting life? If so I'd love to hear about them!

Get With It

I know it's been a while since I've shared my life with you guys.

Believe me, it feels weird. I'm so used to taking in my days and finding the funny to share. Like the day that Pasha decided that the only way to eat his yogurt is with his hands. I'm still cleaning my cabinets after that fallout. But I took an accidental hiatus and that entropy has been hard to break.

My crafting mojo has been at an all-time low lately. Chasing a baby has been a lot more work now that he's figured out how to climb almost everything and is very close to opening his baby gates all on his own. I have a couple of large projects that are seeing progress, but finding the motivation to pick them up has been hard. And sewing? Forget it. It's been more than a month since I've used my machine.

See? Climbing EVERYTHING

See? Climbing EVERYTHING

Pasha and I are going to visit my parents this week, and I'm hopeful that the mini vacation will help reboot my creativity. I find myself fantasizing about knitting all the time, but the actual practice of using sticks and string to make something functional? It's been a little lacking.

How do you deal with a drop in creativity? Do you have any tricks to get yourself back on track? I'd love to hear about them.

Hit Pause

You ever have a moment where you just want to freeze time?

Things have been a little quite over here because I was having one of those moments. Several of them actually. Because yesterday our little bug, my darling Pasha, turned one. ONE! Can you believe it?

This year has been so hard and so wonderful and I wouldn't trade any of it. Being this kid's mama has made all of the struggles worth it. But at the same time it seems like the experience is flying by and I just want to hit pause and spend a little more time in the moment. So yesterday in honor of Pasha's birthday and my first year as a mommy I put all my current projects to the side and started something new for myself.

I picked up this yarn at Black Mountain Yarn Shop over the weekend because I am finally, FINALLY, going to make a TCPT. The Totally Perfect Crop Top was published last summer but I was not in a place where I wanted to knit garments. This year I have already sewn several high-waisted skirts, so a crop top should be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. By the time I got the yarn wound and cast on someone was up from his nap, so I didn't get much done, but it is a start.

We also ran some selfish errands, picking up books for the birthday boy and fabric for me! Pasha decided last week that he is done nursing, so I'm finally free to start wearing pullover dresses, not seperates or items with handy zippers. First up? Deer and Doe's Arum Dress. Hopefully it is as quick and easy as it looks.

We had a lovely time with the birthday boy, but now it's back to reality. There are grandparents coming to visit and a birthday party to  host, so mommy's got to get herself in gear. But I did enjoy my little selfish pause. Here's hoping I don't have to wait till his second birthday to take another.