This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo, the blogger behind Crochet Concupiscence and author of Crochet Saved My Life. Kathryn's next project, Hook to Heal, is designed to help crocheters explore their creative sides and break down their artistic blocks using creative exercises. Today’s post is an example of one of those exercises.
Jumbled Up Crochet Pattern Exercise
In this creativity exercise you will take lines from a number of different crochet patterns and put them together to make one random pattern. The pattern will not actually make sense or make a functional object. So what’s the point?
Some of the creative benefits you can get out of this crochet exercise are:
• Exploring what it is like to crochet something that you see as seemingly pointless; this can help you figure out what crochet means to you and can teach you a lot about your own artistic process.
• Facing your frustrations in crochet; the areas that don’t work out may frustrate you and how you deal with that frustration can teach you a lot about yourself!
• Expand your problem-solving techniques; you won’t be able to just do what the pattern says to do so you’ll have to get creative!
• Generating new curiosity for your crochet as you work; you’ll be curious about what will happen as the product develops. This also helps encourage mindfulness crochet as you will be immersed in the lines of the work.
Keep these goals in mind as you work through the exercise. At the end of the exercise you will find some tips and thoughts to help you work through the creative issues that arise.
The first thing that you will need to do is to gather together between 10 and 15 random crochet patterns. I suggest using copies of physical patterns to make the experience more tangible but you can also use a cut-and-paste method on your computer.
Go through each pattern and randomly select 1-4 lines from that pattern to highlight. Now take each of those lines from each of those patterns and paste them into a new pattern. If you are doing the physical version, you will actually cut out those lines from the paper pattern and rearrange them into a new pattern on your floor, table or other workspace.
You should now have a brand new pattern made up of lines that don’t necessarily go together. Now just follow that crochet pattern from beginning to end, turning the work at the end of each row that you’ve created in your new pattern.
Note that you are going to have to make problem-solving adjustments and creative changes to compensate for the fact that the pattern lines are not actually designed to go together. For example, let’s say that you just did a row of single crochet. Now your next line reads “dc in each dc” but the row you created is a sc row so you need to mentally adapt and just “dc in each sc”.
The adaptations may get a lot more complicated than that. There will be odd numbers of stitches, weird turning chains and lots of things that don’t make sense. For many people this is going to bring up a lot of feelings of frustration, stress and pointlessness. Work through that anyway! It is the creative process and the path to understanding your artistic self that is important in this exercise NOT the end product.
Food for Thought
Many emotions may arise as you work through creativity exercises such as this one. It is amazing how many strange creative blocks we have inside of ourselves that we aren’t aware of until we start exploring them. I recommend keeping a written or audio journal of your experience as you work through this project. You should note all of your feelings and thoughts and where you think that they are coming from. It is okay to hate this entire process but you’ll get value out of it if you can assess and understand why you are hating it.
Some of the things to think about as you work through the exercise, in addition to the goals mentioned at the top of this post, include:
• What does it mean to me to make an item that will serve no functional purpose?
• How do I handle creative stress in a project that doesn’t have a clear pattern?
• What do I love about the process of crochet? What benefit am I getting just from exploring a pointless pattern?
• Am I saying any negative thoughts to myself in my mind as I work? Where do those come from? How can I change them into positive thinking that boosts my creative self-esteem?
Hook to Heal Creativity Project
This creativity exercise is just one example of the type of artistic exploration that I’m offering in my upcoming project, Hook to Heal. Hook to Heal is going to be a book of creativity exercises as well as an online class and a one-on-one email support system. It is a comprehensive multi-media crochet-based approach to helping others fully understand their creative selves and take their inner artist to the next level. I am crowdsourcing funding right now to make this project happen and appreciate all donations. For just $1 you can get your name in the book’s acknowledgments. For $25 you can get an advance print copy of the book when it’s ready this fall. There are also many other opportunities to contribute. Check out the campaign here.