In a rut

I don’t know about you, but 2020 has been something of a challenge here. Whist I like my home, and being confined within it is not a terrible thing, being obliged to stay there all the time has been difficult. It is incredibly easy to get into a rut and to develop habits that you’d rather not have… over consumption of cake and chocolate, for example. One of the things that I have missed most this year is spontaneity. No one ever calls round unexpectedly for a cuppa; we can’t wake up in the morning, see it’s a lovely day and decide to go and visit my mum; for quite a while we couldn’t even go anywhere in the car to have a different dog walk. So, what to do?

Recently, Mr Snail and I have decided to make the effort to do some different things… and to plan to do different things, even if they are not very exciting. For example, on Wednesday we set off early and went to the fruit and veg merchants in Carmarthen, where we stocked up… now we are in the process of making big batches of soup to go in the freezer. It’s the first time we’ve done this for months and months. We’ve also been down to the beach a couple of times recently with Sam and Daisy. It’s fun for us and they have certainly enjoyed themselves:

Beach time

The other thing that I did earlier on the the autumn was to take out a subscription to “Little Box of Crochet” – which means that once every two months, a project with all the materials arrives on my doorstep. In the past, I’ve felt that I don’t need to be given a project to work on, being quite capable of thinking of things for myself, but sometimes inspiration wanes and maintaining creativity over recent months has sometimes been hard. So, I decided to to let someone else do the thinking for me, and enjoy a parcel every now and again. I met Amanda, creator of Little Box of Crochet, at the first Crochet Sanctuary that I went to a couple of years ago and I know what care she puts into the boxes, so I was certain that I wouldn’t be disappointed. The latest one arrived just yesterday and will challenge me to learn a new skill: Tunisian crochet. It’s not something that I would otherwise have tried, but sometimes it’s good to get the brain cells working and have a go at something new. So far I’ve had three of the boxes and the two previous ones have resulted in a duffle bag (which I’ve shared pictures of previously) and the most lovely pair of fingerless mittens made with wool from Baa Ram Ewe in amazing colours.

I’ve spent no money on going out for the past 10 months, so it’s nice to use some of my savings to support another small business.

So, what have you been doing to amuse/inspire/motivate yourself in 2020?

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16 Comments

  1. Even for homebodies, staying home all the time can be a bit much. Really enjoyed seeing those dogs run! Also, liked all the crochet projects. Yes, do whatever creative activity that makes you feel better. As for me, writing occupies so much of my creativity that I really don’t have energy for much else, but going outside and taking pictures always perks me up.

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  2. I love the duffle bag and fingerless gloves. No harm in getting inspiration from others now and then! It can give us new perspectives – under any circumstances. However, in this time where many aspects of our lives are stunted, such an injection is particularly worthwhile.

    I’ve not tried any Baa Ram Ewe yarn yet. Almost bought some just before the first lockdown but was just getting into sock-knitting and the shop I could access most easily which stocks some of their yarns didn’t have any suitable for this purpose.

    Anyway, I have now made many pairs of socks and am currently have a break. I wanted a simple project so have crocheted a bath towel, hand towel (nearly finished) and flannel for myself.

    I’m also in the middle of spinning yarn for two other projects – a cardigan and piping for a cushion I made. But what with backache from teaching online, I needed to give my body a break. Now that I’ve got my ergonomic chair from work, though, I am think I can now return to spinning.

    I think it is good to create small adventures for ourselves. Hopefully, on Christmas Day the weather will be good enough for my daughter and I to go for a walk somewhere new.

    Enjoy your soup!

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  3. Sending lots of empathy. I am OK when I am busy and purposeful, but creativity also requires time, space and a positive mindset, and those can be quite hard to come by. I am glad that you have found a way out of your rut, and I’m sure you will benefit in more ways than simply making the next project – you will have new techniques, new ideas for colourways and new yarns to explore. I ike the mittens especially 🙂

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  4. I am glad you have found ways to do new things (or things that you haven’t done for a while) I have decided to spend the time over Christmas and New year doing the kind of things that get I never usually get round to ‘just for fun’. Hopefully that will inspire me for the next few months.

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  5. Here in Queensland, our lockdown has never been as severe as yours, so I’ve never felt truly restricted in my movements. However, I’m definitely going out and about less in places where there are lots of other people, and am still feeling a reluctance to mingle much. I haven’t felt much lack of creativity until recent days, and I’m sure it’ll pass soon, but while I do, I find that setting myself a *small* target and making myself achieve it each day is getting me through the worst of it.

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    • Back in full lockdown as of midnight… actually it’s making little difference to us as we had already battened down the hatches with the rocketing cases in our area since the return of the university students. Sigh.

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      • Oh Lord… is it everywhere in the UK? I only ask because some people will have a short (say 20 miles) distance to travel to Pa’s funeral in January. Can you get an exemption for that?

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  6. Up until March – I was just doing whatever I wanted – then one Sunday after I had taken a walk which led me to the Mall and some icecream – it was to be last “into the Mall for no reason” for well on 6 weeks. First it was just the vulnerable, and I hadn’t even had time to get in good supplies as on the next day – I was grounded. A few days later everyone (except essential workers) found themselves grounded. I had lot of problems which took weeks to solve, how to get food in as I’m home alone. I’m not sure I enjoyed having to prepare and cook daily for me…

    Then we slowly evolved up the levels to ONE – and things were a bit more normal but I still wasn’t back to anything normal for me. August my region – Warkworth to Pokeno went into Level 3 and restrictions were in force again…

    Now we are back to ONE but somehow my entire life has changed. Including me having some brand new health issues over 7 weeks ago – some of which are still under medication and won’t be finished until Boxing Day. With the addition I have to see a specialist to unravel something – this won’t happen until possibly Feb because summer time in NZ, means those kind of people wander away from their clinics!

    I’ve made art, I’m messed around with new things in art and making but somehow I’ve not truly found my way! And now because of these new health issues, I can’t be bothered going out and about. Some days I get up with the intention…then somehow I never get going.

    Last week, I decided I should make a kind of Gallery within my home … so it seems that Gallery de Catherine is evolving. Haven’t any idea if I will ever have labels on things but the themes are evolving. However, I’m collecting display units for a forthcoming “show” on at least one of the fixtures…I use blogspot as my (un)official art arena …. https://catherinethemaker.blogspot.com/2020/12/catherines-summer-gallery-1.html

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  7. I started the #RingAMonth2020 challenge run by Anna of the Edinburgh Jewellery School. Most of the pieces have been shared on Instagram and my business page, I’ve yet to complete December’s, but it’s been a fabulous challenge, I never thought I’d make many rings, but have really enjoyed that, and having a theme to work within and an element of target accountability has been great. I haven’t decided what I’ll do to replace it next year, but I think I’ll have to do something!

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  8. I’m finding that, not being able to do much, or any, creative stuff due to the move and the amount of still unpacked boxes has served to stifle any inspiration anyway – so much so that I’m panicking in case it doesn’t come back and I will have nabbed the biggest bedroom for my workroom for no good reason. I did spot a free cowl pattern from Rowan the other day and just happened to know I had a ball of super chunky wool that would do the trick – even better, I knew where it was! My daughter’s Christmas present hasn’t arrived yet and I’m dubious that it will now so I thought she would at least have a hand knitted gift to unwrap on the day.

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    • Glad you have found something that inspired you and for which you have the right yarn. I’m sure your creativity will return – the move would have been draining enough even under “normal” circumstances, but it must have been a particular challenge with all the other stuff going on in the country. If you can motivate yourself to get your craft room sorted out you may start to feel a bit more inspired. Having said that, I go through waves of ennui and it can be really hard to do anything. Seeing other peoples makes is helping, though, so I very much appreciate my crafty blogging friends.

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  9. During our time of strict lockdown (in Melbourne) I found I missed the spontaneous too. The chance to just wander into town, mooch around galleries, sit with a cup of coffee, just go where the spirit moved me. It is such a strange, liminal time. I love the ways you are finding novelty. I hope they continue to lift your mood a little. Have a peaceful Christmas, and may the coming months be healthy ones!

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