When you hear the word, 'inspiration,' what do you think of? Perhaps your mind immediately connects with a source of inspiration, like a mentor or teacher. Or maybe you think of your most recent project that inspires you to be creative. Perhaps the word even has you considering its alternate definition, of 'inhale.'
Wherever your mind goes upon hearing the word, let's face it - inspiration is a necessity. (Especially in the breathing sense of the word!) I'd venture to say it's one of the most important elements for movers and makers. But how do you continually stay inspired? Today I'm sharing a couple of tips that I've heard/practiced recently that help keep inspiration flowing.
Finding Inspiration with Stitching
There are sooo many resources out there for stitch inspiration - from social media, to Ravelry, to YouTube, to blogs and websites, to yarn shops, to books - the list goes on and on. But sometimes, despite the plethora of inspiration out there, it's not the easiest to tap into it, right? For me, it can get a little overwhelming and even go so far as have the opposite effect! (Which I guess would be 'expiration'- in that my interest expires, and I take a huge sighing exhale!)
So, what to do?
Right now, I'm taking a couple of tips from some people in the stitch world out there, who I've had the opportunity to hear from because of the free Knit Stars 2.0 videos. (More on that video series in a bit...)
Touch Your Project Every Day
This tip from Aimée at La Bien Aimée in Paris seems like a given, right? To actually work your craft every single day. But it's amazing how life just takes off in one direction, with a million to dos, and crafting projects are perpetually placed on the back burner (I've got some that are getting charred at this point!) Whether its a couple of stitches, or a couple of rows, Aimée maintains, that it's super important to connect with your stitching project every single day to keep the inspiration flowing. Yes. I'm making this my number-one, inspiration-starter, stitch-priority right now.
Never Stop Learning
Shelley, from Loops Yarn Store in Oklahoma, is the brain behind the Knit Stars online conferences. Her goal is to bring stitch wisdom from around the world into the homes and hearts of an online community, so it goes hand in hand with her philosophy - never stop learning.
Recently I had a lace shawl project that I thought was the 'next step' for me in terms of taking my technique up a notch. But after I had to rip it several times because I kept making mistakes (talking husbands and curious kitties have a way of making me lose count on intricate patterns!), I felt like I bit off more than I could chew. The experience with that shawl had me running back to easy stitches so that I could regain some confidence in my skills. But, it also taught me that in order to learn new things, I have got to try new things. (And they may not always work out.)
I bought the book: 750 Knitting Stitches: The Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible so that I can take itty bitty bites of new things. (Ripping a swatch is a heck of a lot easier than ripping a project, after all.) This book will continually challenge me (at least 750 times!) to learn new stitches and techniques. The best part about it is that two IG friends and I have a little 'stitch of the month' club where we pick a stitch from the book, knit a swatch and then reveal it on the last day of the month. (It always helps to have a little encouragement from friends!)
Get Out and Meet People
Okay, so this little tip for inspiration comes from a little closer to home and not from a knitting aficionado per se. My hub, Dylan, really encourages me to meet people who have similar interests, whether that be stitching, stretching, or otherwise. While he'll stretch with me from time to time, the likelihood that he'll get into stitching is low (though you know I'll be the first to encourage him!), so his tip for inspiration is to go out into the world and find others who enjoy the same things.
He researched knitting clubs for me the other day, and found one in Asheville that meets up once a month at different places around town. Piggybacking on the excitement he had for finding this group for me, I eagerly messaged the organizer, and wouldn't you know that their next meet up (in August, they're skipping July for holiday reasons) is at a local fiber farm that I've been wanting to go to. And it's a wine and cheese picnic! It was a pretty awesome find, I'll admit, and I'm really looking forward to the meet up.
Along these lines of Dylan's wisdom, getting out and 'meeting' people, can also be done online. Sure, it's a different experience than in-person, but there are a lot of online communities and knit clubs out there to tap into for inspiration. One is the Knit Stars. I've only just recently heard about this online knitting conference, but it sounds like the perfect spark of inspiration. The conference brings ten leading makers in the knitting/crochet world into your home over the course of two weeks to share their experience and knowledge. Now, it may be waaaay over my head, but the framework is set up so that you can return to the videos whenever you want, which would be super helpful for me. (If you're interested in knowing more about Knit Stars, they have an informational video and early bird registration going on right now for their 2nd conference.*) Other online knitting resources offering classes that I have seen, but also have yet to try, include Craftsy and Skillshare. (See what I mean about a lot of resources?!)
Okay, so do you think these tips only apply to stitching? If you know anything about me, you're ready for me to connect these very same tips to stretching. Here we go!
When I think of the meaning of inspiration that means, 'to draw an in breath,' I immediately think of yoga. No where else do I have such deep inspiration (and expiration, for that matter). But of course, yoga inspires me more than just through breath. And here's where those same tips apply.
'Touch' the Practice Everyday
Who has time for an hour long yoga class every day of the week? If you do, that's awesome, and I aspire to that level of dedication! Even if I do actually have the time, getting myself to carve out that time specifically for practice can be a challenge. So, reframing what 'practice' means helps. It could be some time spent in conscious breathing (inspiring and expiring!) while in line at the grocery store; a couple of postures to break up my desk work, or sitting quietly for several minutes in meditation at the end (or beginning) of a long day. Returning to your version of practice daily helps to keep the inspiration going.
Never Stop Learning
I have been practicing yoga for roughly nine years, and I have taken several hundreds of hours of training from leading teachers around the world. But that doesn't mean that I don't still have a lot to learn! Every time I step on the mat, I learn something new about a pose, or about myself, that really keeps things interesting. I even like to challenge myself to learn advanced poses (like handstand which, after nine years, is still an enigma to me!) When inspiration for stretching is lacking, I've only got to challenge myself to learn something new for an extra boost. A great way to do that is by taking a different style class, or with a different teacher.
Get Out and Meet People
The same thing goes here as it does with stitching - there is a tribe of people interested in the same things as you are out there, you just have to do a little legwork to find them. Yoga classes are a great way to meet people, but if you can't make it to classes, or there are none in your area, turn to the online community. There are online subscriptions, workshops, conferences, and retreats to help you feel connected and continually inspired with your practice. Some that I have attended/joined include Yoga International, YogaGlo, and Yoga Journal.* You can get as involved as you want, in your own time. It's the perfect solution for the busy practitioner that needs an extra boost every once in a while - all from the comfort of your own home.
Well, there you have it folks. Feeling inspired yet? Test out a couple of these tips to see if they work for you to keep the inspiration flowing, and if you've got other tips, please share.
*I am not receiving anything in return for mentioning these companies/brands/products/communities. Just sharing what I've heard about and used!