Saturday, June 27, 2009

What's your craftstipation cure?

I need some advice from you veteran creative types out there.

Do you ever get all chocked up with projects that don't want to budge? I believe the technical term for this predicament is called craftstipation. Are you a sufferer? What brings it on? What helps you to get things moving again?

I've been getting a little 'stuck' on pretty much everything I'm trying to do craft-wise at the moment. I could blame lots of things but I know what the real problem is. I've loaded myself with too many projects, set the bar too high, and now I'm procrastinating because I feel overwhelmed. Even though this is a hobby and a passion, sometimes I turn it into an obligation in my own head.

Some of the projects in my 'have started, must finish' basket include:
- The scarf that I promised in my recent giveaway (sorry dillpickle!)
- Five softies
- Woodland cap for a friend's babe
- A felted jumper-vest creation for a friend
- A denim skirt modification for a friend
- Felted wrist warmers

Unfortunately for me, procrastination involves FURTHER CRAFTING. So now not only do I have a list of things that I've started and really ought to finish, I also have an ever-growing list of ridiculous projects that I feel I must try or I will never be a complete person. These include:

- Resin-casting some old doilies
- Making a bean-bag out of old jeans
- Making a run of fabric brooches. Yes, that's right, a run, couldn't possibly just make ONE.
- More 'fashion aprons'
- Printing on fabric (with lino-cuts, stencils, and potatoes)
- Quilt from vintage sheeting

This is totally the tip of the iceberg and doesn't include my pile of mending, my wardrobe refashion ideas or my desire to make some clothing for me and the boys from scratch.

Help! Any tips on how to keep regular?


  1. Oh I'm suffering right alongside you, Gina... Not easy being creative with small people about. I ususally try to stat with the smallest/easiest thing and hope I get on a roll ;)

  2. I think we all must suffer from the same problem. I keep promising things to friends and family, but also want to make things to sell. I never seem to make anything for me.
    The craftsipation seems to be worse for me when I have all the projects in my head. Writing a list sometimes helps, and eating chocolate always helps too! Somedays I knuckle down and get heaps done, and somedays I do diddly squat.

  3. No tips at all. My list looks like yours. I'll be coming back here to look for advice. But I like Curly Pop's chocolate theory...

  4. So so true, my UFO's have overtaken the bottom filing cabinte drawer. But tonight I am printing on canvas and sewing onto a bag, or I will die! A good idea for a weekly post- UFO and new FO of the week haha.

  5. hmm, when I am being ruthless... I have a saying 'finish it, or, CHUCK it , NOW'
    harsh but it works xx

  6. Wow. That's a lot of stuff you have on. But I do know how you feel. But now you have given me some ideas for more things I want to try, and I don't have time!~ Damn you!! :P

    Love the term 'craftstipation'. Too funny!

  7. Maybe try writing a list Gina. A bit over-organised I know, but I find it helps because things cannot be forgotten (even if they are on the list for a looong time) and new ideas don't have to be "started now otherwise I'll forget them", helping to stop further crafting! Good luck.

  8. I've tried a mini list. You pick say three things, put them into order and totally ignore the rest. That way you don't feel overwhelmed. No other lists exist until that one is done and you tell yourself you have all the time in the world to finish these three. It seems to take the pressure off. And then sometimes you can enjoy an extra treat of throwing something for you into that list without thought for anything else. If that fails, I'm with curlypops - try chocolate - lots of it.

  9. there is some great advice here. i hate it when I feel like i have to do something rather than want to- for me crafting is a hobby too, and we don't need our hobby turning on us and becoming an obligation. I'd work through the list of things I "have to" do alternating from time to time with something I want to do.

    Craftstiptation happens to me when I overindulge in reading blogs. But like I am going to stop doing that!

  10. Yep, I get it. But it tends to be when I put pressure on myself to make things for other people. I've discovered, if I want to make something for someone don't tell them, just surprise them when its done and if they ask you for something, you have the right to say NO!

  11. All this talk about chocolate....thank goodness I found some!

    I suggest choosing a project limit, like 5 or something, and limiting UFO's to that number - no starting a new one till you've got a vacant spot! It worked for me for a little while, until I got so sick of my UFO's I started a new one (or three) anyway ;) You could also have an 'on hold' category for projects you're just plain sick of so they don't take up precious UFO status for years!

    You could also have an on purpose craft free day each week - absence can make the heart grow fonder, maybe?

  12. yes chocolate definately helps, but I find it can only be time, I can't force my mojo back and if I do I make mistakes and get very very grumpy and throw things, I keep looking and blogs and craft books for inspiraiton and suddenly it comes back, I truly believe it has a mind of it's own and can't be made to reappear, I find sketching and keeping a journal is great help too!

  13. Hmm. I think it's all cyclical. We hit ruts in all areas of our lives from time to time and sometimes it either takes a break or a new idea to get it all moving again. If we don't have a down time how can we appreciate it when it's good?

    Unfortunately I don't have a solution for you so I hope it all clears very soon. It can be a really frustrating place to be in.

  14. Hardly a veteran myself but I did spot a little theme in your list there that I've suffered from in the past... everything in the 'must finish' is a to-do for someone else... nothing in there just to satisfy your own creativeness. Nothing to keep! Nothing purely without intent or an end purpose. Food for thought :)

  15. I'm running Target Tuesday over on my blog. This may give you some helpful ideas :-)

  16. oh yes. This one is hard. I have so many things I have to do, then the things I want, and the things I *need* (as in really nourish my heart, but aren't necessary + I'll probably never get done).
    I write lists, and put them in priority order. And sometimes I'll write a timeframe on how long I'll work on something (especially if it's something I don't want to do as much as something else - bit like excercising!).
    And some of my long-standing WIPs and UFOs are hidden deep in baskets so that they don't guilt me each time I open a cupboard.
    But if something is very important and needs to get done, then I clear my sewing desk and (try to) get everyone out of the house, and simply work on it until I finish. Somethings you just have to do.
    And also, remember that being a hobby that you shouldn't feel guilty about not finishing something. Send it to the Op-Shop and someone will cherish finding your half started project, and they'll be able to add their thoughts and hands to finish it.
    Actually, one more thing - I have stopped promising things to people. I add it to my mental list, but don't voice it to them until I know that I will get it done. I have so many gifts that I owe family members; they've given up hope in getting.
    Good Luck.

  17. Yes,seems to be a common tread, I seem to spend most of my time looking for inspiration, researching...basically too much time on the computer, rather than actually making things!

  18. Oh Gina, I so recognize how you're feeling. What works for me is really planning in some time for 'crafting'. Then my husband goes out and does something with the little ones (or they are at school or in bed) and I know that the next hour or so is to be spend on sewing (or some other form of crafting). The first ten minutes or so I still find it hard to get busy, but somehow this pushes me to actually 'do' something. And when I'm starting, I always get in a flow and keep on going.

    No idea if this helps, but just wanted to share how I do it :-)


  19. We could be living in the same house with this problem!!!! I have things that I bought over from UK that still need mending (and they'd been in the mending pile long before we left!!!). One way I'm trying to get rid of them is to mend one thing then do something 'nice'. As for the ironing well I don't even look at that. I never used to iron anything but since acquiring so much thrifted fabric/doilies etc I have a veritable mountain. I also get blocked when I KNOW I have to do something (I KNOW we need curtains) but I'd much RATHER be doing something else (currently CROCHET in front of the fire). As for the WIP pile ..... So sorry not much help for ideas for clearing/moving you on but very interesting to read what others do! x

  20. It's nice to know the name for my affliction. I have it and I wish I knew a cure.


“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
~Albert Einstein