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03 August 2005


claudia at countrywool

When creativity is blocked too often by the practical, passion suffers. I totally understand your need to go where your passion leads, for it will keep your spirit alive. For me it is the reverse...I quilt now for love.


Taking the measure of your powers....power is something always in flux. Measure one day, measure something different another day. Measure often. Measure with clear eyes.


Sara's blog is wonderful! I agree with Laurie.....creativity is fluid. What is your passion today, may not be your passion tomorrow, but give it your full attention while it is. You will go back to quilting at some point. Knitting was my passion for many years and then I didn't pick up knitting needles for almost 12 years....it was only thru learning how to spin, that my passion for knitting came back.


Transition is usually a time when we question what is in our lives. Not quite a year ago you started this blog about knitting and, now, spinning. It changed the balance of your life. It was a step in the direction to Woolcentric. Your powers of creation have changed focus.


Your passions are evolving. I think that's normal in the life of a creative person.

Teresa C

I find that my passions cycle. Don't ditch the quilting stuff yet, your creative self needs a break. You will return to it someday with fresh eyes and ideas.

Rachel H

Thank you for this. So often people have to choose between exploring their passions and the practicalities of responsibility to others. I feel this very strongly in my own life, especially now.

I agree with Colleen and Kim's points about evolution and the fluidity of passion and creativity. It'll be interesting to see which of your new passions may trigger a return to a former one, and why, and the differences in how you choose to explore it. It takes a certain courage to allow your creativity and passion to lead you away from the familiar. A toast to the journey!


See, you have multi-faceted interests. Some of us are much more limited.



Sounds like you just need a break from teaching. Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to... lovingly release beginners and those that want "easy" to other teachers.

My husband and I did a co-rant about people wanting easy. We weren't speaking about quilting *grin*, but about spirituality, study, relationships, everything. Life isn't good if it is all easy or fast. At least not for me it isn't. There is something just so good in the slow of life, the deep, the good work and good struggle.


Like all things in life, passion is cyclical. That said, as a creative soul, you continue to express yourself through your art, but you find new media with which to do it. Maybe your love of creating quilts will re-emerge at some point, or perhaps there are other forms of self-expression that will beckon. In any event, I'm sure you will never run out of outlets for the creative spark that fuels you.

Dena Shunra

I've gone through a similar set of stages with translation, which is my career.

For years, it was not just a thing I did for money. It was all I thought of, what I lived and breathed. I translated poetry (for free...) and literary material (very low pay) and complex technical material (patents; I could write for hours about patents). And lots of other stuff.

And I ran my business like no other had ever been run. I shared knowledge and tips with my competitors, single-handedly tripled the going rate for my particular language combination, ignited a whole generation of translators with a sense of pride of our craft. It was NOT just typing things up in another language! It takes skill!

There were downsides, but I remained every bit as passionate about it from 1989 until about 2003. And then it burnt out. I still do it. I still earn my living by it. I'm still every bit as skilled (and my younger, more passionate-about-translation self informs me of the things I can do to maximize the utility of what I do...) - and if anything, even more in demand. But... ...the passion is elsewhere.

That change of passions feels very odd. It feels, even, disloyal. But when I string the necklace of my life, I know that the uniting thread is the passion - not any particular bead.


I do totally relate to what you've said here, especially about the quilting! I was the Mad Quilter for years and then, POOF! Burned out. I still quilt, but quick, machine quilted projects for grandchildren. I may have one more big one in me.


Nothing wrong with fluctuating passions--after a break, you'll just love the quilting that much more when you pick it up again, and in the meantime, you're expanding your horizons, which is never a bad thing. Quilts have been around a long time--they'll wait!


How thought provoking. Skating is the main passion for me at the moment - and it's interesting to think of mind/creativity/body part of it (b/c there are just some days where the body is utterly uncooperative with the process). Spinning and knitting are smaller but still passions - more spinning than knitting at the moment. I suppose body/physical things are part of spinning and knitting too (just ask anyone with a repetive stress injury in their hands), but the "clutz day" factor isn't so present.

Thanks for spurring that topic - it is going to stick with me for a bit.


I highly recommend http://freecycle.org/ as a way of liberating yourself from past craft obsessions. In the spring I got rid of a garbage bag full of fabrics I was no longer interested in. A bunch of writing utensils (pencil crayons, markers, etc) that I didn't feel like sorting through. etc. Some things went to quilters, some things went to charities. I felt (and still feel) good about passing things along to people who now have a fire in the belly for the pursuits I used to love so much.

The other great thing about freecycle? You can make the person come and pick up the stuff, which saves you having to haul it off to the goodwill.

Unfortunately I excel at experimenting. I have yet to settle on a single discipline that deals with all the things that I love. I'd even settle for limiting myself happily to TWO disciplines.

Fortunately there are things I've found I don't love. I know this sounds weird, but I don't love any pursuit where there is a palm down repetitive action. This rules out: woodworking (sanding), print making without a press (pulling prints by hand), felting (although I'll continue to do it anyway), and car waxing (not that I've ever tried, but I'm sure I wouldn't like it). As for the things I *do* love. Colour. Anything that has to do with making colour and shapes. Dyeing and spinning are at the top of the list right now with books as my final canvas--although, unfortunately, quilting has caught my eye again. Not to make bed spreads though, just to make fabric. Cut up perfectly good fabric to make new fabric? BRING IT ON!

*pause* erm. Sorry, I'll go rant in my own blog now. ;)


PS When you get sick of spinning (ha!) or you get a particularly difficult fleece to spin you can always stuff it in a quilt and call it batting instead. ;)


All makes perfect sense, dear. I've experienced similar ebbs & flows in the craft world. It's really good to hear you be so clear and candid. You will always have your hands in something.


I didn't knit for almost 10 years at one point - but I was glad I had saved everything. I haven't quilted in a couple of years, but I can feel the urge coming on again. Do you have a place you could store your quilting stuff? Somewhere out of state, maybe?


I've had similar discussions wiht my partner about my passions. The pottery studio is all but unused these days, as is the quilting gear. It's not that I don't love those things, I do, it's just that right now my imagination is captured by other things. I do hope to go back to them one day, so am not getting rid of any of it - though I wish I had more space to rotate the "unused" stuff to so that I could open up more room for spinning and knitting goodness.

I think ebbs and flows are what keep things fresh and inspired and it's good to go with them.

Judy H.

I have watched my passions cycle through cross stitch, knitting, spinning, and now I'm on quilting. I'm not getting rid of anything, though, and I know I'll cycle through things again, and want the supplies and tools I've stockpiled. I've also worked in needlework shops and had many, many ladies tell me they regretted clearing out their stashes because now they were building them up again!

So, pack your quilting stuff up, tuck it safely and lovingly into storage, and pursue your current passion. Your 'other stash' will wait. :)


Your post followed by the thoughtful comments leading to and from Sara's post make me grateful for this place in my world. :-)


I've experienced much the same thing in my life. I cycle between paper crafts, painting (boxes and other such objects), cross stitch, needlepoint, needlefelting, knitting, crochet, beadwork, and I've recently started doing some handpieced patchwork. Each goes through cycles where it's the most important, driving influence in my art. Each seems to fade into the background again at some time when another art takes the spotlight.

Every time this happens, I learn a little more about myself, about the crafts I do and what they mean to me, and about what I actually like best about them. My last beadwork cycle completely dominated my life for over 4 years as I opened a retail bead store here in New Hampshire. (The store closed at Easter this year.) I had to get into beads at a level of depth that I had never worked any craft before in order to relate to my customers, understand what they needed, and help them figure out how to do what they wanted.

When the store closed, I couldn't touch a bead for at least a few weeks. I went back to my knitting (I took up sock knitting), and I began a new craft - needlefelting.

Beading has crept back in, but now that I don't have parameters for it set by running a store, I can focus on the parts that I really, really like. In the case of beading, it's needle-and-thread techniques using primarily seed beads and Delicas.

It feels good to bead again, now that I can do what I want, when I want, because I want!

To see what I'm working on in beads, visit Confessions of a Chantraphile at http://www.chantraphile.com. You'll find links to my other blogs from there as well.

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