I decided today that I am going to try something new with the way I go about my crafting. But first, a little background.
Like most crafters, I have a stash of supplies. It's not just fabric. It's not just yarn. It's not just ribbon, or paper, or ephemera. It's all of the above, and more. Much, much more. And it's nuts. It takes up an entire closet, a dresser, and a large utility shelf. It has overflowed onto every flat surface in the room, including a couple of piles on the floor. And for me the visual clutter is worse than the actual clutter, so I'm really in a spot. Because of the visual clutter I'm not motivated, and because of the physical clutter, even when I am motivated (Thank you, Pinterest! I think.) I have to complete a cleaning project before I can start a creative one. And how much easier is it GIVEMEMOARPINTEREST to keep looking at pretty ideas instead of cleaning? But what do I have all these supplies for anyway if I'm never actually going to make something with them?
So I decided to take a closer look at my stash, and I realized that the way I was thinking about this stuff was part of what was defeating me. I've been looking at my stash as a kind of store where I can "shop" when the mood strikes. I come across an idea for a craft and say to myself, "Ooh, I want to make that" and I go looking in my stash for supplies. If I'm lucky, I have everything already. But often, and I know you know how this goes, I think I know what I have but then either I don't have it or I can't find it. Now, what's going to happen? Most of the time the project stops right there, because I am not the kind of gal that drops everything and goes to the real store. I am a make-it-do kind of gal, and if what I have won't do, the project just has to wait. Now, I said how I look at my stash is just part of what defeats me. The other part is this: The longer a project sits on a waiting list, generally, the less enthusiasm I have for it. Not every project, not every time, but most of the time I end up with that meh feeling and no finished project.
Finally my brain put into words what my common sense already knew: If you want to use what you have in your stash, you have to start with your stash.
In some areas I've been doing this already. Take my knitting, for example. I don't have the budget in most cases to buy a pattern, then go out and pay retail for the yarn the pattern calls for. But I do have a nice stash already of Brown Sheep seconds from their wool mill store, and some lovely KnitPicks wools, and lots of other miscellaneous yarny goodness. So lately when I knit, I don't look at all the mittens or all the socks, I use a Ravelry search to find out which patterns fit my yarn. I don't choose a project first and then hope I have a yarn to suit the pattern.
This is no amazing breakthrough. I know a lot of people who use Ravelry for that same purpose. But it was a happy moment for me when I decided I'm going to try working through my other crafting supplies in a similar way.
... more on that tomorrow.