How do you think outside the box?

By Amelia © October 16, 2013  

Creativity: how do you access it? I've been in an idea-generating mode lately, what with my County Fair 2014 project, my to-do list, and developing course material. But it was my daughter's creativity that really hammered home how to access the creating parts of my mind. She wanted to create Halloween cookies, and did a terrific job, as you can see.

Why is this so amazing? Here are the cookie cutters she used:

I see the cat, maple leaf, star, and pumpkin -- but that last one, top center, is a tulip! Huh? That's right -- she turned it on its head and made it a ghost. Rotate your tablet (or stand on your head by your screen). Kinda looks like a ghost, doesn't it? I hadn't noticed that before.

And that is the trick -- be open to looking at things differently. Turn it upside down. Do what "shouldn't" be done. Ways you can do this in the fiber universe:

* instead of using wool as a base for a blend, use alpaca. Or go crazy, and use silk! Imagine an 80/20 silk/cashmere blend -- wow!

* use a spindle that's "too heavy" or "too light" -- it might just surprise you.

* using double drive? sometimes loosening the drive band is a better way to increase draw-in than tightening it.

* apply fiber directly to the main drum of your drum carder, rather than the infeed tray -- yah, that's outside the instructions, but art batts gain texture with this trick

* spin cashmere thick. spin cotswold fine. knit lace with a DK weight yarn.

I think you see the trend here -- break the rules. Step outside the box. Take the advice of books, videos, teachers, blogs, and think, "how can I do this differently?" Be like a stubborn teenager, reject the generations of advice. You might just surprise yourself -- or at the very least, understand better why they give the advice they do.

Right now, we have a terrific tool to play with this way, if only because there are no generations of advice: the blending board. The information on these, from Majacraft's helpful writeup to YouTubes from Gwen Powell, Blue Mountain Handcrafts, and Ashford, are about making striped rolags/punis. Great. But -- what else can it do? I've been playing with mine, seeing what else it can do. What are you exploring with yours?

ps. yes, that's a skein from a puni from my blending board.

pps. why yes, those three links at the top are new -- I finally (!!) noticed that the mobile version loses all (and I do mean all!) the helpful sidebar links. So I've added these succinct three to help you know that I offer workshops, e-books, and terrific inexpensive spindles. Oh, and, my book, Productive Spindling. :-)

ppps. There may be more changes coming. Keep an eye on this space ;-)

© October 16, 2013 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at

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