Simple way #1 I’m staying creatively curious this season

6 pages of 100daystitchbook


I tend to settle into cycles that can leave me creatively stuck at times. Especially in winter, when it is all too easy to just veg out in front of the tv every night and let my brain and my body “go limp”.

Maybe because I’m feeling my age, maybe because I went through a period last fall of extreme burnout, or maybe a combination of all of these things, I am sneaking ways to be creative into my daily life and its working! I wanted to share what has been keeping me curious and inspired this season.

I have attempted to do Ann Wood’s stitch book challenge before, and I didn’t get very far. Honestly, I think it was because I overthought the entire thing. It’s very easy as a pattern designer and a small business owner to feel that allowing your mind to wander and “try” is a waste of time. (“Time is money!”) I am trying out the 100 days stitch book challenge again this year and something clicked differently about it this year. You can read about the entire challenge over on Ann’s blog, but the daily prompts are basically “stitch for 15 minutes”. If you think about it, that is a very short period of time for most types of hand stitching. But I decided this year to just allow myself to do just that each day- stitch for 15 minutes. I cut out the fabric pages per her instructions, tried to not look at every single “page” as some fully formed composition (because if I’m honest, by the end of the day, my brain has done enough of that, which is why I love chicken scratch so much).

So what does limiting myself to 15 minutes do for me?


I think a couple of things. It’s pretty tough to make a plan and execute it in just 15 minutes. So, no plan. The idea is you add another 15 minutes of stitching to each page over the course of several days. For me, that means that at the end of each day in the studio, I take no more than 5 minutes to think about if I’d like to try another thread color on the current page. Or add another shape. And if I add another shape, is there a scrap of fabric from my day’s work to use (and no matter to whether or not it seems to “work” or “go” with the current fabric page- after all I’m not really creating a composition, right? I’m just having fun.

It also allows me to have something to look back on when it’s done. To notice different things I’ve put together, their juxtaposition, their relationship. I can see this reflection happening much later on, but occasionally it happens now. I think it’s important for us to allow space in these kinds of exercises. To come back and be curious.


Some evenings if I’m really excited about the way something is coming together, I’ll stitch for longer than 15 minutes, but usually I keep it short. I think that is what is part of the fun of this exercise- recognizing when you are on to something and when you’re just playing.

Plus, I really love fabric sample books! Maybe it’s having all of that work together to flip through and reflect on, like the book I made for Daily Practice Chicken Scratch Embroidery Class on Creativebug. I really enjoy flipping through that book and reflecting on all the different stitch patterns and color combinations.

What about you? I’d love to hear how you keep yourself creatively curious? I’ll be back soon with way #2 I’ve been using to stay creative this season.

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