~ By Cynthia Thorp
You hear a lot in writing circles about refilling the creative well. It can be as simple as watching a movie or catching the latest episode of “Dancing with the Stars” or listening to music. I do all of that, of course I usually have some crafting project on my lap as well. I’ve been crafting just a little longer than I have been writing and I started writing when I was 11. I remember making clothes for my Barbie dolls from plastic templates my Aunt Carole made for me, it was certainly cheaper than buying clothes for the dolls. It’s also an example of my “go for it” attitude toward crafting and writing. I mean have you ever really looked at the circumference of a sleeve on a Barbie jacket? Didn’t stop me from making a couple, I was about 8 at the time and I didn’t even understand that it might be hard. They weren’t going to win any fashion awards but it was a way to spend a rainy or snowy afternoon.
One of my first knitting projects as an adult was a fair isle sweater. I really hope it held up for whoever ended up with it. My fiber allergy made it impossible for me to wear it. Well that and the fact that I knit so tight it was actually a size smaller than intended. Knitting to gauge, never crossed my mind. Rarely does today either, which probably explains why all my socks are now just a little too big. Yes my knitting has gone from one extreme to the other and somehow that doesn’t surprise me in the least.
My first quilt was one with curved seams and open bias edges. I didn’t really follow the directions to understand that the curved edges of each piece needed to be on the bias so it would stretch when you sew it. Okay so that’s one less I have learned. You gotta follow directions every once and a while. The bulk of my crafting is in the making of quilts and I’ve tackled some quilts that most have on their dreamy “someday maybe” list. I’ve followed the same theory here as I do with everything, I just go for it. If I fail at least I failed in the trying. Actually can you fail at something you don’t try?
My crafting today is a way for me to quiet my mind enough to let ideas percolate. In most cases whatever I’m working on craft wise, whether I’m sewing/quilting or knitting/crocheting it doesn’t require my complete attention so while my hands work away my mind drifts off and plots. There’s a comfort in working a sewing needle through fabric and feeling the warmth and softness of the fibers, something nearly meditative about the whole process and about as close as I’ll ever come to meditating. I hear to meditate one has to sit still, sounds a little like torture to me.
I’ve noticed recently, as I’ve taught myself new craft techniques (anything involving a sewing machine is new) that at some point I just do it. Doesn’t matter how scary it may seem at the moment, it’s usually easier than I think it will be and much more rewarding in the end. I’m taking that same attitude with my writing. I’ve had a scathingly brilliant idea that I have no intention of sharing yet (yup I’m being a tease) but this idea is one I have to earn. That idea is what pushed me back on the writing horse (I had a very bad year last year) and has me running, galloping, whatever (yeah I’m great at mixing metaphors) with new enthusiasm for storytelling.
Cynthia lives in a magical cottage in Western New York where from her “office” window she can see roses and chipmunks and birds a plenty. If she’s lucky one of the neighborhood bunnies will stop by and if she’s really lucky she’ll spot a hummingbird amongst the sweet peas. When she’s not writing contemporary romances she’s dreaming of warm sunlight beaches, especially around January when she hasn’t seen grass in 2 months and it will be another 2 before it reappears.