People have said to me, upon occasion, “Gee, you do too much!” Aside from annoying me (I personally hate that comment), it makes me think. How much is too much? If you enjoy crafting, then when do you say when? After all, it’s not as though there’s an addiction, at least not in a usual situation (addictive behaviors aside); the joy of creating is just that: joyful.
My answer continues to be, there is no such thing as too much. Crafts fulfill a deep-seated need for me to create. I make no apology for that fact. I enjoy multiple expressions of that creativity, and don’t care if it appears scattershot to others – they’re not paying my bills, or worrying about my time. I am, and that’s what matters.
However, it’s worthwhile, I think, to discuss the underpinnings of how to go about “doing so much.” Here, then, are my thoughts:
First, I made a rule for myself when I learned to knit: I don’t care if I finish any project, ever. I am not knitting to complete things. I enjoy the process, and I love fiber. I really mean that. My hands tingle when I see a new yarn shop, a yarn shop I know, or even the craft section at a big-box store. When I found out Dollar Tree carried remaindered Lion Brand? HEAVEN. The process of knitting and of handling the fibers makes me happy and spurs my creativity. More importantly, it relaxes me.
Second, despite what seems to be popular opinion from the “you do too much” crowd, I don’t do every craft I am interested in every day. I rotate things. I make candles every February. I decorate eggs every March. I made soap once or twice a year. To do these things, I enlist others to help me. When I have a group showing up at 10:00 on a Saturday expecting me to have melted the wax, it spurs me to set up the candles and melt the wax.
Third, I do what catches my fancy at any given moment. I’ve learned basic design and I play with things. If I get stuck in a particular project, I fiddle with something else. I have many different types of yarns in my stash and rotate what I play with.
Fourth, I keep good records. I know what’s in my stash, where it’s stored, and what I bought it to make. I keep organized using bins and boxes, and I keep my lists updated.
Fifth, I share the love. Blogging about my crafts keeps me organized and motivated to finish things so I can blog about them. Again, this is using the many in support of the one.
My crafts aren’t about focus, they are a means to an end. They are about play and exploration, creativity and fun. They are not about a stepwise creative process, they are a celebration of the fact that I am a right-brained thinker. This is something that our society doesn’t really understand, sadly. In fact, a friend of mine who is very left-brained told me with certainty, “You’re a left-brained thinker.” I stared at her and she said, “You do all these things in a highly organized way.” It’s very interesting to me that to her, “right-brained” meant disorganized. That’s quite far from the truth. Some right-brained people are disorganized, but so are some left-brained people. That’s not the point. What is the point is understanding how our own thought processes work and to work with them.
And if that means playing with lots of different little crafts at different times, then I say, go for it! It’s oodles better than wasting time watching television or drinking or spending lots of money. It’s a relatively inexpensive habit, I can do it while I’m talking to others, and it builds community. These are all excellent points in favor of crafts – any kinds of crafts – and the more the merrier.
So the next time you’re tempted to think, wow, too much; define for yourself the answer to the question: “Just what is too much?” You might be surprised by the answer.