Happy Old Year Ending (Wrap-up)

Getting a Perspective on a New Year • 2017

My friend Leslie sent me this knitting gnome (so I had to share it with you), and although the holidays are past and gone, I think many of us have been as busy as this little guy, creating and sending them out our quilts and things with a heart full of love.

Here is a composite of What I Did Over the Holidays:


I made bread from a bunch of gifted persimmons, hugged a sleepy elf (and his brothers) in my kitchen, enjoyed watching my oldest son Chad and my youngest son Peter make home-made pasta for our Christmas Eve dinner, pieced a quilt with Sarah Jane fabrics (always lovely), shopped for a new car (but I didn’t like any of them better than the one I have, so I came home without one), and cleaned up my sewing room (always an event).en-provence_purple-four-patch

I jumped into the En Provence Mystery Quilt, hosted by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville and had fun trying to find the color periwinkle in my stash and in shops, as I decided to slant it that way, instead of the straight purple.en-provence-quilt_bonnie-hunter

Here’s a picture of HER finished quilt–mine is still three clues behind and mostly in pieces.  If you ever needed a good blog post to encourage you to save your scraps, *here* it is, courtesy of Bonnie.halloween-1904_front

But I do have one finish I can share.  I finished up the binding (my quilter did the quilting) on my Halloween quilt.  I’ll be updating the final post of the Quilt-A-Long on this pattern to include these two photos (front is above and back is below), but I wanted to say…halloween-1904_back

…Happy Halloween to you all!

But wait.  Isn’t it January?  Full of snow and storm and putting away the holiday boxes?  Watch this:

If you can’t see the video, it’s the Selective Attention Test; you can watch it on my blog.

This is how I feel when I’m working on something not in the season it’s intended for.  I’m am distracted/entranced by the cues all around me. In July, I see red, white, blue, stars, stripes, but not green pointy growing things called Christmas trees.  In April, it is flowers flowers flowers and complete absorption into planting my summer garden.  It is nearly impossible for me to focus on turkeys and fall decor.  Or snow.  As a result of this focus, I rarely see the proverbial gorilla among the basketball players.

Perspective, exhibit A

Yet so many of us work “out of season” in planning, buying and creating that I thought I’d look into it.  The 99U article (where the video is found) noted that “We see the world, and our work, through countless lenses of assumption and habit—fixed ways of thinking, seeing and acting, of which we’re usually unconscious.”  The author, columnist Oliver Burkeman (a personal favorite of mine), observes that “This urge toward making things unconscious is a blessing if you want to do the same thing, over and over, ever more efficiently. But it becomes a problem when we’re called upon to do things differently—when you hit a roadblock in creative work, or in life, and the old approaches no longer seem to work.”  He suggests using physical or temporal distance to get perspective, to get past that creative block.

When you use physical distance, you institute physical distance from your creative problem, such as when you take a break from piecing or quilting to look at Instagram, or take time to research, perhaps see something in a quilt book.  Or you might take a trip and get your best flash of insight while flying over the country.  Research has been done that shows that for many people implementing creative ideas begins with recognizing creative ideas.  While this sounds circular, it’s fairly common: how many times have you read a magazine and decide to add two new quilts to your List of Quilts To Make? You recognize the creative in others, and choose to implement it for yourself.

To proximate temporal distance, Burkeman suggests that we can “externalize our thoughts by writing them down in a journal. The point isn’t necessarily that you’ll have an instant breakthrough, but that by relating to your thinking in this ‘third-person’ way, you’ll loosen the grip of the old assumptions, seeing your thoughts afresh, and creating potential for new insights.”  Sounds like an argument to begin a creative journal to me.

Perspective, Exhibit B

The title of his article is “You Don’t Need New Ideas, You Need A New Perspective,” and I thought it fitting to start out the new year with this creative idea of perspective.  Now that all our holiday boxes are up in the rafters, the tinsel and glitter and ornaments and the fall boxes with autumn colors are all put away, the minimalist environment we live in come January can provide a clean slate — and a new perspective — for our creative work.

7 thoughts on “Getting a Perspective on a New Year • 2017

  1. Yet again you have me thinking and contemplating my own creative process! Maybe its time for me to return to my drawing and sketching to get a new perspective on my quilting for 2017? And I have a pile of quilting magazines I haven’t read properly yet! Are there enough hours in the day though?!!!

  2. Thanks for always sharing these thought provoking posts. Gets me thinking in a new way which is good. I came close on the number of basketball passes and did not see the gorilla at all, although I was vaguely aware of something dark. Love love that sweet little gnome video too. It made me smile. : )

  3. The Halloween quilt turned out beautifully. It reminds me of sewing at the beach.

    I find I have the same issues when trying to pack for a trip that will either mean warm or cool clothing when I am living with the opposite temperatures.

    I want to knit as quickly as that wee gnome. So sweet.

  4. Great insights. I know I see so much through “lenses of assumption and habit.” The challenge is to step outside my head and try to see with new eyes–relationships, problems, joys, all of life. Thanks for the nudge.

  5. Ah shucks. I read the text while the video was loading, so knew to watch for the gorilla. Now we will never know if I’d have seen it or not otherwise. I’d guess not. Didn’t come anywhere close to 15 either. Shifting perspectives is a good thing. I need to remember to do it more often. I agree with Mary; I want to knit as fast as the gnome! Cute, cute, cute.

  6. Fascinating. I couldn’t imagine how you could miss the gorilla, although perhaps that explains why I have at least 100 quilts on my to do list. Happy New Year, Elizabeth!

  7. Happy new year Elizabeth! I appreciate your posts. They are rarely Look at Me; they are more Look at Us Being Creative. Big difference, big help, much appreciated. I no longer teach so I am figuring out what next. Yesterday as I worked on my sewing corner disaster area, I listened to podcasts from The Creative Life Show, beginning with Dave Evans. (He speaks even faster than we New Yorkers; will have to listen twice!) Best wishes to you and your family. May it be a blessed andHEALTHY year for you. Harlan

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