What is Inspiration?

by Cheri McEwen

What is Inspiration? by Cheri McEwenPhoto via Flickr

I am frequently asked what I use for inspiration. I really can’t answer that question. Sometimes an idea will come about from a simple remark made in a conversation. You wouldn’t believe how often I am asked if a knitting pattern can be made into a crochet one. (I guess my bicraftual nature always wants to say yes, although there are some that I haven’t figured out.) With that in mind, I have been able to replicate a few with pretty good results.

Another place to find inspiration is Ravelry. If you aren’t a member of Ravelry, I highly suggest checking it out. It is an online community of crafters. There are literally thousands of patterns to peruse. I can often look at a few and pick out design elements that I like and try to incorporate them into a project. Whether it is a cute edging, a nice stitch combination, or just an interesting construction, there are always new things to look at.

Nature is a great place to look for inspiration, too. I tend to like the look of leaves, so I use leaf motifs quite a bit. Even the bare trees in winter can serve as inspiration. It can be the tree bark, the movement of the branches in the wind, or the shadows formed by the sunlight filtering through. I try to keep a notebook handy so I can jot down the ideas as they come. It is fun to visit an entry made months before to see if the inspiration is still the same or if it has changed into an entirely new one!

I also love to look through vintage patterns. It is just amazing how many of the older patterns translate into a new feel. You have to keep an open mind when looking at older patterns because the types of yarn and colors are different than today’s choices. Imagine the pattern done in a different weight of yarn. I have seen several doily patterns turned into beautiful shawls. Some table runners make really nice baby blankets. You can even turn a filet corner from a napkin into a really cute kerchief or bandana.

Still searching? Take a look at your own projects. I am surprised how often I look at something I have made and decide to alter it a bit. This can often lead to an entirely new shape or idea. I can take a stitch or motif from an existing project and let it become something entirely different. Never be afraid to tweak a pattern! Even some of the most mundane patterns can become exquisite with a bit of tweaking.

What I find inspirational may be different than someone else, but even sitting here typing this out, I can see inspiration in my surroundings. The tiles in my kitchen floor would make a good edging, the light coming through the blinds would make a beautiful gradated yarn, and the first buds of spring may show up in a future design project. Even the dust that is covering my floors is swirling into an interesting design element. (I guess I better jot that down before I sweep them up!) What I’m trying to say is, of you’re looking for inspiration, just look around and keep an open mind.

About the Author
I’m a stay-at-home mom that uses designing as a way to keep my self sane. With a toddler, that is all I can ask for. I enjoy the challenge of putting things together in a pleasing way and hope that others find them pleasing as well!

Article © Cheri McEwen. All rights reserved.

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