Inspiration is everywhere

Sometimes, when people find out that I design knitting patterns, I get asked things like:

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ or ‘Is it hard to keep thinking of new ideas?’

But to be honest these are questions that I never really consider until they are asked. Inspiration is really all around you, but it doesn’t have to be specific. Sometimes a design has particular inspiration and sometimes it is much more nebulous and difficult to pin down.

I’m not really sure what the secret is to keeping inspired, or even if there is a secret. But from personal experience I can tell you this much:

  • Inspiration is almost impossible under pressure. I think it requires daydreaming and that is something that you can’t do when you are stressed.
  • I find it helps to keep thinking about designs while doing other mundane tasks. Somehow a routine task frees up your creative thoughts. Or maybe I’m just weird (probably the latter).
  • Be patient and wait for the right idea to come along.
  • Be curious. If something interests you, go and investigate it. It doesn’t have to be knitting related.
  • When you have an idea, even just a germ of an idea, write it down or sketch it, even if it is very half-formed. Often when you look over your rough sketches with fresh eyes the bits you were undecided about start to become clearer. Or perhaps the half idea will merge with another half idea and become something even better. But if you don’t write it down you might not find out!
  • Take in your surroundings, even if it is somewhere familiar, and try to look beyond the obvious features and notice something that you haven’t before. If you’re walking through a city, look up at the architecture above the shop fronts – often you will be surprised at how much diversity there is in the styles of buildings, particularly if it is a city with quite a bit of history and older buildings. If something fascinates you, don’t try to work out how it will inspire a design, just take a picture of it or draw a quick sketch of it if you can and look over your photos later.
  • Don’t just look at pattern, look at colour as well. Look for interesting or unusual combinations of colours. Try to find the colour that you wouldn’t have put in the scheme yourself, but somehow just makes the whole thing pop!
  • Inspiration is not a science. There is no magic formula.

The thing that I am perhaps most inspired by is nature, especially plants. Look at the fabulous colours in this Clematis!

Clematis flowers

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Or this one (I love the different shades of red/pink in the flowers – the newest flowers are the most vivid colour):

Clematis (Rouge Cardinal)

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

And the bobbing heads of these large daisies amuse me throughout the day as they follow the sun around the garden!

Daisies!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Finally, I couldn’t resist showing you this hedgehog (at the top of the picture) that had snuck out to eat some scraps – they move much quicker than you would expect!

Hedgehog!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

What inspires you?

Lottie xx

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time and trouble to like or comment on my last post, it has been great to hear your views. I’ll try to write another post summing up experiences and tips for gift knitting soon, so if you have anything you’d like to add I’d love it if you’d leave a comment with your views! 😃

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Shades of Summer

Strange as it may seem, for once we are having what might be referred to as (whisper it) summer!

If you live in the UK you’ll know why I say this with caution.  If you don’t, you’re probably thinking about just how much I’m playing to the stereotypical image of the British, who only ever talk about the weather and are obsessed with it.

I’d like to be able to dispel this as a myth, but I’m afraid that it is probably fairly accurate.  Most of us have a conversation of some sort (even if it is only brief) about the weather every day.  We have dreadful summers so frequently (last year we had one unseasonably warm week in March and then it rained most of the time, apart from during the majority of the international-athletic-sporting-event-beginning-with-O-that-must-not-be-named) so we do get excited at the prospect of warm and sunny weather and we all feel that we must make the most of it.

Enough conforming to stereotypes!  Back to knitting 🙂

So what has the weather got to do with this post?

Well, inspired by the nice weather, I decided to have a look at what was in bloom in the garden.

Our new Clematis has got flowers… and they’re huge!

Clematis (Pink Champagne)

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I found some pretty Lily of the Valley hiding under some other plants……

Lily of the Valley?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I love the colour of this Azalea flower, a beautiful rich red with slight pink tones:

Azalea

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Although it was on it’s last legs, this yellow Poppy caught my eye with it’s tiny seeds dancing in the breeze around the remains of the flower and the last, still vivid yellow petal which had not yet faded.

Yellow Poppy

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Though it may not have the prettiest of flowers, I love the colour of the blooms on this Rosemary, a beautiful blue-purple with lavender tones.

Rosemary

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

The rest of the red ‘flames’ on the Flame of the Forest had gone, but one solitary ‘flame’ remained and though it is certainly not the most exciting photo ever, I just had to capture the wonderful summery coral shade of the leaves.

Flame of the Forest

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

And finally (although not plant related) I took this picture:

Ex-snail

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

This snail is no more, it has ceased to be…………. it is an ex-snail and, I suspect, has become a bird’s dinner!

When I got back inside and examined my photos every colour reminded me of something in my stash!  (Well apart from the ex-snail.)

A bouquet of yarns!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I love these happy floral shades!  Very inspiring 🙂

Clockwise from top left: Manos Fino in #2106/Poppy, Fyberspates Faery Wings in Spring Greens, Manos Fino in #2630/Aster, Rowan Kidsilk Haze in #659/Ultra, Artesano Alpaca DK in #C704/Violet left over from Runa, Fyberspates Vivacious DK in #811/Mixed Magentas and #804/Sunshine, Araucania Botany Lace (this didn’t have a colour number and isn’t usually available in the UK, but the coral colour is fabulous), Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in #305/Purple and in the centre, a skein of Natural Dye Studio Precious 4ply in Coombe Martin and a tiny left over scrap of Easyknits Biffle-Boo in Simmering Summer Nights.

What are your favourite shades?  Does your garden inspire you to knit with more floral summery colours at this time of year?

Lottie x