~Can you tell us a bit about your creative life? Before kids? After kids?
Before kids? I became a wife at almost 20 and a mother at 21. Before that, all my time and energy was spent on school. My grandma tried to teach me how to crochet but none of it really stuck. lol
After kids...bwahahaha! The whole reason I took up a hobby was because of the kids! I felt like I wasn't getting anything DONE anymore. There were always dishes, I never finished them no matter how hard I tried. There was always more laundry, always more crumbs to clean up. I really started to feel desperate...in real need of saying, "Look what I accomplished!" So I went to Walmart, bought a hook, yarn and a "teach yourself how to crochet" book.
~What is your crochet story, when did you learn, and when did you decide to make it more than just a hobby?
Well, I taught myself...my first attempts were pretty hilarious! Sometimes I wish I had kept some of those early samples to show my students how I started out. :) It became more than a hobby about 5 years ago. A friend saw a stuffed giraffe that I crocheted and she ordered one. It wasn't long before I had LOTS of orders. That summer I probably made 20-25 giraffes! And I was getting orders from people I didn't even know. That led me to start I'm in Stitches, a Facebook page where people could come "like" it and contact me instead of working through my personal Facebook page.
God is so good to me because I had so many orders that I noticed that my wrists and elbows were starting to suffer. I began to think of other avenues to take my crochet "business." I decided it was time to teach these people how to make their own crochet creations. So I began teaching classes, almost 2 years ago. Since that time, I have taught around 90-95 ladies and girls how to crochet.
~What does an average day look like at your house?
MESSY! I'm a homeschooling mama to 4 fantastic, yet MESSY kids. ha!
~What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently writing 2 patterns right now, one is a baby blanket and the other is a stuffed piggy. I just finished an American flag blanket. I always have more than 1 crochet project going on at once, usually 3 or 4.
~What measures do you take to protect your creativity?
None, really. I don't copyright my patterns because I've heard it can be a lengthy and pricey thing to do. I just hope that others will recognize the hard work and time that went into that pattern and will be considerate enough not to share it. I always think of it as being music on the internet. There are ways to get it and share it with friends, but an honest person will buy it and then tell others where they can get it too, not burn them a copy.
~Do you create alongside your children, and are they interested in crochet?
I'm beginning to. My oldest daughter who is 10 is able to crochet some things. She's made herself a few small animals and is learning granny squares now. My youngest 2 kids are 4 and 7 and they just had their first lesson this week! :) My oldest son who is 12 has no interest what-so-ever. And that's okay. I try to think of ways to include him, but it's not with hook and yarn!
~Do you need absolute silence and space to write patterns and to flesh out new ideas, or are you able to carve out moments while in the middle of daily life?
Funny you should ask that! I was just thinking today of updating my Facebook status to say something like, "It's hard to design a new pattern when your 4 year old is chattering about her life." ha! There are times I am reminded to put the hook down and be present in my kids' life outside of school time. Normally I do my crocheting while they are busy in the afternoon or after they go to bed. The reason I crochet and teach classes is for them. It's how I earn money for their piano, soccer, art, etc. I want them to also see a mother who is like the Proverbs 31 woman, working with her hands to provide for her family. Of course their daddy does the main providing, but I'm hoping they will see a mother who works hard to give them what they have, and yet not have to work outside the home. (I do not think I am anywhere near as good as the Proverbs 31 woman, but I strive on)
~What is the most challenging aspect of being a creative person and a homeschooling parent?
Time and balance.
~What is the most rewarding aspect?
Listening to my son play beautifully on the piano. Or watching my daughter draw an amazing picture. God has given them natural abilities, but it's because of their lessons that they are developing those skills. And that wouldn't happen if I didn't crochet. Well, maybe it would, but not to the extent that it does now.
~Has your creative process changed due to homeschooling?
I would say my creative process has changed, and continues to change based on the needs of the family. But I wouldn't say it's totally due to homeschooling. :)
~What are your dreams for your creative pursuits in the next year?
Hmmm...I hadn't really thought that far ahead, but I guess it would be to pump out more patterns. The more I have listed for sale, the less work I have to do! haha! My goal last year was to reach 1,000 likes on my Facebook page "I'm in Stitches" and now that I've made that goal, maybe I should push towards 2,000! :)
And last... a few quickfire questions!
~What was the last book you read?
In it's entirety? Honestly, I don't remember the last book I read cover to cover. I read my Bible, I read books to the kids. Oh yes, if we talk about kid books, I know I've read the first 3 books of "Little House on the Prairie" to the kids. :) We're slowly making our way through the series.
~The last thing you made with your two hands and creativity?
A granny square to teach to my class.
~Least favorite daily task?
Waking up. ha! Just kidding. Sort of. Seriously though, I would say trying to balance my time. That and asking my kids to please hang up their jacket for the 100th time. ;)
~If you had an entire day that was just yours, how would you spend it?
Sleeping, eating chocolate, soaking in a jacuzzi....in silence.
~Coffee or tea?
Neither? Hot white chocolate is AWESOME! If you go to a coffee shop, ask for a hot white chocolate steamer. You can thank me later.
Cheri - thank you for your thoughtful answers! I think you're our first participant who focuses on something other than writing, and I'm thrilled to have your perspective as a maker, and a fellow creative. Thank you so much!
Links for Cheri:
If you or someone you know, are a homeschooling parent who is in the midst of creative pursuits and would like to contribute to this series, please contact me at crnnoel(at)gmail(dot)com.