Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Creativity, Passion and A Project

Three Sisters Knit Blog; Creativity, Beanie Hat, Etsy
I heart everything about this lilac cable and eyelet hat I'm working on right now!

This month we are blogging about love and creativity. At the beginning of February we wrote that creativity is sparked by passion and, like love, can lead to both frustration and boundless joy. Last week, we wrote that creativity is hardwired into our DNA, kind of a family affair. So today, the day after the world's celebration of love, we offer you some insight into one piece we are creating because sharing* our creations with the world is part of the fun for us! 

I am knitting up a gorgeous cable and eyelet hat—we call it a toque in Canada, but I think our American friends call it a beanie. Last Fall (2015) Shelagh and I ordered yarn from artisan yarn dyer Carla Pelzer of Georgian Bay Fibre Co. What I love about Carla's work is that her colours are inspired by the area she lives, a part of Ontario around Georgian Bay that I'm only familiar with through her yarns. This yarn color, Wakefield Lilac, is based on a tall hedge of lilacs on Wakefield Street in Parry Sound. As Carla describes it, the scent of those lilacs in bloom is a reminder of that summer is on its way.

An old Instagram-filtered photo of our lilac hedge.
As I write this, I look out my office window and see our own barren lilac hedge. It's mid-February and the branches are bare. The wind-chill numbers are in the minus digits. But just looking at the yarn in my hands, with its few specks of white and fewer specks of dark purple, I can recall that scent, those colours, that glorious time in Spring when flowers bring delight and set your heart to burst. And I fall in love with the classic of a cable—like the classic lilac hedge in many Ontario gardens—but enlivened by this non-traditional color.

Honestly, I absolutely LOVE this hat I'm making! As I'm knitting along, I feel my heart bursting open like the lilacs the color is named for. It will look so amazing on someone this spring and I can even picture the woman who will wear it: smart and lively, she loves to wear classics with a twist. And she loves to celebrate spring.

*At least once a month, we'll share stories about a project: it may be something that is in our Etsy shop already, or maybe it is something on our needles now. It may be about the yarn, the yarn artisan, or the pattern.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Creativity, DNA and Curiosity

Three Sisters Knit Blog; Creativity; Knitting: Etsy
Our grandmother, Margaret Paton, dressed for a part in her local theatre.

 Last week we blogged about creativity and how we have discovered that once that spark catches, the winds of curiosity fan the flame to other places. For me, that means knitting and some designing has reminded me of a couple of other passions: photography and drawing. And that has led me to a couple of Instagram photo challenges. All very fun and totally creative!

Where did this start, though? I believe we are all born to create, whether it's a beautiful meal from just a few ingredients, a warm and inviting home to welcome your family and friends, or something you make with your hands. As author Elizabeth Gilbert pointed out while discussing her recent book Big Magic, people have been creating things that serve no purpose but being the result of creativity since . . . well, since we were people. Just look at cave drawings made by early human groups: they created those drawings because they could. No other reason. Drawings didn't provide tools for survival; although perhaps creating these drawings encouraged growth of a new part of the brain? Looked at in this light, perhaps creativity sparked in those early millennia allowed our brains to move beyond reptilian and eventually hard-wire into our DNA.

Where did it start for us, though? It started with our mother's mother, Margaret Paton, who sewed, knit, and acted in her hometown's theatre when she was young. Our curious and gifted mother shared her passion for creating with us, including teaching Shelagh and me to knit. Mum sewed a little as we were growing up, but I know she much preferred knitting and crocheting. After she retired, she took up cross stitch and even tried her hand at quilting. And everything she made by hand was almost always a for someone else. A Fair Isle pullover for me; a quilted Christmas tree skirt for Irene; a crocheted blanket for Shelagh; a knitted cardigan for her grand-niece.

While the key our mother gave us was her curiosity about different creative arts, I think the spark that continues to drive our passion for Three Sisters Knit is sharing our creations with the world. Shelagh and I love figuring out exactly what a specific yarn is calling out to become and then bringing it into the world. And we love seeing what different artisans offer and hearing their stories.

All our hand-knit items have stories: from honoring Irene and our mother to the inspiring artisans who spin and dye unique yarns to travels while creating. Each piece has its own distinct DNA. And all our items are knit with love, creating their own DNA, and we hope you'll find (or request) a piece to become part of YOUR story.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Three Sisters Knit Blog; Creativity; Knitting; Etsy
Margaret's first entry as @threesistersknit for the February sketch challenge on Instagram

Creativity. Is it something you are born with? Or is it something that can be learned?

One of the beautiful results of knitting for others is how much it sparks our own creativity. Shelagh and I look at our skeins of yarn and let our imaginations run. There are times when I feel a bit like Michaelangelo setting the angel free from the marble: I know there is a hat or a scarf in that ball of yarn and I simply need to set it free!

Another amazing side effect is how acting on this impulse fuels curiosity about other creative pursuits. Those of you who follow us on Instagram know that we are participating in a photo challenge put together by another Etsy seller, Lu and Ed. It's definitely a challenge to photograph something specific every day and do it in an interesting way. But that's what forces the creativity, and that makes it exciting!You can see all our posts

In fact, the challenge has provoked something in me because I've decided to participate in a sketch challenge set out by a very talented Etsy seller who is relatively local—BK Inspired. She does amazing pyrography, but her ink doodles are spectacular!

If you're on Instagram and want to see what makers are photographing, check out the info on the #CreativeDaily challenge set out by @lu_and_ed in her blog. If you want to participate in the #febsketchchallenge then check out posts from @mayabki to find out more. It's fun and inspiring to see how makers creatively express themselves with the prompts.

Oh yes, and if you're on Pinterest, check out our board called 2016 #CreativeDaily IG Challenge to see some of the pics we've posted. Or find us @threesistersknit on Instagram to find all of them.