When You Lose Your Itch
As you've likely been able to tell, I fell hard off the blogging bandwagon. I'm very sorry for the lack of postings, but it coincided with a period of time where school became a priority and for some reason I lost my stitching bug. So, I thought I'd dedicate my returning post to just that topic: what to do when you've lost your stitching bug.
For me, I had only heard ramblings of people losing their stitching bug but I never imagined there would be a day when I didn't want to pick up my Aida and stitch away. So, when that day came, I was very concerned. I was even more concerned because while I once felt inspired to design every quote or idea I had, the spark was out. I hadn't been excited to design or stitch anything I'd designed for a while. Maybe some of you have found yourself in a similar boat, especially after your motivation to hold true to your New Year's Resolution to whittle down your WIP pile left you burnt out. Well, I'm here to tell you that it will come back, and here are some steps I took to do reclaim my favorite hobby!
1. Step Away From the Aida
... and no one gets hurt! Just kidding. The first step is to accept stepping away from the Aida. I think this can be difficult because it's a hobby so many of us are passionate about, but the last thing you want to do is to start associating this hobby with dread, anxiety, or anything otherwise unpleasant! This is a basic principal of operant conditioning. If you hope to someday come back with a fervor, then you should think happy thoughts around your Aida (for the record, I count stitching because you need to stab something 10,000 times among "happy thoughts" because I'm sure others are happy you're stitching instead). Forcing yourself to stitch will only make it worse.
This can be easier said than done when you have presents to stitch - birthdays don't stop just because your passion has. Or maybe you've got a pile of commissions opening up. If this is the case, then foregoing your daily stitch might not be an option for you. However, taking longer breaks during the day is. Spend that time cooking a nice meal, actually watching Netflix and not just having it on the background, or taking a walk to enjoy the weather.
2. Learn Something New
Find something new that still gives you that feeling you used to get when you stitch but gives you a break until you're ready to have at it again. For me, it was crocheting. It was really hard for me to learn how to crochet and for a while I felt like I was cheating on my one true love. I also felt guilty that I wasn't spending that time producing cross stitching content that others could enjoy, but my creativity was seriously limited. Learning to crochet -- and crocheting a LOT -- helped me rekindle that feeling I'd get when I cross stitched and re-energized me to be back and ready!
3. Add to Your Pattern Stash
Instead of trying to get that new project feeling again, try building up your stash! Add some patterns that might suit your tastes. Our tastes develop and change over time and that's completely natural, so maybe you've hit a rock with where you are and none of your current patterns spark your fancy. Building up your stash may help you find patterns that you're now excited about stitching, though it takes little crafty commitment to build. That way, when you do get your stitch bug back (and you will, I promise!) you'll have enough in your queue to stitch to your heart's desire.
4. Find a Crafty Friend
Cross stitching and/or crafting can be very isolating if you let it. So maybe you need some social time! As much of an introvert as I am, having no social interaction period is against our nature as people (I know, I don't like to admit that sometimes either). If you don't have a crafty friend available to you, try joining groups on meetup.com or even starting one! You'd be surprised. I also like to craft in public sometimes for the occasional friendly encounter. Local needle stores may also have events that let you craft in a circle and get to know people around you.
5. Take Some Time to Find Balance
While you're taking a step away from your Aida, take a step away from being hard on yourself as well. Everyone goes through lulls, and this may be an opportunity to take some time to find some balance. Personally, I became so wrapped up in cross stitching and in the pressure of releasing new designs that I somewhat neglected other parts of my life. While I was watching Game of Thrones last weekend without cross stitching or crocheting during it, I found myself a lot more engaged in the show. I was feeling it more, and while cross stitching is a large part of my life, sometimes it's important to take a step back and re-engage with what's happening around. This helps me not only rebuild my stitching bug, but to start seeing the inspiration that started my design process in the first place.
We all have our moments where we lose motivation, and as much as we love cross stitching and crafting, it is no exception. The most important part of getting your itch back is to have patience with yourself, step away, and go back when it feels right. I hope you found some of these tips helpful. I encourage you all to share your strategies for regaining motivation down below in the comments!