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Is crocheting a stuffy a creative endeavor?
Hierarchy of needs in action, sooner than I expected
In case you missed it, I shared some of my thinking around the hierarchy of needs on the way to creating space and desire for creative self-expression.
Check out the first two posts here:
When I published these, I thought of this framework almost as breadcrumbs to my future self. Hey, if you ever lose your way back, follow these stages!
Space to not be exhausted
Space to do whatever
Space for joy
Space to create (finally!)
I thought they would be more applicable during major life changes, like years down the line, but even in the last week or so, I’ve been delighted to see that I’ve already been reaping the benefits of clarifying my own thoughts on my hierarchy of needs.
I’ve been recovering from jetlag this past week, while also at a work offsite in San Antonio. In moments of not being able to sleep at night, or having some time to myself in the hotel room, I found myself thinking that I should be writing. If I’m not carving out space to write wherever I can, do I even want it that badly??
BUT, the very first stage of my hierarchy of needs is “space to not be exhausted,” so my most foundational need was to rest. In the moments I could not physically sleep (jet lag), I let myself have judgment-free space to do whatever, which turned out to be binge-watching Love is Blind.
Referencing my hierarchy of needs made it much easier for me to let go of the “should’s” around creative output.
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My hierarchy of needs also helped me make sense of past questions I’ve had.
About a year ago, there was a period when I got back into crochet. My grandmother had taught me how to crochet and knit when I was a child, and every few years, I pick up a crochet hook or knitting needles and start a few projects.
Last year, I started making crochet stuffies for the first time. Octopi, hippos, turtles, fish, and more.
But the question that haunted me was, is this even creative?
I bought and followed patterns, crocheting each row exactly as dictated by the pattern. One row of a pattern might look something like this:
10: 3 sc, (2 sc, 1 inc) x 5, 3 sc (21)
This means: 10th row. 3 single crochet stitches, then 2 single crochet and 1 increase stitch (where you crochet twice into one stitch, so each stitch becomes two stitches) repeated 5 times, then 3 single crochet stitches. For a total of 26 stitches.
So, it feels very much like stepping through a basic program with for loops.
Is this creative? To me, creating new patterns is clearly creative, but following a pattern is less creative, but maybe still creative. Maybe there is some room for creativity in choosing the color schemes or embellishments?
Regardless, after publishing Space to do whatever, I realized this was all just a ridiculous line of questioning.
I was trying to justify time spent on a hobby and force myself into a creative space when I hadn’t yet gone through the more foundational levels of needs for space. It didn’t matter if crocheting by following a pattern was creative or not. I was successfully making space to find enjoyment by letting myself follow impulses that led to joy.
Interestingly, I haven’t crocheted much the last few months. My critical self might have thoughts like… Why did I buy all this yarn if I wasn’t even going to stick with this hobby? I never stick with anything long enough to do something with it.
But through the lens of my hierarchy of needs, I look around happily at all my unused yarn, knowing it is all a part of my creative journey.
If these last few posts about hierarchy of needs and the path to making space for creative self-expression have led to any insights or thoughts for you, I’d love to hear about them! One friend reached out via text, saying “Jean’s Hierarchy of Needs is my new religion!” which made my week.