Something About Inspiration



Let’s talk about inspiration :) As a crochet designer I am very often asked what does inspire me to create new designs. Usually inspiration comes from what you see, read or hear, right? But then I asked myself, what is actually an inspiration? What are its symptoms? And how (and when) does it come?

Overlay crochet motifs and mandala by Lilla Bjorn Crochet (lillabjorncrochet.com)

For sure everyone has her own subjective feelings when “it finally comes”. It can be a kind of a stroke, heart starts to beat irregularly, it is hard to breath, the hair on the head and body goes up.
What I personally feel is like a door suddenly opens above my head with invisible stairs to the universe. And then I know: I have too little time to sleep and eat. Because in an hour or even sooner this door may close again and everything will be gone. And I will not have enough time to bring new idea to life.

Sometimes it is necessary to run to the very end, and sometimes it’s enough to only “throw an anchor” to the door opening to keep it open till next morning/day. Just by crocheting several new rows to fix an idea.

But what I know for sure – it’s absolutely useless just to sit and wait for an inspiration to come.

Back to my twenties, when I studied journalism at the university, almost all my group-mates found work already and were either writing for newspapers or making reportages for TV. And I just continued studying with this terrible feeling that journalism is not the right path for me, and I will never be able to write a decent article in whole my life. Because I know nothing about writing. And journalism in general.
Colorful yarn balls


I submitted several articles to different newspapers, and they were rejected. And this didn’t really help to raise my confidence up. So I calmed down with a thought I permanently lack inspiration and just need to wait till it comes to me.

But the thing is that journalism is not really “writing” and often (if not always) it has nothing to do with inspiration. A journalist receives a topic and needs to cover it. He needs to create a piece of written text with opinions of people showing different angles and points of view. And when it comes to news, sometimes a journalist has half an hour to produce the text. In good quality. Does she have time to wait for an inspiration? Not really. She is pressed by a strict deadline, so she grabs a cup of coffee, distracts from the whole world (still sitting in a room with many other people talking and making calls) and starts writing.

I experienced the same situation many times. When I worked at the newspaper I didn’t deal with news so much. But very often I had to submit article to the editor next morning.

…And so I came up with my own creative method of calling inspiration. And it’s very close to one described in the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert* about living a creative life (in wide and general sense).

Big Magic. Book about creative living by Elizabeth Gilbert
Whether I was inspired or not (and very often I felt quite the opposite – I was very tired after a hardworking day with lots of meetings and interviews), I just sat down in front of my computer and started to type anything and everything that came to my mind. With no introduction, no lead, no structure. That could be a quote of a person I had an interview with, or just some random thoughts that could be in a way connected with a given topic.

Sometimes it took 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. But sooner or later my thoughts and writing were getting a certain shape. And suddenly I could feel that: inspiration was standing behind clapping my shoulder. And my writing was beginning to flow… and then? Then it was very important not to stop and not to let inspiration go back to the universe. After a while I could see that some parts (already written) could be used in the finished article. And it was only needed to edit them a bit, to maybe cut or rearrange. And then after a while the article was finished. Suddenly!
What is inspiration and how to call it by actually doing something? by Lilla Bjorn Crochet (lillabjorncrochet.com)

Why do I talk about writing and not crochet? Because it’s pretty the same. I mean creative process is the same. You probably work from the patterns most of the time. But sometimes you may also feel like making something small on your own. But you may not feel inspired, or you don’t know where to begin.

And my answer is very simple: you don’t need to wait for an inspiration to come. But instead you can “call” it by acting and doing.
Bloom yarn by Scheepjes
100% cotton Bloom yarn by Scheepjes*

Designing has become my daily job. It’s not a hobby anymore. So I cannot really wait for an inspirational stroke to happen. I just start to play with yarn, combine colors, think of possible stitches. And at some point a new design starts growing in my hands. It took several months to create Joana’s mandala and border. I had quite a few bits of inspiration there… And my Spanish Mandala was born in just 2 days.

But it’s not important how long it takes to bring your idea to life. Important is to stay tuned and continue calling your own inspiration by actually doing something. For me it sometimes takes hours of crochet (with endless frogging) or writing a blog post with no evident result. But at some point inspiration comes. Not always. But very often.
Overlay Crochet Mandala by Lilla Bjorn Crochet (lillabjorncrochet.com)

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4 comments

  1. I always enjoy reading your blogs, i'm not a designer of anything, but for me inspiration always comes in the middle of the night when i lie awake in bed...i'm a very bad sleeper and when i wake up at 3 in the morning my brain starts working and i'm thinking about all kind of things and the best ideeas jump into my mind. But i never write them down and when i wake up in the morning i can't remeber them and the few i do remember get stuck in my head and i am unable to execute them the way I have them in mind.

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    Replies
    1. I understand what you say. For me night is also the most productive time of the day. I lost many ideas as well. But now I know: when inspiration comes to me I should not sleep. I should better stay awake as long as needed. It's exhausting sometimes. But the result will be paid off.

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  2. That is my problem getting them out of my head and knowing where to start. I guess I need to bite the bullet and just start crocheting and fiddle with the shaping. Love the blog and it has motivated me to just pick up my needle and yarn and just go for it.

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  3. I'm struggling with inspiration and lack of skill at the moment and I found this article very helpful and reassuring! Thanks :-)

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