As colder weather is settling in, a lot of us are stuck in offices and other spaces that don't keep our hands warm enough.  While it would be great to knit fingerless mitts and gloves to keep us warm, sometimes we need something quicker and less expensive.

You can make quick fingerless mitts out of fleece.  It's warm, it's easy to work with because it doesn't ravel, and it comes in lots of fun colors and patterns so you can make a bunch of these for different days of the week, different outfits, or special occasions.

Sewing is not a strong suit of mine, so I hope these instructions make some sort of sense.  Please leave me a comment if you need clarification.

Stay warm out there!

Step 1: Measure from wrist to between knuckles and first knuckle on your index finger; this will be the length of your mitt (adjust this to your personal preferences, of course).

Step 2: Cut two pieces of fleece to this length; if you are planning to hem the top and bottom edges, cut the fabric a bit longer to accommodate the hems. Make the pieces just wide enough to wrap around your hand and wrist.

Step 3: Wrap one piece of fleece around your hand and wrist; pin along outside edge making sure to stretch it a little--you don't want it to be too loose when you're wearing it.  Make sure to leave an opening for your thumb. Repeat this step with the other piece of fleece.

Step 4: With mitts inside out, sew along the line you've created; you may want to draw a chalk line from the top edge to make the line straighter. (Your finished shape will be more of a trapezoid rather than a rectangle because the mitt will be smaller at the finger end.) Don't forget to skip the space you've marked for your thumb.

Step 5: Trim the fleece as close as possible to the seam so you won't have a lot of excess fabric inside your mitt.

These don't need to be finished at the top and bottom since fleece doesn't ravel, although the fleece will roll at the edges a bit. If this bothers you, before stitching the seam you can do a blanket stitch along the edges to finish it.

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4

Maybe it's the new crispness in the air and the extra blanket we need at night.  Maybe it's that I've mostly been doing this blog the same way for several months now.  Maybe I have no reason at all! But I feel a need to change the way I'm doing things here, at least for a while.

I don't plan to abandon the fun experiments at all.  I'd just like to set them aside for a bit to write some articles on things that are roaming around in my head, things that are important to me and, from what I hear around the internet, to other creatives, too.

This week (well, longer than just this week if I'm honest), I've been thinking about clutter and how my space affects my creativity.  I really believe that my surroundings have a much more powerful impact on my mood, my creativity, my productivity, and my quality of life in general than I've been acknowledging.  I am a slob.  I have been my entire life.  And I live with another slob.  It's true.  We're good people, intelligent, creative, kind.  But we're slobs.  Unfortunately, the two of us combined make a bigger mess than I could ever make alone.  On top of that it's a different sort of mess than my personal messes.  And it really messes with my brain! (Couldn't resist!)

I've been aware of this for well over a year.  We've made some small attempts to change things, but they've mostly been failures.  Until July when we finally got all the dishes cleaned, the cabinets reorganized, and a general kitchen overhaul done.  The secret was getting a dishwasher. The next secret was to allow ourselves to take care of the thing that was bothering and impeding us the most.  We didn't try to clean and redo the entire kitchen at once.  We're still not finished with the kitchen redo, actually. But you know what?  Since July 17, our kitchen has been free of dirty dishes in the sink.  And this has made a huge impact on our goal to eat better food.  Now I'd like to take some of the lessons learned from the kitchen project and start broadening them to see if they can be helpful to me--and to you by way of me writing about them--in other areas.

I was poking around, making some notes about all of this, and then a very cool thing happened.  This morning, I found in my inbox blog articles from two really cool creatives who were talking about exactly the same thing!

The first post is from Connie at Dirty Footprints Studio.  She's talking about how caring for her space and caring for her body and honoring her creative work are all intertwined.

And then I saw this post from Havi Brooks at The Fluent Self.  She's talking about setting and place.

And then I remembered that in May, Lisa Sonora Beam wrote this post about clearing clutter.

Now, I'm not promising that I'm going to go home, clear all my clutter this week, organize my entire world, and start churning out masterpieces.  Not even close, and I don't recommend that you try that either.  Setting your space and clearing the way for the life you intend to have is a slower process and should be done in small stages.

This week, I'm going to read through these excellent articles again, search out some other sources for us, and get a start on my own decluttering and organizing.  And next week I'll come back with an article about the process at that point, whatever that point may be.

So tell me, how many of you have issues with clutter and disorganization?  Does it get in the way of your creativity?  How?  Does it cause stumbling blocks on the path to building the life you want?  What are some of the toughest issues you're dealing with regarding clutter, disorganization, and your dream life?  Let me know, and let's see if we can start finding some solutions together.

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2

Oh look!  Another three day holiday weekend, and another time for me to forget that yesterday was Sunday, not today.  I just can't seem to help it.  In my mind, the last day of the weekend is Sunday!  So, if you were looking for a post yesterday, I'm really sorry!  I thought it was Saturday.  I hope you were off doing something more fun than waiting around at the keyboard, though. 😉

I had a lot of fun this week looking at what creative things I do.  How about you guys?  Did you run into any old artsy friends you haven't done in a while?

Here's my list of creative pursuits:

  • Writing
  • Art journaling
  • Photography
  • Embroidery
  • Beaded embroidery
  • Mixed media painting
  • Mixed media arts (collage, ATCs, altered books)
  • Cooking
  • Knitting
  • Oil painting
  • Bookbinding
  • Art quilting
  • Jewelry and prayer bead making

I think that's the list--there might be a few things I've tried out but haven't pursued beyond learning the basic techniques.

When I looked at the list with an eye to how these activities relate to each other, I found that there's actually a lot of cross pollination.

For example, when I learned to knit, I taught myself.  I just knit a few inches, pulled it out and did it again until I got the hang of it and stopped dropping and adding stitches.  And now I've noticed that whenever I want to learn something new, I find a way to do a small version, often multiple small versions, to practice on before I make a full project.  I'm actually, finally learning to sew this way!  I know this doesn't seem like a big thing, but it's not how I tended to work before I taught myself to knit, and now since it worked so well for that I do this all the time.

Another major shift in how I do things came when I learned the beaded embroidery style that I'm very in love with now.  I used to do cross stitch, then I expanded to other embroidery styles, and then I found this magnificent beaded embroidery style which is pretty much all I ever want to do now.  It's a free style, because you can't actually plan ahead where all the beads are going to go; you just go along one bead at a time, looking at the piece after every few beads to see what else is needed where.

And you know what happened to my rather precise, tidy, attractive but sedate mixed media pieces like my ATCs and altered book pages?  They started getting wild, which is something I had always wanted.  I learned from my embroidery to have a look at the piece and just add a little bit at a time, not worrying about the finished piece, just looking for what bit it needs next.

I haven't really figured out how I might make these connections happen purposefully.  I think what we'll all need to do for that is look at our processes in our creative activities.  Once we can see how we do things, it will be easier to see how the processes we use can be used for other types of projects.

I'll keep an eye on this, and if I get any insights on how to purposefully use these cross connections, I'll keep you posted.

I'm going to be on a bit of a break this week, so I'll return next week Tuesday (September 14) with our next installment.  Meanwhile, have some fun and make some things!

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