- Initial information
- T minus 2 weeks
- T minus 4 days
- Week 1 reading assignment
- Week 1 check-in
- Week 2 reading assignment
- Week 2 check-in
- Week 3 reading assignment
- Week 3 check-in
- Week 4 reading assignment
- Week 4 check-in
- Week 5 reading assignment
- Week 5 check-in
- Week 6 reading assignment
- Week 6 check-in
- Week 7 reading assignment
- Week 7 check-in
- Week 8 reading assignment
- Week 8 check-in
- Week 9 reading assignment
- Week 9 check-in
- Week 10 reading assignment
- Week 10 check-in
- Week 11 reading assignment
- Week 11 check-in
- Week 12 reading assignment
- Week 12 reflection: Book review
28th April 2016: T minus 4 days
I promised myself an Artist’s Date this week and today it finally happened! It was bliss to take a couple of hours just for me and is definitely something I need to be doing regularly.
I spent my afternoon gathering materials for the imminent read-along. I found my book and the notebook I received from my fibreshare partner. I wanted to gather lots of materials for painting, sketching, colouring, etc.
The colouring pencils, the watercolour set, the sketchpad and pencils were already part of my arty stash. I treated myself to a new pencil case, because the big flat tin containing the pencils is pretty impractical. I had already bought mini fineliners and highlighters so they joined the party. I bought a new pen and an eraser/sharpener combo. I forgot about the retractable pencil that I like for the (somewhat sacrilegious act of) writing of notes in my book – it will be added later.
Then I thought about crochet supplies, so added my hook roll and found my favourite Rockamolly tote bag for everything to go in.
I really like to have everything to hand, so I’ve already thought of more to add: folding scissors, a yarn needle and some decent glue because I foresee my notebook becoming a scrapbook … is all this necessary? No. Is it fun? Absolutely.
The read-along is fast approaching now. I am so excited to get going. However, this is not a process that I want to rush through. I am determined to take it slowly and let it sink in, rather than washing over me. So, I will wait until Monday. I will take my time. I will stick to the schedule and I will really listen to what this author has to say to me.
Two weeks to go until our group adventure starts. I’ve not looked at the book much because I want to save it for the read-along and work through it in order. But I am thinking more about how to approach it, and about doing things that help me.
Officially I’m on study leave at the moment. I’m not taking orders, I’m trying to limit the number of deadlines I have. I’m spinning less and hitting the books more.
But I need to do something for me. It’s been a rough few months. Winter was good, for the first time in years. I had a plan to get through it without a fatigue relapse. I stuck to the plan and it worked. And then I was so busy congratulating myself on how well I was doing that I took my eye off the ball. I let myself get too busy. I let myself get stressed. And I stopped doing some of the things that help me most (because I was stressed about being busy …).
The most important thing I can do to help myself is to write my Morning Pages. This is a technique I found when I worked through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’ll say more about Morning Pages in a moment, but first I’d like to talk about bringing my experience of The Artist’s Way into Hook to Heal.
Firstly, I just need to say that if I hadn’t worked through The Artist’s Way (which I only did because it’s a set text on my course), Story Skeins would not exist. When I was looking through Hook to Heal in order to learn the book’s structure, and plan a 12-week course, it struck me how structurally similar the two books were. In fact I seem to recall Kathryn Vercillo referencing her own journey with The Artist’s Way in the introduction to Hook to Heal.
Here are the tools I want to bring into my personal study of Hook to Heal.
1. Morning Pages: 3 pages of handwritten stream-of-consciousness writing every day. This is one of the most powerful tools for mental clarity and problem solving that I have ever come across. Do you ever have those thoughts that buzz round and round your head, seemingly going nowhere? Write them down. Don’t edit what you write. Just write. Keep writing each day. See the process transform those irritating, endless, insoluble problems into solved problems, or realisations, or opportunities for the future. I’ve solved problems I didn’t even know had. In a sudden change of perspective, I’ve solved problems in an instant that for years had seemed utterly intractible. So why do I sometimes fall off the wagon? (Because I’m human.) Because when I don’t write for a while, the threads in my mind become tangled again, and it can be hard to face myself when I feel a mess. This is an exerpt from this morning’s pages (unedited, exactly as it flowed from mind to pen:)
You can’t expect to untangle your brain in a day. You really can’t. You showed up at the page. That’s good. Keep doing that. Follow the process and let the untanglement happen. You don’t need to make it happen. You don’t have to sit there pulling at the knots. Stop making them tighter and they’ll slip apart all by themselves. Morning Pages – how to stop making the mental knots tighter.
2. Artist’s Dates: A time, once a week, to take myself out on my own and do something to refresh the creative spirit. I’ve done all sorts. I usually go out into nature (though not always.) I might write, draw, paint, mooch in a bookshop, visit a museum or gallery or shop. I might do one of those touristy things that you never get around to doing when you live in a historic place. Here’s a list of 101 ideas for Artist’s Dates.
I find it hard to fit in Artist’s Dates at the moment. (I told you I’d gotten too busy.) So here’s my public committment:
Next week I shall book an Artist’s Date and use the time to find all the materials for my Hook to Heal adventure.
3. Approaching the exercises: I do not foresee myself being either willing or able to do every exercise in the Hook to Heal book. So here’s my plan. When I did the Artist’s Way course, I aimed to do around half of the exercises from each week’s chapter. Crucially, I followed Julia Cameron’s advice. She suggests reading through the exercises and making a priority of those that you really want to do, and those that you really don’t want to do. The exercises you feel neutral about can wait for another time.
So, when you see me report back on each Hook to Heal week, and notice me mention Morning Pages (MPs), Artist’s Dates (ADs), or wonder why I only did half the exercises, now you’ll know!
- Week 1: 2nd-8th May
- Introductory material, pp. 1-22
- Week 2: 9th-15th May
- Mindfulness Crochet, pp. 23-31
- Week 3: 16th-22nd May
- Letting Go, Releasing, Relaxing, pp. 32-52
- Week 4: 23rd-29th May
- Self-Care and Self-Esteem Building, pp. 53-93
- Week 5: 30th May – 5th June
- Embrace a Sense of Adventure, pp. 94-115
- Week 6: 6th-12th June
- Facing Fears, pp. 116-138
- Week 7: 13th-19th June
- Create Abundance, pp. 139-160
- Week 8: 20th-26th June
- Relationships and Connecting, pp. 161-176
- Week 9: 27th June – 3rd July
- Giving Back, pp. 177-190
- Week 10: 4th-10th July
- Balance, pp. 191-210
- Week 11: 11th-17th July
- Artistic Development, pp. 211-226
- Week 12: 18th-24th July
- Conclusions and Reflection, pp. 227-254
I’ve set up a facebook group for people to join and discuss the project:
I’ve made the group title non-specific because I foresee a group read-along being a regular event for Story Skeins, maybe once a year.
ANNOUNCING Story Skeins’ “Hook to Heal” read-a-long.
Hook to Heal by Kathryn Vercillo is subtitled ‘100 crochet exercises for health, growth, connection, inspiration and honoring your inner artist.’ Bring more meaning into your craft, and go on a journey of personal growth along the way. Kathryn’s book is designed for all skill levels, right from the complete novice, so even if you don’t crochet now, what better way to learn! 12 weeks is a short time to cover all the potential of this book. It is more realistic to expect to cover a selection of the exercises each week, rather than every exercise. Although we will travel together as a group, the emphasis will be on personal journeys and working in a way that is right for you.
A structured 12-week read-a-long of Kathryn Vercillo’s book Hook to Heal.
You will need a copy of Hook to Heal (currently priced at £16.53 for the paperback, £6.56 for the Kindle edition, or free on Kindle Unlimited), a journal, whatever stationery you’d like to treat yourself to, and a willingness to invest in yourself.
Starting on Monday the 2nd of May and running for 12 weeks until Sunday the 24th of July.
The author suggests an hour per day, 5 days a week, but emphasises setting a personal, realistic schedule. From my experience of working through similar courses I would say at least 2-3 sessions per week of some time for yourself. And if you can’t find that much time, then whatever time you can manage. The chances are if you are seeing this you are probably a crafter and could dedicate some of your crafting time to this project.
I will be working through this book and providing a discussion space for the read-a-long group. Please join us to share your journey, and be inspired by others.