Morning, everyone – I hope you are enjoying your Sunday. Things may seem to have been a bit quiet around here lately, but don’t worry, all is well. Sometimes when I get towards the end of a big, involved project – a project like our Bluestockings book turned out to be – I get quite low and find I need some downtime. I have to occupy myself a little differently, and focus on ways of preventing what is (for me at least) a completely predictable post-project slump.

One of the really annoying things about me and downtime is that I don’t actually like downtime. I am one of those people who finds not doing anything productive really difficult. For as long as I can remember this has been the case, and believe me, I am totally aware of my own tendency to use hard work as a mechanism to manage the depressive aspects of my bipolar. I know it is neither healthy (or, indeed, sustainable), and this destructive cycle of excessive productivity and post-productive crashes is something I continually struggle with. Is it the fear of not doing anything, or the fact of not doing anything, that can sometimes make me mad? This is a question I don’t think I’ll ever be able to answer, but I do find that a reasonable compromise with myself when I get into this fix is to simply relinquish the idea of any sort of goal. That is, to act without any sort of end in view, but to just try something different, relaxing and exploratory, and see where that takes me. When I’m in this place, I find I can usefully apply this principle to anything: walking, reading, making.

Learning a new technique is often all that’s needed to engage my hands and clear my head in this non-productive way, and you may remember that, a while ago, I really enjoyed learning and experimenting with Inkle weaving for this reason.

Anyway, the same has proved true in recent weeks with a very simple and new (to me) way of adding texture and pattern to knitted fabric.

I have found it really refreshing to just follow the stitches, and to see where they take me.

Inspired by one book, and someone who is a true stitch master, I’ve really enjoyed just making.

Though, perhaps inevitably, my no-goal-thing has itself become a sort of thing. . . .

And yet, I have put no pressure on myself to produce it, and it is a thing with absolutely no intention of spiralling out into a larger project, of the kind that might potentially cause a crash.

So what I’m saying is that there will be several, fun, small exploratory things to see here in coming weeks. And that yes, I know I need a break before embarking on the Next Big Thing.

I’ll do my best.

If you appreciate Tom’s autumnal photography, you might enjoy his Daily Ootlier project, posted on his site, and twitter.