I listened to an old episode of Cast On yesterday which might have clicked something for me. She was talking about the playful side of crafting – that it should be fun and about play. And that when you play, it’s just yarn, you know? The world doesn’t end if your play or experiment doesn’t work out. She was talking about her own holding back but it really struck a chord for me too. I’m currently knitting a shawl with a yarn colourway that I love but I’m not loving the product. It’s really very rare that I will bail out of a project. It’s rare I guess that I push beyond my capabilities, I suppose, so that mostly I’m used to my projects working on first go out. And. When you don’t risk, you don’t get any unexpected payoffs. When you don’t try, you don’t fail but you also don’t have the potential to grow beyond yourself.
So it is with this epiphany that I offer two things. One, I am unpicking this shawl. I love the colourway but I am not in love with the fabric that is being knitted up. From here one border of lace (34 rows) gets knitted. Some other versions of this shawl, with other yarn look lovely. Perhaps this is the wrong yarn for this project? And perhaps this yarn would work better if it was looser, maybe lacier. So. Instead of my normal process which would be to finish it off and hate it. I am unpicking it. I’ll find something else for txhis yarn.
I still like the pattern – Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl so I’m going to try it with this yarn. I originally bought this for a pair of socks for myself. For ages I had a thing about socks in shades of brown. I don’t even especially like brown but I still have a yen for knitting myself socks in brown. I probably still have skeins around for that but I also think this will knit up as a lovely shawl. The scarf I made over the summer which was really lacey and in “Milk and Honey” by Lisa Souza looks so gorgeous and I love wearing it. I figured I’d give this a go too. Here’s the thing, still kinda really wanted this for socks. But, it’s just yarn. It’s playing with the yarn, the world doesn’t end when the yarn is used. Using up my yarn stash allows and permits me to not feel bad about buying new yarn. Knit the shawl already!
This yarn is called Latte (swoon!) by Sophie’s Toes. I love her yarn – I’ve made a few pairs of socks from her sock yarn. It’s very light and spongy.
I spent this afternoon catching up on This American Life podcast episodes and balled this skein up.
Second epiphany. Crafting is supposed to be fun. It’s the space I specifically put aside to be creative and playful. Artists don’t worry about schedules, or to do lists, or finishing works in progress. It’s all about flow, and going with being in the moment and doing what feels right in that moment. There’s no pressure to succeed or finish or excel, merely the pursuit of the act of creation. And if I want to have even a small amount of that, I can’t also apply guilt or pressure or compare what I do or don’t do to others. That is not part of the play. Or at the least, it detracts from the playfulness. And with that realisation, suddenly I didn’t feel bad about abandoning the shawl as it was, or not finishing my crossstitch before moving on to knitting. If one day I want to work on cutting pieces for a quilt and the next I want to knit and the following day whatever … it’s ok for all that to be part of a bigger process. As long as I finish something once in a while, I guess. As long as I don’t forever start things and don’t look back.
Tags: crafting, knitting