I'm going to tell you a secret to my design work. It's probably the most important part of my process, and yet, it may seem insignificant. An essential part of my designing is not designing; it's doing nothing. I very easily become obsessed with doing the next project, finding the right stitch pattern & yarn, then getting the pattern worked out. I feel a constant pressure, because for every project I start to work on, I have the inspiration for 10 more. I work at another job as well as doing the online store, and teaching classes, so the time I have for knitting up my designs & writing patterns is very limited. It's really hard for me to take what precious design time I have, and choose to do nothing with it, but if I don't my work suffers. There is a magic to the creativity & inspiration that help me imagine what yarn could become as it travels through my hands and needles. Putting down my needles, packing up my yarn, and resting my mind & spirit gives breath to that ineffable world from which these designs evolve. In the letting go of self inflicted deadlines, and rigid ideas of how projects should work out; I find a softness and playfulness and joy again. This delightfulness can then be infused into my creations bringing them, and myself, more life. The work I do after doing "nothing" is easier, and truer to my vision. Solutions to problems come faster, so finishing patterns happens quicker with fewer mistakes.
It seems totally counter-intuitive, but experience has taught me that doing nothing actually allows me to accomplish more, better work than spending every available moment struggling through my designs. Try it for yourself. The next time a project is frustrating or exhausting you, put it away and rest, even if it is the only knitting time you have for the day. Refresh, then notice the increased quality of your work, and the renewed ability you have to problem solve as you knit your way through a pattern. "Knitting" or "Designing" time can mean putting your needles down, putting your feet up, and staring into the fire as you sip tea & daydream.
OK, ok I've avoided brioche for as long as I can. I don't know if it's the complexity of the stitching, or the fact that it is extremely popular right now, and I've always avoided things that are trendy. Whatever the reason I have spent a lot of my time running away from any project that involves brioche. Recently, I've had reason to revisit brioche knitting, and I have to say the results have been delightful! I'm still frustrated by the extra time and yarn involved to make anything with this technique, but I'm very pleased to have it in my repertoire. I have developed an appreciation and affection for this handsome stitch work, and I'm certain it will continue to find a place in my designs.
My knitting friends will tell you I have a huge problem with Startitis. I design and cast on projects at a furious pace. Problem is I'm forever dropping one project in favour of another shiny new one. This means for every finished project, I have 3 more cast on. Sometimes I have reevaluate the situation, and curb my cravings for new projects.
I saw the hashtag #100daysoffinishingwips last week, and I decided to jump on board. So far I finished a sweater that needed the ends sewn in and buttons, and I got a hat knit for my nephew. Then, although I did cast the next project on, this second cowl was a correction of a design that was in progress, so it wasn't really starting a new project...right?
Then the yarn arrived for a blanket I'm designing for a contest. Suddenly, I'm facing a dilemma. The blanket needs to be finished by mid May, so I needed to cast on immediately. Yesterday that is exactly what I did.
And thus 100 days of finishing WIPs was quickly cut to 5 days.
Now I'm wondering why I felt the need to put myself in that straight jacket. I often feel guilty about my non-linear progression towards my projects' completions, but life is not linear, logical, and controlled. Priorities shift as circumstances evolve. I choose ride the shifting winds of creativity, and change directions as I fly.
So as of today, to hell with rigid adherence to a hashtag overlord! I through off the shackles of linear tyranny, and dance gleefully through the blossoming fields of WIPs. FREEDOM!