Sunday, November 26, 2006

more nonsense knitting, but also the *why* of it

Spring Flowers in the Winter

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted, M-162 Mulberry, M-173 Wild Violet, M-120 Limeade, m-155 Lemon Drop
Needles: Clover Bamboo US#8's/5.0mm, dpns
Pattern: Spring Flowers, by SaartjeKnits
Modifications: larger versions of the original pattern
Finished Measurements: 13" and 11"
Started & Finished: Flower#1 11/24/06, #2 11/26/06

Alrighty. It's officially a phase.
A period.
Here we are, 3 mini-pumpkins, 5 catnip mice, 2 felted cat-toys, 1 new stuffed toy friend, 1 gnome, 2 flowers, a few warshrags and hallowigs later... and I think I finally understand what's going on with me and my knitting over here.

Yes, knitting these little ditties has something to do with immediate gratification and creating things that are adorably non-functional; things just meant to bring smiles, at a time when I could use a few extra.

But I think this whole nonsense knitting trip is actually a big lesson in my creativity, primarily about my stash and how it either supports or hinders my creativity.

Sometimes I hear or read about the knitters who buy a "sweater's worth" of yarn they enjoy, with no pattern in mind. They are just waiting for the perfect idea to emerge to go with it. I am soooo totally not that kind of yarn-ho. See, I need to be able to justify my purchases (with most items, not just yarn). If I'm going to spend money on something, I need to be able to prove that it will be useful. In terms of buying yarn, that has translated into the edict:
Thou shalt only buy yarn if thou has a dedicated project in mind for it.

Now, I don't think this keeps me from buying less yarn than the person who buys a whole bag of yarn for a to-be-determined project. But what it does do, is this (by comparison):

The Bag-For-A-Sweater person goes home, puts their stash in a basket, admires it, occasionally fondles it , and sees inspiration waiting to happen. This person has a basket full of possibilities.
I come home, put my stash in a basket, admire it and fondle it, but instead of inspiration flowing, I see all the things I intend to do that I will never be able to get done. I see a basket of failure, covered with a cloud of fear for lack of time.

And I'm ready to start looking at my stash and my craft differently. What's kicked me into gear is knitting silly little useless things (which most certainly can no longer be deemed useless if they are making my brain explode this way).

It started with making little things made out of left-sock yarns: cat toys, watch bands. See, those were left-overs from other projects, and not dedicated to something, so I could just see a pattern, get a bug up my arse to whip it up quick, and blammo...done.

But it was the Lamb's Pride Worsted that really did it. I bought several colors to make some Jess Hutch toys. Being that I have no faith in my own color sensibilities, I copied her colors exactly. And was left with a ton of leftovers, and a big love for this yarn. I just adore knitting with it. So I went out and bought a few more colors with no specific project in mind (*gasp!*) to add to my collection. Just colors that I like. I thought I'd try making a few more of her toys, but get brave about my own colors.

(this whole discussion strikes me as interesting, because I have absolutely no problem whatsoever pulling a dance movement out of my "dance stash" and making my own finished item using that medium)

Anyhow, I've now been tripping through the internet running into patterns for little silly things, and I can just go to my stash o'LambsPride and make them. I know that technically, I'm just using up odd and ends of stash, but really, something big is happening here.

I'm beginning to see my stash as a wide open field of colorful creative possibilites.

I'm still not as far along as trusting my own color choices, nor am I making up my own patterns, but I didn't start choreographing dances for myself right of out the gate, either.
So watch out yarn world. I'm learning.

Ready or not, here I come ;-)


jodi said...

See, and while pulling a yarn out of the stash locker and casting on for something totally out of my head is an everyday occurence for me, the thought of "pulling out a dance move" scares the crap out of me.

Anonymous said...

I love all your silly knitted items. I buy yarn the same way. I can't justify buying it unless I have a project in mind, but I love using leftovers for creative purposes.

I have a pattern for some felted handcuffs made out of Lamb's Pride. They're fun. I should get that to you. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't buy stash just to be stash either. I have one sweater's worth of wool that was originally meant to be Samus from knitty and that's the largest amount of any yarn in my stash. I don't ever fear color myself, but I did have learn color theory in undergrad. I'm glad your wee projects are helping you! Also, take care of those hands, hurt-y hands are bad!

Mouse said...

Looks like you're getting a gorgeous assortment of colors there for your projects! I buy yarn depending on what I'm going to do with it.. its more of a budget thing than anything. It has to have a purpose in order to come home.

Carrie said...

I love your color collection! I buy a sweater's worth of yarn with a project in mind, but it frequently becomes something else. I don't fight it anymore. I acknowledge that sometimes what's meant to be isn't what I thought.

Anonymous said...

Knitting for charity has enabled me to buy whacks of worsted or other weights in whatever colors strike my fancy because I know I can turn them into warm hats and sweaters and scarves. It's such a liberating experience. If I bought "a sweater's worth of yarn" I think I would look at it as you described: a weight of things that I probably won't accomplish in anything like a reasonable amount of time.

Larjmarj said...

Just discovered your blog, as an Occupational therapist I have to say that I never thought of using a prosthetic leg as a vase. Very adaptive of you! Love the color collection, I use hats for my stashbusting projects.

Anonymous said...

The watch bands tickled me, but your flowers delight me. Great fun.

Warrior Knitter said...

Love your stash of colors, too. LOTS of possibilities!

I buy sock yarn like that. No particular sock or pattern in mind, just like the yarn. And it's usually only 2 hanks or balls at a time. Not a big investment.

Anonymous said...

I'm only just now learning to buy yarn with no particular project in mind. We all come to it in our own time.

Anonymous said...

When you think about it, anything we knit is the creation of something out of string. That will never cease to amaze me, whether I'm making a multi-cabled sweater or a humble dishcloth. It was string when I started! That is so cool!

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comments. I've really enjoyed the chance to discover yours!

Anonymous said...

Lambs Pride is the best. Glad it's helping you unlock your creative process.

Anonymous said...

I used to do Hardanger embroidery, and the very first actual project I did, which was an ornament, I did incorrectly. The idea was of a box, the inside of which was cut out, and then embroidered a certain way. Well, the embroidery inside wasn't working out, and I said to my mentor, what's happening here? She said, oops, you've done it wrong, so now you get to design a new inside! My first time, and I'm a designer! What a great feeling! Now I have lots of ideas, but rarely accomplish any because I'm more focused on knitting.

The knitting designing didn't go quite as easily. I was trying to design a beaded ornament based on the pink breast cancer ribbons. A round ball didn't work, but an egg-shaped one gave me room for the ribbon vertically. Five tries later, each put on the glass form and then removed because I couldn't get more forms, I had a design I was happy with. It wasn't perfect, but it was the best it could be. It was good enough that my sister, its intended recipient, wanted to know where I'd bought it, and didn't believe I had not only knit it, but designed it.

Now I'm working on designing a new ornament for my guild's ornament exchange. The first try didn't work well, but it's still in the back of my mind for another try sometime. I've modified to something I know will work, and will go with that for this year.