Monday, November 25, 2013

Why Do We Do the Things that We Do?

 This afternoon I took pause to capture images of the active yarn projects spread around my home.  I skipped over the projects that have sat dormant for four or more months.  Inventory?  About nine open accounts.  Wow.  And what do I really have to show for it?  Sometimes, I've got to wonder.  After all, I've repeatedly said that there's no way to make money off this stuff, it's not as if I'm converting my passion into, say, a yarn-work teaching store or even a design house.  It's a sort of applied art meets walking self expression art installment meets a vision of retro-leisure-time-activity.  Who knows, maybe it's just giving expression to modern day angst in a fashion that is quiet and portable and socially acceptable.  And really, why justify it with a cause, a purpose? 

Why so many?  Why not so many!
I'm quite satisfied with the variety, style, craft, and portability of the work at hand.  A benefit of working different projects simultaneously is that any project might fit the moment.  Need some mindless work for sitting at a swim meet?  How about a newly generated concept, full of life and potential?  What about a piece that has failed in it's initial efforts and needs some re-working and careful thought?  And of course, what about the statement piece, one which is always a conversation starter, a gem, piece of my mind, quite literally, out there for all to see? 

Forever Projects Work Wonders on our Sense of Time.
This afghan is one of my favorites.  It's called the Harlequin, from an old Afghan Catalog that I've been carrying around for years, Modern and Traditional Afghans to knit or crochet.
The Harlequin
From Mom's collection of course.
I'm thrilled with my color choice.  The sixties pattern calls for primary colors on a white background.  My taste, and to fit my front porch/office area is the chartreuse/coral/black/grey.  The black background seemed like a great idea, but it's turning into a bit of a nightmare.  I've got about forty more black diamonds to crochet and assemble, and the yarn is difficult to see, especially when working in challenging light.  I'm probably about twenty-five percent finished, so, like many pieces, I may never finish.

Don't give it away.  It's purpose is fulfillment. 
Mobius Cowl
I'm happy to make another Mobius Cowl.  I made this wrap/shawl/warmer for another friend at a time of illness and recovery.  This deep purple cowl is going to someone nearby who has had a difficult season.  I am not too fond of making objects as gifts.  A big piece of why I work yarn crafts is that it's a way to make things without always making things for other people (kids/spouse/etc), and as soon as one fills their to-do list with gift items, well, then, poof(!), there goes the huge part of crafting that is self care and meditative.  That said, I'm ocasionally inspired to make a gift, and this wrap is so clever, in that you never have to lift the hook (it wraps on top and bottom as you crochet), there something delightfully giving about the essence of how the cowl works up.

The message: Oh Well. 
Oh Well! Hat.

Heavy on concept,  the Oh Well! hat is one of my favorites.  It's a double knit, so as I work the main color, the contrasting color can spell a design or word out.  "Oh Well." is my first and very favorite bumper-sticker of all.  That said, it's not my favorite piece of yarn work, and I'm not in love with how it's working up (too clunky, too loose with the two color scheme).  It's also a scrap yarn, so although lovely color and yarn, possibly not the best delivery of my message.  Often times, the concept itself is much more inspiring that whatever it is I actually come up with.  So many ideas, and so  little actual time, of course, to bring ideas to light.  I'm completely captivated with yarn-bombing of all sorts, but truthfully, I can't fathom being able to cover such vast spaces with my work, so I need to settle for wear-able yarn art.

Sometimes, an idea fails. Move On.
Crochet or get out of the way. Move on.
I'm kind of moving away from my obsession with granny squares turned into garments.  So this really delicious yarn (baby cashmere merino silk), that I've already used for fingerless mittens and hat is sort of taking up space in my project mind.  I want to turn it into a skirt, but it's just taking too long, and I'm not feeling it.  Let's face it, anyone who's ever made a lot of stuff knows the truth.  Some projects just don't work.  This might get pieced together one day, but it's hard to
feel it, sitting in a purse, day in and day out.  In some ways, life is a lot like this.  Sometimes, something seems like a good idea, but once the inspiration is gone, move on.

 Meditation, Repetition, Prediction.
Needlepoint bench cover. Just like Grandma's.
 And then, there's a giant needlepoint bench cover that I found, half-worked, in a thrift store last summer. Something tugged at my heart when I saw it, and I was back in my Grandmother's house, learning to needlepoint, and admiring her cane wood chairs each carefully covered with a maroon-backed floral print.  Needlepoint is tedious, a tremendous eye strain, and not very creative at all.  It is, strictly, pattern piece work.  That said, there's a terrific meditative rhythym to this work, and there are mornings when there's nothing that I'd like to do more than sit in bed with coffee in hand, working this piece which, surely, will take a lifetime.  Then I can dream on to the discovery of what and where I might find the proper bench to place this work upon.   Originally, I imagined some sort of giant coat backed with this piece, but now I've come to realize that this sort of needlework will probably never make it outside of the house....well, as far as I can think....

Foresee the inevitable.  Weather will change.
Cozy in the American Tourister suitcase, a pair of mittens, worked up with yarn that will match the "Oh Well" hat.  I originally conspired to put little ducky on the back side, but the pattern I was using was completely wrong and my tension was miserable.  So it was, just a matter of days or weeks ago that I unravelled last winter's work and started over, perhaps to do a simple striped glove or the like.  For the time, I need to let go of my beloved stencil-patterns for knitting.  Now that it's actually snowing, I sort of wish there was a way that I could have foreseen the cold.   I'm enough of a fair weather athlete to absolutely wait until the weather shifts before I perform any seasonal projects.  Poor planning? Perhaps, but then again, if my intention is to create a feeling of being unencumbered within myself, then I guess I'm on the right track.

Wish List: Always Creating. And, speaking of scraps, I've got in my head that I'd like to build a mod-style dress out of cast-off yarn. Crochet is the craft, and I'm thinking a fairly bulky design on vertical stripes.  Lo and behold, the scraps that I was considering, probably wouldn't be enough for a skirt, let alone a dress, so it's back to the drawing board on that one.

And so yes, why do any of this? Why do what I do? Why do what any of us does?  It's in this world, a world endowed with leisure time and technology and mass production and the mad rush to achieve, earn, survive, that we wish and wonder why.  I argue that we do this because we must.  We must do something to create a sense of ritual, peace, art, joy, connection, belonging.  Some of it turns around and makes the world a better place, some of it sits in our own cocoon and withers, but it's what we must do.  We must try to do something, try to create something, after all it's the hope and the wish that we're building something beautiful, meaningful, worthy of this life and more.  

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