|Real Fall in Maine, 1996|
When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.
The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire
The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Thursday, October 05, 2017
Recently, back in September, Larry and I went to Dallas/Fort Worth art district (a.k.a. a couple of Art museums), as well as I finally had a nice wondering visit of a very high quality yarn stop afterwards. Together, these two burst me right back into my creative spirits. How come? The whole 2017 seemed to have been stagnating where knitting comes (in my eyes). I only went to one yarn store (while in Hawaii for a wedding, it was sort of short stopping by with not much selection) - and that was a plan, as I had plenty of yarn at home to get through, and too much of it actually works backwards on my creativity, as it overwhelms me. Anyway, I made a nice shawl for my sister-in-law's wedding, then took 7 weeks off knitting as a Lent resolution - hoping to re-inspire. I did, as I pretty quickly made a similar, but larger and using two colors, shawl for my mother-in-law's birthday in May.
For the following few months, a couple of things were happening: I was on a quest to re-make a number of my wardrobe items to make them perfect, complete, more complex (or, simplify some) and finished. It was a great thing to do and put the time and effort into.
|One of the re-makes.|
In the meantime, in a passing conversation with one of my massage clients, she asked if I have a photograph of myself from early 1990's knitting. She was doing research for the movie of sorts. I gave her a couple to choose from (the only 2 I did have from that era, as I was back in Soviet Russia, at the ripe age of 20). One was picked, tentatively.
Time went on, one of my girlfriends had become a grandma - twice in 2 months, by no design of her two daughters! - so I piled through a couple of baby blankets. And a couple of hats for another person's kids.
You see, I rarely (if ever) knit by pattern (come to think about, those two shawls for my in-law's were from a designed pattern, so it just proves I use it when my own art flow is blocked). I create my own as I go. Often enough I start without being firmly certain what is it going to be, and a very vague idea what will be "on it". As I go, the design of the clothes item, as well as pattern, develops. It may change a couple more times as it goes, and it also depends on whether I have enough yarn, have to add something, or cut it short and make a different item from where I was. That said, when creative juices start flowing - I need to start knitting, because, since I can't even draw my stuff, I will forget what I wanted. I have to make a cast-on row, then proceed a few more, identifying the potential material (a.k.a. yarn), pattern, and then, if needed, I can set it aside.
With the visit to museums and a wonderful yarn shop, the were way too many ideas (and I still had a few birthday presents to produce). With that, I casted on not 2 or 3, but 11 (eleven!!) projects, using ALL my needles sets (in fact, I bought one new set at that yarn shop as well, and it was super-useful). And I still had 3 more ideas in my head (much simpler, so I was OK to hold on to those). That "madness" lead to this kind of mess for a week:
In the same pattern as that last endless scarf, I am knitting another one as a gift for one of my girlfriends (by the way, this particular hole-slip-double pattern I actually found online, but it has no name attached). There is also a pair of socks for my girlfriend's mother who's house was flooded during hurricane Harvey disaster.
Next thing I am more actively working on is a top from cotton yarn I picked up at the Fort Worth store. When I got it, I pictured it'd be that tie-dye quality with lots of shades of blue. Which, you know, is my favorite color:) What a surprise I had when I pulled a thread out of the middle and realized it is going to be rainbow palette! Wow, am I a touch too old for that? But, I decided to have fun nevertheless. It is going to be a bell-bottom short-row style (shorter in the front, longer in the back, in a round-way) simple top knitted in just sock stitch (with the color change, any pattern will juts take away from the piece). Here is what it looks like now:
There are few more, all in stages of casted on yarn and set aside: socks for someone; two shawls, with yarn wrapped into the patter print-out so I don't forget, and an idea of a beautiful pure cashmere long cardigan (or a sweater, it is still not birthed fully yet).
And, of course, when I need to give my hands, forearms and wrists a break - and use a different muscle set (because I do get over-use injuries), I switch for an hour or two every other day to my cross-stitching project I began just before Dallas trip. It gives me also time to really zone out of the reality of life, as one can't do it and think about anything else at all.
As I am writing this post, approaching my 48th birthday, I feel pretty good about where I am. Yes, of course, we all have things we look back at and wish we could have done differently, but life is like that, we wouldn't have gained this perspective had we not made mistakes and side-steps and decisions that lead us where we are. I used to compare life to an ultrarunning, as well as backpacking: hills, valleys, patience, long hours training, questionable reward, results that can be affected by so many outside sources out of our control...Now I am thinking knitting has some resemblance to it as well. Ebbs and flows, changes as we go, bursts of inspirations, long hours of meticulously doing something, just to un-wind it all (or part) and have a do-over, until it fits a person I am at this moment. You adapt as you go, make mistakes, and decide either to "live" with them, or fix things up, whether right away, or later. You evolve...May be whatever is that you are passionate about at this particular time of your life - seems to represent what life is to you. You look for connections, comparing bits small and large, and feelings along the way. The Artist's Way.
This, too, shall pass and change with time, and thank God for that. As long as there is good coffee:)