Daily Archives: November 5, 2009

My brain and Fiona

I find my knitting brain in an odd place at the moment. I think that I’ve been putting a lot of my knitting energies lately into finishing things so that I can move on and start something else, whether something of my own or just an item that I want to make and check it off some kind of “done” list. And it’s great for getting things accomplished but not so much for the psyche after a while. In the last week I’ve been feeling a bit of the knitting ennui and a bit of the project fatigue and even some of the “but what if I’m a hack who will never have any more creative thoughts EVER” and, well. That’s never fun. At the moment I’m medicating myself with small, manageable-sized, travel-knitting projects and telling myself it’ll all turn a corner again at some point.

So, it was pretty darned interesting sitting in Fiona Ellis‘s class on Morphing Cables at the Naked Sheep on Saturday morning.

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It was, make no mistake, a great class. I’m very glad I went. Fiona is a friendly and expert teacher and strikes me as the sort of person who could go from beginner basic to advanced crazy talk heirloom knitting in about 5 seconds, and would see nothing strange about this at all. Happily, all of us in the class had had some experience with cables before and were pretty game, so she started us all off a few floors up from the basic and after a bit of discussion of breaking down what cables are and how we get them, she had us go right into creating our own.

Yep. Did you know you can make your own cables, just from your own brain? I think I might have known this, but possibly just needed Fiona to tell me so. And really, you should have seen the swatches people were turning out in this class. I was a little bit intimidated looking around the table, for reals. There was a lot of intent work and exploration and graph-paper-charting and “let’s see what happens when I do this” sort of knitting.

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Me, I spent a lot of time staring at my swatch, knitting a few rows, noting on the graph paper what I’d done, knitting another few rows, ripping them out and knitting them again, re-writing the graph paper, and staring at my knitting for even longer moments. And Fiona would go around to everyone and talk and give tips, and then get to me and steeple her fingers and ask “how are you doing, Glenna?” And I would say “UM. I have no freaking idea.”

As soon as we had the word ‘go’ I recognized I was going to have a challenging morning ahead of me, because it immediately became clear to me what exactly my creative process is. I absolutely suck at not having a plan. When I get an idea I have to mull it over for the requisite number of hours or days that it decides it needs until it is fully formed, and then I have a plan, and then I work towards executing it. And here we were asked to have absolutely no plan whatsoever, and just “go”. Ahahahahhahahahahhaha surely you must be kidding about this.

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It was a little bit world-tilting for me and my brain went back to the “but what if I don’t have an idea?” problem. I have decided that I just need to tell that part of my brain to sit down and shut up and mind its own business, because it has nothing constructive to offer me. I’ll have an idea at some point, it all comes around when you least expect it. And the fact of the matter is I love cables and want to use more of them and have a few pretty specific thoughts on where I’d like to apply them. They’ll let me know what they want to look like, when they feel like it.

And now I feel a bit more as though I know how it works to do go through that execution process. Fiona had several key tips on how to construct cables and make them appear and disappear and morph, and how to try experimenting with them on a rainy day with nothing to do. I’d go back again.

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At the end she showed us many of her samples of cabled items which she has knit into patterns and we all ogled and oohed over them. It reminded me I have my printed out copy of Bonnie all bundled with a small heap of Mission Falls 1824 that I need to get out there and knit this winter.

And in the mean time I’ll just be over here clutching my stash and being patient with my brain. It’s got work to do.

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