Selfish Knitting

In this newly carved out job of mine I have rarely found the time to just knit things for the sake of knitting, let alone make personal projects.  Much of last week and the week to come has been/will be focused on my commission as the deadline isn’t too far away.  I have been a Pilates devotee for a few years now and that helps immensely with stress; it provides an invaluable escape from anything to do with work as I am concentrating completely on the music and my body, which doesn’t usually happen with knitting.  I will probably resume dance classes in the new year so that I can have more of a balance/escape.  Yet I have also noticed that recently my eyes have begun to feel a little fatigued; not in a tired sense, but insofar as they have been looking at the same things all the time.  Not good for someone whose work involves ideas and creativity.  There are two options available to me: one, to have a day out (or another one!); and two, to refresh my eyes with the sight of something new.  I went for the second option and decided to give my brain a bit of a wake-up call too!

So as part of the R&R mentioned in my previous post, I thought I would share a few photos of things that I have been looking at and making simply because I want to, and it begins with a little exploration of colour.

Sole1This first image is my recoloured version of the Sole tunic from Rowan 52.  I have had sunset/twilight colours on my mind lately and it has been a while since any colour knitting has been on my needles, so I thought I would plug my eyes back in with some Lima Colour to brighten up the odds and ends in my stash (still trying to be resourceful!).  The main shade is called Santiago and I love the combination of blue, indigo and violet.  It has given me lots of ideas for other colour combinations.  I love the colour blue but sometimes feel that it can look cold, so this was also a personal experiment to find ways in which I can warm it up.  The complementary orange works well and harks back to the last rays of sunlight in the sky as the sun disappears for the day; the other contrasts were picked for highlights that you often see at sunset.

Innsbruck1Continuing with the blue theme, here is the back of a cardigan I’ve been waiting to knit for a VERY LONG TIME!  It is Innsbruck from Rowan Classic Alpine (now out-of-print).  As you might gather from the lacy look of Frosted Flowers, I haven’t had much time for cabling either.  The yarn is the also defunct Cashsoft Aran in Tornado – I believe it has been sitting patiently in its bag for about five years!  After this realisation I decided I didn’t give a stuff about the other unfinished or pressing things on my needles and decided to cast on.  I was attracted to this pattern because I haven’t knitted a square-shaped cable panel before and thought it was really effective against the more traditional twist.  A nice, extremely welcome change from plaits, diamonds, ropes and honeycomb cables…I’m really enjoying this project.

FinishedKosLast up is the crocheted Kos tunic seen a few posts ago.  I have finally made myself sit down and sew it up and I’m glad I did.  Nobody else in my life cares about this tunic and when it’s finished, but I know it’s there, and I know I’d be happier if it were finished, so I made sure it was just that.  It’s cold now but I am determined to wear it at least once before the end of the year, no doubt in the safety of a warm building!  In my lessons, I’ve noticed that many people don’t realise that you can make clothing out of crochet fabric, so I hope that wearing this helps beginners or returners to see exactly what they can do with their new-found skills; it doesn’t have to be an afghan.  I am currently looking for a nice winter crochet project, probably a wrap, cardigan or something I can chuck over myself as an extra layer; it will be nice to work with something other than cotton.  Crochet and cotton are great friends, but it’s time to shop around a bit.

I am learning that it’s important to keep my brain stretched and limber because – creatively speaking – although challenging aspects manifest in various ways in various aspects of my work, there is a definite difference between those coming in from outside, so to speak, and those you want to create for the sake of personal growth.  I have found that too much of the former puts me in danger of malaise and frustration.  Seeing a friend of mine suffer severely under the strain of work in the last week has really brought this home to me.  In one sense, it is another facet of the work/life balance and creating time and space for the things that you want to do, that you know will make you happier and more refreshed.  And this includes projects for yourself, that YOU want to wear – many knitters and crocheters fall into the habit of making so many things for other people that they neglect themselves, or feel vaguely guilty about making something for themselves when there’s a gap between orders from friends and family.  They aren’t under duress (at least I hope not!), but almost inevitably the scales start tipping.  I know that taking a couple of hours out of the week makes less time available for work, but I’ve decided that I don’t care.  I am going to make sure that I start dancing in the new year; writing this post has made me more resolute.  I have a feeling that the last few months have been a taster of busy-ness to come (going straight from designing/knitting/writing patterns for a collection to designing/knitting/grading a pattern for a commission has NOT been easy), so I need to make sure I’m ready and can cope.  There needs to be time for selfish knitting and selfishness, full stop.

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