I consider myself a crafter, defined as what I perceive to be a hobby. I mostly knit and spin, while occasionally dabbling in the sewing or dyeing project, creating as a general term. I consider architecture to be my professional field, having gone to architecture school and learned the design process and working in the design field as my day to day job. But inexplicably, I’ve always felt there to be a complete dichotomy between those two passions of mine.
More recently, however, I’ve realized the innate relationship between the two disciplines. While some might see it to be obvious, the idea of creating and designing has finally become clearer. To get from the tail (beginning) to the arrowhead (perceived ending) the designer/creator will have to take a steps back for steps taken forward. In knitting terms, this means swatching, frogging, swatching some more, liking it, casting on, realizing it’s not quite right, frogging, swatching again, etc. In design terms, it means redesigning a floor plan and/or rearranging spaces, etc for the 100th time, sometimes (often) going back to an idea that was presented on day 1.
I used to feel an overwhelming sense of frustration when this diagram came to fruition in my knitting process, yet still always considered myself a process knitter – the exact opposite of what could be considered a process knitter. But when I was enlightened with this knitting/design relationship recently, the swatching/frogging process became so much more enjoyable! It brought about a level of reassurance to trying to design on the fly, thinking “well, I can always frog back and start over if it’s not really what I want.” It even pushed me to swatch past what I thought I was satisfied with, to try new combinations, and find something else that I ended up liking even more. The fact that I’ve frogged more sweaters than kept due to the final product underscores the idea that beneath all of that swatching frustration, I guess the process of making it was far more valuable than keeping an ill-fitting garment.
The discomfort that comes with knitting beyond a pattern was initially rather unnerving. I was used to knowing what my end goal was and having an idea of what I was going to be getting. However, I pushed to keep going, reminding myself that it’s the design process, the option of frogging remains. Such is the case with one of my current WIPs, a Christmas hat for a friend. As I work on it on the bus, I’ll keep on checking the balance of the pattern…so far so good. Suffice to say, I’m satisfied with the ¾ outcome of this hat project but not ecstatic. And naturally, as any designer can attest, there’s more to perfect. And as with any other project with a hard deadline, sometimes one has to just give in to the satisfaction rather than the drive for perfection.
From here, I think I’ll try to sketch out a more detailed schematic prior to beginning my next project. Then I think an extensive swatching process with greater attention to size will be needed. While I had attempted these project foundation pieces prior, I’ve realized a greater value in the process and find them to be even more fascinating. I truly feel doors have opened as I’ve stopped restricting myself…from myself.
I’m still designing my crafting identity. And it’s all a part of this lifelong creative identity crafting.