Intentionality: Creative Process


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.

The Creative Process in Visual Form (credits to a professor in a class in architecture school)

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.

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Intentionality: Creative Process

Years and Goals

Stash/Projects

So this blog fell asleep, hibernated for quite a while, and decided to finally wake up under a new address. But it has the same spirit, though new lessons and with more wisdom. But anyway, the new year is such a great time to reassess various aspects of life, and while this entry has been 26 days in the making (granted, my computer was in the shop for half that time, thus making it impossible to actually post), I’ve had some time to reawaken my blog and set some goals for this year, at least crafty goals.

1. Stash/WIP dieting: I think this is a major one that virtually every knitter has. But my yarn stash has grown considerably in the last year and needs to get smaller. Plus I need to start spinning what I have. I hope to purchase only sweater yarn over the next year, and that is for a total of (5) more sweaters this year (at most).

2. Blog twice a week: to me, this doesn’t sound very often. But looking at how long this has slept, this is a pretty lofty goal. Hopefully I won’t let the frisbee season take over too much and still deliver a post or two during the busy summer months.

3. Exploration of dyeing: do some fiber dyeing (yarn and/or wooly things) at least once a month. I forget how quickly I can set up the crockpot and colors and just leave it as I go about my business, and how satisfying it is. Plus having some sock yarn to dye will go perfectly with my hope to knit more socks this year.

4. Finish 1 cross stitching project: currently, I have a Christmas sampler in the embroidery hoop. Strategic placement of this project (next to my bed) hopes that it will get finished slowly by next Christmas so I can send it to my parents.

5. Complete my 2 sewing projects that await: I have one pillow case finished for my living room pillows that took me approximately 1 night after work to do. The other project is a DPN case that has been waiting since Thanksgiving. The former should be a cinch, but my procrastinating mentality always seems to get the better of me.

6. 1 knitted Christmas gift gets finished every 6 weeks. (After April): For any knitter, self explanatory. The last week before I left for my folks’ place for Christmas, I had gotten to the point where I was knitting while walking. I do not intend to be this panicked again. April, because I hope to take an architect’s exam between now and then, and this can wait…the most. (I hope?)

Sure, there are only 6 up there. But the first is really encompassing and extremely general. So as 2014 goes by, we’ll see where I’m at.

I currently have 100g of Knit Picks bare sock yarn in the crock pot and I’ll try to show you all later in the next post. I tried something new; rather than dump some color in the crockpot and see what happened, I soaked the yarn in synthrapol, put it in the crockpot, then used these squirty bottles to put the color in according to how I felt it should be arranged. I’m hoping this will create a tie-dye-ish self striping effect, but we’ll see.

’til next time Mr. Blog…

Years and Goals

Wednesday’s Wow Moment: Wrapping Paper

So I know I’ve been pretty negligent with the Wednesday Wow, but here I am, back again posting some random home crafty thingies. Today: Make some wrapping paper!

With birthday season for my family wrapping paper was never used more than these past three weeks. Having always felt that wrapping paper is rather wasteful and quite unnecessary, I have decided to refrain from purchasing any wrapping paper other than Christmas themed wrapping paper. Due to the plastic bag ban in Seattle (not against it one bit!) I have plenty of paper bags from those shopping trips when I bring no or too few bags with me. So what did I decide to do?

Yup, create my own. I cut the paper bag so I had the maximum amount of flat surface on it. Then I used a rubber stamp to do some decorating. I think watercolor will also work really well, if that’s what you’d want to do.

Too bad I was silly enough not to take pictures of the finished object. But I love the way this recycles it, allows me not to buy anything, and looks really awesome!

 

Wednesday’s Wow Moment: Wrapping Paper

Wednesday’s Wow Moment

So I’ve decided I need some sort of tradition on this blog to keep me going, as I’ll get some rhythm going and abruptly stop posting for months at a time. Therefore, one of the weekly posts I’ll put up is Wednesday’s Wow. It’s a broad statement, I know, but that’s what I intend it to be.

Today? This random tip I saw in PNW Magazine (that comes with my Sunday edition of the Seattle Times; yes, I do subscribe to the newspaper, at least weekly and might be one of the few people on earth to still do that) to freeze herbs. Hailing from Southern California, I’m rather spoiled with the variety of freshness that’s available. Moreover, having been a city girl my whole life, I tend to take having anything I wish (at least in terms of fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs) at my fingertips at any given moment. However, being on my own for some time now, I’ve encountered a problem time and time again: throwing out herbs.

 

This tip tells us to freeze herbs in an ice cube tray to have that availability at hand all the time! I’ve done this with thyme so far, and it’s absolutely lovely! I simply snipped them with kitchen shears to fit the cubes, poured some water, and froze it. Keeping it in a plastic baggie separate from other herbs so as to maintain its flavorful integrity. I did notice that as I poured water, the leaves did float to other cubes, so I’d advise you to do only one type of herb per tray at a time. Try it!

Wednesday’s Wow Moment

Deception

Being binge crafter, I’ve been on a relatively constant spinning kick this week, meaning I hardly made progress on most of my knitting projects. That’s not to say everything’s been stagnant here.

I’ve finally finished spinning up the batch of wool that I’d gotten when I went out to Whidbey Island in August. I went out there with the intent of just hiking Deception Pass and spending the weekend out there, but the first night I encountered an absolutely lovely craft store in the city of Oak Harbor (where I stayed) where they sold only local fibers, yarns, etc. Moreover, this was an amazing place that had its own workshop where one could dye or spin their wool (among other things) as well. If only I lived closer to this place.

Now deception might be somewhat of a harsh name to give such a lovely fiber and yarn, but I feel that the colors, spinning & plying methods, and place and meaning of the fibers acquired have warranted such a name. It’s exactly what I think of when I see this yarn, for literal and more personal reasons. I have no idea what the different fibers are within this yarn and the colors vary greatly. Funny enough, upon first glance, it appears to be an aqua, teal flavored yarn.  But upon further examination, you can see the variety in fibers really well. And I really do believe the variety gives the yarn an amazing flavor, though it has yet to be knitted up so I’ll keep that in mind.

I’m extremely proud of the thoughts behind this yarn. Being immersed in thoughtful architecture has led me to search for a greater meaning behind every life decision, menial and major. Menial as it may seem, the meaning behind this wool makes spinning and (soon to be) knitting it so much more meaningful and enjoyable. I look at the yarn today and a wave of various feelings comes with a bundle of simple twisted fiber; I can see the twists and turns of life spun into this fiber.  More than just memories come with this fiber; emotions and nostalgia of that time in life.

I never really realized why the prospect of spinning and processing my own wool was so important to me. But after spending some time and thinking through all of the meaning and the ideas behind starting something from the very beginnings, it makes me realize how much each step of life can intrigue me. Knowing and learning about so many different stages in life and other forms of development such as design is absolutely fascinating and just constantly leaves me wanting more. I’m sure everyone has their medium for intrigue…any thoughts?

Deception

Hullo Froggie

The ominous melody of frogs has been following me lately. Such a lovely sound, especially when mixed with the harmony of failure. That goal I set last week to finish the blanket? Fail. But I guess that’s why I make goal to begin with; if I didn’t have any goals then I wouldn’t really get anywhere. If I have them, at least I achieve…something. At least when it comes to knitting. I know for a fact that I rarely ever meet a knitting goal. Or at even any crafting goal to say the least.

Mr. Blankie is plodding along at a snail’s pace, naturally. However, I have made 2 headbands, but only an eighth of one currently exists. I am currently ill with the frogging disease, meaning for non-knitters I am destroying my handiwork. For knitters, I am simply satisfying the perfectionist attitude that goes along with purchasing high quality yarn. Now, a headband may seem like a menial and too simple of a project but when the weather is this:

and I am doing this outside:

(playing ultimate)

and my jacket does this within an hour:

then it’s time for a headband. Though one of my new years resolutions (like so many other knitters out there) was to not buy yarn for myself, I found that none of the yarn in my bin fit the criteria for my pre-imagined headband. Therefore, in keeping with my mission to visit possibly every LYS in the greater Seattle area, I ventured off to the Fiber Gallery. However, this is not the last time I shall be going there. I loved my first trip there, it’s easily accessible by a bus line near my apartment, and the selection was awesome. I loved the variety of materials there. However, no spinning things (at least I didn’t see any). And on top of that, I ordered some wool to mix in to pick up Project Sheep to Sweater once again. I’ll hopefully be dyeing some wool in the very near future.

Anyway, back to the headband. (Geez, I really do go off onto tangents all the gosh darn time!) I feel that any physical activity that warrants heat transmission from the head should go together with a headband. Hats are just too hot after running for a while, plus they always seem to fall off super easily. Moreover, they take so much more yarn than a headband and restrict your line of sight. The beauty of a headband allows your head to breathe while keeping your ears attached to your head. Quite nice, really. Unfortunately, despite such a simple product, I’ve frogged twice already due to the size. First was the ribbing; it was much to thick. Then it was too wide and didn’t fit me (well enough). I’m on my third try…third time’s a charm?

Despite my lack of loyalty to the blanket, I have made plenty of progress on the Inishmore legwarmers and I’m about an inch of ribbing away from being completely finished! Win!! I’ll take pictures of the FO once it’s done tonight, to be posted later. I’ve also made some progress (minimal) on Awry, one of the sleeves. I’ve forgotten how boring/tedious/fun (yeah, I know contradicting each other) this project can be due to the yarn, but constant stockinette. Hopefully that’ll be done by…March??

Pressing on with the headband.

Stay warm everyone! Let’s hope Seattle remains blue for the next couple days/weeks?

Hullo Froggie