Thursday, February 24, 2011

Never quite finished.

It is a joke among friends of mine that it is impossible for me to do one thing at a time from start to completion, and it is a joke because it's 100% correct. At any given time I've got 7 things up in the air. During any given week, I fumble and drop at least one "ball" because of it. Yet I wouldn't do it any other way, and please tell me if you find this is true, too.(because as mentioned before, people like to have others who share experiences!)
For instance, this is my current roster:

~Currently I am in the middle of an art project where I am doing 30 different paintings/drawings/collages, all around "poppies" I have only made it to drawing #5 and it has gone by the wayside as other things have come up

~I have 2 separate nalbinded hats going; one is in bright red peruvian wool that went through a commercial mill, the other minimally processed light pink merino that still has awesome bits of hay stuck in it. The idea is to see which goes faster and which produces a better toque, hence the comparison side by side. I am disappointed to see thus far that the overly processed bright red appears to be the better of the two.

~I have one mohair shawl waiting for finishing made from yarn my brother and SIL were sweet enough to get for me for Xmas. It's beautiful. I love it. But the lace edging is proving highly frustrating, which is why it sits. I have literally knit the first row up 6 times trying to learn the chart.

~I have another lace scarf in delicious pink alpaca that I started well over a year ago... the Hanami scarf on Ravelry, for anyone familiar... I even bought beautiful small iridescent beads to try to put around the edges to give it a bit more weight and dazzle. It is a rotten failure and needs to be completely torn out, as I realized I'd been knitting from the bottom up and had the entire pattern backward. I'd intended to wear it one year to the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival, but seriously think that will not be this year.

~There are no less than 3 pairs of socks on needles right now in various stages of being worked... only one is close to being finished, and it's only the first sock. I still have to knit up its mate. The others are far behind in terms of being done.

~I have a crocheted sweater that needs the arms reworked so I have a better neckline (It's a raglan). I've been working on it for 3 years.

~2nd time around knitting the husband a sweater... same pattern. Going faster this time, at least, as it's on smaller needles and I don't have to keep checking the pattern every 5 minutes to see what needs to be done next.

~For some reason all this fooling around with sweaters makes me think I can craft one from scratch with no pattern... I'm working on a short-sleeved hoodie done entirely in seed-stitch. I've never knitted a hood before, or the kangaroo pouch I want to put on the front. I suspect it won't be a big deal, but my brain goes in to overtime doing stitch calculations to get the shaping right in my head... and I'm still not sure it's right.

~A decent handful of half-finished amigurumi projects littered about the house that haven't been worked on for a year.

~Tunisican crochet skirt with a "honeycomb" stitch to show off the colors.

~Tunisian crochet purse that is done with the crocheted part and is currently waiting for me to go sit the hell down and sew it a lining already... probably an hour's worth of work, tops.

~Pajama pants waiting to be sewn out of the awesome navy blue plaid I found with Hello Kitty's face all over it.

~fabric is sitting around intended for at least 2 teapot cozies.

~a sketchbook project that was initially just ot test my art supplies out on Moleskine paper, it currently houses several cryptids. IT hasn't had an update since December.

~plans are underway for add-on objects and a PC Character for my favorite video game, Minecraft.

~The shiny new spindle has been going overtime while I try to teach myself how to spin an even sized thread from my various piles of fluff I've accumulated.

One of the things that keeps coming back up is that there is something in these projects that I wanted to learn or experiment with. It would be easy, and maybe accurate, to say that once the learning was done the project no longer interested me. I have, for example, made the better part of a dozen socks using simple knit and purl stitches. I find that though I may like the yarn I'm working with, the monotony of plowing through straight knitting is getting to me. Therefore, to make it more interesting I've decided that each set of socks I do next will have something new about it... the way the heel is done, toe-up, etc....
The same with all of the other projects. Each of them is teaching me something, even if it's just "Patience, woman!". Whereas I used to get frustrated because I couldn't finish everything, or projects sat around, I've come to the realization of why I really do these things - to learn, to have a new skill to use later on, to prepare myself to be able to create without patterns. For me the entire point of doing anything is to learn from it... but also, to have the awesomeness of a really cool looking finished object to use, show off or wear once done.
I was told a story when I was a teenager about two scientists that were constantly at each other over their methods... could have been during the Renaissance, could have been later. My memory fails me at this point... in that one would run his experiments through to completion and the other would simply stop halfway through and move on, leaving his work apparently "Unfinished" according to outside eyes. One day someone finally asked the seemingly flaky scientist why he never finished his experiments. He replied "I have learned what I wanted to from them. I can move on."
Obviously this stuck with me. It seems important to note that many people operate in this fashion, with an economy of motion and energy in regards to their work. Why is something unfinished? Because they've gotten what they needed from it. To put any further energy in to the whole thing is wasteful, not when there is so much else on the roster to learn! I feel for those people because I'm among them. These half-finished piles of yarn and graphite and cloth sitting around my house are really just a testament to the learning process at work. I enjoy each and every one of them while I am learning from them. When they are gifts for others, I also thoroughly enjoy the crafting for the gifting...
OH... oh yes, another important reason I create stuff. TO GIVE IT AWAY.
I am like a crack addict when it comes to making stuff for people. The only thing that drives my fingers to fly faster in their work is the thought that somebody might enjoy what I'm working on (husband's sweater, and some of the socks are for him). Or enjoy seeing the item I produce with what they've given me, in the case of the lovely, lovely mohair my brother and SIL gave me.
And, of course, there's also the overwhelming NEEEEED to create something, anything, as long as I'm working on making something that never existed before. And of course, as you're working on something you realize you could change X, or redo Y. So in the end if it takes 3 times as long, or you pause because you know you can parse a better way to work everything out but you know given time it'll come to you, or you set it aside because you know you won't like the object and it's taught you everything you wanted to learn from it.... then you're in good company. Scientists hang out in this realm of "doing stuff", after all.

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