The Mystery of Knitting (And Snow)

Thinking Out Loud…

Snow covers up a lot.  There are some things you just cannot get to until the snow lets you.

Its beauty makes up for that.

Playing in the snow is the only thing to do. Even if that play happens inside looking out, even if it is the slow down of the day, the quiet time to look out and look in.

I’m letting the snow sculpt itself. And it is doing a good job!

The Mystery of Knitting

I should try and figure this out. I am trying to be logical in my blog posts–this thing ought to lead to that logically, and to that logically…. However, the brain isn’t working that way! AND, I still can’t seem to get myself to sit down and work on my quilt making. But I am knitting up the wazoo. Sweaters, mittens, more sweaters… So what is it about knitting that has me in thrall?

I love the texture! Both in the fabric and the fiber. I love the hand work–not tiny needle holding, but both hands working equally with sticks and loops of yarn. I love the feel of it in my hands, I love watching the fabric grow. It is about going back to the origins–the beginning of fabric building fascinates me. Plus, I love the smell of a rustic wooly yarn, the clean sheepy smell. Wool is magically warm and light.

It satisfies something in my yen for natural shades–greys, creamy whites, tans and the darkest blacks with flickers of reddish brown. In the winter, as it is now, the yarns match my snowy landscape, the sky, the trees holding onto the snow, ice dripping.

But….

There are some things that I cannot express in knitting. My knitting is for comfort, making things that keep us warm, keep ME warm.

Many years ago, my quilt making became my voice, my poetry–very personal, yes, healing, yes, but abstracted to leave the door open for others to reach in and touch.

I am finding that I still need that voice, that physical poetry, that allows me to explore the depths of what I am feeling, and to do it in a positive, affirming way.

Little by little I see my way opening once again. And it has to do with permission.

Permission

To try something new, something old.

To fowl up, to rest, to think, to wait, to puzzle, to feel the way I do.

To say no to should, to say no.

To be sad, to feel sad or angry or hurt.

To be sorry, or wrong, or right and still feel wrong.

To not know the answer, or the way ahead.

To put one foot in front of the other, and take one step.

To think of myself, to put my feelings or well-being first.

To remember, and be sad or hurt or angry.

To feel stopped and frozen because I feel so bad about not wanting to be there.

Put that into my work, my cloth, my quilt-ish things, and leave them unfinished, undone, raw, and uneven because that is how it feels.

I can show that, and I do not have to explain.

It is loss and regret, what might have been but wasn’t, what should have been but wasn’t.

It is dark. But the light shines through those cracks, those breaks in the surface of all broken things.

And I look around me and see that it is good

Here

Clutter

Thinking Out Loud…….

Yep, this is about clutter……

I have heard it said that there is good clutter and bad clutter. I wonder about that.

I am good at arranging clutter. I am good at organizing piles of stuff into neat stacks of stuff. I do this a lot. I think this may be akin to my tendency to make lists, which I also do a lot. I have frequently made a list just so I can cross off a thing that wasn’t even on a list. Does that make sense?

Tidy space, tidy mind…….

What about the clutter of ideas. Sometimes there are so many ideas whirling around in my head that I am overwhelmed, and I can’t settle or make up my mind. My inner critic butts in with a negative response to all the ideas, and the only thing I get is…tired.

Hint to self: take a break. Have some protein, go outside, take pictures of whatever, go in close and SEE. Make a list! Yeah, that’s the ticket–make a list of the ideas, whether they seem stupid to my inner critic or not. It is like saying it out loud–“I am thinking about this, and this, and this.” It clears the space without trashing the ideas, then it makes room for something else.

One of my favorite ways to work–back when I couldn’t wait to get into my studio–was to take an idea and squeeze every bit out of it that I could–working it from many different vantage points, over and over, change after change until it pleased me. It was easy to work like that when the energy was good, and I wasn’t achey or tired. Trying to force something when I am tired or discouraged is just plain depressing. It is the same when I am trying to finish something–when with dogged determination I wrestle with the thing through aches and pains, through fatigue. It sure isn’t fun at that point. I have learned (the hard way) to stop–though I have to repeatedly remind myself. I often regard this as the ugly stage, and the only thing to do is to come back at it when I am refreshed. Stopping at the ugly stage never feels good, it is frustrating, but I know my “tired” is talking. (I do the same thing with cooking and other tasks, and I am finding strategies that help by breaking jobs into segments, and working on them in short bursts throughout the day.)

Funny thing is, I need to remind myself that I KNOW this or that all the time. Funny how often I do not trust myself. Funny that I need to remember to DO what I think I know how to do.

OK, back to clutter. You should see the clutter on my design wall. Well, maybe not….

This is where I put ideas that have actually made it to substance. And here they have been waiting for the past year or more while I have coped with my arthritic hip. Having a new hip is great, and I am gradually finding my energy and spirit returning. But that is mitigated by the fact that I have other arthritic joints, fortunately mild to moderate at this point. As my surgeon told me early on, “we can fix this hip, but you will still have arthritis.” Well, dang!

The tricky part now is that I have to pick up the threads, reach back for what I was thinking about and working on nearly two years ago. Or do I? At first I looked forward to a post surgery resurgence of energy, clarity, and purpose. I thought it would just BE there. My expectation is there. The rest of it, not so much. At least not yet. Though there are glimmers…..new notes going up on the wall. I guess it really is a process after all. Wait, don’t I know that already?!

So, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, clutter–mental or physical……

Tidy space, tidy mind…..ah baloney. For the time being, I’m keeping my clutter. I’ll just arrange it neatly…..

Thinking Out Loud

Finding A Way…

Did I lose it? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. I’m going to look for some answers, and this blog is going to be my journal.

I know I want to work differently–to accommodate achey joints, but also to refresh my energy and enthusiasm, to try out new ideas, make new THINGS, and to enjoy the process.

As life changes, ways of doing must change. I’ll admit it is a little intimidating. I just might screw up. Then I hear myself saying to students, “trust your ideas, be willing to screw it up.” It’s time to take my own advice.

So, for now, this is the path I see in front of me. I wander a lot in my thinking, and I want to pay attention to the distractions, to the clear ideas, the missteps, the turn arounds, the do-overs, and above all, to my own curiosity.

This may turn out to be a lot like watching paint dry, but I invite you to visit when you have a mind to. My plan is to write as the spirit moves me, to no apparent schedule, and possibly for no apparent reason.

Whenever you show up, you will be welcome!