Monday, November 1, 2010
Crazy or creative - I get to decide
I just pulled out the stitches of a sweater I knit. I've done that before, but this time I've done it twice in a row. There's been days of knitting time and about 1200 yards of yarn now unknit, so to speak. Yarn becomes an object, and then the object is gone. Start again, another object now has seemingly disappeared into thin air. Presto! The magic of knitting and unknitting! The yarn now has the worn look of a well loved sweater.
I haven't done this much ripping out since I was a newbie knitter (and a perfectionistic). These days, I'm more apt to leave mistakes in my knitting and call them "being a human."
This ripping out adventure is more about discovery (often referred to as "creative process"). I've got a lot of this yarn, in an abundance of colors, and they are just screaming to be used in a painterly manner. I've experimented with strategies of pre-planning when I change colors, and what to change them to, so that they present themselves in a random fashion to me, forcing me to give up control.. I want to see the beauty of olive and orange sitting right next to each other, which I do in nature, but seem to find nearly loathsome in man-made objects. However, after two attempts, I have decided that while this is an interesting exercise, the finished objects have been too ugly to wear. My third attempt to knit a sweater out of this yarn will still employ some random "color non-decision", but I believe I'm going to be more intentional this time, though maybe not; I may simply employ yet another strategy. This ripping out and starting over again is not about not being able to live with a mistake I've made and it's not entirely about results. I love to knit for the sheer love of feeling the yarn moving through my fingers, and those balls of yarn are not an indictment but an enticement.
Thoughts of compulsivity and perfectionism come up. I say hello and counter, "I'm being creative, not crazy." As the title says, "I get to decide." My behavior is not hurting anyone else, so no one is going to lock me up if I unravel this sweater twice or even twenty times. If I wind up unraveling yarn while naked in the street, then we have a problem.
Well, if I called it "performance art", I would be fine, though I'd probably have to fight it in court.