Thursday, November 5, 2009

Decisions, decisions

If you have been out to the store recently, you may have noticed a felted bag setting on the table with various parts and pieces laying next to it.

This is a felted fall tote that I have been working on.  It is a hybrid of the Oregon Tote and the Packy Sack, by Janet Scanlon of KnitKit.  (I love her patterns!) 

The fact that the bag has been laying on my work table for a week doesn't say so much about how busy I have been (which I have), but more so it's actually a glimpse into something I simply call my "process"...

Here's how it works:

#1.  I get totally obsessed with a particular yarn, color, pattern, or original idea (or any combination of these) and I can't get it out of my mind until I get it on my needles.
#2.  I cast on and I knit like a mad woman because I can't wait to see how it's going to turn out.
#3.  I reach the point where I simply need to put on the finishing details and I will be DONE...this could be buttons, beads, needle felting, embroidery, handles, closures, lining, pockets, whatever......but then as quickly as it began, it all suddenly comes to a screeching halt.  

Really.  And it's not that I lose interest necessarily (although that happens too), it's just that finishing means making those creative decisions that need to be made.  And making those creative decisions is the part I relish the most and the part I resist the most.  It's not that I can't make decisions, it's just that knitting is my art and it's quite personal (as any art is) and it has to reflect my vision and that isn't always easy to see from where I sit.  I wish it was! (sometimes I get in my own way)  I wish I could create without pause.  But as a rule I don't.

So consequently there's a #4 to my process...And here it is:

#4.  I have to have my unfinished work out in front of me in plain sight for sometimes weeks at a time while I decide what "to do" about the details.  I will glance at it, stare at it, touch it, shove it out of my way, hold it, kick it, reposition it, try to ignore it...all the while formulating in my mind that final picture of what it should look like. 

Doesn't everyone work this way?!?  Or does it sound a bit OCD?  Doesn't matter because I have come to know my process well, and any attempt to get around it or take short cuts doesn't work.  I have had sweaters and bags and other things laying out for a year or more waiting for me to complete my process.  ;)  And then all of a sudden I am inspired and I can finish it!  That's just my M.O.

So that brings me back to my fall tote and why I had to bring it to work....

Decisions, decisions...Will these handles look good?  Do I use one leaf?  Both?  None?!?  Needle felt branches for the leaves to hang off of?  Flowers instead of leaves?  Maybe i-cord for the branches?  Pockets inside?  Line it with a coordinating fabric?  Leave it plain and simple? 

The handles I have chosen are leather and I like the color (at least that's one decision made).  They came attached to an old purse I bought at Good Will for $2.50.  Leather handles purchased online run somewhere between $25.00 and $40.00.

(If you haven't already discovered it, second-hand stores can be an excellent source for all kinds of arts and endeavors- but more on that another day)

So stay tuned and throw your $.02 in, if you wish.  What's your process? What motivates you to finally finish a project?  I will eventually get it all put together and I will post the results (hopefully it won't take a year! lol:)  I really want to put this bag in my fall display.  In the meantime, if you come out to the store and still see the bag setting there, you will know why, right?

Now, how long has THIS bag been on the table?!?




  1. I get obsessed just like you do at the start... my trick is to do things that makes a deadline- like a holiday or telling people I'll have the project done by a certain time... that usually gives me a kick to finish :)

  2. Yes, you are right, Stacey! I actually work well under pressure and sometimes do my fastest knitting just a day or two before I have to have the project done.

  3. Donna, I'm so excited you started a blog! Ever since the Fiber Arts Fair I've been dying to learn to knit. Maybe I'll have to come to one of your classes? Either way , I'll be following your blog for sure. :)
    -Laura Leggott

  4. Oh you really do need to take a class or come to one of our Knit Nights and learn! I would love that! It would be great to spend some time with you again. :)