Friday, April 6, 2007

Finding Inspiration

The other day cathcrochet asked: "I love going to the fiber festivals and diving into luscious fibers. I find yarn that I love, purchase it, and then go in search of a pattern. Isn't this backwards? I struggle trying to find a pattern that will use this yarn I have purchased."

And then yesterday, after teaching my crochet class, a customer asked me, "Do you think it's odd that I drive all the way from Long Island to purchase yarn for my stash and then search for just the right pattern?"

My answer is No.  I don't think of it as backwards or as odd that people, such as img from LollyKnit on Flickr.commyself, do this.  I like to think of it in this perspective:  A artist goes on vacation, takes lots of notes and photographs of places that inspire.  Then visits various museums and art galleries for more inspiration.  And then spends time collecting various materials for the next project.  Those materials may sit for a day, a week, a month, a year. Perhaps more.  But when that creative "must do it right now!" inspiration hits, that artist knows they have all the materials within reach.  There will be no stopping the drive to create because all the materials will be awaiting.

One of the designers I am mentoring (as part of the CGOA Professional Mentorship program) asked me about procrastination.  I admit I suffer from procrastination from time to time, but I don't think about it as procrastination.  Rather, I think of it as time to "let the creative juices simmer."  To prepare to change the procrastination phase into the action phase,  I'll clean my work space, make a great cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, light a scented candle and then hold a particular yarn in my hands.  I'll rub a strand of a particular fiber between my fingers; I'll look at the texture; look at the color.  I give the fiber time to "talk to me" about what it wants to become.  If it doesn't answer me within a few minutes, then I know it's not ready.  I move on to another fiber, and another until one speaks up.  (*During this time it's also important to keep your ears open as a fiber hidden in the back of your "yarn collection" may be trying to get your attention too!)

This is why it's important to have a yarn stash.  So when that moment of inspiration hits, you can quietly sit with the fiber and inquire, "Are you the one?"  If it answers back affirmatively, then you're in for a wonderfully creative time.

As for buying enough fiber for some future project, I know that's hard to do.  This is why I strongly encourage buying just one skein of an intended fiber first.  Swatch it up and see if you liked the way it felt as you created each stitch; as it looks worked up in stitches -- and don't forget to beat the living dickens out of that swatch!  Doing so will tell you about the wear.  If the fiber meets your standards, then by all means, go out and enhance that stash to your heart's content!  If it doesn't, then you've just prevented a "wet dog" from taking residence in your yarn stash. 

For those new to the concept of having a yarn stash, you know, it's not much different from visiting a clothing shop and purchasing a great outfit just because you like it -- then waiting for the right event to wear it to -- and then running out to find the perfect matching shoes.  I know you know what I'm saying here!  We've all done it one time or another!  LOL ;)

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crochetr said...

 This is so true I love my yarn stash its like having my very own yarn store in my room:)
 Dee, I received your very soft and very lovely cap for my sister Jerri. I love your pattern Ive made several caps in different sizes for baby caps and adult caps fantastic pattern. I plan on buying some of the Marlene yarn from ebay I asked hubby if I could and he said sure he just loved the color and the softness. Thanks again my friend you are too sweet for words.

marylhall330 said...

Hi Dee, everyone thought I was nuts for waiting for my yarn to "talk to me". But I guess we're all crazed and should have a great big 'ol party!! ;.

itsmemaven said...

See, for me... what usually inspires the purchase is the yarn speaking to me... and then I set it aside until it speaks to me again.

Right now what's calling out to me is a spool of masonry twine. It wants me to go to the hardware store to buy odd sized washers and other closed ring metallic hardware for me to crochet upon, and create a funky windchime for the spring/summer...