I went to a really awesome yoga class this past weekend and happened to meet one of my UrbanGypZ VIP peeps. Of course the question I always ask is “what do you have on the needles?” She described a beautiful cotton yarn that she loved working with, and how this was her second project using this awesome yarn. But somewhere along the way the project was not matching up with the pattern and she was getting help from her wonderful LYS.
“I am just not a very good knitter”
There were those words again. It breaks my heart to hear right-brained creatives feel they are not good at their craft because patterns are often written with left-brained knitters in mind. What I heard my yoga companion describe about her knitting involved the texture and feel of her materials, and she chose a project so she could elicit those feeling again with that awesome yarn.
As I was in my post yoga bliss on the way home, I noticed how practicing yoga was a lot like how a right-brained knitter works best. Like in yoga, right-brained knitters are in the moment—the colors, the texture, watching the fabric grow as each stitch is formed.
In yoga there is also room for accepting exactly where you are in your practice at any given moment and honoring just that. When it comes to knitting I find the theory of wabi-sabi very similar.
According to Wikipedia, wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.
All knitters, no matter why they picked up needles, really do expect all that time and talent to result in a successful garment. And when following a pattern from start to finish results in a successful project. But, I think allowing for a little wabi-sabi is key for right brained knitters. Unfortunately most patterns are pretty specific and do not leave a lot of room for wabi-sabi.
For a right-brained knitter little mistakes can lead to gigantic creative ideas.
So what is a right-brained knitter to do with sea of left-brained focused knitting patterns? Here are my suggestions for picking out projects that work:
Look for super basic shapes
I posted an article here about making simple sweaters.
Study how knitters did it in the old days without patterns.
This book and this book totally changed the way I think about sweater making. Granted both books come across as super dry reading, but they are actually primers in intuitive knitting. Learning the framework of how a sweater is built leaves so much room for you to add your creative ideas.
Copy a sweater that fits you.
Now this is actually something I will be covering in one of my BioKnitting courses. But for now suffice it to say, you can make a swatch, measure your existing sweater, figure your gauge from your swatch and recreate it using some yarn (or yarns—paint with yarn!!) you love.
Apply the theory of wabi-sabi
Maybe the sweater edge is growing in the wrong direction? decrease some stitches, rip it back and try again, sit with it and see if it can be incorporated into a new design element
Not sure if you have enough yarn? What in your stash might add a good contrast element? or maybe this becomes a stash buster with lots of beautiful texture.
Stop and look at where you are, and consider if maybe you want to go in another direction from there. For example, a lovely vest might suddenly want to be a full length duster. Sleeves that threaten to be too long might need thumb holes to become built in gauntlets. That bulky cardigan, is actually really cute as a bolero…OMG would look even better with a hood.
So fiberista, go easy on yourself. I see you as a fabulous knitter. You just might not be working with the techniques that show off your gifts the best. xo