A 2015 & 2016 Top 100 Knitting Blog!
Where do Knitting Nuances come from?
Some people, like my engineering husband and our chip-off-the-old-block daughter, think in linear lines… B follows A, C follows B and the world makes a lot of sense. Not me. I’m the type who wakes up in the middle of the night with “ah ha“ moments like the Showy Hat Top and Flat i-Cord shown below. I always keep a pad and pencil on the night stand so I don’t have to whisper ‘don’t forget’ to myself for the rest of the night (it’s 4:13 AM as I write this).
But that doesn’t mean my creative process is haphazard. I’m actually the organized sort, after all I am a Virgo and started my career as a CPA. The creative aspect of this business is the most fun and the most addictive. If I were to allow myself to invent new things all the time, they’d never get on paper, photographed and onto the website. And so I give myself periods of creativity as a gift. A few days, maybe a week, when my job is not to write web pages or proof patterns but to let my brain spin.
I usually start with some simple but serious knitting time to warm up the brain, then move to other areas of creativity to get things going; some math brain teasers to get the logic flowing, landscape photography to see the big picture, a little writing and even baking or house redecorating. My family can easily spot these times: yarn balls, swatches and projects are everywhere, rooms get reorganized, packages start arriving from Amazon and their favorite – the smell of delicious (gluten-free, sugar-free) cookies fill the kitchen.
I spend my day with one project or concept in mind; a shawl design or a new way to use an existing Nuance for example, and then I sleep on it, tossing ideas around as I settle down for the night. The thing that amazes me is what pops out the next day (there’s always something, just not necessarily a really good something).
Sometimes I think of a solution for the problem at hand, but just as often, a completely different idea or one I hadn’t thought of in ages is what becomes clear. Sometimes the easiest of ideas comes months after a complex design, and I always have ‘duh, why didn’t I think of that earlier’ moments. Not all designs are cooperative, the Crown Hat to the right has a few construction issues. It’s been a year, but still no clarity on how to simplify, I remain hopeful.
I had the opportunity to listen to a speaker last year who really helped me understand and define my creative process. He wrote a book titled How to Think Like Leonardo De Vinci. It’s an interesting read if you’d like to get a handle on your creativity and in the mean time you’ll learn a lot about one of the most amazing men in history.
Back From My Break
This process is even more important when I am rebounding from a toxic exposure (we have chemical allergies). During these times I lose the ability to knit, which is hard enough, but I also lose any sense of creativity. This was the most difficult part until I realized, that when I come out of my creative fog there is always some insight, a leap of concept that was not there before. It is, apparently, a (much) longer version of sleeping on an idea. This time was no different and involved a much easier way to add contrasting colors to the Vortex Hat. Just look how pretty the hat top is when there are two colors! There’s also that lacy chevron I hinted at last post and a new way of using the Showy Decrease with garter stitch.
And now, since I’m just crawling back from my unwanted 2 month knitting break, I’m off to document some of these ideas. There are fun techniques and small projects perfect for summer time knitting on the way.
I you have any routines you use for enhancing your creativity, I’d love to hear about them and give them a try too!