Friday, May 23, 2008

Why Knit?

Rebecca recently introduced me to a lovely blog called Superhero Journal. I find this woman's work and writing very inspiring. It feeds into my growing sense that I must get back to my inner mission - using knitting as a healing tool. It's simply not enough for me to knit for the sake of selling yarns or patterns. Or even just to have finished products.

Wonderful Wool Fabric
a swatch I knit years ago, just because... There's a sweater in there somewhere...

Now, clearly I love knitting. I love yarns. I love seeing the infinite design outcomes of all the creative knitters out there. I love giving knitted items to my friends and loved ones. I love wearing hand knitted items. I have an appreciation for the craft simply as craft. And for many, maybe even most, that's plenty of reason to knit.

For me, however, there is still a yearning for something more. I "see" more in the knitting than the individual pieces of the craft. It soothes my soul to make the connections. Mindless knitting projects bring a time of mindfulness. Design projects evoke the alchemical nature of life - the mystery behind transformation. Intentional knitting can lead to unintended treasures.

So, in the spirit of Superhero Journal and my own journey of fostering something "more" out of knitting, I will, from time to time, pose questions for us all to consider.

Today's: why knit?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Designs:knitting and otherwise

I've been working on the Swirling Dervish sock. All the detailing is in the beginning, so I think I'm through most of the work. I've also written out most of the pattern, including the charting. This thing has charts within charts, so I've been concerned about how to present that clearly. After showing what I was working on to a couple of people I think I've worked out how to do that best. I'll have one sample done by the end of the week so that I can get photos and - if I have no major upsets on the dad's health, dog's health, my health front - the pattern will be ready to go next week. Yippee!!

Can you see the pinky toe shaping at the top. This sock is for a left foot. You won't be able to tell for about 20 more rounds, but the swirls form one big swirl going up the foot and then around the ankle and calf. When I first imagined this sock, I wanted to tell the knitter to just use the graphs for the swirls and put them where you liked. That would be much more like a true dervish. Feedback I received suggested that this would turn a lot of skiddish knitters off. So, I've charted out a pattern, but I'll still suggest that the knitter let go and knit the swirls as the spirit moves them.

The yarn is Cestari's Wool Sock. I love it. Very easy to work with. Very nice on the hands. Great stitch definition. And one warm pair of socks that will likely last forever. The rustic nature of it is perfect for reference to traditional Turkish styling. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it.

The process, though, seems slow to me. Okay, it's glacial if you think about when I really started to design this. I'm talking about this last bit of time where I picked it back up again. But that's just the pace of my life now. I'm like the tortoises on those digital internet advertisements. Still, it's progress. And progress on a piece of Circles that as I see as the future: the Pattern Collaborative.

To get the Pattern Collaborative truly activated, I've done a little outreach and we're starting a regular circle. We'll use the time to share ideas, problem-solving and resources for publishing. It won't be a public circle. That is, it's only for people who are working on designs for the Collaborative. People can inquire and be invited to join. This is new. Having a closed circle. But we need to keep the focus and I don't want it diluted by general socializing. My hope is that as we start to publish there will be even more active interest and this circle will grow or others will develop. We'll see.

On another front, I've decided to focus on knitting therapy again. I already re-launched the Greek Goddess Knitting group and that's underway. I'm considering morphing the way that circle works. In the past, it's been a 12-week "course". What I'm imagining now, is a 6-week introductory course where newcomers can get grounded in the basics, but then an ongoing group to continue the work. Often when I've run this, people feel that they want more. In the 12 weeks you can only focus on one project and work on one emotional/spiritual topic. Being able to use the model and continue doing self-exploration would really deepen the experience and make it more a life tool for people. It also allows participants an opportunity to interact with others who have gone through process and can "speak" their new "language." I have to think about how to schedule it, but I'm pretty sure this is where I'm heading.

There are other groups like this I'd like to get going. Thinking of it in this different way might make that viable. I've been hankering for years to do one that centers on the qualities of elements and their associated archetypes. I'll try to line that up for the Fall. I've been hesitant to get back into private therapy sessions. But I think it's time to start. Time to stop being afraid that I'm not good enough or worth enough or the opposite fear: that I'm too powerful and will have too much responsibility. I've been writing about my internal processes on a

With the designing and the healing work I'll feel like I've finally built the Circles I always wanted. I'm looking forward to that.