Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mental Blocking

Have any of you out there in cyberspace started a project and noticed that as it goes along, you fall into a very comfortable rhythm? With such projects, I find that coming to the end, while yielding a pleasing finished product, I feel a sense of anticlimax. The more pleased I am with the item, the stronger my sense of anticlimax is. I have found that when I come to the end of a project, I tend to hesitate. I have several projects right now that are mostly done.

When the knitting is over, what remains is the blocking and sewing, neither of which are as enjoyable to me as the knitting portion. Part of this is that blocking at least is something that you can't start, pause and then finish later. The process of blocking a garment also requires space and equipment, neither of which are readily accessible to me at the moment. Even after a year and a half in my current house, I am still missing things (in this current instance, the bulk of my straight pins are not in my thread case. Huh. Now where the HECK have they gone?!) and my house is really quite small, so there is no space except the main room floor to spread out in and do my fiber-y thing.

A case in point: I just finished blocking a wrap this afternoon that I have been sitting on for at least a week. I have to say that I definitely think I would have been better off with a decent blocking board, which I don't have. NOt having a board, I tend to use towels or a thick blanket to absorb the moisture that comes with the way I block my sweaters. I also do double duty by washing the pieces in Eucalan woolwash as weeks of handling and even dragging the project around tends to leave it, shall we say, less than fresh. Most of my sweaters don't LOOK dirty, but the handwashing bucket tends to show the unseen dirt. Eucalan is easy to use because it is no-rinse and it freshens and mothproofs the wool as well as cleaning it. Then there comes the laying out, pinning, even steaming if needed (especially for cabled and fairisle all-wool sweaters--the fabric looks much more even if an iron is used to indirectly steam after washing and pinning the damp garment.)

So I made do this time around with a terry cloth bath sheet that was not quite long enough and what pins I had. I got it done, but it was awkward in execution. Having this project done leaves a little void, too. This wrap was my friend for more than a month and I really enjoyed watching it bloom and grow. Now it's done. What I have to face is what to do next.

I have several projects that are staring me in the face: Zarah that has been bugging me for months, the currently unearthed Grant Avenue vest which I plan to rehab, K's blue lace sweater that I have been stuck on literally for 3 years that keeps submerging in moves and distractions (stinking I-cord collar that I just cannot get right--do I try to make it work or rip it and make something else with it? Starting over is either a cop out or the best possible solution and I am hesitating because I am not ready for another disaster). I have two bags I have started (one knitted by me and the other a thrift store felt job) that are at the stage of dragging out my sewing machine to make up linings and add on all the fiddly findings which gets back to the concept of focused and labor-intensive work. Christmas projects that loom--I have done one, two are in progress and and at least 5 more are waiting. I think I must be nuts to have planned so many things, but I have never really made my family things before and it is well past time to do so.

The bottom line is I dawdled over the wrap because it was going well, and it kept me from having to face some knitting demons that are lurking on the periphery of my creative consciousness. It's that fine line between comfort and obligation with my crafting projects. Add to that a desire to get my hands on many things at once and it makes for a little A.D.D. induced catatonia. Still, having something in my hands sure beats the boredom! And lest you all think that all I have done today is block my wrap, I also made putanesca pasta sauce, borscht and green tomato pasta sauce in an attempt to beat some of the vegetables from our CSA farm into edible submission. Now if only the weekend were four days instead of two...

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