Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Best Things About Stitches List

I got back from Stitches Midwest on Sunday night, just missing a real fun time in the Chicago airport, apparently. It was a great weekend and here is what made me smile:
  • Rooming with Debbie Radtke. She's just awesome.
  • My classes all went really well, or at least I felt good about them.
  • Teaching my Thursday class in Nirvana and my Sunday class in Epiphany (those are the whimsical room names at the Renaissance Schaumburg. It was cool.
  • I got to spend time with and get to know better Sarah and Margaret. They are super-talented yet down to earth and so very nice.
  • I still get star-struck when I meet designers whose work I really admire (and have made their designs) like Jolene Treace.
  • Dinner at Sam and Harry's with a whole bunch of lovely people
  • Helping a table full of cute young girls from the Chicago area learn to knit. They were eager and beautiful.
  • Room Service breakfast on my birthday. It was actually fun to be there on my birthday. I got sung to twice. Can't beat that.
  • Working backstage at the fashion show. I love seeing the garments close-up.
  • Seeing Gwen and Beth.
  • Helping Gwen finish her amazing sweater. We team knitted until 15 minutes before the banquet started on Saturday night.
  • The market, of course. People always ask if I still knit for pleasure and if the market still dazzles me. Definitely yes to the first, and to the second, while it doesn't dazzle me like it used to, it still inspires me and I still feel the urge to possess the beautiful yarns and tools.
  • The fact that I'm even THERE! At at national venue! Doing what I love!
I'm so grateful for this gig and I hope it lasts a long time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finding My Muse

I've always been a creative person. I can solve problems, come up with original ideas, make just about anything, plan stuff, and lots of other things. I've tried just about every craft out there and frankly, enjoyed them all. I often turn back to old friends like quilting and sewing as a foil to knitting and photography. So why am I a bit stuck right now?

One of my students, in describing herself, expressed an aspect of my own personality so succinctly and perfectly that it caused me to catch my breath. So here it is:

I am more curious than ambitious.

Why is that significant you ask? WHY???

Because curiosity is what gets a person to try something. Ambition is what gets them to finish it. Curiosity is the path to vision. Ambition is the path to productivity. I have vision. I love to start things. After that, there is nothing pulling me strongly to make what I like to do into a product. There is nothing urging me to get the word out to the whole world and get published and make money. I'm really happy helping one person at a time learn something that to the world seems small. I'm okay living in my small corner of the world.

But the question nags at me:

Should I desire MORE???
Should I WANT to be a businesswoman and have a real, professional website from which folks can buy my patterns? Should I WANT to work full-time at all this creative stuff and publish books? Or have 10 photo shoots a month and be a "real" photographer?
Is it OKAY to just enjoy the process?

I submit as my answer, Yes. Why in small type instead of screaming it out in big, bold letters? Because I think that is the answer but I worry that it's not. I worry that I'm somehow living below my abilities or being selfish or something. I want yes to be the answer though. I want to not feel stuck because I'm satisfied with my life. I want to free myself from comparisons to other women who have made their creative skills into businesses or parlayed it into a kind of niche-y fame.

Here is one bit of advice from someone that I admire as an artist that gives me some confidence that my path is correct. For. Me. Alone. I read this often to remind myself that art is not for the people, in the end it is for the artist. I like thinking of all this stuff I do in that way. It frees me from the perfectionism that plagues me and in the end, I think it is what will free me to learn to trust the process and let it lead me to be successful in whatever way I eventually want to be.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Back to Knitting

I've been on a bit of a knitting hiatus. I have several instructional posts half-written, but I'll get to them later. As for "hiatus," that really means I have 2 projects in active rotation-an original sock and a baby sweater. My hands have started being more sensitive to my knitting and my thumbs get numb after just a few minutes, no matter what style or hand position I use. Maybe it's time to get to the doctor. Anyway, I've been quite inspired looking through my stash for bits to send to the prison project in So. Dakota, and am on my way to finishing a bright little baby sweater in just a few days. 3 since I started, to be exact. I'm gearing up to do some test knitting and I want to get my daily knitting habits back in place. I'm also gearing up for the intensity of two Stitches Expo events only about 8 weeks apart as well as the fall teaching schedule.

It has been a good thing to rediscover how soothing it all is: in, around, out and off. Lovely. Photography feeds a different part of my soul I guess.

I'm glad to discover that I still love knitting more than just about anything I do, even when I need the occasional break from it.