Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's All In the Mind's Eye...!

So now I'm in the middle of a horrendous house move -- thank heaven the Third Coast registration is up and running, and I do mean RUNNING -- people seem to be signing up fairly aggressively!!!!  The movers came today and took half the house away -- the rest goes in another two weeks, and then there will be a modest moving sale (not conducted by me).  In the meantime I still have a book to finish, don't I?  So I will put it all on a flash drive, transfer it (and the materials accompanying it) to my office at university, and spend blissful days there, away from complete chaos.  Even the cats are disoriented:  Last night, Sheba the Cat spent the night curled up inside a small marble vanity sink in the guest room!

But I'm thinking again about knitting -- how to SEE what's in our world, how to knit what we see.  I'm always drawn to amazing textures and colors when I'm travelling.  So take some pictures!  When you look at them later, you can almost always find something that's knittable.  For example:

Look at the amazing colors and shapes in this cornice over a door in Stillwater, Minnesota.  Double it in your mind's eye so that it's a complete circle with a square around it.  You can knit this.  There are checkerboard corners in the square, a blue stripe running through the center, gorgeous terra cotta (some kind of raised stitch), and a design to undertake in knits, purls, and elongated stitches -- or maybe embroidery when done.  It could be the front and back of a tee!!! 

Or how about this?

This, too, can be knitted -- what a wonderful exercise in blocking -- charcoal to black, taupe-y gray, some kind of broken copper line running across the piece connecting the blocks, a seed stitch divider where you see post tops.  TEXTURE!!!! 

or this:

Jane Thornley has a little book called "Knit a Beach," which forms the basis for a workshop that she teaches around the world.  When I saw this amazing family of ducks in a Minnesota pond right next to the motel, I saw Thornley's techniques -- you do too, I'll bet.  You start at the bottom, or wherever you want, and just knit -- olivey tones, some astrakhan stitch, some half-linen, on and on -- just lay in the rows and don't worry about whether it's properly square.  Make something beautiful with stitches that approximate the textures you see, again in the mind's eye.  Don't be literal.  This is about responding to something you see and making what you feel about it.

Do this kind of thing sometime.  You will feel MUCH less like jumping off a cliff when it's unbearably hot, or when you're too tired for words, or when you can't find anything at all to knit.  You can always find something to knit -- or crochet.  It's in the mind's eye.


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