A commenter, Lynn, asked about the “balance between New! Sparkly! Creative! Idea! and the long slog it takes to actually make something.” And this really got me thinking. Now really, with more than 30 works-in-progress that I’ll own up to, am I the one to ask about this? I am all about the new and shiny distraction from the finishing slog, but I guess that I do get a few things done too. This is worth some thinking.

I took a look at my WIP list and figured that many were begun more than 2 years ago. Some were impulsive and others were well-planned. Whereas, the majority of my finishes are impulse projects. After years of doing some ad hoc apprentice knitting and sewing to practice techniques and gain new skillz–pretty much by knitting whatever other knitbloggers were knitting, I did finally reach the moment of understanding the types of projects I like to work on and to finish. Here is an example that illustrates the type.

mmm...

They should be colorful. I like the effect that using the full color spectrum can have in a piece. Controlled and confined palettes have their appeal, but my impulsive starts that are ultimately finished tend to be riots of colors–using manymanycolors of yarn or using a wide variety of fabric scraps.

new year=new blanket

They should be modular. Building up to a whole by constructing smaller parts and assembling as I go might be the most important criterion. If I set out to make one garter stitch scarf, it might take me months to finish. But somehow, a blanket constructed out of several garter stitch scarves only takes one month. Each separate scarf represents a giant step towards the finish and this is the motivational key. Seaming as I go emphasizes the progress made with the completion of each part.

sunny morning

Modularity also makes the project portable so that no moment of the day is wasted. Working in “found moments” is the only way to make stuff when you have a busy life.

vagabonding...in blues and browns.

There should be an opportunity for improvisation. This is so fundamental to the way I prefer to work that it’s hard to explain. In a word, it’s freedom. Within the usual constraints of maintaining integrity of construction, I have to be able to follow whims. When improvising, surprises can happen throughout the work and it provides opportunities for problem-solving, engineering new-to-me solutions. There’s more to it than this, but I don’t know how to say it.

textural

That seems like the big three criteria. It goes for quilts too, although there are a few other criteria there. Actually, writing this also generated a list of “project deal-breakers,” but we’ll save that for another time.

Blankety Blank: all done

So the cliche way to say it is: “Make what you love in the way you love to make.” It can take a while to identify your own list of needs, wants and deal-breakers, but once you know your crafty self a little better you might start fewer things that you’ll never want to finish.

The Details:

Design: just knit improvisational garter stitch scarves and seam them together; add applied i-cord edging
Materials: 1970 grams of various worsted weight yarns in manymanycolors
Sticks: US7 (4.5mm)
Hook: G (4.5mm) for seaming
Finished size: 72″ square
Started: December 24, 2011
Finished: January 31, 2012

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A note about the blog: I have reformatted the display so that you’ll see only one post per page. Any disclaimer is then good for the whole page and navigation links at the top and bottom allow you to jump from post to post easily. I have also added pages linked in the header so you can find tutorials and other stuff without wading through posts you might not want to scroll through at that time. I hope this makes this site more user-friendly. Unfortunately, I can’t change the mobile format (for phones and tablets), which displays photos automatically on the front swipe page.