Sometimes, you just have to throw the damned thing away.

So I’m sitting here surrounded by half-finished projects and swatches for a dozen designs and feeling just a little overwhelmed, even though I prefer to have approximately a millionty wips at any given time.

And then I realized what my block was: the design that was almost finished? I didn’t like it. And I figured I had to finish it first, since it was almost done, and I didn’t want to because I didn’t like it the way I really *needed* to like it to put the rest of the work into it and send it out into the world.

So I killed it. And I feel a little more free.

When I first started designing I was totally on fire. Everything I did seemed to get me somewhere, most every design I tried to put to yarn and then to paper worked, and I thought it really was that easy. I was wrong. Dead wrong. And now that I inhabit a space where 4 of 5 of the ideas I have don’t work out, or have been done, or fail to excite me for one reason or another, well…I love it just as much. But it’s slower and sometimes pretty frustrating.

Once upon a time when I was chasing an MFA in Creative Writing, one of the books I read about writing talked about how difficult it is to deal with the phrases and sentences and even whole passages that you absolutely love but have no place in the piece you are writing. The author referred to the process of weeding these out of a work as, “killing your babies.” And that’s how my design process has been running lately.

More than likely this will change again, and I’m putting my head down and slogging through until I hit that energy again. And trying to kill what I need to kill in the meantime.

Day 20

After just short of 3 weeks of reasonably concentrated effort in half-hour to hour length packets, I have a design probably 70 percent done, including the pattern writing. It’s nothing that’s going to revolutionize the design world, but I quite like it and I’m pleased with having managed to get it out of my head and into the physical world. At this pace, it won’t be too terribly much longer before I’ll be able to introduce it here. This is an unqualified Good Thing.

I have to fight the feeling that I’m still working too slowly, but that’s ok. Life is here, and sometimes demands my attention. This window with this new post sitting in it, for example, has been open for 2 days while I’ve dealt with other issues.

I’m seriously considering reopening the Etsy shop. It sounds like they’ve made some upgrades that will make it a little easier to run that I’ve found it in the past. It was fabulous for selling physical objects, but not as much for patterns. That may have changed and may be worth trying again. That’s another window that’s been sitting open for a couple of days now.

Anyway, onward. There’s laundry to do and a promised project to finish and kids to herd.

Day 14

Trip to Maine was nice. Got to stuff myself silly at my favorite local eatery and spend an hour or two cursing at Traveling Woman. I don’t know what it is about that project, but even the simple stockinette portion kept going wrong for me. Methinks that I am currently lacking the focus to knit lace. Or the yarn is angry at me for making it live in a ziploc bag in the dark between bouts of working on the thing. You never know.

This afternoon I have the house to myself and in the absence of three small loud children I’ve been working again on a new pattern template. Nothing elaborate…I’m not in a good place right now to purchase or learn anything more elaborate than Word, but I’ve managed to jazz it up a bit all the same and I’m pleased with the results. I also set to writing the pattern that I think will make its debut the soonest. It’s been pulled from the pile of swatches and scraps and will shortly, with any luck, be made to behave.

I have no FO to show for this weekend, but the scarf project I’m trying to finish right now should be all set by the end of the week. Yay!

Got no pictures, either. I can be incredibly lazy sometimes, and moreso when I’m tired and bouncing between happy and cranky. On the plus side, the boyfriend gave me this to keep my moody self out of his hair, and I’m finding that I quite like it so far. So a book may actually get read around here for the first time in ages. Exciting stuff.

Ah, well. Back to the pattern thing. I have to do this writing in little pieces or it wouldn’t get done at all. Watching a design grow under my hands is easy. Writing it out so someone else can follow it? Not so much.

More Maine

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the boyfriend’s family has a cabin in Maine, and the boyfriend? He’s been building himself a pretty damned awesome solar power system for the place over the last couple of years. His charge controller crapped out a little while back, so we’re off with the replacement to get the thing up and running again.

I’m only bringing two projects, but it will only be a 28 hour trip, lol. If I do it right, one WIP will be a FO by the time we get home. :) Pics if I remember to take them before we leave tomorrow. The light up there is gorgeous. So tempted to do my next pattern photoshoot up there…but I hope to have something finished before spring, lol.

Day 10

I’m a bit caught up in delaying tactics at the moment, but I’m still working on things that are positives for the business. I did a simple bit of reformatting on my pattern template this morning that really improves the look of the pattern I tried it out on (at least to me, lol). I’ll let it wait a day and if I’m still this fond of it tomorrow, I’ll redo my existing patterns to have a consistent look.

I’ve also decided that I’d like to rework the samples for a couple of them, and redo some of the photography now that I have a camera again. I need to build myself some sort of setup where I have consistent light. I used to have one, but my reliable lamp died and hasn’t been replaced. Oh, the joys of a tiny budget…

Anyway. Making progress. Pleased with that. :)

Day 5

I need a new name for this endeavor. The previous one is half made of fail. This is what happens when I write too early in the morning.

Anyway.

Pretty much nothing has been accomplished on the yarn scene the last few days because I’m busy blowing my nose repeatedly and wondering why I had kids in the first place and if I were going to, why am I not homeschooling? I love my little vectors, but kindergarten may be the death of me.

On the schedule today: I have knitting that I need to finish for a friend of mine and I want to take at least a few minutes to work in one of the patterns in progress. It’s totally my birthday and I’m off work and I’m putting my foot down and stealing the time. :-)

The Design-in-the-Morning Experiment: Day 2

Yesterday I managed to get a solid half an hour in toward the sample I’m working on, and developed a firm conviction that I need to stop getting ideas for such big projects, lol.

So today I don’t have to be to work until 10, and I hauled my ass out of bed at 6, figuring that would give me a good hour or hour and a half before the kids got up. I took a long hot shower, and made a pot of coffee, and luxuriated in the quiet. The blessed, blessed quiet.

And before you could say boo, the kids were up. Because somehow that took me an hour and a half. ROFL! Working nights I was accustomed to having quiet when I got home, and I had missed that so much I was too busy feeling all peaceful to get any work done. OTOH, my Rav surfing is out of the way for the moment. Heh.

So I’ll work a bit on the sample, which doesn’t require concentration of the same degree, and try again tomorrow. Because this is how I used to do it, dammit, and it’s how I’m going to do it again, one step at a time…

Stuck in traffic.

That’s the closest I can come, metaphor-wise, to what’s happened with the designing lately, and the knitting in general, and the blog. It’s all starting to sound like excuses to me at this point; I need to just write.

I had a big thoughtful post all planned about the mental traffic jam that’s been holding me up, and inspiration v work, and a whole lot of other nonsense, and it’s all fled from me. I think my biggest mental block is that at some point I stopped thinking of myself as a designer and started thinking of myself as someone who used to design, back when life allowed me to.

I’m calling bullshit on myself for that one.

There are really for real things that I’m struggling with right now…my health’s still lousy, and I just changed jobs again, and I have three very active kids and an ex and a current partner who has his own family problems and I feel like I’m stretched so thin you ought to be able to see right through me. I’m still not all that good at working in the 10 or 15 minute spaces that are all I can seem to create some days, and I’m great at letting myself get crowded back out of the longer spaces I try to create, and I wonder sometimes how much I want to do this, given how damned hard it is for me to manage everything I’ve already got on my plate.

But every time I come back to it and ask myself that question, the answer is desperately. I can’t think of a damned thing I’d rather do. I love it, love working out the stitches and discovering how a yarn behaves and watching something brand new take shape under my hands. I love the way it feels to concentrate completely, and I love knowing that other people enjoy the results of my work. It’s insanely rewarding for me on so many levels.

Sometimes I step back and I think to myself, it’s only crochet, it’s only knitting, what does it matter?. But you know what? It matters. It matters to a hell of a lot of people, and it matters to me, too. It’s beautiful and practical and it brings us joy. And that joy carries meaning, even if it’s something as simple as bringing a smile to my face when I wash my dishes.

I have an odd feeling that I’ll be up earlier than otherwise in the morning. I think I have a swatch that needs my attention.

No progress.

Been a rough week.

I somehow picked up a stomach thing that wasted almost three days for me. I had crazy work and a visit with the neurologist and the battle to get my almost-3-year-old to consider…just consider…wearing underwear. Shopping for school clothes for my about-to-start-kindergarten girl, shopping for groceries since I got paid, a tiny bit of actual housekeeping, and tired, tired, tired.

Must be August.

Actually did make a small bit of progress, now that I think of it, in getting a hank of wool into a ball and working a few rows on the current design project. Not where I hoped to be, but what can you do?

Life is life.

I don’t have much just yet…

Partially because I’m working on a new design and it’s a largish item and I’m part-way through the initial run-through, which is taking plenty of my time just now.

Partially because my partner and I are giving in to our momentary obsession with Beatles Rock Band. Over the last two nights we’ve picked up the achievements for playing the entire story within 24 hours and five-starring every song in the story. Granted to do the latter we set our difficulty down to easy for the nastier bits, but still.

Partially because work is eating a tremendous amount of energy right now. The bigwigs keep coming to visit and the place is in a panic. Again. And again. And again. Not so much fun.

Partially because I’m struggling with health problems right now. I go back to see the neurologist next week. I just realized that whatever is causing my other symptoms is also most likely causing the incredible tiredness I’ve been fighting, which waxes and wanes along with the rest. Hopefully this time we’ll manage to figure out what’s going on. Huge round of testing starting a year and a half ago didn’t lead us anywhere, so I’ve been avoiding going back, but I don’t think I can merrily ignore this any longer. :-/

More soon.