Too Much Inspiration

I've mentioned on the podcast that I resisted learning how to knit because some part of my brain had an inkling of what kind of knitter I would become: the obsessive kind.  That part of my brain was correct, and now, 2 1/2 years later, I can't remember what I used to do with the time that I now spend knitting.  That inkling, though, was not just about how much I would end up knitting, but about the kind of crazy I've experienced in the past few days since I returned from a weekend in San Francisco - the kind of knitting schizophrenia that afflicts me when an abundance of inspiration begets a crazy tornado of cast-on-itis, yarn stroking, swatching and pattern-stalking on Ravelry that is not unlike the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.

The first thing that happened was that I finished my second "rebuilt" bag (I promise there is a blog post including pictures and perhaps even a written-up pattern coming on this subject) - this was a project that I cast on full of excitement, allowed to slip to the bottom of the WIP pile for most of the summer, decided must be finished just to get it out of my life, spent more time than I had ever envisioned finishing it properly, and completed with a renewed sense that rebuilding old bags with new knitted shells was an exciting and unique pursuit I needed to continue.  I'd been thinking about the bags in my closet I want to remake, the yarns in my stash and the bag patterns in my Ravelry queue since I finished this bag two weeks ago.

This past weekend my husband and I traveled to San Francisco for a belated celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary in June, and in an attempt to keep the weekend from becoming too yarny, I left all but one project - the pair of socks I'm knitting for him - at home.  Even so, Saturday morning Ryan took off for the Apple store, and with some time to myself, I checked to see if there were any yarn stores within walking distance.  I was lucky enough to discover that the fabulous Artfibers studio was just a few blocks away.  From the moment the elevator doors opened to reveal their beautiful, third-floor "yarn-tasting cafe," I knew I wanted to move in and spend the next year or so playing with their beautiful ware.  Although I was only able to spend about 15 minutes there that afternoon, I made time to return the following day to spend a couple of hours fondling fibers, swatching, brain-storming and purchasing yarns that I thought would work well for knit bags.  My husband is a patient man.

On my iPad over the weekend was the catalog of classes for Stitches West 2013, over which I poured when I'd normally be reading an ebook.  Thinking hard about which classes I really wanted to take in February only led to dreaming up more about knitting possibilities.  So much for not letting yarn take over our weekend...

When we returned that afternoon, my mind was racing with all the things I wanted to do.  After unpacking, I excitedly got out my new yarns, looked at some patterns... and then ran in circles for several hours, unable to make a real start on anything.  In the past three days I have:

  • Poured over every bag pattern I ever queued, copied from a book or seen in a magazine, including purchasing two online
  • Found a hat pattern (Seedling by Alana Dakos) in my pattern file I forgotten I'd bought, selected yarn for it, cast it on three times because I made stupid errors the first two times, and now that I've knit an inch of the brim, I'm still not sure about the yarn because the fact that there's possum in it is kind of squicking me out and I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to bring myself to wear it on my head
  • Cast on for a bag I've wanted to knit for a couple of years in one of the new yarns I got at Artfibers, and continued knitting it even though it's clear that the pattern is barely detectable in the yarn I'm using
  • Spent a couple of hours looking at more bag patterns on Ravelry
  • Decided to go through my Ravelry queue and delete everything I'm unlikely to ever knit, but only got through about half of it before I came across a cowl pattern that's perfect for a skein of yarn I've been wanting to knit into a cowl, so I copied the pattern out of the book it's in and cast it on only to discover that the cheap size 3 circulars I had were horrible and would never work, prompting a trip to the LYS in Sacramento to buy new size 3 Addi Turbo Lace needles and some in size 9 as well (for the bag that's not going well) with what was left of my birthday gift certificate, which then made me wonder what happened to my only other pair of Addi Turbos, which remain missing in spite of the searching I did for them
  • Decided after knitting the cast-on cowl to the new needles that I needed to finish my Cedar Leaf Shawlette and in-progress Mother Bear #23 before I would allow myself to knit another stitch on any of the 3 new projects, spent the afternoon making good progress on the Cedar Leaf, and mostly finished the bear (he just needs a face and a scarf)
  • Probably more dithering and navel-gazing that I'm not remembering in my addled state

I should note that it's no fun to have no inspiration either - but at least I have a plan for that (knit a Mother Bear).  Too much inspiration is crazy-making because I'm unable to settle on a plan and nothing I come up with pleases me.  Even this blog post is failing to please me by not wrapping up in a satisfying way.  Please tell me I'm not the only one suffering from this sort of thing!  I'm usually pretty happy being a right-brained person, but some days I really wish I had the brain of an accountant.

Don't even get me started on the bag of beads and yarns I gathered together with the book I got about knitted jewelry a month or two ago.  Hey, maybe that's where my size 6 Addi Turbos are...


  1. My office/studio is a monument over past inspirations.
    That bag over there? Full of polymer clay supplies, from the crazy weeks when I thought I would knit and crochet hundreds of garments and make my own buttons.
    The plastic box? Beads, beads and beads. I was so inspired to make jewelery, necklaces and earrings, to go with every single crocheted shawl I finished.
    And let's not even start to look at the bins full of strange, synthetic yarns I purchased when I had just fallen back in love with knitting and crochet, and for which I must have had fabuluous plans...

    This is only my studio/office. The garden shed is even worse. Tracie, you're not alone.

  2. So glad to hear that! I've thought of moe detritus of my creative process since I wrote this post - sure the stuff I bought to make seat cushions for my kitchen chairs about a year ago is still in the guest room closet, but at least I actually made the two pairs of pants I bought fabric for at the beginning of the summer...

  3. Wow - only 2.5 years? I am in my second season of knitting - first one was when our girls were little ( they are 27 & 28 now). This time around I am much more scattered and have a bad case of star titis! But it sure is fun.

  4. This sounds like a page out of my knitting life!


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