Sunday, March 8, 2009


I'm ready for a change.

The past weeks have seen me following a very narrow path, and it's become constraining, tight.

Packing kits, writing instructions, making samples, photographing and explaining every step, trying to get it all right the first time.



Obligatory (if somewhat self-imposed).

Don't get me wrong: I like teaching, I like coming up with designs that others want to make - it's the braggart in me, the show-off. Look what I can do! See? Like this! It's not hard, you can do it too! Here - let me show you!

I also like having my time and focus unconstrained.

New beads? What if I...? And then if I...? Well, perhaps not, but if I...? And then I'm off, and it's six in the evening and I've barely eaten or worked out or even showered and yet I'm thrilling to a little configuration of littler beads.

I have a job, a day job, and not that I'm ungrateful since more and more do not, but I get twitchy when what I do for love starts smelling like chains rather than freedom.

I've knitted since forever (I don't remember learning and I don't remember not knowing how to knit), but I've never knitted anything for money, and I've only occasionally knitted to someone else's timetable or desires.

Perhaps ten years ago my brother Richard asked me for a "camping sweater". Something wool, warm, sturdy and rugged but not itchy. Something darkish - brown or charcoal - and rustic. We spoke ganseys but not arans and my mind's eye fingered the stash until I found the brown yarn waiting, and the handspun merino-silk dyed with walnuts for the inside of the neckband, nice and soft.

I was delighted.

My brother, asking for something from my heart. I think he knew what he was asking, what it meant to me.

I planned, sketched, measured, counted, wrote notes.

Time passed.

I knitted other things, things that said "Me! Now!" and I followed. I thought about the camping sweater. With fondness. I knitted other sweaters.

April, his birthday, a year (perhaps more) later, approached, and the sweater was still notes and needles and yarn. 

Duty, obligation, I said I would, and so I must. And I did. No false starts, it turned out just the way I'd planned, as we'd talked about. 

It was hardship, discipline, unpleasantness. I kinda sorta didn't love doing it.

I felt that I could lose the love. 


He says he still wears it, and I'm warm and glad.

I occasionally knit baby stuff, most recently a couple of squares for a baby blanket for someone I've never met in the flesh, and it was hard, but just a couple of squares. Small things like that, I can do without danger, but never anything bigger, because the love is just too precious.

Beading though, is easier, most likely because the projects are smaller, and even though they touch flesh, they're somehow less personal, I'm not sure why. I've had a couple of beading commissions, and I had a blast each time. There was some vague sense of promised obligation, and even though there was more wild creativity than in the camping sweater, I could work on them without resentment, complete them without feeling a rap on the knuckles, give them away without a problem, I don't know why.

Still though, endlessly packing kits, making samples, writing instructions - less fun than doing what I want. 

Too narrow for too long.

Thursday now: Santa Fe, through Monday morning, and that's not a bad thing at all. It's a very good thing actually, free and away and less constrained.

And then when I get back, I can play.

1 comment:

beadlizard said...

I know exactly what you mean and I cannot divine the reason(s) either. Can you create a piece of beadwork for your brother without the constraints inherent in knitting for him?

I love what you do with leaves. My fav is your trapezoids. That black and white set.

Have you seen Debra/Potwench's beadwork lately? Stephenie G. has two pieces and they are stunning, better than anything I ever even dreamt of making.

Miss you,