Thursday, July 11, 2013

cleaning creatively or forward into the past

For at least a year I've been using knitting and crocheting to clean out my (possibly) 10-year stash of yarns and unfinished projects. I had, for example, the remnant of a very expensive heavenly purple cotton yarn I once bought on impulse. I didn't buy a lot of it (see: expensive) and couldn't make anything truly useful. I knit a summer vest and added expensive sculpted silver buttons. They were all ocean themed: fishes, sand dollars, shells. Not practical although they did work as fasteners.

The vest didn't fit. I persisted in wearing it for a couple of summers. I don't know where it is now. Probably in my son's attic waiting for me to shrink into it.

Did you know that nothing is exactly the size
of an iPhone? I stuffed this with two matchboxes
and a Post It Notes pad to get the size right.
Because the only camera I have is in my phone.
I managed to use up the last few bits of the purple yarn today as trim for an iPhone cozy. Because sometimes I don't have any pockets for the phone and I put it in my purse where it rumbles around getting scratched. The screen has two light scratches (that you can't really see unless you hold it at an angle to the light). Anyway, I've been wrapping it up in a silk handkerchief which is okay unless I need to use the handkerchief. Which happens.

To make the cozy, I used up what remained of some Aunt Lydia's No. 3 Fashion thread (which I actually bought for a planned project—as opposed to the dreamy "some day" projects) and the lovely expensive purple yarn.

1.) I had fun.
2.) Knitting (the body) and crocheting (the edging) kept me from chewing up my cuticles or eating unsuitable food.
3.) Using up the remnants reminded me to be serious about my projects. Because if I don't follow through they haunt me.
4.) I had the satisfaction of finally putting to use some yarn that's been tucked out of sight but not out of mind. Ergo: a little weight off my mind.
5.) I designed and created something unique and expressive. Sure, it's a bit wonky, but the joy of creating—particularly on the fly—outweighs any wonkiness.

The joy of wonkiness is why I continue to use up and finish the old projects. At least the yarn-based ones. I'm nearly done and I've been steadily rewarding myself with a new project each time an old one is completed. A new real project, thoughtfully chosen and carefully executed. And then there's one more result:

6.) I've learned to take projects seriously because time and resources go into them and some of them hang around for a long time, so might as well do it right.

What I'm really doing is exercising my creative muscles in an extreme way by confining myself to what's available. That and making way for new, better projects and more opportunities for wonkiness. All that in a little iPhone bag.

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