Over a year ago, I was struck – “hit up ‘side the head” one might say – with the inspiration and desire to design a colorwork sweater. Nevermind that I had never designed a sweater. I was confident about the colorwork; not as confident about the construction of the sweater – but I had my reference books, so I was ready to go.
I started by building a secret Pinterest board – a mood board, so to speak. It is now a public board, if you want to check it out, here: Tee Inspiration. Using it as a springboard, I began choosing colors for the tee, charted out a flower, and began swatching.
I know that many of you have followed me through the process of working on this design. I’ve written about it often over the past year: What I Learned from the Swatch, What’s in the Hopper, 2016 – Possibilities, …and we have color!, Winter Ramblings, Sweater Surgery, or How I Cut Into my Sweater and Lived to Tell About It, Just a Little Sketch, Yes, I am still working on the Colorwork Tee!, and Colorwork Tee Update.
This blog examines the design process. When I am designing, I’m not only designing and coming up with something that is (hopefully) pretty, but I am also thinking about how my mind is processing information in order to come up with that design. Basically, I’m thinking about how I think while I’m thinking. I believe this caused me some anxiety when the design wasn’t coming together like I thought it should. I was experiencing roadblocks, and I didn’t know why. I do know enough from experience to know that when this happens, I should stop whatever I am doing and let my thoughts go work on some other problem for awhile.
However, at this point, probably 9 months after the initial inspiration, I had too much invested in the design. I felt driven to finish it. Even if it didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped, I just wanted it DONE.
So, I finished it. I finished the knitting, I finished the writing, and sent the pattern for tech editing. Whew, such a relief!
I think it’s telling that what I love most about the pattern are the photos. That photo shoot was great fun and practically all of the pictures turned out well. I also loved being able to use the Kitchener Stitch with this sweater and working with the fabulous yarn.
Still, I don’t feel confident in this pattern. I don’t think it is ready to go out into the world yet. A friend is testing it, and I worry that it’s not going to fit correctly. I know that sometimes those worries are completely unfounded; yet, there it is.
What this tells me is that the pattern needs to go into time-out for awhile. Perhaps I won’t ever publish it. Perhaps more time needs to go by and I need to work on other projects. Then suddenly one day, something will click, and I will know what this pattern needs. In the meantime, I may make my sweater into a dress (with a feather and fan skirt) and add long sleeves in teal. –Perhaps that’s what the pattern needs. Maybe I stopped too soon by making it a tee instead of a dress.
I’ll conclude by saying that now that I have finished writing the pattern, I feel incredible lightness. My brain cells are freed to think in other directions and about other designs. I had felt as if the life had been sucked out of me – and now it is back.
…more to think about in the design process…when something takes over like that and becomes nearly an obsession, perhaps that is the time to drop it and turn in another direction. Or perhaps one must pursue it to its conclusion to learn whatever lessons there are to be learned.
Note: This post was written a couple of months ago, in July. The pattern is still in time-out. Other patterns have been written. Is it time to move on? We’ll see…I’m still considering other methods of construction and other variations for the colorwork sections – kicking those ideas around to see if they will coalesce into something new.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and to read about my experience with the project from H-E-Double Toothpicks!
7 thoughts on “The Creative Project from H-E-Double Toothpicks”
You’ve got cahones, Carol. I’m sorry you feel this way about your design, but letting it all marinate doesn’t hurt anybody.
Thank you, Stefanie. I think marinating will only bring good results somewhere down the line.
I love your blog! This post reminds me to be patient with the creative process and to stick with things, put them aside, go back again… I tend to get antsy and impatient. This post captures a discipline I admire.
Thank you so much! This means a lot to me! I believe that sometimes the brain needs some time and space, and sometimes missing new information, to make the connections needed in the creative process. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
it looks beautiful to me, but I agree with not publishing it until you’re comfortable doing so. But I hope you do publish it!
Thank you, Belinda. I think it will work itself out eventually. It does fit my friend perfectly, but gaps at the neck on me…THAT I need to solve!