Friday, June 17, 2016

It's Just An Idea

To use music as an example once again, suppose you are trying to learn to play a piece of music and you come from this new perspective. Your experience will be totally different than what people usually anticipate when they're learning to play a musical composition. In the old way, you'd feel sure that you would not be happy or "successful" until you could play the piece of music flawlessly. Every wrong note you hit, every moment you spent struggling with the piece, would be an affirmation that you had not reached your goal. If, however, your goal is learning to play the piece of music, then the feeling of struggle dissolves away. In each moment you spend putting effort into learning the piece, you are achieving your goal. An incorrect note is just part of learning to play the correct note; it is not a judgment of your playing ability, In each moment you spend with the instrument, you are learning information and gaining energy that will work for you in other pieces of music. Your comprehension of music and the experience of learning it are expanding. All this is happening with no sense of frustration or impatience. What more could you ask for from just a shift in perspective?

Experiencing impatience is one of the first symptoms of not being in the present moment, not doing what you are doing, and not staying process oriented. Staying in the present moment is one of the hardest lessons to learn. - The Practicing Mind, by Thomas M. Sterner


Some would say it's about time. I've been knitting triangular shaped scarves for almost three years now and - apparently - that romance is now over. For the last couple weeks, I've been working on fingerless gloves instead. These are small, easily knit projects that follow a repetitive formula and yet each pair is a blank canvas that can contain any combination of yarn and stitches that I care to put together. I love exploring blank canvasses.

For this pair, I'm using Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo yarn that is 80% bamboo and 20% wool. I started with mock cables as the ribbing. They're pretty and a different start that traditional ribbing... even though ribbing, ribbed stitches, and seed stitch are my favourites.

I have a pair that is predominately seed stitch currently in progress as well. I've acknowledged that they cannot be knit in public or while watching television after spendig three days knitting and re-knitting the same six inches. Eventually, both pairs will be finished but the seed stitch ones definitely take more concentration.

I am often asked where I get my ideas from. They just appear - most often from a curious question like how to design fingerless gloves or from exploring all the methods of a particular technique such as knitting in the round or - as with my current sewing project - from challenges and projects with limits such as discovering how many and what variety of things could be created from the Bits & Pieces of Potential Boxes.

Ideas come in a continuous flow, far more than I could ever follow up in a lifetime. I don't worry about capturing them because I know that the ideas that are truly mine will stay with me and continue to tickle until it's their turn. That said, sometimes I'm frustrated by how long it takes for an idea to come into being but I'm never afraid I'll run out of them because, like fabric scraps, they seem to breed in the night. One idea leads to another and then another. Many are stepping stones. Their purpose is simply to bridge the gap between two others ideas, connecting the path in a way that's doable.


In my last coaching session, Diane and I discussed my frustration with the ideas that have - IMHO - been waiting too long. I think that increased frustration is a sign that it is that ideas's time.

Three years ago, I cut some tubular knit ribbing into one meter pieces and then ran each meter through the serger creating 78 yard balls of "yarn". Not all of the fabric was turned into yarn. Some is still in yardage. The idea I'm exploring - finally - is garments that are a combination of some knitted and some sewn components.

I've been sampling needles sizes and stitch patterns. From the cast on edge to the needle, I used a 6.5mm, a 8mm, and a 10mm needle. The larger size creates a nicer hand of knitted fabric. I explored garter stitch, stockinette stitch, lace, cables, and knit/purl combinations. The more defined the stitch, the better it shows. I'm almost done making stitch samples and ready to put together a garment. I may create something child sized first since that's such a wonderful playground.

AND... I grew some radishes. I think they're quite gorgeous and the taste is sharp and fresh and rather wonderful... and I still doubt I'll grow radishes again. The garden is turning out to be an interesting adventure. It's beautiful but I'm not evolving from a decorator to a maintainer. I enjoyed setting it up and now I want it to look after itself basically with the odd episode of weeding. I can see already that some things will need to be moved around particularly the patches that are slightly under the eaves of the house. It's been raining most of the last week but those sections are dry. When it's raining, I don't think to water them.

This is not good...
And it's the way it is...

... my mind is much more intrigued with the possibilities in the studio than the ones in the garden. I'd hoped to show pictures of my grandson's coat this week only - with the rain - I haven't taken them yet and I want him to receive it before I post the pictures so, definitely at some point and hopefully soon.

Right now, I'm working on a new knitting bag that combines the left-over strips from the twin quilts and a pair of pants I love but have shrunk out of. I'm part way through the sewing process and...

... mega scraps are piling up on the work table. I started with a long quilted strip and a pair of pants and - as I mentioned with my grandson's coat - the scraps have grown to fill an entire box. I doubt it would ever be possible to literally use up every scrap of any project. I remember attempting that in the past and eventually giving the "remnants" to a friend saying it was her turn to play with them. The "ridiculous scraps" picture above is from my grandson's coat. I scooped this little pile off the countertop intending to throw it away and then thought wait... I could... Thank God I did actually manage to throw them out. Can you imagine if I kept everything?

This last week I had a HUGE epiphany, one that I hope will allow me to put down a topic that I've been doing endless battle with for about six years now and am really, Really, REALLY sick of dealing with. I am entrepreneurial oriented and - as with ideas - that ability grew over time as I took on one project after another. When I closed my business, the ideas didn't stop which is probably why I typically say I'm on a sabbatical. I don't want them to stop but I do want them to calm down. I have felt a tremendous amount of pressure to pursue some "make money" kind of venture even though that's not where I'm at right now and I'd rather be playing.

And then...
An epiphany...

It is just an idea.

The idea to write a book is no different than the idea to sew a t-shirt. Both ask to be evaluated and - based on what intrigues me the most - I can choose which idea to take forward. One idea is no more special than another. They are equal. They are both ideas. Just because I can perform that entrepreneurial objective, doesn't mean I have to just as just because I can sew a tailored jacket doesn't mean I have to. I'm not obligated to any particular entrepreneurial idea nor to any particular creative idea. I can simply choose the idea that matters most in this moment and move on. YES YES - there's a lot of calm in that thought.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - it's just an idea


  1. I too forget to water plants under the eaves if it rains. So I gave up and now do not plant there. Instead I choose plants that will someday get large enough to branch over the area and plant them out far enough to get the rain. Between plants and house is rock and weed barrier. Leaving about 3-4 feet between plants and house allows for ladders and such for maintenance without totally crushing the plants. The house also appreciates the air space to help keep it nice and dry too. And gardening - so much of it we don't eat enough of to keep up with the output, it makes more sense to buy at farmers market. I love the planning and planting, usually the cooking and eating, I'm tired of canning and freezing for hours, and hate the weeding. No, I don't hate weeding, I hate that it seems most of my vacation time is used to weed. This year I'm down to tomatoes, peppers, okra and a bit of lettuce and kale.

    Ribbing cut into yarn sounds interesting. Does it shed bits as you knit or do any loose fibers get knocked off while winding into balls?

    A book? Any hints on what general subject?

    1. I had that same thought of putting something bigger with it's roots further over in the space. For vegetables, I think next year it'll be tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini and that might be it. We'll see how I feel at the end of summer. I made sure to get really good dirt so the weeding is easy. I can mostly do it with a hoe.

      Yes... the ribbing yarn sheds a lot. I'm not sure if it's just this particular fabric or if it'll happen with another smoother knit. I'll let you know when I get that far.

      LOL - the point was that just because I have a book idea doesn't mean I have to write one. I'd been feeling more pressure from those types of ideas than sew a t-shirt ones and now "it's just an idea" and I can choose the one that works for me. I'm having fun designing the fingerless gloves... which could easily become mits... or gloves... so I may put together some of those patterns. Did you have a subject you'd like to see?


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.