Friday, June 10, 2016

Three Years And Giving Up

When you focus on the process, the desired product takes care of itself with fluid ease. When you focus on the product, you immediately begin to fight yourself and experience boredom, restlessness, frustration, and impatience with the process. When you focus your mind on the present moment, on the process of what you are doing right now, you are always where you want to be and where you should be. - The Practicing Mind, Thomas M. Sterner.





It took me three years and giving up to finally put together a necklace, predominately from textiles, that looks half decent and is wearable. YES YES! It's a major accomplishment simply because it exists. And I like it too. A nice bonus. I wore it out in public the other day and received some lovely compliments which were also a nice bonus.





At one point, I was so frustrated that I decided making jewelry was not for me and I was giving up. And then a few weeks later, I started playing with the knot beads and the necklace came together. 



I wasn't focused on the end result of a wearable, attractive piece of jewelry. I was simply moving this and that piece around and seeing how they related to each other and then I started stringing the beads together and figuring out how to connect the parts, how to finish the ends and add a closure, and suddenly it - the necklace - "just" happened.



 


In The Practicing Mind, the author talks about how if we make the end product the measure of our success and happiness, then we can only achieve success and happiness if that end product happens and has a positive outcome. However, if we find our happiness and success in the process of creating the product, then we are always happy and always successful with the potential bonus of a positive end product. I know this; I sometimes forget. I also know that when the end product is less than best, it can be refashioned into something new through another success and happiness journey. And this is good and enough.





I started knitting this teal sweater by knitting a gauge swatch and then casting on some stitches to equal the size chart for a child's size three. From there, I developed the pattern as I went along. The body is knit in one piece, split for the armholes, and joined at the shoulders with the sleeves and collar added.





It took several tries to get the button band and collar right. At first, there were too many stitches and the band was floppy and the neck far too wide. Now, it's just right. When I was product oriented, if something wasn't working I'd just abandon the project. Now that I'm process oriented, I keep at it until I figure out how to make it work. That's a wonderful change.





I started the sweater in December 2015 making it a VERY long knitting project. It's for my youngest grandson who is only ten months old so, thankfully, he hasn't outgrown it yet. My daughter said she didn't need any more knitted sweaters only I started it for him and thought about him the whole time I was knitting it so I can't imagine giving it to anyone else. He can snuggle it like a blanket if he wants - LOL. I really don't care although as you can see it'll look fabulous on him. I'll send it soon along with his Welcome To The World coat - with his name and birth date embroidered to the lining - that I'm currently working on and should be done soon. These are very late for me and that's the way it is. All sorts of interesting things have happened in the time since he was born to delay the gifts.






These fingerless gloves are another free form knitting project where I started and developed the pattern as I went. Several of the stitches I auditioned didn't show up with the tweed of the yarn and I wasn't going to invest a lot of time in a complicated pattern that would barely be visible so I chose similar stitches to the sweater. My favourite stitches are ribbing and ribbed patterns and variations of seed stitch. The gloves are made from the left over yarn from the capelet I knit at the end of May. There is enough yarn for one more adult pair and a child's pair... which changed that from an expensive ball of yarn to an economical choice. Love when that happens.





Thank you for all the birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day. I wore the Vogue 9112 dress which felt a lot better on than I think it looks in this picture. I am definitely not busty so if you are, and you were thinking of sewing this pattern, you may want to reconsider.  Perhaps when I lose a bit more weight, it'll change the look in more flattering directions or perhaps I need to adjust my thinking away from things that are always fitted, through the waist. We'll see. Probably not. It's not always about what looks good; it's more often about what feels good.

On Monday, I have an appointment with the surgeon to review the progress on my hip. I've been "actively resting" for the past month and it's been fabulously productive so - LOL - I am almost hopeful that she'll say I need to rest for another month.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a textile necklace

18 comments:

  1. Love, love love it all. Interesting that these pictures make it look like all three pieces are of the same family. The russet and blue are lovely together. Good luck on Monday!!

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    1. LOL - thanks but I won't be allowing my grandson to wear the necklace. I've lost a few that way.

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  2. well, that necklace is the perfect example of what happens when you focus on process, not product. Well done!

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    1. I'm so pleased with it and will definitely keep the process approach top of mind. It's more fun too - LOL.

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  3. I've always been a process person. When people ask questions like how long does it take and how much does it cost I really can't answer, and I think they've completely missed the point. Glad to hear you are back to enjoying the process. Lois K

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    1. I agree. They've completely missed the point. Mostly I'm process oriented but occasionally I slip over into product and - like with this jewelry - I don't always notice that has happened. It's more subliminal. Does that happen to you?

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  4. Thank you for the reminder and wonderful thought from Mr. Sterner. So often when we sew, particularly from a pattern, we start with the end in sight. It is so true that when you give yourself to the process there is an opportunity to be surprised. Your necklace is a lovely 'surprise.'

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    1. It is a lovely surprise. One thing I'm working on is allowing patterns to detour themselves. You're so correct in that we start with the end in mind in that case but I'm trying to vary that up somewhat. It's one of the reasons why I don't cut out all the pieces at once, to allow for detours.

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  5. Love those deliciously fat knots and how you finished the necklace. The knitted sweater is adorable. Process is Queen when we're creating something, I think.
    Thanks
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. They are very fun fat knots. I've got several sections of the tubing that I used for the "chain" left and I'm eager to explore where they might go.

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  6. PS – Even though you say you're not busty, I wonder if Vogue 9112 requires an FBA. I think the pattern is problematic for some people. It was for me. I don't often make wadders but I've been "in process" with that dress since I made it. I've been trying all sorts of different scenarios to stop myself from throwing it out. I was so sad it turned out badly for me because I've seen some versions that were beautiful and stunning on other makers and I wanted the same success.
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. A friend told me that if the garment doesn't look good in a photo but feels great on and looks okay in the mirror, it's just a bad photo. I had a lot of compliments about the dress so I'm choosing to see this as true.

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  7. The necklace is just beautiful. But the WINNER is you in your black lace dress!!! It is fabulous! So inspiring. I'm getting all itchy just looking at it!

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    1. I'm so pleased with the necklace. You know in far more detail than you probably wanted to know what a struggle that has been so it feels like a HUGE accomplishment. LOL - thank you for your compliments on the dress. Are you going to sew that pattern?

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    2. I just saw this - it's been a busy june and july - but yes, I've made that pattern once, and I have a box of black laces, none matching and mostly handmade that I have picked up at flea markets. And I think some of them are destined for a black lace version - I have some lightweight linen that would be a nice background I think. I have to let this idea simmer for awhile though, probably until the weather is, alas, chilly and wet again. But your dress is an inspiration!

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  8. I like the quote you chose. I know it too but also have to keep reminding myself. It also applies to what I'm working on now -- creating a beautiful garden. For me what sometimes takes my focus from the process to the product is my attempt to speed things up so it will look good to other people: Oh oh, visitors coming, have to clean things up, make it look nice. But we know it is impossible to speed up creation, it just takes the time it takes, and the satisfaction is greatest when we stay in the moment.

    I don't wear jewellery myself but I love your necklace.

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    1. Oh I just want to add that gardening is a pretty slow process too. I'm in year 4 but can easily see it taking 10 years before the colours and textures are where I want them to be. Maybe more. So much to learn, so much experimentation. From that perspective, 3 years to create a beautiful necklace is downright speedy! Haha!

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    2. LOL - when I'm frustrated in the studio, I'll go out to the garden and remember what you said. So true. I started with the garden plots just this spring and I can see things that will need to be moved around already for next year. I've learned to care a lot (A LOT) less about what will look good to other people especially as I get older. Life is way too short. I have far too much of my own left to discover to worry about what they think.

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