Friday, April 28, 2017


I love fiber and textiles. So much so that I've at least dabbled in most of the common crafts and have a continuous rotation of deep dives into my favorites.

As of this typing, I have four knitting projects, three embroidery projects and one crochet project that I work on fairly regularly.
Volt shawl I'm currently knitting for my German Knit-Pal
I don't always finish the projects. But sometimes I'll go back to a project I dropped years ago and finally finish it. (or just close the drawer again and think "later... maybe later.")

Part of me really enjoys this, having lots of creative outlets to choose from at any given time. I love bouncing from one project to another. I'll get stuck, (boredom, frustration, lack of tools, etc.) and work on a different project that scratches an itch I have in another part of my brain. Then when I go back to the original project, it feels fresh and hopeful and good.

Part of me feels judgmental about this. Is it because I don't want to be seen as wasteful? I don't want to be seen as excessive or frivolous? I don't want to be seen as someone who can start but not finish a task? I don't want others to think I'm flighty or flakey? I think it's some mixture of all of these reasons.

There's a running theme amongst crafters of all varieties, and that is anxiety about stash build-up, mixed with jokes about how your significant other disapproves of the mess, or of a potential new purchase, or of a barely completed new purchase. It's like we have to justify our stash to the world or at least ourselves, and if we can't come up with a good reason, then at least we can laugh nervously and hope we're not the only one.

I don't know what the answer to this conundrum is. But I've got a few thoughts.

1) This life has a lot of beginnings and endings, but not a lot of completions. Especially perfect completions. When is it that you can check off the box to "Completed teaching my children. Forever. They're fully baked and are whole beings now"? Or "Completed learning. I've perfected all knowledge"? It sounds ridiculous, especially on that scale. But I kinda think it's ridiculous to expect entirely perfect completions of smaller scale things like my craft projects. We might think that a project will be conceived, begun, worked on, then finished, all like a nice little package, but creation doesn't usually work out like that for me. It's more complicated, less linear, more chaotic, less perfect. A little dabbling here, a long-haul effort there and some glorious learning along the way.

2) My fear about "others" judgement is, I think, more about fearing my own judgement. Which sounds kinda silly now that I've typed it out. Don't I like having lots of projects? (yes) Do I really want to change how I'm doing things? (no, at least not at this point in my life) So, where's the judgement that I've been fearing? Not sure, but I suspect it's the virtue of "trying to become," gone awry. I want to grow and become more excellent at everything (including being able to focus and work hard, and not be, well, flighty). But I've come to realize that I can either wait to act until perfection has been attained, or I can keep moving and trying out lots of things and making lots of mistakes (in planning the projects, in executing them, or in both) and growing through doing. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the latter version is the only one that actually leads to growth. The mistakes are sometimes painful and always uncomfortable, but I can't let myself get hung up on them, or hung up on the possibility of them. I'd never get anywhere.

So the moral of the story is, I think I like having a lot of projects. And I'm gonna try to be patient with myself when I feel anxious about having a lot of things I started but never finished. It's all part of the process. And if I keep moving forward with my eyes wide open, I think, in the end, I'll be glad I did.

Now please excuse me while I go back to the knitting project I just started a couple of hours ago...