Left: the first version of the blanket. Right: the second incarnation.
For all the posts in this series, you can go HERE!
This post isn’t really a Hack post, it’s more about sharing insights – OK, it’s really just a project update. I’m not usually into sharing the ins and outs and ups and downs of making things, but this particular project involves my ‘creative process’, and I know that some people find it a slightly mysterious state that they’d like some insight into, and I’m happy to share.
I think when we last left off ,I was rolling along and had figured out how many rows I needed to work each day to get the blanket done by the end of the summer. I also had an idea about my colour distribution, and basically, I thought I was off to the races. Hahahahahaha! The best laid plans … after working about twelve inches I found, despite all my planning, I didn’t like my blanket.
1. Too Wide
I had overestimated the size I really wanted, it was working up to be about a queen size, and I just wanted a throw. Also, the rows were taking FOREVER! Part of the problem might have been the fabric’s natural stretchiness once was worked up on a larger scale (the stitch is very stretchy in the fingering weight merino wool), but I think I just chose the wrong finished size.
So I started again, from scratch. This time I chained 242 stitches to make a blanket narrower, it is working up to about 51″ wide. To get an accurate dimension you need to measure it on a flat, hard surface, like a table or the floor. You won’t get an accurate measurement on a bed or sofa. I guess I did have a HACK for you, after all!
2. Hated the Colour
Everyone else liked it, and the colours looked gorgeous together, but I didn’t dig it. My rainbow system (above left) was VERY rainbowy, and the prospect of that much rainbow in a blanket was a bit too rainbow-brite for me. The prospect of a queen sized rainbow blanket was too much for my delicate aesthetic sensibilities. It was also kind of boring for me to work, it was very predictable, andthe harmony and redundancy weren’t working for me.
My new ‘system’ is simpler but subjective. I’m alternating warm (red, orange, yellow) and cool (green, blue, purple) colours. I’m also alternating light and dark colours, bright and muted colours – basically trying to create a contrast between colours. I like to create a tension between colours. Do you remember the Kandinsky painting at the start of the movie Six Degrees of Separation? It was a double sided painting; one side was an expressive, chaotic style, and the other more controlled. Well, I’ve always appreciated a graphic, controlled design aesthetic, but my soul as an artist is in the chaos camp.
People often ask me if I like their colour choice, and I always answer “What I like doesn’t matter.” This isn’t just a tactful way to respond to a colour combination that turns my stomach, it’s the truth, my preference is completely irrelevant. I don’t have to work with your colours, and I don’t have to live with them. My job isn’t to tell you what I like, my job is to help you find what YOU enjoy, what looks good on you, and which colours are complimentary and work well with your project. That said, if you like what I like, I’m more than happy to share!
Oh, BTW, I don’t weave in the ends until the end, because as you can see, it ain’t done until it’s DONE, and trying to rip back work when you’ve woven in the ends is a special kind of hell. Another Mini-Hack!
So I’m back on track …. sort of. My ‘schedule’ was totally shot to hell, but I’m really enjoying the project now, so I’m happy. As for the creative process, it’s kind of a misnomer. It’s really more of a progression, an evolution with fits and starts, giant strides and dead ends. Setbacks aren’t failures, just diversions, and sometimes they can be extremely fruitful and get you where you need to go.