How my pile of WIPs* grows and turns into a gang of bullies chasing me in my sleep
Imagine you have a bad day. And you feel like a weak piece of crap and you have no strength to go on with your errands and plans. And it seems like your hardworking, diligent hands grow straight from your ass and you can’t get anything done properly. And you feel an absolute urge to prove it wrong. To do something successful. Something to cheer you up. Something to get you in a blissful state of flow and then fill you with pride about the result.
Does this ring any bells?
Nothing makes me happier than an overflowing excitement of starting a new knitting/crocheting project. Touching a new yarn, taking photos of the lovely skeins in pretty baskets and bowls, picking new color combos, creating new gauge swatches, inventing new garments, meditating over these new stitches in an anticipation of a cool stylish piece of clothing to wear and take pics and post to my Instagram and…
So I put my current project (that doesn’t feel right) aside to wait for better times and start a new one. I rush into this fresh affair with skeins and hooks and needles and stitch markers with a tingling exhilaration of an adrenaline junkie getting into a new trouble. I work several hours until my excited nostrils stop flaring, then look at my WIP (which is still in a stage way too early to see how good or bad it is) and decide that I don’t like it.
[My inner shrink would make 2 conclusions: 1. Your brain is seeking another dose of excitement so it’s trying to convince you to start over. 2. Your brain is seeking another reason to confirm your previous assumption that your day is bad and you’re an uncapable piece of crap good for nothing.]
If I’m desperate enough, I may frog the whole thing and start again, something different and definitely more successful. Then again. Then I feel exhausted and mad at myself for wasting time and beautiful yarn trying to tame my demons instead of doing something worthy (cleaning my studio? replanting my plants?). But I’m mostly sane and aware of my time and effort to put the unwanted project aside for better times (when I’m adequate enough to give it a second chance). So I end up with two WIPs added up to my pile of previous pursuits of creativity.
I started a new knitting today: an easy 2-in-1 summer kimono top/cardigan with an interesting detail (follow me, I’m gonna finish it!!!), gauge-swatched, notes carefully taken, then after ~3 hours of work in pattern found myself stuck in hesitant contemplation…
Then it came to me in a flash that if I don’t like it, maybe it’s not because it’s bad. I have decided that my day is bad and nothing feels right so I can hardly expect myself to like anything. How can I judge if it’s good or bad by hardly 10 cm of uneven unblocked fabric? I started it to enjoy the process and love the result. So I have to go on until I can see the result, and I’d better find a way to enjoy the process. And I (almost?) cried out that No!!! You’re not going to my PhD** box, you little 2-in-1 summer kimono top/cardigan with an interesting detail. You’re not that pretty yet but I’ll make you grow into a decent piece of my summer collection, and you won’t chase me in my nightmares like your predecessors.
And suddenly all my wild-croaking, wing-flapping inner pterodactyls settled down like meek ducklings. And it suddenly felt right and calm and surprisingly satisfying to have a clearly defined job in hand with thousands of knit and purl stitches ahead to cherish and enjoy, no longer a boring WIP with an unclear result somewhere beyond the horizon. Suddenly came a feeling of absolute confidence: I picked a lovely yarn and the right needle size, I had been thorough in my calculations, I wet-blocked and measured (and loved!) my gauge swatch, so there’s no way I won’t be pleased with the result. At least, I won’t judge it before it’s completed.
*WIP – work in progress
**PhD – project half done