Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Patterns, and Patterns of Behaviour

tiny woven star

I've been working away on a raft of things since....January 2008. The projects have taken up a lot of my creative thinking, it's been fun, and I have enjoyed every minute of it (them). But. I will be done soon.

So in the last throes of finishing things up for yet another deadline, thoughts have turned to *What Next?*

Ravelry has not been kind. There is too much *next*. I have been doing too much thinking. It is too easy to push that magic button, and have *next projects* show up at my doorstep.

Which brings me to a curious state: I have bought a few (heh) knitting patterns, and yarn to go with them.

This is an absolute first. I am a spinner. I've always spun my own yarn for knitting, and used patterns only as a guide, if anything.

Ravelry comes along, and I started using patterns with my handspun. It was good. It spurred new ideas in me, using patterns. I learned lots of things, using patterns: increases and decreases I had not used before, cast-ons I had not used before, how to knit lace; useful things.

I also have been inspired by Ravelers to buy yarn to knit with, an odd thing for a spinner. I used the yarn, I will admit, in patterns other than what it has been intended for, but really? Odd buying yarn.

Now I have fallen down the rabbit hole: purchased pattern + purchased yarn = next project, ready to start when this deadline is over. I will admit to buying white yarn which I will dye, but really? I have never in my life knit with store-bought yarn and the pattern for which it is intended. We will see if I actually follow through with this Bold New Plan.

Why is this? Because I am a spinner. I was a spinner before I learned to knit, so I just always knit with my own yarns. There have always been ways to knit without patterns: Elizabeth Zimmermann, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Jacqueline Fee.

This feels very weird. Bass-ackwards, so to speak. I wonder if I am Benjamin Button, living backwards. We shall see (although, the getting younger part? Not happening).

In other news: CNCH is this weekend. It is my *local* conference, the one I have been attending for over 30 years. It happens every year, but a decade or so ago changed format to Big Conference one year, Retreat Conference alternating years. I like the format, and this year is the Retreat year: just workshops, no vendors (waaah ,boo, hiss) no gallery, (sniff), but also? No seminars.

Somehow the usual conference format of seminars morning and afternoon annoys me. I want to visit the galleries, I want to visit with friends I only see at these conferences, and yet? I want to attend the sessions because I usually want to learn something, get a peek at something interesting without too much commitment, and use the time at a conference to satisfy curiosity.

But: I am not a fan of 3 hour sessions. Not enough time to really *do* anything, and too much time for an introduction. The Big Conferences are so busy and packed I am usually tired. Lecture in a nice warm room? Sometimes a dark room with slides? I fall asleep. I have taken to bringing a cup of coffee *with me* so I don't fall asleep.

I have to *give* these lectures sometimes. I see people drifting off, eyes closing despite their best efforts. That's when we take a break: go to the water cooler, let people run out and get coffee, take a stretch, whatever.

Be that as it may, I still looooooovvvvve going to these conferences, particularly my *own*: CNCH. I will be inspired. Someone will say something, at dinner, in passing, whatever, that will be like a penny dropping into place. I always find new ideas, fresh things to think about. It re-charges batteries. I hope I can always attend.

Last year, a long time associate approached me and asked why I did not like CNCH. What?????

I asked her where she got that impression, and she told me. The people who made that assertion have problems of their own, and jealousy is just one of them. I was glad to be able to clear up the misconception. The rumor, intentionally started, backfired. Me? not like CNCH? By what stretch of the imagination would I not like the organization that has given me so much? (Which is why this woman approached me with the rumor: she did not believe it either.) Curious.

If you have a local (or maybe not local but accessible) conference, I urge you to attend. I have been to many: Midwest Weavers, Northwest Weavers, MAFA, Convergence, SOAR, Southern California Weavers, Black Sheep.... the list goes on.

CNCH has given me more over the years than I can ever say: a forum to learn, a place to show my work, people who have become like family to me, and some of the best times with friends over the years. Go! You may need to go twice, or even three times to catch the current, but it is worth the investment of time.

Me? packing now. And fondling that box of Store Bought Yarn, which will open a whole new chapter of patterns of behaviour. :)


Blogger Birdsong said...

I think inspiration comes from so many places that it is perfectly fine, though novel to you, to be getting inspired to make something that someone else has made before you, from a purchased pattern and yarn. I also tend to believe the verse "There is nothing new under the sun", realizing now we see more of the things that came before us than ever before, thanks to technology. i have always loved Elizabeth Zimmerman's term, 'unventing'.... something to carry with you to CNCH where new inspiration will blend with renewing old acquaintances. Have a wonderful time and seek out the positive while ignoring the negative and malicious. Sorry to hear you have to miss out on vendors; you seem in the right mood for them.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Notes from Nicki said...

See you in Sonoma! Larry will be there too. Remember my DH Larry? After one evening's conversation with you he retired from his job of 32 years!

10:02 PM  
Blogger judy said...

Good luck in climbing out of this rabbit hole. Your adventure may take years, or a lifetime.

Have fun!

5:32 AM  
Blogger Deanna said...

I know what you mean. I love kits, and yet, I think I love the idea of making them, because I don't buy them! Very seldom do I see a weaving design, buy the yarn and weave it as is. Same for knitting. And yet... sometimes it all seems just so right, and that's what you've got to do. :-)

I love conferences, too. This year was the first time in years that I didn't register for ASCH, though I did drive up and get a day pass.

6:52 AM  

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