Thursday, June 14, 2007

Overcoming procrastination

A couple of weeks ago, I got lucky. No, not like that -- you people clearly have your minds in the gutter. It's a knitting kind of lucky, which is often the best kind. I showed up at my LYS
right as they were opening. Which meant that I was there right as they were opening not only the store, but also all sorts of other lovely boxes and packages. I mean, how wrong can you go when someone says to you, "The Malabrigo has arrived, and we could use some help opening up all the little packages of yarn in the box"? Squee!! So, unwrapping and squeezing and stroking and generally oohing and aahing over the colors accomplished, Diva Deb opened yet another package, this time of felting materials. They'd just gotten in a new needle felting kit and wanted to know how the whole thing went before deciding whether to order more. Being Johnny-on-the-spot (or Jocelyn-on-the-spot, more accurately), I got sent home with half the package to play with. Of course, it took us about an hour to figure out how to watch the directions on the DVD the company sent, but once we'd gotten the technical difficulties figured out, it didn't look too hard. Spread background wool on the special paper, poke with a needle. Spread the happy-colored stringy wool on top of that, and poke with a needle. Get it really wet and roll it up in plastic to felt in the dryer. Then pour boiling water on the whole mess, and voila! Art. Or something felted, either way.

So, half a package of needle felting materials in hand (and feeling like I should probably have mentioned that I have never needle felted in my life, but oh well), I headed for home full of intentions to complete a project that very evening that would be a thing of beauty and joy forever, and that I could bring back to my LYS before I left town. Have I mentioned my penchant for procrastination?

To be fair, of course, I had to pack up a family of four for ten days away (not to mention preparing the pets for our departure); ten days which included camping, at least one nice restaurant, hiking, and visiting my husband's grandmother. So, it's not like a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts was gonna do it. Not to mention getting everything into a Prius. Snort.

So, all things considered (all things here including not only the packing and travelling, but my fear that my project would not, in fact, end up being a thing of joy and beauty forever), I think that I was doing pretty well to get to it last night. Especially after spending a day with the kids at Legoland. All day. At Legoland.

After putting two tired and overstimulated children to bed (I lied a little bit about what the clock said so that they'd go to bed earlier -- this strikes me not so much as lying as strategic mothering), I gathered my materials:

(not the best pictures, but you get the idea).
I bravely forswore also gathering a drink, given that the needle pictured there on the left is barbed. This was clearly not a time for any kind of alcohol-induced haziness. Chocolate, however, did seem in order, so I brought that along, too.

I laid down the base wool:

And poked it with the needle a whole lot. Then I started playing with the long stringy wool that they also gave me, and that's when I stopped taking pictures -- I was having too much fun.

I'm actually a bit surprised at how much fun I was having; I usually don't do so well with open-ended artistic-type projects like this. Half the reason I like knitting so much is that, in the end, you're restricted to two stitches: knit and purl. It really takes the pressure off, y'know what I mean? None of this deciding what basic moves are necessary to get something done. You either knit. Or you purl. Now, I realize that this can be done in all sorts of interesting ways, but I feel about it the way I felt about doing ceramics on a potter's wheel -- sure, there were lots of options, but in the end, round was your starting point. Once I have a solid starting point, I can have fun, but if you give me too many options to start with, I find that a bit disconcerting.

So, I rather thought that this might be troubling in the same way. There were no knit/purl basics to fall back on. You could do pretty much anything, so long as the wool overlapped appropriately. Nevertheless, I had all kinds of fun, and while I'm pretty sure that the two pieces I came up with are not in fact a thing of joy and beauty forever, they're not utterly embarrassing (if you're a five-year-old; and I may just pretend that my kids made these and blame them), and they might even fit together to make a tea cozy as originally planned:

There was something especially satisfying about pouring boiling hot water all over the backs of the pieces after they were felted and watching the paper just melt away. If only life were like that -- I pour boiling hot water on all the stuff I'm stuck with, and it's gone! Alas, probably not a solid life strategy.

More tomorrow about my younger daughter's kindergarten graduation today (I couldn't decide whether to laugh -- I mean, graduation from kindergarten?! -- or cry -- after all, she's my baby. Apparently I decided on crying. In moderation.).


Anonymous said...

I am inspired to broaden my needle felting skills and try something like this. I like the swirls and the play of color.
Punkin in Oregon

Knitting Linguist said...

I'm glad you liked it! I had a lot more fun working with it than I'd thought I would. It came out rather thin -- I might back it to make it thicker, but I think with the whole kit, I'd be able to have enough wool to lay down a thicker base layer.

I'll be sure to put the name of the kit in another post soon.

Thanks for commenting!