Fostering Creativity

I’ve been a riot of ideas lately and I’ve posted a few things that I’ve worked on. And I know it can sometimes be intimidating to see people develop all kinds of neat stuff and think that you’ll never be able to do that. But really, a fully formed pattern doesn’t usually spring out of my head and off of my needles. Usually there’s a bit of work involved. A lot of experimenting. And so I wanted to talk a little bit about the creative process.

Sometimes I set out to try to make a certain thing. That’s how my Clapotis Cap came about. I knew I wanted to make a matching hat. I wanted to make it look like a mini-Clapotis was wound around my head. But I feared if I made the sections as they are in the shawl pattern, they would be too wide. So I made them a little narrower. And I knit up a prototype. My first one was cute, but the sides were only about 3 inches long. Not nearly long enough. So I made it bigger. Later, when I was faced with making the top, I realized that with careful placing, I could make the decrease swirl look like it was growing out of the ends of some of the diagonals. So I made that happen too.

Othertimes, I just have a general idea and I play around until I find something that works. When I designed the Whirlygig Scarf, I was looking for something that showcased the yarn I needed to use, that would make an interesting scarf. I tried a number of stitch patterns that I’d knit and rip out before trying the chevron pattern I ultimately used. And I completely didn’t expect the knitted item to behave in the twisty way that it did. But I was thrilled.

Sometimes pieces of an idea strike me, but I’m not sure what I want to do with them. In those cases, I record them somewhere. Sometimes I revisit them. I’ve jotted notes in various places, but I was never a good journaler. But then, recently, I wanted to chart out an idea I had and I needed graph paper. And I wished for a graph paper notebook. Most of the time, you can find a quad-ruled notebook, but it’s a fancy Lab Notebook and expensive to boot. So, during my last trip to Staples, I was delighted to find these (a steal at 6 books for $8)

Small enough to fit into a knitting bag. Can be used to take notes, make sketches, draw charts. A pen fits neatly in the spiral. Here’s where I sketched out my ideas for the Whirlygig Hat (coming soon):

And here are a few notes I took during my Entrelac class at Stitches. A few things I noticed about the garments that were passed around. As you can see from my last few posts, I’ve been playing around with Entrelac.

Overall, the important thing is just to try things out. Buy some inexpensive light-colored yarn that you can use to play with ideas. Cast on stitches, try new stitches, rip it out of it doesn’t work. Try to think about why it didn’t work and what you can change about it. And then try again.


Intangled in Intarsia