I often worry, in the back of my mind, that the process is far more exciting than the finished piece. That I enjoy the start, middle, and working of something, the making of it, rather than the whole plausability of it being a finished piece needing to be worn or used. I find myself drawn into projects, more for the chance to try something - a fabric, a print, a stitch, a yarn, a needle even, a pattern, a shape - than for something real to have evolved from that. The slightly disgruntled relationship I have with knit projects at about the 3cm mark, testifies to the beginning being the most fun part. The thrill of casting on, seeing a yarn come to life, wondering whether you will love it still knit as much as you did wound. I will happily admit that there are very, very few projects for myself I am happy with as an end result. Even if I love the end result, I rarely actually wear/use it. The Black On Black silk scarf, I wear that a lot. But that was an incredibly personal project, far more than I have ever explained here. I never explained the lines and what they were......maybe I never will, maybe I will reveal it all, but I am, in a funny kind of way, reluctant to, because it might destroy the process of which those scarves were a bigger part of.
Since I first cast on for the Habu silk stainless steel jacket, I have grown increasingly anxious as each row was marked off that I would get to the end of the jacket. And that would be it. There would be finality. It would be over. The process would be gone, and I would be left devoid of substance save for a collection of knitted stainless steel threads. What if my love of the process, the making, the construction did not translate to a finished piece? Would I still feel attachment, or just financial devastation, if I laid it into the back of a drawer forever more.
In a kind of sabotaging of events to avoid an outcome which is believed to be fatalistic, I slowed down considerably in the late stages of this project. The thought of it being finished and somehow not embodying the perfection of the whole knit process was really getting to me. Would it fit? My gauge was off, it was possible. Would it look, well, like a stainless steel jacket? Would it look the way it did in my head for the last 2 years?
Yes. It does.
And it is so much more.
So, so much more.
The process is evident in the way it hangs, drapes, molds around fingers, finds it's own crevices and dynamism. It holds it's own shape, giving definition and a fantastic light and shade envelope which you can see above - form and hollow, void and transparency all played out.
How does it start.
A small smudge on a piece of paper.
A coloured pencil. Doodles cascading.
The finest tip of an ink pen on fresh white paper, bound in a leather notebook.
Lines running, converging, discovering proportion, outlining, tracing, feeling the seams.
Dimensions? Exactness? Or intuition?
Piles - edges as seams, placed, stepped, plateaus of colour, texture, pattern, proportion. Laid out - raw. Simplistic in it's dis:structure. Exact in it's momentary 3 dimensionality.
A photo. A record of a pile, of a pile, of an idea. The photo must work as a recording of intent. The photos must resemble the idea, the intent. The camera never lies.
I work on piles. I build them. Look at them. Demolish them. Tinker with them. I add, and subtract. This might take one go. 2 goes. Or in this case, a few months of goes before a final selection greets me with sing song voice of appreciation. What started out as one pile, is now a completely different selection. What began as one design, has been tempered to another, more subtle, yet very bold one, far more in keeping with the recipient. As I build on the piles, I build on the image and how the fabrics might work. Strong simple shapes, or blocks of colour. Or fine strips, penlike in their stretch across the width of the piece. Inside out. Upside down.
The photo above shows so much - it is my sketch of the finished piece. No pens. No paper. Just cut and folded pieces of fabric. Two of my favourite photos are this one, and this one, both of a previous quilt during the cutting and piecing stage. They are very much process photos, but they were also studies in hints - subtle showings of fabric, without the need to explicitly show pattern. The colour and the texture started to weigh in more than the pattern. I've been wanting to recreate that somehow in another quilt, while also starting to turn some of my line drawings into reality. The pile has finally made it to the cutting mat. Under the needle's point, stitches drawing the composite together, it's a good beginning.
As part of quilt bidding for the One In Ten auction, I included a cross stitched initial for the winner if they wanted one. I posted the initial 'D' on Flickr - D is for...... earlier in the week, and the result of the spontaneous 'game' are the following words:
dimitri:diabolical:delicious:darn beautiful:darling:delightful:divine:dirrrrrty:daddy:damn you're a neat stitcher:dear:dierdre:daphne:darla:dame:damsel:damsel in distress:doughnut:definately:dd:dusseldorf:dandelion:dryclean only:delicate:delirious:darkness:danger:delve:deeper:dumpling