Sunday, March 30, 2008

I is for Inspiration

iinspireHow do you represent inspiration? as a letter? number? picture? symbol? What does inspiration actually mean, anyway? I’ve come across lots of books—and particularly knitting books—that invoke the words “inspired” or “inspirational” in their titles. Inspirational seems in that context to refer to something abstract, untouchable, awe-inspiring (there it is again!). For me, inspiration is spark. I devote a fair amount of thought to contemplating sources of inspiration and have a pretty one-sided view of it. I consider inspiration a central part of my motivation from day to day. And when I don’t allow myself to be inspired, I don’t get very far. But in this post, I’m thinking about what inspires me to knit and to allow my knitting to have a life of its own. I love to see great designs, but I like even better to make them work for me, which usually means taking inspiration from the visual world outside of knit stitches.

SourcesEveryone has particular preferences for images and ideas that give them great ideas. Some people react creatively to songs, poems, news, even emotions. My creative switch gets activated by visual stimulation—flora, color, moss, geological formations, water—and by very old, well-crafted things. Here are a few examples.

Inspiration-seeking project
Habu Textiles Back RoomAnother great source of inspiration is raw materials. A really great yarn is often the spark that ignites the idea fire. A couple of weeks ago I was in New York City (not usually a place to find nature or old things) and had the opportunity to go to Habu Textiles (storeroom, right), unfortunately only about ten minutes before they closed for the day. This place is astounding; it’s full of all kinds of material for knitting (and, of course, for other fiber arts), from spun stainless steel to paper (yes, knittable paper) to raw silk roving. With little time to look closely for the perfect project materials, I took advantage of their grab bags to get a great little bag full of extraordinary fibers. I don’t know precisely what they are, but oh, how tasty!

To the best of my flawed fiber-detection ability, the yarns are:habuyarns
* pink & purple space-dyed, lace-weight mohair/silk blend
* black slubbed nylon
* gray lace-weight merino
* magenta cotton ribbon
* silver crimped acetate
* black lace-weight mohair

haburamieI also bought a skein (?) of raw ramie. I tried to knit with it, but it was a bit too fine—sort of like knitting with hair. It’s really better on its own, but I’ll give it another try soon. It calls to me the way birds’ nests do. Maybe I’ll make a nest.

HabuscarfI’m trying to combine as many of these disparate fibers as I can into one wearable project: a fairly simple scarf, to allow the fibers to shine. It is very, very light and airy, and I chose an eyelet pattern in keeping with the “I” theme. It is so lightweight, in fact, that it’s hard sometimes to feel anything but the weight of the needles. I tried using three or four different yarns together, but they really seemed to muddle in combination. I’ll post pictures of the finished project, but for now, I’m just really enjoying the touch & the cloudiness of it all.

Inspiration(al) Bib (some of which I have previously listed)

lentenroseInspiration(al) Blogs



1 comment:

Gaby said...

I saw you in Ravelry; I find your blog is very interesting, and your knits are beautiful!