There is a yarn store in my neighborhood that has shelves and shelves of yarn, all colors and sizes and textures. When I go in, even though I have no projects planned, I know I am going to end up buying something. The last time I was there, I found this parrot-green yarn that is extremely soft. I impulsively bought it without having an idea of what to do with it. I wound it up into a ball and set it next to other balls of yarn I have, just to look at the colors. I do this sometimes, because I like coming up with color combinations I haven’t seen, or have seen and want to recreate.
Lately I haven’t felt like creating anything, which bothers me. I am not good at being idle, just sitting and not doing anything. My hands always have to be in something, knitting or drawing or making pretty things. One of my favorite books is called How to Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto. It is about how the greatest creative minds in history spent much of their days doing nothing, just being, and it was in those idle times that their greatest works were started. I do have moments like these, where I just lay and listen to music or stare at the ceiling, but as I’ve gotten older it takes more effort to make these moments happen. I am learning to be comfortable with these periods of non-creation, because it’s good for my creative juices to take a break. I call this cycle Input/Output. There are times when I do a lot of input, looking and observing and getting inspired. It’s necessary for my output, which inevitably comes after a lot of input. I’ve been in an Input phase for a few weeks, and now it’s time for Output. A couple of days ago, as I was walking home, I went into a yarn store that I hadn’t been in before. I didn’t even know it existed for the longest time, I think I heard about it on Daily Candy. Anyway, I went in and bought a stitch counter (never used one, but I need one – I lose count of my knitting all the time.) I also got some #8 double pointed needles (formerly my limiting reagent for not using up all my impulsively purchased worsted weight yarn.) My little shopping experience did the trick, as I knitted a hat with some yarn I’ve been saving for a very special hat for myself. My next project is making another very special hat with the parrot-green yarn, just in time for this foggy San Francisco weekend.