The spring light is everywhere. Even when it is cloudy, it is too bright to be without sunglasses. The light – as lovely as it is – is also merciless. Every single finger mark on every single surface is visible and very difficult to ignore. Signs of poor housekeeping are once again visible. Spring cleaning is about to start, but I am not quite there yet. The inspiration has not yet struck!
I have finished two pairs of Monkey socks since last time. Yes, I sound like a broken record.
Should I finally turn to some other sock pattern and stop knitting this same pattern over and over? I have not counted how many pairs I have knit but this pattern is still very entertaining. One pattern repeat is fairly quick and it takes the sock a long way forward. I have learnt to throw in my own numbers and the sock comes out perfect every time. The pattern is stable and the socks do not twist but stay on the feet very well. Should I start calling this sock pattern my basic sock recipe by Cookie A?
But just think how many great patterns I am missing while staying true to this one? But just think how many great sock patterns I have knit over the years that have not fit that well and are not that comfortable to wear. So once again, is it the process or the final product that counts? And just think what happens in my brain for the creativity cells if I keep repeating this pattern? But is it any different if I take another pattern by some other good designer? I mean it is still just following a pattern, isn’t it? I know once in a while it is good to take a rest and knit/craft something well planned but I guess, here this is not the case. Here I’m on a pattern of killing my creativity. Or does it work so that when I keep repeating this pattern and thus being not creative, my mind will start to wander into other areas? And does that then mean that I will get less and less enjoyment out of knitting?
There is no knowing when you start a new pattern how it will feel once worn. If I put a stitch pattern on one side of the sock only, will it pull and feel funny; if there is too much going on, will it feel too big inside a shoe… If the toe and heel are right, does it really matter for the rest?
After all, if it were only socks that I want, I would probably find as good as or even better in the store for the same price. I mean I don’t think I have often bought one pair of socks for the price of 12 euros and some sock yarns cost that much. So obviously I’m not knitting for the sake of socks only. So why do I knit socks? Could it be because I am fulfilling some kind of creative pursuit or that I am thinking that I am fulfilling that? Who am I kidding? It is not very creative to be knitting after patterns or is it? So why am I knitting? Because it is fashionable and every one is doing it today and I want to follow the crowd? (I have knit even when it was not that fashionable, I knit but I was not proud of it.) Or is it because I find it very difficult to sit still?
This sock topic brings me to another one that I have been thinking of a lot lately. I have beautiful Alice Starmore books, I have one lovely Bohus kit and one as lovely Hanne Falkenberg kit sitting in the stash, plus lots and lots of very interesting books with exquisite designs in them and also few individual patterns. So what should I pick know? Or should I pick one?
Some time ago I read from somewhere (I think it was the Finnish Quilting Magazine) few wise words by a Finnish quilter Vuokko Isaksson. I have attended one of her quilting courses and she is a very good teacher. In the article she criticized that instead of teaching women and men and children how to use their own creativity, they are taught tools how to reproduce and copy readymade patterns. They are discouraged to think themselves. Creative minds all over the world are given patterns that they dutifully copy. And she compared this copying to these paint-by-numbers kits; do you know them? You buy a kit that has a pre-printed canvas with little areas that have numbers printed into them and then you start filling the canvas following the numbers and in the end you have copied – successfully or then not – one of the art masterpieces. She encourages all her students to follow their own creative mind and she insists that everyone is creative. Everyone. And most are just taught out of it.
So all in all am I just a copycat? Not a flattering thought and not something I’d like to be called but there is a lot of truth in it.
But what if I want to have a sweater exactly like Alice Starmore has knit in her books or a Bohus sweater? Should I then just go and buy the ready-made sweater and put my energy into something else? What if I don’t have the money to buy the ready-made or if it is not possible any more? Should I keep admiring them from the distance and focus on my own work, even if it never comes even close to these masterpieces we see around? Should I draw my inspiration from them only? I know a lot can be learnt by following the masters but there has got to be a limit for the copying, don´t you think? I know there even are discussions if one is allowed to add seams or shaping to classic patterns? Or people are discouraged to take their own colours so that they will not spoil the original design.
I am not worried of the designers… really, they are creative; they will come up with creative solutions even if I try to cut down on the buying new patterns and pattern books. They are used to using their creative minds. It is me that I am worried, why am I so keen on copying the patterns?
This is a small voice that has been nagging at me for quite a while now and the voice keeps getting louder and louder. How can I hush it down and return to maybe the tenth pair of Monkeys? Do I dare to hush it down? Do you ever think about this?
I don’t have any answers; I just have a bunch of questions?
Or maybe just one: do I knit yet another pair of Monkeys?
With warm Monkeys,