Today I was so closed to finishing up a hat I was knitting for my son. He had chosen the colors and was very excited about the combination. And yet, it just wasn’t right – it was uncomfortably tight, and the pattern didn’t work out the way we had expected. I had a quick (silent) convo with myself about whether it was about perfectionism, or just being honest with myself. And he was trying to be really aware of my feelings and he didn’t want to tell me he didn’t like it… but after we both danced around it for a while, I declared that if he didn’t love it, then what was the point. And we pulled out the stitches together, and I cast on again.
I haven’t knit in ages, but I had some car time this weekend so it was fun to get back into knitting (and road trip knitting is the best kind of knitting), but I feel happy to make something he loves. And I feel happy to make something I love. I have spent so much time knitting and sewing things to justify impulse purchases – “I need to make a hat out of this yellow yarn,” because I liked the way it looked on the shelf.
And then in ended up wearing things I hated to justify the knitting that I had done to justify the impulse purchase. So, in the last few years I have made big shifts – stopped buying yarn unless it had a very specific plan, and buy good yarn that I couldn’t wait to start knitting. I often cast in for my gauge swatch within hours of my yarn purchase. Now I spend way less on yarn now, and I only have materials i love.
I have found myself captivated by the markers of flow – and it’s cousin, relaxation. It’s something I find in my own creative practice – some days I do simple work that I can ease into, especially when I am seeking calm. But then inspiration strikes (after my mind has had a chance to process) and I am in flow, finding shapes and fabrics and sketch out ideas for a story cloth. Those are both moments that are dear to me – and I can find one without the other (or, at least, not in my stitching).
Reading: Finding Flow by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi. And wondering what he thinks of smartphones – the ever present cure for boredom. In 1997, he writes “But if one also counts the long-term effects of generations addicted to passive entertainment, the rosy picture will look grim indeed.” Though, in some ways smartphones allow instant access to software that could be supporting a flow moment, but how often does mindless scrolling get in the way of my own projects and flow moments? Earlier, he wrote “what matters is the dosage. Passive leisure becomes a problem with yen a person uses it as the principal – or the only – strategy to fill up free time.”
My watercolor travel kit started with watercolor crayons, but this summer (a summer in which I am home ALL THE TIME) I fantasized about travel and improved my portable watercolor kit. You know, so I am ready for whenever I get to travel again.
Eye shadow palettes make really good watercolor palettes – the little wells are already there, they just need to be cleaned out and filled up with tube watercolors. I had some trouble finding ones that were on their way to the dump, but over the summer I did manage to collect 3. The smaller to went to my kids (with hot glue used to make smaller compartments as needed). The bigger, glorious 32-well compact, is now mine and I love it. I don’t even have enough colors to fill it all! I started with a Sakura Koi set of 18 tube watercolors, so I mixed some together and left some wells empty for future expansion.
Want to make one?
Once I found an makeup compact that I wanted to use for paints, I started by emptying whatever makeup was left (these were all used) and washing it with soap. I had to use q-tips to clean out the corners when I left the metal pans in place. The one that I removed the metal pans from needed the glue removed.
Once dry, I laid out my watercolor tubes and filled each well. A toothpick helps for stirring the wet paint and ensuring it spreads to the corners.
After filling up each well, I left it to dry for 24 hours. Once it’s completely dry, it’s ready to use!