Saturday, 30 November 2013

No danger of the sincerest form of flattery

Today was mostly a pyjamas and lazy day.  I was out really late last night with friends, slept in this morning, and felt supremely unmotivated to do much of anything.  Hello, internet!

I was reading a thread on Ravelry where the person in question had asked a question about beading a particular shawl.  I’ve only beaded one knitted item, so I clicked the picture to find the project and read the description of beading. 

One of the great things about Ravelry (and I was tempted to leave my typo as Revelry) is that you can click names and get taken to that person’s profile.  I scrolled through her projects to find the shawl, and was glad to see that she had a few pictures of the shawl from different angles on a dress-form, styling it by draping or tying it in several ways.  She had written up a complete list of her modifications, including bead weight and placement, and a short how-to of the beading method she’d used.

I favourited the project and then jumped back to her project page.  It took a couple of minutes to load, as she had over a hundred projects listed, and as I scrolled through, admiring her photography and  the styling of the various items, which were mostly accessories, I found myself wondering about her wardrobe.  The wardrobe not shown, the one the accessories had been made to augment.

Almost everything had been made in a solid or semi-solid colour.   I compared her projects to mine, which are RARELY one colour.  I gravitate towards the variegated skeins, affectionately known in my group of knitterly friends as clown-barf.   I do own some semi-solids, but mostly not. 

Not only were they solid or semi-solid, they were almost universally neutral.  There were a couple of pops of orange and chartreuse, but overwhelmingly gray and navy and cream and camel.   I closed my eyes and let my brain free-associate.  

Classic.  Minimalist.  Zen.   Restful.

I even found myself imagining the knitter, because she does not appear in her project pictures.  In my mind’s eye, she was well-dressed.  Expensively dressed.  The close-ups of her knitting showed even, well-defined stitches, lace that had been blocked hard to show the beauty of the pattern, an appreciation of something well-made, of high quality materials and workmanship.  I went to her flickr account to see more of her knitting photos, and her photography is the same.  The background is not competing with the item.  Cream walls, blonde wood surface.  The items that are photographed with jewellery or other items are also chosen for the simplicity of the accent.  Pearls.  A single leaf.  Such precision.

I couldn’t help comparing my own photos to hers.  In the summer, most of mine tend to be outside.  Yarn nested in a container garden, which almost certainly has at least one bright flower.  Draped over chairs, or with a smiling kid modelling.  There’s a chaos about them.  A lot going on, visually.  And again, multicoloured yarns make multicoloured items.

I found myself, momentarily, feeling inadequate in comparison.

Fortunately, that feeling only lasted a minute or two.  I remembered that both knitting and photography make me happy.  Colour makes me happy.  So does movement, and the unexpectedness of things. 

I love to look at the beauty of a Japanese garden, but I would rather spend time in the overgrown English cottage garden in my own backyard. 

I could learn from this person, but I’ll never be her.  And I’m okay with that.

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