As many of you know, the crocheted hats, scarves and gloves created as StorylineCreations are inspired by words from poetry, literature and lyrics. Because I love reading, and have an on-and-off fondness for poetry, I often find beautiful words, phrases and sentence fragments that inspire a hat or scarf, but more commonly, fit a project I am already working on.
Here is an example of the latter.
I’d been promising my hairdresser (let’s call him C) I would make him something, and he broadly hinted that a black or gray slouchy beanie would be to his liking. Because I’m on a budget and have an overflowing yarn stash, I decided to make his hat from yarn on hand. KnitPicks DK weight merino seemed to fit the bill. As I worked through my design, however, it just wasn’t shaping up to something I thought my hairdresser would like, and I didn’t have enough yarn to make it as slouchy as I wanted. I decided to finish the hat, but got a little more creative than I would have for C who wanted something a little more traditional.
As I finished this hat while thinking about C’s hat, I was also reading a collection of Raymond Carver poems, A New Path to the Waterfall. Carver died in 1988 after his lung cancer spread to his brain. Here is one of his last poems:
And did you get what/you wanted from this life, even so?/I did./And what did you want?/To call myself beloved, to feel myself/beloved on this earth.
The thoughts of a dying man. And while death may seem to be a strange inspiration or impulse for something as common as a hat, I am drawn to words that capture the importance of this precious life.
After a few hours the basic design of the hat has was done: a simple black beanie. I knew I would add a charcoal gray trim, but still…the hat as boring! Since C’s conservative tastes were out of the picture, I decided to add some texture, and started alternating rows of front-post double crochet (see photo) just to see what would happen. Because I was crocheting in the round, these tall stitches got pushed and pulled to form a pattern that resembled poorly balanced blocks, a toppling pile of rock or perhaps a totem.
Thinking about Ray Carver and his parting words (I’d already decided to use his poem for this hat), I considered how the accumulation of our seconds, minutes, hours and days stack up somewhat haphazardly as we do our best to turn these fragments into a cohesive and productive thing called life. How often are we brought up short by the thought: “How the heck did I end up here?” and notice that our previously solid and stable existence is not so permanent after all. I see this pattern as a masculine image–solid and rooted, but vulnerable just the same. And that, obviously, asks to be balanced by the feminine.
On the other side of the hat, the spiral; the feminine. Like the stars above, we spin outward from a stable center into the unknown, finding our way, drawing upon our intuition for guidance. While the masculine pillar of rock provides our roots and footing– our anchor through the storms of life–the feminine spiral is our map as we move farther and farther from the safety of our center.
Well! That project sure had a surprising outcome–and all because it wasn’t working out as a gift for my hairdresser. Sometimes that little “failures” spark something completely unexpected. That’s what I love about the creative process and drawing from various sources of inspiration. The outcome remains a mystery until the very end.
Thanks for reading. As always, I would love to hear from you. What project have you worked on lately that took on a life of its own? Where do you find inspiration? Is it helpful for you to draw from many sources? Your personal journey may be just the inspiration someone else needs. Do share!