Monday, June 23, 2008

Stich on the Pitch: UEFA Euro 2008 and Creative Freedom

For the last two weeks, I have been obsessed with two things: soccer and deliberating if I should give my sweater baby a rest to start on something new.

Stitch on the Pitch
For all you Americans reading this, let me introduce you to two new concepts. First, I think Americans are the only English speakers who refer to a grassy area designated for sports play a 'field'. Here in the UK, sports are played on either a 'ground' or a 'pitch'. These two expressions are part of my newly found and gladly adopted British vocabulary.

Second, there is a somewhat recent phenomenon in the US called 'Stitch n' Pitch' where a group of knitters get together and take their knitting projects to baseball games. I mean, how ingenious is that? What else are you going to do with all that downtime between pitches and innings? Here in this part of the world, baseball is not as prevalent as say, lawn bowling or snooker. So being as clever as I am, I decided to knit while watching sports taking place on a 'pitch'. And this time of year, that is UEFA's European Football (Soccer) Championships.

For the last two and a half weeks, Matthias and I have been watching sometimes up to three hours of soccer a night! And for a while there, I had to put my sweater aside because the pattern was too daunting to follow while watching steamy ripped guys sweat buckets while running up and down a 'pitch' for 90 minutes. No, seriously, it was the sweater that was distracting me and not my lecherous voyeurism.

This is only one part of the sweater break conundrum. You see, I have been working this pattern for over three months now. I frogged (unravelled) the back panel because the sleeves looked crappy and then I frogged the front because, even though the sleeves looked much better than the ones I had originally done for the back panel, it still was not what the pattern had exactly called for. I am a perfectionist. I am frustrated. I am bored. I am obviously distracted by sultry soccer studs and need some instant gratification project like a scarf or something. But, no way José was I going to let myself off the hook and do something different for a while. I keep such a tight leash on myself sometimes! I was going to finish that sweater come hell or high water. But not when the football is on. And, well, I am obsessed as I probably made clear in my last post. I just have to knit. 

I couldn't really start any thing new because I felt guilty and undisciplined. I leaved through websites and my collection books and patterns, but all to no avail. I kept returning to that crusty old thought pattern that said: 'You have to finish what you have started'. I deliberated for nearly two weeks about starting something new.

And, then like a knitting needle falling from the sky, it hit me straight in the eye and I saw. Through all my deliberating, I was actually de-liberating, or taking away, any creative freedom I was giving myself. I was deliberately (god, what a loaded word!) stifling the very thing I am consciously fostering in myself. I was just telling someone from my knitting group the other day that working multiple projects is just like reading several books simultaneously - something I know I am guilty of and I am sure you can relate, too. 

Immediately after being struck by this insight, I actually got around to finishing a project that I had started almost four months ago and required very little other than a wicked mattress stitch: my OM Yoga Mat Bag. Finishing up this little project gave me back that creative freedom I had been depriving myself of through my old rigid thoughts on self-discipline.  

And, as life would have it, I still was not able to find 'the' right pattern, so I decided to design one up myself: The Spumoni Scarf. It will still be a WIP for another little while. I am planning on attaching some wicked fringe and I have a few more soccer games to take in before next weekend. Let's go, Germany!

My advice to you: if you have the inspiration to start something new, just do it. Don't worry about if, when, and how it will get done. Your project will just tell you what to do next and
 when it is ready to be finished. By debating and deliberating over the birth of an idea only wastes the energy you could be spending knitting a Spumoni scarf. Knit well and knit often.


Peptogirl said...

Love the scarf and the yoga bag! Beautiful color choices!

audreym said...

I was supporting Germany too so boo hoo (the rest of my house were supporting Spain bah).
I done tagged you with a memey thing :)