Friday, November 2, 2012

A Challenging Prospect

I think I needed a challenge.
I found this on my blog explorations and thought this is just what I needed.
Click on the badge over there in the right-hand column for all the details.

Basically, the challenge is to do art every day for a month.
And share it. Every day, for a month.

I am so amazed, and somewhat jealous, of folks who can draw, sketch and paint.
I know, in my heart, there is so much more that is Art other than
drawing, sketching and painting.
I know that what I do is considered Art 
even though Craft is more often use as a descriptive label.

I've had a few discussions ... and perhaps even tipping the scales
to argument ... over the concept of Craft vs Art.
Not that Craft is opposed to Art, not at all.
But to me, not all Craft is what I would call Art.

Art is creative. It's original. It may use a conventional process,
but the outcome is an original and something that comes
from deep inside a person ... brain, heart, really doesn't matter.

Art springs from something burning inside a person, 
begging for an expression in the external.
Craft is using skill to make something functional.
If that piece of functionality is original, then it steps into the realm of Art.

Both Craft and Art share many of the same media.
Some media tends to fall into the Craft realm, 
but when the outcome is an expression of internal thought,
then it also falls into the Art realm.

I do both. Sometimes it's all Craft, other times it's Art when
it is an expression of a thought burning in my mind.
If I follow a pattern set by some one else, I view it as Craft.
When I come up with my own pattern, I view it as Art.

Of course, there are plenty of times I deviate from a specific pattern
and come up with something new or different.
Art and Craft comes out of the same expression.
The demarcation becomes blurred.

Blurring demarcations is an Art unto itself!

Anyhow, enough of my philosophical blatherings.
I started my Challenge by challenging myself to learn a new medium.
I have been a crocheter for most of my life, well over 40 years.
I dabble with knitting once, learning from a book, and found it
lacking in satisfaction for me.

But over the years in my travels to yarn stores
and book stores and magazine racks with so many patterns of
very beautiful handcrafted woolen goods, so many of the
items I was drawn to were knitted, not crocheted.
So yesterday, November 1, 2012, I acted on an impulse
and signed up for a Beginning Knitting class that started
that very day!

My "cast on"

followed by my first few rows of "knit 1 row, pearl 1 row" pattern on the stockinette stitch:

Not bad, huh? Well, I cannot tell you how many times I ripped that thing apart!
I was up to 2AM trying and trying to get SOME WHERE with the project
we are going to be making for the class ... a really cool pocket scarf!

The process as shown by my instructor had me feeling 
like I was knitting with two left feet. *cries*
After hours and hours, I found myself on the verge of giving up.

I am not a quitter, but I know I have limits.
My problem, as I perceived it to be, was that I was trying to do something
that was completely contrary to a well over 40 year,
deeply-etched neural pathway.

I was supposed to hold the yarn AND the working needle with my right hand.
Crochet is different. The yarn is held by the opposite of the dominant hand.
I am right-handed, so for well over 40 years, I held yarn, with excellent tension,
with my left hand.

No matter how hard I tried, 
no mattered how calm and centered I tried to be,
it wasn't working.

This morning I got up, got my coffee and sat down with the piece
where I left off just 5 hours earlier.
I dropped some stitches because I was working with two left feet
and wasn't exactly sure how to pick up dropped stitches,
so I had to, once again, tear the whole thing apart
to start over.

Not going there again.
I know when I'm defeated.
Since my life does not depend on my knitting,
I know there is no shame is giving up and moving on.

But some thought kept nagging me ....
something I heard when sitting happily spinning and crocheting
amidst a group of lovely knitting ladies.
Something about "throwing over" vs "continental."
Terms that really meant nothing to me
except for the fact that when I was struggling with 
keeping both yarn and working needle in my right hand,
I felt like I was "throwing over" the yarn.
I recall voices expressing that for some,
continental is a better way.

So I fired up the trusty computer and went hunting on You Tube.
I found this:

Continental knitting calls for holding the yarn in the left hand
while using the dominant right hand to work the working needle.

I even noticed that she says this is her preferred method
to teach those who have crocheted for years.

Thank you!!!!!
Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood and Lorilee Beltman!
You may have just saved my sanity.

Now I'm off to the over-stuffed chair to practice a new way to knit.


ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Practice, practice, practice ~ love the color and great post ~ very creative ~ (A Creative Harbor) ^_^

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I am glad you are joining us for Art Every Day Month. I am always sorry to read of teachers who make anyone feel LESS THAN... glad you rose above it.

Hugs & Happy November!

Great to meet you!

This is my art every day month entry for today.

Jacquelineand.... said...

I can't wait to see the results! Good for you, being able to overcome less than stellar teaching and finding a technique which will work for you.

Lynn Holland said...

Hi Hilary
I had to laugh because I can't crotchet no matter how hard I try but I can knit, so I know how you feel.
I love a challenge to so one day I will crack it.
Thanks for joining us at SKETCHBOOK FRIENDS I hope you enjoy it and maybe show us some of your work.
Craft - Art what does it matter as long as you enjoy it I say.
Lynn x

Ginger Davis Allman (The Blue Bottle Tree) said...

I tried to get into knitting so many times over the years and it never was relaxing. I hated that bit where I had to drop the needle and pick up the yarn and throw it over. It just felt wrong. Then one day I watched someone knit Continental. Bingo! I came home and watched videos on YouTube til I figured it out. Wow. It was so easy! I have knit many many miles since then. In fact I have been a bit possessed. (I'm bluethings on Ravelry.) Isn't it amazing how just changing the way you're doing something can make all the difference? It makes me wonder how many other things I suck at (math? writing?) that would be easy if I just knew a different way. Happy K2tog!

Serena Lewis said...

Hi Hilary,

Well, I've learned something new here today because I've never heard of 'continental' or 'throw-over' techniques in knitting. I crochet with wool in left hand and knit with wool in right hand so I guess you could say I'm a throw-over knitter. hehehe I'm so happy you found this video as it will help you heaps, I'm sure, and you won't have to give up on knitting. All the best ~

Tobi Kibel Piatek said...

Art vs craft is a frequent topic of conversation in my 'senior' classes. My belief is that we learn the skills of a craft (like the recipe for cooking) that allows us to develop the ability to create and express our own ideas ... art. I can knit

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