The Issue of Time

My current piece, Nascence, is almost 13” in diameter now—15” on the convex side and about 1/3 finished if you are counting linear inches around each row.  [I have a little equation I use to estimate this]

Here’s what it looks like now….

0816161140a crop

I’m much more conscious of time in the studio right now because I am working on pieces that will be part of an exhibition in the spring.  The deadline for delivery is 1 February, which sounds like it’s a long way off, but I have to finish this piece and one or two more by then.  I can stitch 12 to 15 inches in an hour—right now I’m at 12 because of the frequent color changes in this design—but on a piece that has more than 1000 linear inches…well, you do the arithmetic.   So, for this piece, I have wrapped and stitched about 400 inches and still have about 872 linear inches or about 75 hours of work to go for the projected 24” diameter. It takes more rows to achieve this desired diameter when creating a curved piece because the diameter of the core overlaps a bit from one row to the next. Right now, I’m only working an hour or two a day, so I need to step that up to get these finished. 

Here’s a side view of the piece which illustrates the curve.  I am beginning to flatten the curve out now, so the diameter will increase more again with each row.

0816161203 crop

You may ask, as others have, why I work in a medium that is so slow and time-consuming.  Beyond the fact that I love the feel of the fibers and the direct contact I have with the piece I’m working on—no brushes, shuttles or other tools between my fingers and the fibers—I revel in the slow, meditative, relaxed pace of the work.  People say, ‘you must have such patience!’  My short answer is, this teaches patience, which it does, but the longer answer is that I need this slow, relaxed work as a balance against the pace and pressures of our contemporary culture.  I often get antsy and want to hurry up, but I take a deep breath and appreciate what I am experiencing as I blend colors in the needle, wrap and pull each stitch, tighten and shape the core with each inch of stitching. 

I don’t focus on time while I’m working because it’s important to work in a relaxed manner.  The stitches need to be tight to make the vessel strong and firm, but I need to stay relaxed to keep the shaping smooth and even. Knitters know about this—if you are tense, your stitches will tighten up and affect the overall size and shape of what you’re knitting.

And, I believe by working in this way I bring a measure of peace into the energy of the world—a little bit, but every bit helps.

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