What inspires me…
The unusual and the unexpected.
Luxurious fibers and rich colors.
The knowledge that I will never know it all.
When I get goosebumps, I know I’m on to something.
A few years ago, I was knitting a lot and I was feeling pretty guilty about all the time I was spending doing it. There were always other things I felt I “should” be doing, like laundry, housework, etc. Knitting brings me such joy, and it really is like breathing for me. One day I had a huge epiphany. Why didn’t I learn to design and maybe earn a little bit of money while doing it? In that moment, I gave myself permission to knit like a mad woman and to pursue my deepest passion. Also in that moment I had a fleeting thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to work for a really cool yarn company?”
To take a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” I guess in that very moment of my epiphany I did. I made the decision to learn how to design and haven’t stopped since. It’s a little mind-blowing to realize that a split second decision can have such a dramatic impact on your life. That realization is also profoundly empowering. You have the choice every minute of every day how your life will be created. Yes, we are all creative. Some just choose to express it more loudly than others.
It drives me crazy that our society generally promotes doing the things we “should,” versus doing the things that bring us the most joy. I do, however, feel a shift happening and am seeing more people filling their lives with things they are passionate about. That makes me very happy.
I try to be open to inspiration from whatever direction it chooses to come. I’ll give you a glimpse at my current creative process for my work with Shibui Knits. Currently I am starting the concepting phase for our SS17 Collection. I start with a list of yarns I’m going to work with and some basic shapes, as well as our design criteria. I then do a great deal of swatching and see which fabrics work the best with which shape. Then the magic starts to happen and one or two pieces jump to the forefront and want to be worked on first. Gradually the remaining pieces take shape.
I use a lot of different resources. Fashion sites on the internet, magazines, catalogs, and of course my ever-growing beloved stitch dictionary library, to name a few. I also like to take a shape from a fabric garment and see if I can transform it into a hand knit piece. Slope and Square both got their inspiration from fabric garments.
It’s much easier to hide our creativity than to express it and share it with the world.
We just need to find our passions and then give ourselves permission to follow them and see where they may lead us. Remember my fleeting thought of working for a really cool yarn company?
Thank you, Knit Purl, for inviting me to write this guest blog post. And thank you for the nudge to finally read this amazing book that has been in my Audible library. It truly is Magic.
All images copyright Shibui Knits.