A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

The Architect


in me. Like architecture, with knitting, I develop a membrane, a skin which coincides with the body creating a symbiotic relationship accentuating the wearer, the space, and activity–of which the wearer inhabits.

With a design of a building, first design process involves the investigation the fabric of a shelter, site, and program…Knitting seems like a natural and easier application of my architectural skills. Perhaps, it’s just a testament to the genius Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pattern–successfully knitting up a baby surprise jacket makes a knitter look like a genius when in fact it is a very easy pattern.

I’m no architect, however do see knitting stitches as bricks of a project, different textures of stitches as various coursing in masonry. Each brick or stitch alone is not much on its own. When I put a thousand of them together, I may have a masterpiece.  Millions of possible combinations are overwhelming. No two crafters will put it together in exactly the same way. A pattern, or blueprint, gives a guide on how to construct it; but, the outcome is in the hands of the craftsman.  Then factor in the multitude of colors, hues, textures, treatments…it doesn’t take many iterations of an equation to move into the realm of billions and trillions of possibilities.

We, as craftsmen, take the humblest of materials and create masterpieces that stager the imagination of mere mortals.  On one hand, it may be fiber, fluff, and a couple of sticks.  On the other, clay, sand, and water.  Same basic materials that have been available for millions of years to billions of people all over the world.  Yet, we come up with new ways to accomplish the most mundane of tasks. Occasionally, we may have an opportunity to hear the gasp of awe and the appreciation of our art. “How did you know it would look like this?”  Not often, but it can happen.

I love regular plied yarns in beautifully dyed colors and facades with brick, glass, and stone. I dislike yarns with sequins, bobbles, eyelash, fuzz or that feels/looks plastic, and facades covered in metal. My knitting and spinning helped me understand why I am drawn to materials and facades that I am drawn to and have helped me remain true to my design instincts.

It took me little time to get knitting…to understand how stitches and garments are constructed.   Seeing a video or doing something myself is all it typically takes for me to acquire a new skill. I credit this to my architect’s brain that is used to taking 2-dimension ideas and imagining the 3-dimension result.

Screen print, producing geometric with metal plates, sketching with a single black pen, working in the wood or metal shop…none of these things are available to me. I have neither time nor money to indulge. However, tactility is one of the things I love about knitting. The chance to do anything free-ing is snapped up gladly. The art of knitting does that for me. I may knit anywhere, be quiet while my kids are sleeping…and dream of being able to come up with some new design, new colors, new textures, a new use.

I have found that I have the tenacity to attempt a new medium. I am fearless about creating in many different mediums and textures to explore a design challenge.   I get amazement from those outside of the fold when the finished product appears.  As an architect, many creative endeavors become architectural once an architect does them. I notice the similarity more in the attention to details–when two materials or colors join each other, how they join, what’s the most beautiful way to increase/decrease, etc. It reminds me of sill details or how to detail a change in floor materials. Interesting construction always appeals to/impresses architects–and yes, everything is “architectural” to an architect!  That’s just the way I am. I make things my own.

It’s so nice to make things with my hands. Every stitch is like hand laid brick or stone. Each one is touched by human hands. The instant gratification is great too, along with the total control over both design and construction! I love paying attention to different cast-on and cast-off techniques at the moment so even the simplest of scarves will look professional. :0)

Large work projects can take so long to become real.   It is absolutely rewarding to see progress in a more tangible form, even if it only a row completed or a cable crossing. I returned to knitting after a long hiatus when I read EZ’s Knitting Without Tears.   At that moment, I recognized I could take control of my knitting and the complexities of the craft were a good fit for the way my brain works–three dimensionally, ability to visualize, love of geometry, etc. I feel a real lack in my life when I am unable to knit for more than a day or two.  It definitely helps with stress release.  I do some of my best thinking when I am knitting (like now LOL)  and am lucky enough to be able to knit in the car on long trips (mostly as a passenger…but I do keep a simple lace shawl, a sweater, or a pair of socks beside me in the car for traffic jams and long red lights.)

Mostly knitting is an opportunity to flex design muscles where I have complete control…no clients, a self-written brief, a manageable budget, and no critiques!  The ability to knit grants me the patience to tolerate trucking the kids around town, daily. I love keeping the hands busy during small talks and the silence between conversations. Knitting is a good outlet for stress relief from a very demanding profession, full-time mom and wife. Fiber play keeps my creative brain spry when work-at-home is less demanding creatively. It isn’t always about solving design challenges…so, knitting it is!

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)

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Comments on: "The Architect" (4)

  1. […] Piano Socks is all knit up based on Anne’s latest design; but, I am not stopping here just […]

  2. This is a nice reflection on creativity and the “building” that goes into craftsmanship. Have you read Anna Zilboorg’s “Knitting for Anarchists”? If not, it’s time!

    • Yes, I do have Anna’s book, but haven’t read it for a long time. Thanks for the reminder. It’s time to pull out the shelf again…She is my idol! Wish I had known her way back when I used to live in the Bay Area. I did meet her at the first Sock Summit so I’d die happy 😀

  3. […] finishing up a week-long project. […]

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