Thomas Merton was known for his profound spirituality and writing. These words resonated with me today as I came across them in my reading (I don’t know which of Merton’s works they are quoted from):
There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else but to become ourselves. –Thomas Merton
I think this speaks both to the process of becoming more spiritually aware and to the process of awakening or re-awakening our native creativity.
Sometimes we can develop these processes through time away, alone, and in solitude and silence. Other times we need the guidance, the advice, the companionship, and the challenge of others.
The front and back of my Claret Perfect Sweater made it onto the new blocking board yesterday. There wasn’t quite room for the sleeves, so they’ll get blocked while I’m putting the front and back together and knitting the rolled neckline.
I realized as I was doing this that I have a lot of questions about blocking that none of my knitting books answer. Knitting is one of the subjects I DON’T have a lot of books on, so I’ve ordered The Knitting Answer Book.
According to the table of contents there’s a whole section on blocking, and while it won’t arrive in time for this blocking, I’m hoping it will provide some answers for next time. One of the reviewers I read noted that we so often learn by trial and error, mostly error, and that this book helps prevent some of that by giving us answers before we fall into error, or at least too deeply.
I’ve spent some concentrated time on my Take It Further Challenge project and am feeling better about it. It hasn’t been turning out quite as I envisioned so I was kind of discouraged, but last night I put in the center “petals” with a leaf stitch and it began to gain more character.
I also took out the two experiments with two shades of blue-violet threading the backstich outline of the mandala. I’m going to add beads on the outside, instead.
I had trouble following an “ancient” embroidery stitch guide I have in trying to do a couple of stitches that looked intriguing. The one I finally was able to figure out and liked needed to be done wider than what I have room for. So I settled on a very close herringbone stitch done with a lovely variegated Caron Impressions silk and wool thread, color 006 Amethyst. It ranges from an almost gray lavender to a dark blue violet.
I’m finding that I really like the Splendor 12-ply silk thread made in France and distributed in the US by Rainbow Gallery. It has a beautiful sheen and works up very nicely. I used it on the pale taupe petals in the middle and wish I’d had some for the lavender ones as well. However, it does provide a slight textural contrast to have those done with the cotton floss.
The beads I used were some I had in my stash with the name Blue Twilight. I love that name. The range of iridescent colors on them works perfectly with the rest of the color palette.
So, although I had been somewhat discouraged I’m beginning to feel better about the piece overall. I had almost abandoned it in favor of switching to doing a stitch sampler that would incorporate all twelve challenges. I’m still thinking about doing that, but will keep going on this piece.
I usually don’t have this kind of problem when I’m working on a creative piece. Normally it is more exciting and I can’t wait to finish it, but for some odd reason this one hasn’t been that way. But it’s giving me more practice in trusting the process and my own creativity to come up with solutions to those elements I’m not quite pleased with.