Finishing is something I don’t love.
Like most artists, I like to be finished with a creative project, but it seems there’s usually a dozen fiddly steps between here and the finish line. None of them take very long, but strung all together like beads, they might as well take an eternity to complete.
I have, for example, a gorgeous finely-knit shawl in autumn shades of angora and baby alpaca in a canvas tote bag with all its yet-unsnipped tails hanging off. It can’t be worn, yet I can’t seem to finish.
Long-unfinished projects are heavy.
Maybe you have noticed the baffling physics too—the longer a nearly-finished project sits untouched, the denser its center of gravity grows. Somehow it gets harder (and harder) to pick up again.
However, this the year of clearing the decks. Yes, I’ve declared 2020 The Year of Peace and Order and Calm (P.O.C.). This goal means finding a happy medium between working only on tantalizing new stuff and doing nothing.
In fact, I’ve set my sights on a project that moved with me from Pasadena to the farm eight years ago which I call the “sweater project”. It’s so neglected it feels like a ton of bricks. But I’ve decided that finishing it will proceed a very different way than I have approached my projects in the past.
Getting the project ready.
The sweater project started out as a legacy idea to turn my Dad’s old cozy sweaters into a long, stylish, felted patchwork coat. My dad holds a special place in my heart, and I wanted this to keep him close even though he’s gone. So I washed them, felted them, even cut up pieces according to the instructions.
A few years ago, I got a beautiful serger to make piecing everything together a breeze. I had all the materials I needed ready. Occasionally I tossed in a cashmere sweater my husband accidentally felted in hot water. And all of it sat, organized in tubs, along with the pattern, waiting for inspiration to strike.
A clearer goal.
At the beginning of this year, though, I had an insight related to my goal of peace and order and calm: cutting up and sewing sweaters makes a outrageous mess. The feather-light fluff floats in the air for days, gets caught in clumps inside the machine, and coats my entire studio in a fuzzy film.
In January, I realized with perfect clarity: I do not want that.
A new way to finish.
Even though I want the felted coat, I don’t want the extra mess and chaos. In the same breath, I remembered seeing talented Etsy creators selling similarly-styled upcycled items. Would they—I wondered—be willing to take on my coat project on my behalf?
So, this is now my plan to bring my project to completion: find another creative soul who shares my vision and would be delighted to deal with sweater fuzz.
Sometimes you need a new way of thinking to get to the goal. I already feel lighter, excited to move it forward at last, and can hardly wait to wear it!