Delete Charlie

Sometimes when I start a project, I'll blurt out my idea just to get it out of my head, and into fruition. Sometimes it's spot on in one try, and other times I have to kill the first idea and try again. That's how the creative process works. In order to create a strong body of work, you have to learn to kill your babies, specifically the weak ones. But doing the work, making that first attempt at creating what you know might die is a necessary part of the process.

So the first idea was to knit three narrow bands of garter stitch, and then whip stitch them all together. This is still a pretty solid direction, but after working on it for months, I realized how much I hated the monotony. This first version of this project was the only knitting project I had going for a while, despite the fact that I needed to be knitting hats for my Etsy shop. I was calling it "Fragments" at the time, stupid name, really.

During this time, I was also learning how to weave on a rigid heddle loom that I purchased recently. I was torn. Do I jump into a full-blown weaving project so soon after having learned the most elementary basics of plain weave? Or do I continue to bang out weaving samples parroted from Jane Patrick's book? So boredom with my first idea, and an itch to weave a twelve foot warp lead to what this project turned out to be.

And what it turned out to be is an iteration of my stash-busting series, Delete. Being the third, it is designated Delete Charlie. If you're curious, here are Delete Alpha and Bravo. The twelve foot warp I just mentioned barely diminished, shrinking only six inches to a completed length of 11.5 feet (350.5 cm). The width relaxed down to about 11 in (28 cm).

I don't remember where I mentioned this, but I don't like little tiny scarves. I don't see the point. By tiny, I mean short. This is a very subjective term, I realize, but to me the term 'short scarf' refers to anything that is under five feet (152 cm) or so. I want to drown in it. If I neglect to wrap it around me enough times, I want to be penalized by having it scoop under my feet, and trip me. But this, of course is not that type of long scarf. It could have been, but it's not.

Since this is a circular scarf, the winding around has already been taken care of. I got the idea for this peculiar spiral construction from a bag I saw on SriThreads. I'm intrigued by diagonal geometry in general, and this bag has popped into my head (and my Pinterest feed) on a few occasions. The technique is pretty straight-forward, but the tricky part was determining a reasonable width for the resulting cylinder. In this case, the circumference is about 55 inches (140 cm). I achieved this by modifying the angle to a length that was half of that. It ended up being about 28 inches (71 cm) which is slightly longer to account for some shrinkage.

As far as the seaming goes, I attached selvedge loops to one another as if to introduce a new warp yarn. This created some interesting discrepancies where selvedges of alternated colors met stripe sections along the spiral seam. Because of the slight differences in yarn sizes, there were differing weft heights being joined together. This resulted in portions that looked like deflated balloons, or under-stuffed pillows. I remedied this with little armies of running stitches. It's reminiscent of English smocking, and Japanese sashiko, and the visual texture it created really brings the beauty of plain weave up (quite literally, I suppose) to another level.

I look back on the knitted thing that this piece could have been, and it's so boring in comparison, so ugly. That first idea had to die in order for this one to live. Being creative means having the ability to generate so many ideas that killing some of them is only natural. Additionally, it would be quite arrogant to presume that every idea is good enough to keep. Coming up with bad ideas is just as important as coming up with the good ones. It's all part of the process.

Here are the yarns I used: Brown, Grey, Black/Bronze, Red, and a very brief appearance of Orange.