What Inspires: Variations on a Theme
Sometimes the best inspiration is one’s own past work. I had to get over the feeling that it’s cheating, because a good idea is worth further exploration. It’s really exciting for me when I think of different ways to use an idea. I’ll explain what I mean with examples.
I designed Flower Child (upper left) a few years back. It was the cover of Norah Gaughan vol 4. While the idea of using a curved ogee shaped cable was itself a variation of something I’d done before, this was the first time I added ribs and bobbles to help along the illusion of a flower. After Flower Child, I found this motif becoming part of my designing vocabulary. I used a wider variation in a throw from Comfort Knitting & Crochet: Afghans and again in a hat for Vogue Knitting. This fall I used the motif from Flower Child in the yoke of Lowry (upper right). In the same booklet, I found myself dropping the bobbles and doubling the cable line to make the yoke of Forster (bottom right). I used an expanded version of the same chart for my Dickson skirt (lower left).
Sometimes the theme to be varied has nothing to do with motif and is all about the construction. Aeneas (on the left) is constructed with triangles for the fronts– a variation on all the work I’ve done with polygons. All the pieces are seamed together after you’ve knit them. For Hume, I decided to use the same shapes, with minimal decoration and turn the whole thing upside down by working seamlessly from the top down. I doubt I would have thought of using the triangular shaping in Hume, if Aeneas hadn’t come first.
I’ve been asked if I am ever afraid of running out of ideas. Sure, sometimes I feel kind of stressed out and find myself at an artistic low point, but with just a little break I am usually back at it. The fact that I can build on my own past thought process makes the number of possible ideas seem limitless and that makes me happy.
Who can guess how I named all the the pieces in Norah Gaughan vol 13? (MOM – you aren’t allowed to answer! It will be too easy for you.)