Stitch Urgent

There is something manic in the way that I craft. First comes the idea, markered, generally, onto scraps of paper and post-its in many hyper-similar variations. Part of this repetition is revision, and part of it is a pesky tendency for repetition as processing, not just about of the form of the idea, but that I’m having it at all. Next comes the announcement that I will be making something, via blog, via gchat, or verbally to near coworkers or friends. Shopping for supplies always happens, because of that warm, happy, immediate gratification–pinging in the brain and the false feeling of accomplishment that purchasing gives. Should I be somewhere that’s it’s possible and appropriate for me to start crafting immediately—say, my living room, with several free hours ahead—the bell rings and it begins. Balls of yarn and circular needles, yardage, pinking shears, bobbins and thread and spools and my powder-green 1960s Singer 337, purchased for eighteen dollars and eighteen cents at the thrift, they all come out, and there’s some type of focus and drive but it feels too much like tunnel vision. That task must be finished right away lest it not get done at all.

All of my unfinished projects shout at me from their bins and boxes. In or out of sight, they wedge themselves into my mental space sipping tea and posing simple questions as though they’re riddles. “Diana,” they ask, “any plans to finish, dear?” Except that they don’t speak in a unified chorus, but a lineup. There’s no interrupting, just the slightest overlap as one picks where the other left off, a circle of dominoes righting themselves just moments after they fall, ready to go for another round. Each of them asks for a response and I tell them individually in turn, “the idea of you is important,” occupying myself not with the completion of any one project but with the mental shepherding of a flock.

Even though I wonder why there are seemingly infinite endorphins for starting a project and so few for the middle part, or why the same project taken at a pace slower than a sprint turns into a slog, I have a new feeling rising up and it’s not a craft idea. It’s more of a primly agitated lack of amusement about not finishing things, a good feeling to be awake to. You shouldn’t fire a shot if you won’t go pick up the game, and perhaps a dress simply shouldn’t be hemmed if I won’t take the time to carefully measure, cut, fold, pin, iron, and then sew (though someone with a serger might gleefully disagree). Since the time passes the same whether you’re buzzing about something you aren’t doing at all or if you’ve closed your computer to steadily work at a project, I think I’d like to spend more of my time doing the latter. I’ve got no place in my apartment or head to store a new project anyways.

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