Aesthetics vs. improvisation?

I have thought a lot lately about the value of planning/organisation versus the skill of spontaneity/flexibility, and it is clear that most people are good at one more than the other. There are just two different types of people, I suppose. And this comes out in our tagging practice. Even according to the Yarnbombing book (see earlier post), there are those who sneak out and measure up a site, and design a piece to suit and fit it; and then there are those who carry round a load of random chunks of fabric, and then slap it up wherever it seems to want to go. Me I’m primarily the first kind, but had assumed yarn bombing was more like the second, so I’m pleased to find that either is acceptable (it’s nice when that happens).

Still it’s fun to be able to make use of happy accidents. This colourful taglet began its intended life as a blanket square for the Knit A Square project (which I’ll post about presently), but I had been absent-minded in making the starting chain (assuming that 34 stitches would be a good number because that was in the pattern prototype) and it had come out too narrow.

Now a bit narrow is good, cos it will stretch and can be blocked, but this was 7 inches max instead of the required 8 inches. I was doing *1dc, 1tr, rep from * to end, then next row*1dc into tr, 1 tr into dc * to make it interesting, and wilfully using up the smallest yarn scraps, holding it all together by doing every 3rd row in bright yellow. So then I did some increases to make it grow to be wide enough to pass for 8 inches, but then it came out a funny shape, whereupon I had the genius idea to ‘fill in’ the missing triangle with shaped dcs. Well this looked so rubbish I was really too discouraged to continue with it, even though it was only about 2-and-a-half inches tall by this point.

So the failed blanket square became a perky little coloured tag! Had been going to put it up near the bench project, but decided that would be area overkill, so kept it on me and found it a home just here, on the corner of Lindisfarne Road with Jesmond Dene Road. I was just coming out of seeing somebody, with nothing particular on my mind, and it seemed like a tag had a good chance of being appreciated (and unmolested) in this area. It fits snugly around the post and I slid it high up; it goes well with/against the natural (ish) beauty of the surrounding area and gardens. You can see the rubbish filled-in yellow bit from this side, but it looks kind of charming in this context I think. Ok, so spontaneity points to me for pulling it round and for acting on the spur of the moment.

Where this issue starts to bite is in trying to work out what I/we should do next. There are (at least) two opportunities for yarnbombing which have fallen in my lap: (1) International Yarn Bombing day on 11th June 2011 (see and (2) the Woolly Walk-Along, a project to cover a long handrail in Auckland, New Zealand (, but one has to email her for more info). The girls at Spinning Yarns are interested in doing something for (1), but what should we do? We have arms of jumpers left over, so could do some tree cosies 🙂 but what really excites me from the yarnbombings I have seen in books and websites are the high-aesthetic, well-planned large-scale projects, and the tiny, perfect little tags that brighten corners. It was fun to do the bench project cos we had to improvise with what we had and I did (right up to the last minute) and anything went and that was very reassuring. It worked because I think most of the other key crafters were also, I suspect, the planning type, so it came together in its own crazy-paving way. But I would love to do something like those car/jeep/tree covers that are beautiful, symmetrical and coordinated; failing that, our own individual perfectly-formed characteristic dots on the landscape.

Then the request for the Woolly Walk-Along is for something 26 cm around, 9 cm display panel with an optional 4 cm vertical panel (and the same amounts for round the back) – but actually I’m finding it crippling to have to decide on and commit to an ‘ultimate statement’ of my artistic design in this way! I like the little burps of creativity I have been working on up to this point! Maybe I’m just perverse. Or hopefully the books I’ve ordered, Stitch & Bitch Crochet, and Scrap Crochet, will get the juices flowing and I’ll design something immensely preorganised and inordinately beautiful 😉 (I’m not one for fancy yarns or tasteful colours so it’s the stitch patterns I’m interested in.) Then perhaps I should stop thinking about it so pressuredly and make a tiny 26 cm piece to warm up! Maybe my life requires enough pre-planning and it’s the playing with colours with no pressure that I need…

About slipk2not

Should know better
This entry was posted in crochet, reflections, urban. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Aesthetics vs. improvisation?

  1. Pingback: Celebrating the Green Festival | slipk2not

  2. Pingback: Quick & simple | slipk2not

  3. Pingback: Pink blanket-squares for breast cancer | slipk2not

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s