phenomenological pondering

I have no words for the world right now. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst, i think that is the only/ best possible state of mind to have right now. So let’s not dwell, and get back to crochet. I mean, those of you who have not picked up needles and yarn, you may as well…

I have said before HERE:

#crochetplayoneaday you have probably seen this before but I have adapted it with crochet hooks rather than knitting needles. Wooly eyed skull anyone? 🙂 #crochetplay #oneaday

Posted by on Monday, July 14, 2014

Today i am showing off a quick turnaround, lots of love, specially designed blanket that is warm and light and inspired by a particular glass artist’s creations. I started it using up some of the leftover yarn after finishing my two jumpers READ HERE because in the process of making these, i realised just how lovely and warm and light they are, and how much mohair wool is of value. The item i was asked to make was a special present, a crochet treasure, i wanted to capitalise on this earlier discovery in this next make…

So i had the wool, and the request was for rainbow colours, so i started, the best i could. I gave myself an impossible goal of finishing it in a day which i didn’t and then got disappointed…

After some self-talk which lead to realisations of unrealistic goals and expectations setting, and some active self-compassion, i had talked myself out of the despair and was quite able to leave it to one side whilst i pondered…

This was an achievement in itself:

Rather than my process of the past, to throw the item stubbornly into a corner in a strop n work on something else, i was able to leave the work to one side calmly.

Somehow i manage to not stress myself too much after the initial failure… The unrealistic expectation on myself to finish this project was mostly due to my misunderstanding of the size requirements and the function of the item requested, so once this was cleared up and agreed, i understood it would not be possible to finish it in a day.

A different issue also came up, which was more to do with its form and possibly having the right colours and yarn for the desired effect.

So resting it went.

Not thinking/ focusing/ concentrating on the problem, i left it and went about my daily business, work, preparation for festivities and all other daily business.

Then i was looking at something on ravelry, i think a brioche hat pattern, and came across this 3-pronged square and ripple blanket and it clicked.

Just like that.

Just like that the problem has been resolved: i have found my solution and a way forward with the blanket!

That excited me and made me not want to put it down! So i kept going with it as and when i could, looking up stitches and configurations only briefly, not following the crochet pattern, actually reading it wrong initially and working it incorrectly, yet effectively… In the end it worked a treat. My brain and my body sorted the initial problem of how to continue the make for me, like a computer, in the background whilst i was doing other things…

This has been a know way to find the thing that you have lost/ misplaced; most of the time in life in general, by stopping to look; doing something else, shifting the focus away from the problem and letting your brain work it out for you in the background, like a computer processor, without concentrating your thinking on it.

The more you are trying the less you tend to achieve in those situations, so letting it go out of your focused thought can help. Your body is still there, when your mind is on other things.

I have mentioned this stroppy frustration as part of my progress with my projects in the past. When you are not sure how to proceed… One of my tutors at Art school used to call it mars bar moment: you stuck, you don’t know what to do/ run out of ideas, what do you do?

You eat a Mars bar!

(Other chocolate snacks are available…)

Once i knew the next step for this blanket, as i suppose it is each time i get past the problem solving part of a crochet project, past the mars-bar-moment into the cannot-possibly-stop-working-at-this-till-it’s-finished moment, each time it feels like a fire had been lit in my belly.

I have a purpose, a clear journey in front of me. I suppose that is flow, and there is a clear way of reaching it… Through frustration and stroppiness, through failure, i finally found the best way to complete this crochet project. As blindboy mentions often, failure is a much needed part of creativity.

This is how crochet works for me, and how it gives me greatly valuable experiences and lessons which i am sometimes able to transfer into other parts of my life and thinking.

As ever, i am unknotting my thoughts into my crochet work which in turn helps me see the processes easier and not get so frustrated with myself and the yarn if it’s not yearning/ moulding (bending) to go where i want it to; then i listen or stop and continue when i find a solution. Calmly. Interested in the darkness as much as the light. The body as much as the mind.

There is a bit of philosophy that has been on my mind whilst my body was sorting out my project for me in the background… Not sure how relevant/ significant it is to my story or this blanket, but if you made it this far in reading this post, you can make your own mind up (or body) in terms of how it fits:

Existential phenomenology according to Maurice Merleau Ponty (1945) posits that body is primary to the mind for two reasons:

  • it happens first – your body reacts instinctually before your mind has a chance to engage (i.e your eyes shut before you have a chance to think about it, if, lets say you are scrubbing the paint of a wall above you and a piece of dry paint chips off and falls towards your face. Your eyes shut – body reaction happens first – before your mind tells them to – in a split second).
  • it comes first – knowledge in your body is primary because it is primal, and it is present in your body before your mind makes sense of it (babies react instinctively in their bodies before their minds have fully developed and are able to process the information cognitively).

Looking at body and mind in this way, giving bodily sensations and intuition their place in everyday life, and in my crochet, considering the realigning of the communication between the two, it has been a beneficial part of my personal and professional development.

If this interest you, you may choose to read more about a theory considering knitting as meditative practice HERE.


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