women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
- Yogi Berra

I hate making decisions.

Decisions can be enabling; they can move us forward into fresh endeavors; they can encourage our eyes to see new vistas; they can open windows.

Unfortunately, they can also close doors. And that's the rub. I just hate to rule anything out. I like to keep my options open.

Besides, what if I make the wrong decision? What if I say goodbye to someone who could change my life? What if I turn down a job that could take my career to new heights? What if I say, hear, do, feel...

The wrong thing.

I confess to having extreme procrastination syndrome. (I wonder if that is a tax deductible medical condition?) It's not that I don't want to do things. the problem lies rather in the fact that I can't decide what to do first.

Or second.

Or after that.

Whether we are speaking of chores, errands, work responsibilities, or Ravelry, our queues are too long. We don't know which project to tackle first.

When my kids were babies, priorities were easy. Their well-being came first, my sanity came second, and my husband's and my time together came in distantly third.

After that, all bets were off.

Priorities today are more complicated. I have sixteen waking hours today. So do I:

  • knit on current projects
  • design future ones
  • Write up the patterns
  • research ideas
  • post on my blog
  • work on the estimate for my next writing gig
  • read other's blogs
  • market my finished patterns
  • network with other knitters
  • clean my house
  • cook a home meal
  • pay bills
  • wash clothes so I have clean underwear
  • get the house ready to put on the market
  • make my Xmas returns
  • take a shower
  • shovel the driveway
  • catch up with friends
And if I knit, what do I work on first?

  • Moroccan Days
  • Drizzle
  • Sedona
  • Inland Sea
  • Another temporarily snoozing UFO
Sometimes it is easier to drift.

Unfortunately, it is also less productive.

Design decisions are just as difficult. I do a lot of trying out and frogging back at the start of a project. The sea green shawl ( called Inland Sea) is on its fifth iteration. First I did 4 purl rows to draw the line between the sand stitch border and the cabled part of the shawl. Then I decided 2 looked better. Rip.

I did simple diagonal ribbing on the second section, but it looked clumsy. Rip.

I changed to a cabled ribbing. Better. Then I decided to wave rather than cross the 3 stitches. Aha!

This is why I don't use test knitters more often. If someone else knits it, the decisions must be made up front, before you send the pattern out. Not worked out as you knit. Once you send that pattern, you close the door.

That is hard for a visual thinker to do. A chart can only tell you so much. I need the feel of the yarn under my hands to jump start the creative process. I need to listen to the yarn for a while, until it tells me what it wants to be.

I feel like I am taking a flyer on the Arabian Nights version of Moroccan Days. I am picking the beads based solely on a snapshot Kim sent me of the other colorway. I am trusting that someone else's vision will complement my own. I am hoping that the center panel will look right, before I can see if I like it. I am trusting my writing capabilities to adequately communicate the directions.

I am allowing someone I have never laid eyes on to bring up Morocco's twin. Would you do that with one of your babies?

But I have no choice. My days are full. My fingers cannot keep up with my brain. And my brain cannot keep pace with my muse. Something has gotta give.

So, I have made a decision. Yay me! Pattern goes out tomorrow. I'll close my eyes, push enter...

And send my baby out into the world on a wing, a prayer...

And a high speed Internet connection.


WIP shots of Inland Sea


Cheryl, the jungian Knitter said...

It will all work out. I just know it will. I have been thinking about fearlessness and plan to write about it -- this is another of those places to be fearless. Kind of like when you send your firstborn off to nursery school, trusting that she will be okay away from your loving eyes for a while. She is, you are and you both grow from the doing.

Rachel said...

Hey Susan--I'm still readin', just not commenting as much lately! I can't wait to see more of your patterns come out...you have such a unique eye and it's amazing what you are coming up with!

I, too, am a procrastinator for similar reasons. Normally, I just have too many things and don't know where to start (case in point, why I'm commenting instead of doing one of those things!)...it's hard to decide. Unless you have definitive deadlines.

Good luck with Morocco!

askatknits said...

Susan, remember this - she is a good mom too :-) I think this will be wonderful for you!!

Hang in there my dear friend!

Sheepish Annie said...

I don't let go of things easily either. But I sometimes feel like I can't move forward with all the stuff I'm carrying. It can be freeing to make some choices!

And you've made these choices mindfully. That makes all the difference.

Lisa said...

I agree with you 100%. It is so hard to plan our days as there is enough on our lists to last for months or even years. The creative process can be tough on the self esteem too. I never seem to think that I am getting enough done to make it worthwhile. The brain just doesn't stop thinking and planning though, so I will just hobble along and hope something wonderful eventually comes out of the chaos. I wish you much success with the pattern.

Pat K said...

You have put it all so precisely! I face just about all those decisions myself every day. What to do with the time I have, once everyone else is taken care of. So many worthwhile things to do, and so little time to do them. Perhaps it's just the manifestation of a creative mindset. Good luck with the design!

EGunn said...

There are always many ways to do something. In knitting, though, you always have the option to go back and take the other fork if you want to. Every pattern has variants that are just as interesting and appealing as the first. You choose the starting place, but then it flies on its own from there. So give it the best start you can, and then let it fly free!

Carie said...

Oh that is pretty - reminds of the patterns in sand when the tide is out! Decision making is horribly weighty - the advantage with knitted decisions is that you can always reverse them. Just remember even if it is someone you've never met your 'baby' is in the safe hands of someone who you would not have come across but for the fact that you are like minded (that and the internet!)

Lucia said...

Are you familiar with the "many worlds" hypothesis? It posits that for every coin that comes up heads there is a parallel universe in which it came up tails, where everything continues to play out from that other branch (generating infinite branches off that universe too, of course).

In knitting you can always go up some of those other roads. But which ones? Ah, which ones?

Opal said...

That's exactly what it is. I like to have all my options available to me. I just know that the pattern will work out though. You have great vision.

Kim said...

I just got home from Texas yesterday and finally had a chance to start getting caught up with blogland again.

Please,please don't let Arabian Nights be a stress factor for you. I would hate that! It will all work out in the end :-).

When I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, I have found that if I make my long list shorter and concentrate on what is most important to me, it helps :-)