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The Wheres and Hows of Bewilderknits Creative Processes

Someone recently left a comment on our last blog asking "Where do you like to create your things? What kind of music do you listen to while you're making these things?"

I am only one of three, but I can answer this for myself, for sure.

I know we all love knitting while camping, for one thing. The below pictures came from our last camping trip. I wrote a big blog about it on my personal blog, The Kittyknitter Blog.

Sometimes all three of us get together at one person's house and sit around for a few hours watching Netflix movies and knitting. Cora's house is particularly good lately because she has a fireplace and since her heater has seen better days, it actually warrants lighting a fire. These circles are always good opportunities for me because we each seem to start learning or doing new things on our own and then bring new skill sets to each knitting circle. I can call Karen's name for help if I drop a stitch, for instance, and she can totally help me fix something if what I'm working on just went totally wonky on me. This is Cora's couch where we often are sitting, and when we are not sitting there, all of her balls of yarn fit on it like a color wheel:

Lately I've been knitting on my couch though, since it's too cold to camp, and listening to Bat for Lashes.

Bat for Lashes songs can be heard here.

When I start making things that require a sewing machine, I like to put on a movie and start sewing assembly-line style and I move really fast. I watched Howl's Castle twice in a row plus Princess Mononoke and made 7 felted leafy garland tendrils that way:

Howl's Castle and Princess Mononoke are just a couple of the terrific movies by Miyazaki. I am enraptured by these visually stunning movies full of wind and greenery. The phrase "visually stunning" is an understatement. They are extremely imaginative and totally manage to prevent my brain from attending to the mundane things in life (bills, work, laundry) and instead marvel about ideas. If you are unfamiliar with Miyazaki's work, below are some stills from these films:

Here is a link to Princess Mononoke's trailer:

"When the forest has been cleared, and the wolves wiped out, this place will be the richest land in the world." As you can see, while I really do love the Avatar movie, Princess Mononoke came first.

Roger Ebert explained his experience with Princess Mononoke in his review in the Sun Times in 1999:

"I go to the movies for many reasons. Here is one of them. I want to see wondrous sights not available in the real world, in stories where myth and dreams are set free to play. Animation opens that possibility, because it is freed from gravity and the chains of the possible. Realistic films show the physical world; animation shows its essence. Animated films are not copies of "real movies," are not shadows of reality, but create a new existence in their own right. True, a lot of animation is insipid, and insulting even to the children it is made for. But great animation can make the mind sing."

When I'm not at home, I'll even take a knitting bag with me to dinner and sit knitting in a booth at Rokerij. The lights are moody, the booths are filled with pillows, amazing food and drinks eventually arrive (always a good thing) and I don't have idle hands while sitting at the table. The picture below comes from VisitPhoenix's Photostream on Flickr.

I just came back from Dick's Hideaway where I sat at the bar and wove in the ends on 5 scarflettes while sitting there.

It probably seems odd when people see me at these places, but I make myself at home doing crafty things in public whenever the supplies are easily portable. The music at Rokerij and Dick's Hideaway is the same: Pandora is playing based off of whatever the servers like to listen to, and the servers always have good taste.

I hear The Cure a lot at Rokerij, someone there is obviously a fan. And I also hear Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine often at Dick's Hideaway.

Samples of The Cure here...

Sample some Iron & Wine songs here...

Hear some Sufjan Stevens songs here ...

I tend to see all down-time as possible knitting-time now. I knitted this hat while sitting at the dining room table after dinner at my parents' house when family was in town:

A lot of what comes out of me in my work is fragments from my childhood or other experiences. I recently made a scarflette that looks just like Peppermint Ice Cream from 31 Flavors. I also don't tend to often wear very girly or preppy clothes, but I tend to make a lot of things that would be generally considered as very girly and preppy. I recognize this as coming from my early days at private school in Paradise Valley.

When I make pointy and architectural hats, that is derived from the book I got when growing up called "The Santa Claus Book." I was very obsessed with this book, and it's illustrations. The book was about Santa Claus and had extensive sections on his elves and how to tell them apart, visually and personality-wise, from other woodland creatures like gnomes.

I think it's fair to say that a lot of fairy-tale, myth, and pop culture is blended together in my pieces. I was a child in the 80's and pop culture references are inside jokes that everyone shares.

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