Around the Edge

I’m on the third time ReDo around the edge of Dora’s scarf. I only have a certain amount of the colors and they have to go all the way around. I had thought about variegating or carrying different colors before I started on my way around. Variegating would be a more cautious approach but carrying color is a bit harder for me to do in crochet than knitting. I’m more adept at knitting. I’ve much to learn still in crochet techniques. IF I have to try another ReDo, I will see about variegating three colors instead of one. 

The first thing I always underestimate is how far around the edge is. Edges are at the top of my list for studying, in all mediums these past two decades. In the garden, the edges takes years of study for a single margin or ecotone. In the workshop there are hundreds of different edging techniques and results from DoNothing, to Fringing; there’s Binding, Blanket Stitching, Borders, Trims, Facing and many many more depending on the materials and tools.

These last few years I’ve been learning and studying lace edging. Unlike many techniques which try to draw attention away from the edge — or make the edge blend in or be invisible — lace edging is meant to stand out. Lace edging makes the Edge more important that the bulk of the fabric or made item. As with all  composition, some edgings are “right” and others aren’t. Although my first time around Dora’s scarf, I liked the results, I ran out of the right color yarn less than a third away around. The next time I kept the color and changed the stitch and made it  more than half way round. The next ReDo, I kept the color and changed the stitch again and made it all the way around with less than a dozen inches of yarn left. Then I switched color and found what I believed was a very fat skein plus. With a lovely contrast I started around again with a more complicated stitch. I was so pleased and encouraged with the lovely results I made it only half way before I noticed my skein was almost gone; paying too close attention to results and forgetting other important factors. So I’m on the third ReDo of the edging. This time I changed up the stitch and kept the color in anticipation of making it all the way round. As I said before, if I fall short this time, I will attempt a variegated pattern of stitches and probably go back to the more complicated stitch that pleased me before. 

I believe most crafters and artists do not want to revel their DoOvers and ReDoes. I believe this is shortsighted and shows a lack of confidence which equates for me to a pathological need for control over creativity. If crafters and artists do not admit to many many DoOvers and ReDoes, I believe they are not being truthful AND not showing their best work. That’s ok. We are all fragile about some things and have strength in other things. To show misstep or misjudgment or even response to the unpredictable makes some people feel vulnerable, lacking or out of control.

Not me. I excel in DoOvers and ReDoes. I take great pleasure in problem solving and coming up with one more (three more) alternatives that just might work. I rejoice in the errors of others because it is an opportunities to learn something unexpected — why didn’t it come out as expected? 

But here’s the difference between me and most others. After spending years learning to map the edges, finding patterns and pleasures in all the diversity of outcomes and inputs, and beginning to perceive the dynamics of the margins; I realize that I am mostly alone in enjoying the look and feel of Creative Discovery, the oekologie of making. Finding that solution to not enough yarn and too far to go makes a big mess and takes way too much time. It takes more time than doing it a simple way, by the book or following the instructions exactly — the way everyone else did it. After spending years learning to see the complicated differences in technique and materials of the edges, experimenting with compatibilities and collaborations in all the abundance of outcomes and inputs, I realize I’m only just at the beginning of my studies and projects. It’s taken a long time to get here, round and round, back to the beginning, round and round again, and back to the beginning. I never lacked confidence, I only felt confused because others defended “control” instead of “discovery”. 

I most likely will run out of fiber or color or try a different pattern before I’m done. Because all my life I’ve been able to learn to see more and more complicated patterns in more and more complicated circumstances, I am enthusiastically confident that my studies of the actual process in Change will round out and complete a lifetime of DoOvers and ReDoes. Spinning fiber to thread and weaving thread to fabric will be the focus in the workshop for Change. In the garden, I will be studying the changes in the plants themselves, seed to fiber and what happens when I try to process fibers for use. ReMaking fabric and fiber, UnDoing and ReDoing, will also be included. How do I take old fabric or fiber and ChangeIt for ReMake?

If I’m two thirds the way done with my life — if I have another 20-30 years left I may learn what I need to know about this chapter called “Change”. I can only keep going and see if I make it all the way round on Dora’s scarf this time.


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