Among artists — at least those I know — it’s rare to find one who has a crafting hobby. Some dabble in a different medium as a hobby of sorts — the photographer who paints a little, or the sculptor who takes travel photographs. But most younger artists are too busy working to pay the bills to have time for a hobby, while for many older artists art was the hobby they finally have time to pursue full-time. One friend is primarily a painter who also does ceramics and makes jewelry, plus she knits and sews; she’s the exception.
Long before I became an artist, I was a knitter. Both are expressions of the same drive to create. Growing up I no more knew anyone who knit than anyone who made art, but knitting felt much more accessible than painting or drawing. I’d heard of ordinary people who learned to knit (from a grandmother or an aunt, perhaps) while I didn’t think anyone but born artists could learn to make art. I taught myself to knit, and since the free patterns on the yarn wrappers were boring, I began designing my own patterns from the start.
I still knit both for relaxation and as another creative outlet. I can take my knitting all sorts of places where doing collage would be impossible and even a sketch book would be hard to manage — in a car (too bumpy), or to the doctor’s office (visually uninspiring). Ninety percent of the time I still make up the pattern as I go. Some projects end up stuffed in the bottom of a knitting bag as a lesson in what doesn’t work, but most turn out pretty well (if not on the first try).
My latest obsession is miniature sweaters. The basic pattern is very simple; the only tricky part is managing the double-pointed needles. I made several variations to use up my leftover yarns, although that did nothing to improve my storage problems. Now instead of many small balls of yarn in various colors, I have several dozen tiny sweaters taking up the same space. Perhaps I’ll use them for Christmas ornaments or try to sell them.