I’ve done it!

Completed my first actual piece of scrumbling – a scarf that I can wear to keep me warm and advertise my wares. And – although it’s fairly naive compared to the complex work of more experienced textile artists – I’m really happy with it. It’s turned out so much better than I imagined it would.

I may have mentioned that I embrace chaos theory. I can’t function any other way. Rather than forcing artificial order, I prefer to allow everything in my life – relationships… working practices… gardens… – to evolve naturally, to surprise me with their ultimate perfection. Which is why this particular art form suits my personality so well. But, although I’m relaxed about the results, there always comes a time when I look at the disparate elements I’ve gathered together and wonder how – indeed whether – order will emerge.

When I started joining my random experimental patches, I experienced more than a shiver of doubt that I could ever make it work – it looked messy and amateurish, with odd-shaped gaps and ends hanging loose. And it took much longer than I’d anticipated – I despaired of ever making enough stock to fill a stall. It depressed me to think that this might be just one of those bright ideas that go nowhere.

Instead of scrapping it all and starting over, I followed the advice in my bible – Renate Kirkpatrick’s book on scrumbling, ‘Freeform Crochet and Beyond.’ After a cup of Redbush and a chat with the Artist, I pressed on. I had no choice – the pieces I’d already joined were so securely sewn together that it would have taken the talents of Edward Scissorhands to separate them. And that would have been a psychological, not just a physical setback. Turning each scrumble every-which-way until it fell into exactly the right place, I added spirals and flowers; wove lengths of ribbon through open stitches; pulled loose ends of yarn into decorative knots at the front, not sure if I was creating triumph or disaster. An apposite metaphor for the way I live.

When the Artist saw my completed scarf, he said ‘Wow!’ Naturally, he believes that everything I do is amazing, (he’s my husband, that’s his job) but I know that – being a perfectionist – he doesn’t hold back in his critical appraisal. So the fact that he had no ‘helpful’ suggestions to offer was reassuring.

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter whether he – or anybody else – approves of my ‘work’. It delights me and that’s all it has to do. Sitting at my studio table, surrounded by assorted yarns, patches and embellishments, I lose myself. The act of creation becomes intuitive and relaxing. Truly a Zen meditation.

So, it’s no wonder that I’ve already started my next project. What is it? Well… I’m not entirely sure at the moment. It could be a cushion cover or a shawl. It might develop into a throw or a wall-hanging. Or maybe a handbag – but probably not another scarf.

We’ll just have to wait and see!

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