Inspiration as Guide

Anyone out there having the challenge of choosing their next knitting project?  I used to  have the conundrum about four times a year, every time I received a new Vogue Knitting in the mail.  And, I thought I was inundated with choice, then!  Now, with Ravelry, social networking, and independent designers both far and near and accessible to the masses,  the choice nowadays really is overwhelming!

I have written about this before, the criteria for choosing the next project (see below).  In reviewing my own list, I have come to realize I left something out.

  • immediate excitement of pattern or construction of a project
  • challenging in some way
  • can be paired with existing pieces in current wardrobe
  • has a purpose or becomes a focal point
  • must be a style that works for me
  • original and hopefully not able to be found in a clothing store

Inspiration, I left out inspiration.  Somehow, when I am perusing patterns, I notice I am talking to myself.  (In teaching “workshop methodologies”, the gurus call it eavesdropping on one’s thinking).  I am thinking… does the pattern remind me of something / someone / somewhere?  Does it bring back a memory?  Is the color / style reminiscent of a garment of long ago?  Does it speak to my emotional being in some way?  The second I saw the equestrian vest in Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2010 designed by Mari Lynn PatrickI knew this project would find itself into my wardrobe.

It was 1965 when I was introduced to, what I now call, my heaven.   Is this not the cutest picture?  I am the “equestrian” in the middle.

1965 - age 7

A camp.  A horse backriding camp that I would return to for the whole of my entire childhood, about one hour away from where I was living, and to the place I feel I learned how to ride horses (the obvious), but also how to grow socially and emotionally.  Set in the rolling hills of Western New York, Camp Sprucelands was a haven for making friendships, developing an understanding of animals and their needs, and growing one’s independence.  Every summer for years and years, I would return, counting the days till I got there, kicking and screaming going home for the then upcoming school year.

Below, is my first blue ribbon.  (first place for you non-equestrian folks)

first blue ribbonb

A camp for the striving equestrian, boys and girls learned how to ride horses, English or Hunt Seat, and to take care of them.  We were called horse masters and if we were really lucky, we were invited to be part of such things as drill teams and show teams.  That led us to the barns at privileged times such as 4:00 in the mornings (and that is a good thing) and back to the barns in the evenings.  Activity centered around such tasks as bathing horses, braiding manes and tails, and saddle soaping leather goods.


Below, circa 1967.  Looks like a horse show with my number tied to my waist…


Below:  teenager.  But, I do wonder where my hard hat is.

age 13ishb

Again, in horse show garb…


I was proud to represent the camp at a local County Fair.  You can see the horse’s mane braided, below.

Erie County Fairb

So, when I turned to that pattern and saw the beautiful model in her jodhpurs in that barn with her stylish Equestrian Tunic, I knew that would be me… again!


happy at campb

and now.


Let inspiration be your guide as you surf the net, explore patterns, and attempt to choose YOUR next masterpiece.

2 responses to “Inspiration as Guide”

  1. Thank you, Holly, for this lovely post. It is both exciting and overwhelming (depending on one’s frame of mind at the particular moment) to discover all the patterns, designers, and yarns that are available. How can one possibly keep up? I have decided to call it “random order” or “ordered randomness”, as one clicks on a link or a post or picks up a magazine or book….these will inevitably lead to other discoveries and connections. These in turn build the queue, fortify the stash, and enlarge the library. However, your list of criteria, with the essential element of “inspiration”, provides the necessary guideposts that reduce the randomness and enhance the sense of order. In so many ways the equestrian is a very apt metaphor for the process. Happy knitting to you on this last day of 2012 and into the new year! Arielle


    • Love your comment, Arielle! So very true the way you put it and we all have responsibility to resources, so, for me, I’ve set this criteria! Always lovely chatting with you and many wishes for inspiration in your New Year!


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