Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obsess much?

I had coffee with my new friend and fellow designer Leila (who hopefully will be adding her talent to the Gardiner Yarn Works pattern line very soon) yesterday and I sort of had a revelation about why I'm not feeling the design mojo so much lately. It's because of my obsessiveness. I get obsessive about stuff that I'm interested in, and I can really only obsess over one thing at a time.

When I first started to design knitting patterns, there were so many things to obsess about. When am I going to get published? When am I going to get published in Interweave? How do I start my own pattern line? How do I grow my pattern line without going broke? How do I set up my website? How do I set up a shopping cart? How do I lay out my patterns in InDesign? How do I do my own graphics in Illustrator? How do I get yarn shops to buy my patterns? How do I get knitters to make my patterns?

Lately, it seems like I've been running out of these types of questions with respect to knitting. I've even cracked the final frontier at long last (assuming I don't jinx myself and get cut from the winter issue)! Instead, my obsessive tendencies have focused on other things - mostly food. With my lack of cooking knowledge, I've got a lot to learn when it comes to food. My living green obsession has also started to rear its cute little head again (poor Bill is being driven nuts with all my fun little changes around the house in order to get us living "greener", like power strips that turn off our internet hub and upstairs cable box when we're not using them, which sucks when you crawl into bed, get all cozy and reach for the remote only to realize that the bleeping power strip, which is across the room, is off...).

Can I manage to get through the day without driving at all? (Today, the answer was yes!) How much Oregon produce can I get at the store this time of year? (Swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage, rainbow carrots, spinach, lots and lots of apples and pears, broccoli...) Can I shop only the bulk foods aisle, the produce section and the meat department at the store? (Almost...but I still have to get the kids their darn bunny crackers.) Do we like acorn squash? (Not so much, it seems.) What's quinoa and how do I use it? (Still TBD!) Can I compost this? And what do I do with compost once I have it? (Yeah, I know you're supposed to put it on the garden - I'm not daft!)

I have to say, my new obsession with biking and eating has really paid off. I've lost nearly 20 lbs, I can ride up the big hill below our house with Owen in the trailer and not feel like I'm going to have a heart attack, I'm not nearly as sweaty (and it occurs to me that I was sweating like a pig in late summer because my body was trying to get rid of all those toxins) and I'm not dead tired by 3 pm anymore.

The kids are also benefiting - they're eating a lot more variety than they used to (it's embarassing to think of how many meals of plain white rice they ate when we ordered in Thai food over the past couple of years), and Sydney actually admits to liking spinach! This is the girl who for the longest time refused to eat anything from a plant, even berries. She's making great progress (and Owen continues to eat just about anything as he has since the day he was born).

Now the question is, how do I get my designing obsession back? I'm still very happy to knit, but I'm just not as into all the rest of it. Where's my mojo? Have I finally burned out after working like a fiend for the past few years? I'm guessing that this too shall pass, and in the meantime my family's pretty happy with the homemade food and the clean house. I'll be delighted to get within kicking distance of my pre-pregnancy weight without actually going on a crazy diet! More veggies and more exercise - who knew that would actually work?


Anonymous Lara said...

Hi Chrissy,

good about all the cooking-yourself thing. Even if that seems absolutely natural to me (what else would one do but shop bulk foods, and prepare one's own food every day), I know that that is a very European perspective. So, good for you! Congratulations on your perseverance. And besides all the immediate benefits for you and the family, you are also teaching your kids life skills for later, so for them cooking your own food every day will seem like the thing one does.
On the design mojo: I guess you could start working through one of the creativity programs out there. I.e. knit a different hat every week and try out things for a couple of months. Or.... start each day sketching. or... you could just wait. It will come back!
And quinoa is a grain, you prepare it just as you would rice, and you can eat it just as you would rice, as a base for a main course with vegetables. There is also millet to be re-discovered... Have fun!

10:30 PM  
Blogger Lavendersheep said...

What gets me out of a knitting slump is seeing what other people are knitting. I see it and then I want to knit it!

Maybe also try knitting something for yourself, since most of your knitting is for other people. Pick out a really nice yarn and knit something purely for your own enjoyment. I am sure it would be inspirational as well.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I second lavendersheep and would like to suggest that you could see what your friends are knitting on Monday night!

Good for you and the changes you're making. I'll have you making your own cream cheese soon, too. Last night I just about fell out of my chair when Annabel asked for sauerkraut (completely unprompted as I didn't even bother to offer).

As far as obsessions, I totally hear you. I'm in that build the web site, market the business, develop the recipes phase right now...hoping that I can sustain the effort long enough to get this thing off the ground.

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quinoa. When you get it figured out, let me know. I bought some the other day, figuring it must be good since everyone talks about it. Haven't figured out what to do yet! And then, how to get the kids to eat it.....


8:40 AM  
Blogger Chris Tolomei aka alicethelma said...

I'm quite obesessive myself and always getting distracted by new things. Starting new patterns. Starting new companies. I'm determined to just finish what I've started - althought last night I bought four balls of Noro for the Striped Scarf that everyone's making.....arghhhhhhh!

10:53 AM  
Blogger Breien in Lansingerland said...

Hi Chrissy,

It will take some time, but I am sure that your designing muse will come back to you.

You made good changes in your food habits... my compliments

2:03 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Yay for you! Sounds like you're doing some wonderful things for yourself and your family to head into the New Year on the right foot.
Trader Joe's used to sell a great quinoa pilaf that we really liked.
Have you added a little maple syrup or brown sugar to the squash? Mmmmmm.
*Congrats again on Knitty, by the way! :)

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Lise said...

Quinoa is great, just don't forget to wash it before cooking or it will taste soapy. I'd be happy to share some recipes with you as we eat it regularly. It's amazing what a child's wheat allergy will do for broadening your horizons!

8:01 PM  

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