I spent yesterday at the store. First, J.J. and I gave the place a good cleaning, assuring one another the while that no one would mind. There is something about cleaning people’s messes up behind their backs…

Personally, I would love to have someone clean up behind my back. #2 daughter sometimes does, when she comes to visit. She believes in strong chemicals for cleaning, while I am a vinegar and baking soda cleaner. So she likes to go buy lots of toxic stuff and paper towels and scrub things. Often thing that I haven’t gotten around to scrubbing in a long time.

It’s fine with me.

But I have a new work schedule for the Back to School season. I will be doing the computer in the morning and then driving up to do eight hours at the store four days a week, and then having three days off to make up for the long hours.

If I am going to be at the store four days a week, it can’t be that messy. Blessing came in after J.J. left and admired it. We will have allies in this.

Then, once it was clean and tidy, I got going on online press releases. This is only slightly less boring than faxing press releases.

So, with one thing and another, I had a lot of thinking time. I was thinking about the process vs. product issue in crafts. I was thinking about this for a couple of reasons. The first is my SWAP Part II. I had intended to get that finished by now, so that I would have things to wear for the back to school at the store, and I am only halfway finished. If I power out today and tomorrow and take a product view instead of a process view, I could finish it. Do lots of machine sewing, not so much hand sewing, quit dithering and make decisions… that’s what I was thinking.

So I came home last night and cut another pair of pants and a skirt from the other length of Tencel, using the TNT pattern with the side zip instead of giving in to thoughts of changing to some other pattern. I can certainly do the machine work on them today — and I could do the hems and facings and zippers by machine, too. This doesn’t have to be couture.

But I enjoy the process of doing fiddly hand sewing. I enjoy thinking a lot about what I will make and how I will do it. I’ll just save that for some other garment that I don’t actually need.

erin againI was also thinking about Erin, the gorgeous cardigan I started over a year ago. Between then and now I became aware that a big, boxy, wooly jacket with enormous horizontal stripes is not the best look for me. Erin has been languishing.

There is no way I am going to frog Erin. But I also can’t quite persuade myself to knit the second half of her, knowing that I would not buy such a garment.

I am thinking that I should just complete the band I am on, and make her into a cushion or something.

And the socks. I am ready to do the heel for the second sock, and it was at this point on the first that I made an error and the trellis ended up int he wrong spot. Should I repeat the error so that the second sock will match the first, or do the second right and frog the first so that I will have two perfect socks?

My kids point out that no one will see my socks. They will be between my pants legs and my clogs, invisible except for the heel, which has no errors.

How much time can we put into things we are making just for the process? Wendy of Wendy Knits famously says that she makes lots of complex sweaters and never wears them. In her position, I would then give them away to people who would wear them, but she has never asked my opinion on the subject.

If you are making something that you intend to use or wear, do you take shortcuts and hurry to the finish? Does that take away some of the pleasure of the process? Do you have production stuff and then also have your art stuff? Do you make things because you want to make them, without regard to their future usefulness? If so, do you distinguish between those things and the things with utility?

I think this bit of philosophical maundering was also influenced by that magazine I told you about, Somerset Living, which had gorgeously decorated clothes hangers and clothespins. There is something about the notion of making every single object a work of art that is hugely appealing to me, even while I think those people have way too much time.

But I think that after church today I will be practical and get as far with my SWAP as I possibly can. Then, if I want to, I can start some elaborate thing with lots of handwork and numerous decisions to make.

Possibly my two quilting WIPs that have been languishing just as much as Erin without such a good excuse would meet the case.