Peggy Osterkamp gave a speech at the CNCH 2012 gathering this past weekend, and one of the quotes she posted during the talk was:
“Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
by Louis Pasteur
Peggy Osterkamp gave a speech at the CNCH 2012 gathering this past weekend, and one of the quotes she posted during the talk was:
“Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
by Louis Pasteur
I am a recent convert to spinning after at least a year of abject refusal. There were a few simple reasons for this.
It’s another fiber hobby, with the accompanying need of yet another set of tools and supplies.
It looks a bit like wrestling an octopus… and not in a friendly way.
It’s slow. For those of use who usually dive into a new craft like it’s a full body contact sport, it really doesn’t seem like a logical fun step to have to suspend gratification.
Cue the martinis; two of them. Two of them and some gentle persuasion by @cupcakefaerie and friendly encouragement from @cheekyattitude and I was happily taking home a borrowed drop spindle and some fiber just to “try out”. Not too long after that I was buying my drop spindle from @meshuggeknitter and trying to get my hands on any prepared roving I could from @ilikecake’s destash.
Then @cupcakefaerie let me try out her lovely spinning wheel. All resistance was gone after that.
So yes, it’s another fiber hobby and has another expense.
And yes, it really is like wrestling an octopus at first, until you find this delicious rhythm that is like a balm to the soul after a long day. More than one curious spectator has remarked on how soothing it looks and sounds.
And yes, it is slower and takes longer to dive into knitting and weaving… but then maybe it’s a bit like “slow food”. Maybe the sum of some wholesome parts makes for a more satisfying end result. Part of that sum would be the lovely support from those around me.
Thank you, ladies!
(But, I’m not going to prep my own fleece. Really. I mean it this time.)
Interestingly enough, weaving has a different story for me than knitting. I wonder if the same is true for other artists and fiber artists who cross-pollinate…
I’ve always been quietly interested in weaving. There were the requisite mini projects as a kid followed by some tapestry weaving envy as a teen in art class watching her neighbor. Any gift shop pulls me towards the fiber goodies. Shopping for clothes is always about touching the fabric. With the knitting going full blast, I didn’t need another hobby, so I paid little attention to the quiet urge.
At some point weaving ended up on my “bucket” list. A neighbor had passed away and after hearing all the wonderful things she did with folks in the therapeutic art realm, I realized I needed to challenge myself more and DO more. I made the list… and promptly forgot about it in favor of the daily grind.
Then my MIL was diagnosed with a Stage IV gallbladder cancer. Here was a youthful woman I greatly admired. She had done so many things with her life and yet was always curious to do more. In short, she was my heroine. My bucket list came to mind again around the new year as we visited her as a family for the last time.
I traded my New Year’s resolutions in favor of the bucket list and haven’t looked back since. I took that class and fell into it like a duck to water. I’ve taken and signed up for other classes since. I now have 4 looms. (Maybe someday I’ll have as many looms as hubbie has computers.)
While I’m saddened that I was not in time to be able to weave anything for my MIL, I’d like to think she would be thrilled with me taking on new things in the fiber realm. At the very least, I’m sure she would be so tickled that I’m having fun with it.
So what is your story? If you’re a blogger, please consider blogging about it and post a link in the comments section. I adore stories; they reflect the beauty of our humanity.
Ask anyone who knits what got them started with knitting and you will find a story.
You’ll hear things like:
It looked easy and fun.
I wanted to make a scarf.
My grandmother/aunt/mother taught me as a kid and I wanted to try it again.
More often than not, they had to see the knitting being done to spark their interest. Why they stayed with it (or not) is just as varied and personal as the knitters and usually has a lot to do with their own journey and personal payoffs to knitting.
My own knitting story began when I was a teenage exchange student living in Germany. I sat in a classroom and watched other teen girls and boys knit their own sweaters! I knew about knitting, but had never seen it done. The idea of making your own sweater… with lace patterns… well, that just floored me. The spark was there.
Fellow classmates started letting me mangle their works in progress. My host mother took me to a yarn store for needles and yarn. She even let me buy a fingering weight (thin) dark blue (hard to see) Angora (fuzzy and even harder to see) yarn against her recommendations because she recognized the mule headedness of a brand new teen knitter. My mom was going to have the most beautiful scarf. It was to be my masterpiece.
My fellow classmates returned to my side to help with casting on… repeatedly. My host mother was there for me when I dropped stitches and perversely also increased stitches. Even Mozart’s music came to the rescue by grounding me during the knitting (and keeping me from throwing the needles across the room). My support was in place.
The scarf was exquisitely soft, boring and hourglass shaped a couple of times over. My mom, being the ever so kind person she is, dutifully admired it, wore it once or twice and kept it forever.
After Germany, my knitting quickly faltered after 2 or 3 failed projects and the lack of foresight to just step into a knitting store to find support and camaraderie. No one I knew knit, or if they did, knew nothing about Continental style knitting.
I didn’t knit again for another 20 years.
Two things happened that got me back into knitting. My son was diagnosed with Autism, so I had tons of extra time sitting in waiting rooms doing nothing but re-reading the same trashy magazines. We also moved into a town that had a knitting store right on a main street. I saw it several times a week and it tempted me again and again until I finally had the courage to go in and sign up for a knitting class.
Even though my son has very thankfully outgrown nearly all of his therapies, I still knit. I knit now because:
There’s a fast learning curve.
It soothes me.
I love touching the fibers.
The colors are fun and sometimes surprising.
I like being productive and making things.
As to my mom’s scarf… Well, a few years ago I had my mom shop my stash for some sparkly novelty yarn, ripped out the old scarf and re-knit it with both yarns. It was exciting, soft and even. The flight attendants on several flights eyed it covetously as I journeyed home to see my mom. Sometimes it’s good to be a knitter.
(A sneak peek at a future scarf in progress… with lace.)
I read in a book titled “Buried in Treasures : Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding” by David F. Tolin, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee that one of the reasons crafty do-it-yourselfers tend to accumulate extra stuff is that they don’t just see the items for what they currently are. They also see the potential of said items. What might be total junk to one person, is a gold mine of crafting pleasure for someone with what I would term the “proper vision”.
So if you recognize this in yourself (which I did), you have to counter that with awareness and total authenticity. Sure, it’s a cool idea, but will I actually DO this? No judging of right or wrong, just, will I physically do it. Do I have the skill, time (or in my case patience) to really make good on whatever crafty idea popped into my head? I do okaaaay with this. Sometimes I have to pass over something 2 or 3 times before I’m truly authentic and purging it. I figure if I haven’t used something in 3 years, odds are decent I’m not that inspired by it and can move it along. I feel I’m left with a fairly healthy attitude about letting go of stuff.
I have the fortune (good or bad, I’m not sure) of living in a Eichler style home, complete with the late 1940′s miniscule closet space and (gasp!) no garage. Sometimes I just have to get rid of things because I need space for something more important. It’s hard, but it’s doable when there aren’t other options. Yes, there are storage rentals… but at what cost? When the unit costs more than the worth of the stuff in it, should you really have it?
That being said, hubbie and I did break down and get a storage space for those things that were important, but we only needed once a year. It was either that or start tripping over them in the hallways. I piggy backed on that and tossed in the painting and beading supplies I likely won’t get to in the next year. This left just enough room for all the fiber goodies I’ve accumulated over the last 6 years. I do mean “just enough”. So far so good, right? Space is tight, but there is some wiggle room.
I really, really like the idea that new, pretty things can be made from discards. It’s been dubbed “upcycling” and I’ve been fascinated by it for a couple of years now. I like that the supplies are “free” or cheap, become nicer than whatever they originally were, and are good for the earth if reused. I like that if you could make some of your own things you might not have to buy more supplies later… cloth gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Save a shopping trip for the paper. Certainly, if you sold your finished, upcycled products, any supplies you got for free or really cheap would help the bottom line. Crafting has a very slim profit margin, usually because of the large amount of labor that goes into it. Saving money and resources is good, right?
Here’s the thing… I have this pile of clothing that no longer fits my son. There are t-shirts, jeans and dress shirts in the mix. I can see some great possibilities (and those I can’t can easily be googled). Most of these things are also in good enough shape to donate, so they could be given away. But, I’ve heard through various news stories over time that too many clothes get donated and can’t all be used. Is it truly useful to donate? I don’t technically have space but I could “make” it by shoving some stuff together in odd spaces. (I know I’m not alone in this.) I might have some true space I could squeeze into (if I finish a project or two). The clothing is currently all “free” to me right in this moment. But, could this pile of clothing is maybe a teensy bit over the top? Should I keep the clothing pile for the upcycling possibilities even though space is limited, or donate? That is my quandary.
Remember that lovely alpaca blanket that was HUGE? I figured I would sleep on whether to try to felt it up a bit… Well, I decided to go ahead with the light felting to help improve the structural integrity. (It really did need it. I have fellow fiber witnesses even.)
Sadly, I didn’t give hubbie a heads up. You see, it’s become his blankie in the sense that he’s always the first to grab it for tv time in the eves… much like I always run and leap into the bed so he has to turn the light out at night.
So here is what I was thinking:
The blanket was ever so huge… twin bed size. It couldn’t get that small, surely.
I had a front loading machine that is not supposed to felt things nearly as well as a top loader.
There are small pipes going into the house, so getting warm or hot water is tricky. If I put it on hot, I would be lucky to get really warm.
I put it in by itself, so nothing to rub against it and agitate it unduly.
So far so good, right? Did I even think of going slower… run it through gentle? run it on warm? No. I was even so certain in my mental calculations that I failed to at least check on it mid-felt. I just popped it in there and went about my merry way weeding the front yard. When it came time to pull it out for the next load I was shocked (aka said a few bad words).
I will admit, it is even more beautiful now. Sadly, it is also this odd size… too small for a true blanket, too heavy for a lap blanket, and too big for a tote or a rug. I’m just not sure what to do. Momo the cat greeted it like a long-lost friend after its harrowing trip through the wash. Maybe I have to face the music and deem it a project I made for the cats.
Hubbie, of course, is heart-broken. I just destroyed his favorite blankie. Me, I’m still numb and in shock.
I was reading online where someone suggested that 5 was the optimal number of projects to have. (I’d share a link, but I was lost online and can’t find the link anymore. Story of my life.) The premise was more than five projects slowed down your progress to the point of frustration and less than five left you without something to do at critical times. She suggested having different types of projects for different situations… fancy lace for alone thinking, small projects like socks and hats for travel, idiot knitting for social times or tv, etc.
I had been feeling lately that I was doing a lot, but wasn’t finishing much of anything; discontent was creeping in. I wondered what my actual number was. Was that driving my irksome feelings? I also wondered how having multiple crafts might change your number, and not necessarily for the better. Then there are those crafts you want to do next that weigh on your mind. I think they count too, since they don’t just fade away. They keep cropping up in your head over and over. Should I be thinning my projects? Do I fit the 5 project mold? What will I see if I account for what is currently in the works and on my mind? I took these questions and upended my various project niches in search of whatever I might find.
In the works:
Hand sewing kanzashi flowers for the painting. I’m dragging my feet on this, but I recognize the need for them on the painting.
Quercus Sweater (worsted/fairly easy)
Spectrum scarf (fingering/fairly easy/fairly small)
Kernel scarf (lace weight/dead silence required)
Spinning 2 ply fingering wt yarn (tv watching easy)
Sewing a zippered bag (some concentration)
Sewing a skirt for me.
Knit kimono sweater (easy, but needs ripping and adjusting)
Re-knitting blown out sock toes. (easy, just need to do) I’d just patch them, but the true problem is the socks just aren’t long enough. Try as I might, my hoofers are just not that delicate and small.
On the brain:
Spin some fiber for a friend.
Hand sew kanzashi flowers from plastic bags for giggles and grins.
Take hubbie’s ad laden conference bags and put fancy fabric on them to dress them up and hide the ads.
Recreate the baby sweater for the pattern/sweater found in FIL’s attic. Maybe from homespun…
Rip out wrap I don’t and won’t use… put yarn into something else. A blanket?
Embroider a felted black project bag I have.
Weaving with plastic bags. Coasters? Table runner?
Weaving a wrap.
Sewing a skirt for my daughter.
Sew and cut fabric class on Craftsy.com.
Weaving straps on the inkle loom for my Mighty Wolf loom.
Another Tunisian crochet blanket (of course).
Another post card abstract drawing with markers.
There are probably a couple of projects on the brain I’ve forgotten in the moment, but overall, this list was not nearly as heinous as I expected. While I obviously don’t fit the 5 project mold, I don’t really think I could trim down the list… as the brain loop would still kick in. I would be willing to lay money on the fact that most of my crafty friends have a list closer in size to mine than just “5″. The list is reasonable, and I’ve already acknowledged to myself what the next steps are for everything listed. While I wouldn’t change anything, I do find it a little comforting just accounting for what is “so” for me in this moment.
As to the discontent that’s been creeping in… maybe I just need a new project. (Hehehehe!)
Yesterday I wrote about needing to rip out 7 inches of knitting, but today I’m keeping something in.
I found a cable where I needed to swap the order of the stitches 4×4 but instead had done a little 5×3 swap. It’s only a few rows down. If I had caught it at the major rip out… well, let’s just say that’s not an option now. (I’m trying to let it go.) I “could” fix it by redoing those 8 stitches in that section (and the 4 rows above it), but it’s a bigger cable, and I’ve only just mastered the 4 stitch cable repair. It’s just intimidating enough to give me pause.
You have to look for it because it’s not visually obvious. If I never pointed this out, I seriously doubt anyone would ever know. The non knitter will not see it. If anyone did, chances are they are a master knitter and would be kind about it anyway OR they had knit up the sweater themselves and knew the cabling well. What really tipped my thinking when it came to deciding which direction to proceed was the notion that this particular error hangs way low on the bum. If anyone is looking in that area, I’m thinking odds are pretty good they aren’t looking at the cabling. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
And so, the knitting continues. Between you and me there is now a deliberate “design feature” on my bum, I mean cable.
Yeah. It’s been that kind of day with all of my projects it seems.
I realized yesterday that I had over knitted a rather large piece of knitting… by oh, 7 inches at least. It knitting terms this is pretty major… nearly a whole freakin’ sleeve… 3 afternoons at least… This is due to a) relaxing into a different gauge, b) being arrogant enough not to double-check myself at least once, and possibly also c) just not paying proper attention in the moment.
Given that I had spent a good portion of the afternoon ripping out a black seam on a black t-shirt with my over 40 eyes, gumming up a couple of sewing machine needles and following that with a borderline acceptable iron-on job, I figured I’d move to something a wee bit more mind numbing and less accident prone. Besides, tearing at something kind of fit “the mood” at that point.
I learned (the hard way) that if something is not quite right with your knitting, it’s best to fix it as soon as you notice. These things tend to give way to new issues structurally that you hadn’t thought of… and possibly even more tearing out than you would have had to begin with. But did I follow that lovely little tenant this time? No. I thought longer was probably just fine. Who would notice?
It wasn’t fine on the booty in the mirror.
It wasn’t fine when I saw how the weight of the fabric changed the look of what I had already knitted.
It wasn’t fine when I began to think of the calculations I might need to do for the other piece that was going to be joined with it… and the extra yarn it might require.
(Insert 1.5 hours of ripping and picking back up nearly 250 stitches.)
The thing is, I truly don’t mind the extra knitting. Knitting is good any way you can get it. I just dislike being inefficient in getting to my sweater payoff. I’m mourning those “lost” hours. Silly, but there it is.
My next step is to do what my mother always suggested… put the crafting down and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is a new start to my beautiful cardigan.
The same day I reached 1000 views on my blog was also the same day mydailycreativity thrilled me with this award. It tickles me immensely that someone I enjoy following daily for positive, inspirational thoughts also enjoys my blog in return. Many thanks!
In order to claim the Kreativ Blogger Award here’s what I and the next lucky recipients need to do:
1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award and provide a link.
2. List 7 things about yourself that your readers might find interesting
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links, and let them know!
7 things about me…
1. I’m always getting lost. My kids just roll their eyes now when I tell them we are taking the scenic route.
2. I have problems with rote memory… think street names.
3. Folks are always asking me for directions, it doesn’t even matter if I’m in a foreign country and don’t speak the language.
4. I know a lot of back ways to get places… because I’ve been lost there before.
5. I have a knack for finding things that are lost… keys, kids, buildings. I’ve actually found two different lost kids in the woods. It balances out the “getting lost” thing.
6. I’m evil in the morning before I’ve had my coffee… sometimes even the second coffee.
7. I love walking by the ocean and in the forests; it brings me a sense of peace.
My 7 nominees are…
1. Anette Grostad for her beautiful projects, musings and pictures. I love seeing what she makes.
2. Adine Storer for her beautiful photos. She is just starting her blog, but I can tell you the photos she has posted daily on FB for her 365 day challenge have been lovely. I’m putting hubbie on notice that I want a photo book from her for Xmas.
3. Yarn, Paper, Sisters for their humor and variety of projects. It’s always a fun read.
4. Claire Shotter for her lovely illustrations. I just really like her work and I like seeing the steps involved.
5. 365 Trinkets for his musings about clearing clutter and the insightful life implications associated with his clutter.
6. Stillmindzen for such a soothing site. I ruminate on the postings well after I read them. Good stuff!
7. Melisa for being funny. I want to be her when I grow up.