This Must Be Thursday

Madrona Day 1

Greetings from Madrona!

Often, when going on a trip, I prefer to take an ease in day and an ease out day from work. These days are my transition days, which are necessary for my health, which means it’s necessary for others around me.

Yesterday was my transition day…ish. It was also my travel day. Poopie didn’t bring me coffee yesterday like he usually does. He was letting me sleep in. This meant I didn’t make an appointment he was unaware of. The next opportunity was going to be mid-day, which meant that I would be cutting my pick up time kind of close. Not close enough to be terribly concerning, so I rolled with it. I packed up before the appointment rather than after.

Since I’m taking five classes, I had a few items I needed to bring for supplies and homework. While all that fit in my carry on size suitcase, I wouldn’t be able to bring clothing. I have no idea what the nudity laws are like in Washington, but regardless, I chose to be clothed for this event. Which meant I had to take the giant suitcase. I told Poopie that I would be made fun of, and that I was sure that L would have all her stuff in a backpack. I was right on both counts (though it was a small duffle rather than a backpack). While Barb made fun of me, she had NO room to talk.

Thankfully, for my schedule, our train was late, and Amtrak was kind enough to let us know before hand. Or, past me was smart enough to sign up for text alerts…Tomayto, Tomahto. We bundled ourselves onto the train and had an enjoyable trip up.20180214_174118.jpg I’m not sure our compartment-mates found us as entertaining as we found ourselves and each other, but no one shushed us, so I consider that a win. L is knitting the green, while I’m knitting the stuff that’s reading as pink.20180214_174126.jpg

Pam was to pick us up, and then we had the typical comedy of errors of there apparently being two train stations within blocks of each other. Of course, we couldn’t both end up at the same train station. I have no idea how we did these things before cell phones, because it took us a while to figure things out, and we were texting and calling like the crazy ladies we are. 20180215_200950.jpgEventually, we found each other, and our respective Airbnbs (we’ll assume that’s the proper plural). Penny Lane was as charming as I remembered. I got a new welcome sign on the door.  Pam is my “& guest”.

We bundled back into the car to go to the hotel to check in to the festival. This is a wonderfully well run event, so that took no time at all. That is, once Pam was able to find the Giant Blue Light on top of the hotel. Have you heard of too many cooks in the kitchen? There may have been too many navigators in that car. How Pam managed not to smack us, I don’t know.

Then off to find food. YAY! Except the place we went to closed just before we got there. So we decided to pack our toys and go home…to the Airbnb. See, mine and Pam’s is above a bar. Barb and L’s is literally around the corner above a Pho place. We went to the bar, since the Pho place closed as well. I knew from last year that I liked the bar. The kicker for me last year was when I ordered an amaretto sour. They asked me if I wanted a small, or large glass. I’ve never been asked that before. I know this will shock you, Dear Reader, but I chose a large glass. Out came a pint glass. I knew then I had found my people. This year, however, there was no amaretto. Sad face.

After a yummy dinner, we went back to our rooms. Pam and I stayed up way too late talking. This morning, while drinking coffee she so generously made for me, Pam told me of her battle with a spider in the middle of the night that I slept through. She had also managed to get at least half a day’s work done before I even thought of waking up.

Unfortunately, Barb woke up ill. We are hoping it’s a 24 hour thing, but even if it goes 48 hours, I don’t believe she had any classes set for tomorrow. The remaining three of us headed off to learn at the feet of the great Franklin Habit. But before we get to that, we see that I broke my bag.  More on that later. 20180215_155327.jpg

Regular classes with Franklin are always full of history. Imagine how a class called Antique Vintage Knitting Patterns went? It was fascinating, as expected. The handout was very useful, and will be useful back at home. Not only did we learn how to read vintage patterns, he gave us some basic skills and practicum at reverse engineering extant items. Then he had us work from a vintage pattern, in a mini mystery KAL.  L and I have dared each other to make his Lady’s Traveling Cap.  Look forward to duelling blogs!

This is L’s first festival, and this was her first class. When I first saw this class description, I immediately thought of her. She has assured me that Franklin, the class, and the event has lived up to my hype so far. Thank goodness! I fear over-hyping things.

While I am writing this, Pam is in her afternoon class. Neither L, nor I have a class this afternoon, so L got to experience her first marketplace. I just *had* to replace my dollar store bag.  The featured image was the replacement.  Always trade up, Dear Reader.

Confession time, I may be an enabler. L is still holding firm right now. But I’ve already moved her from “no way will I learn to spin” to “well, how do you…?” All it took was showing her The Homestead Hobbyist’s booth. With colorways such as “Toxic Waste” and “Crime Scene”, how can she continue to resist?

I love this stage of a crafter. This is the stage of possibility. The stage of transition. Where a person goes from “not” to “beginning”. It’s exciting! Making room for the new, seeing how the new can mesh with the existing. She’s waffling right now. And who knows which way she’ll go? Even if she chooses not to take up spinning, seeing just for a moment how spinners look at fiber I think will benefit her in how she approaches fiber projects in the future.

Well, this is all for now. I don’t have classes tomorrow, but there’s still tons to do. Even if it’s just sitting in the corner listening to the chatter of fellow crafters while I while away the day with whatever project I bring, it’s great being here.

This Must Be Thursday

Snowday

In telling you about the life of the hat, I briefly mentioned our snow day, which turned into weekend. This is a thing I had started when my nieces and nephews were young.  I don’t know why I decided to do it, but it was probably some hippy anti-consumerism idea I had.  Instead of buying them junk, I would get them a disposable camera each, and we would go to the mountains and sled on some random by-road.

A couple of things I really appreciated about this is that I got to spend time with all these people, and create memories… and we have a lot of those. It also made the whole Christmas timing thing a lot easier.  With how families have grown, there is often a lot of stress about getting to all the Christmas functions without hurting feelings.  Snow day has to be in winter because…snow.  But otherwise, it can be whenever (unlike Christmas).  We’ve added to it, of course. Mo started coming when he came back from the Marines.  When my mom and Jane moved to central Oregon, it became a time we could meet up.  When Poopie and I got together, he and Things 1 and 2 came as well.

As everyone gets older, traditions are more difficult to maintain. Since Things 1 and 2 are adults and, therefore, no longer required to join me, they opt out.  My nieces and nephews have jobs, and significant others, and lives of their own.  This year had started out much larger, but one by one, people bowed out.  So, this year’s snow day was just me, Poopie, Mo, and O.  I think the snow day tradition may be dead, but that is how life goes.  You need to let go of things that no longer work for you, and it may be that snow day doesn’t work for them anymore.

We had fun anyway, though, and extended snow day to a whole weekend with a cabin! We were able to get to the snow Saturday morning about the time we are usually leaving the valley. Had Mo and Poopie not decided to hike around the lake, we probably would have gone out again.  I took several projects to work on.  The knit hat being one.  We also played board games.  O introduced me to a new tablet game, which I’ve already finished (as well as the three sequels).

You would be so proud of me, Dear Reader, I took pictures….many of which, my camera ate…but I salvaged a few. I’m not going to re-post the hat, but below is the montage of crafting.  20180120_084945-1.jpgYou can see the several pairs of socks I had packed for keeping toasty.  Those socks were done on my CSM.  I’ll blog about the joys of CSM knitting at a later date.   There are also some gloves my dear friend Life After Work made for me last year (I don’t’ recall if it was birthday, or Christmas, she’ll remind me, I’m sure).20180120_163701.jpg

Here we have another project I am working on. I can’t show much yet, because it is a gift long in the making.  While I’m pretty certain the recipient doesn’t read this, I don’t wish to let the cat out of the bag. As you can see, I don’t limit myself to yarn work.  While it IS my main medium, it’s not my only medium.  I believe this project will be the first blog of what will become WIP Wednesday.  I’ll be adding more days to the blog.  More on that later.

Back to the hat and changes. You can’t tell on this hat, because of Fun Fur, but that cast on is called a tubular cast on.  When I first started knitting hats, I did the long tail cast on, because that was what I knew.  Then I learned the German twisted cast on, which gave much more stretch, so I used that.  I then learned how to do a twisted cast on in knit and purl, so I was able to maintain purls all the way down.  In fact, the hat Poopie is wearing in the featured photo has that cast on.  And now, I do the tubular cast on.  Which is my favorite so far, it has the same tension as the rest of the knitting, and is most like a cohesive fabric to me.  So, we change and grow in crafting as well as in life.

Speaking of growing, I’m working on expanding my empire! Buahahahahahaha   I think I mentioned initially I have no idea what I’m doing.  So, I’m following a writing mantra/belief/saying? One of those words is the right word.  As I understand it, the saying goes “better published than perfect”.  So, I started blogging without having all the support pieces necessarily in place.  I am taking you on my journey of discovery.  You can be total hipsters about this blog when I become disgustingly famous.  You can keep me humble by reminding me of all the missteps I’ve made.

To that end, I’m going to still only promise one post a week, but I will have different focuses (foci?) for different days. Thursday will be my gallimaufry day.  I’m working on a PodPledge Project Page.  (I think Chaz made that a tongue twister on purpose).  It is also up, but also in process.  I’ll be putting the knitted traveling hat up for sale on the merch page, and adding new stuff as I go along.  I’ve got a Facebook page as well that I have yet to do anything with.  I will also be taking a social media class at Madrona next month.  So, yeah, I am expanding, and working.  On top of normal every day crap.  I have no idea why I do this to myself.  Sooo many changes coming up.  This is exciting right?

This Must Be Thursday

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

I love alliteration.  Notice Monday Musings? My “plan” (stop laughing, Dear Reader, you probably don’t know me well enough yet to know what a joke that is) is to post once a week.  But, I must strike while the iron is hot!  And my iron is apparently hot. So…Thursday…what goes with Thursday? I was thinking Thoughtful Thursday (to go with “Musings”)…but, then I remembered my friend wrote a comic in high school called “Thoughtful Man”…I’m already copying one friend (lifeafterwork.site) by doing a blog, I’m not stealing another friend’s thing.  Before I go on, let me back up and repeat myself…

HE. WROTE. A. COMIC. IN. HIGH. SCHOOL.

Remember how I said I surround myself with creative people?  I wasn’t exaggerating.  Also, don’t play Pictionary with him.  A: his drawing skillz will make you want to smack him, and B: he gets unreasonably irate when you can guess cemetery from a nine year old’s scribbles, but his highly detailed masterpiece gets him a blank stare.

Thoughtful Thursday isn’t really working for me. Then, I thought maybe Thankful Thursday. Life has kicked me in the proverbial balls lately. Who am I kidding? that’s kind of how my life goes on the regular. But even so, there are lots of things I have to be grateful for, even if I can’t see them in the moment.

I probably won’t stick with Thankful Thursday,  but I will tell a story that fits into that theme. And likely any other theme I decide to go with for Thursday.

Last post, I shared how I learned to crochet. People who know me now may be surprised my crafting journey started with crochet.  I am, after all, more well known for my knitting.  So, this post, I’ll share the start of my knitting journey.

It starts with Concha. She tried not once, but twice, to teach me how to knit. It was awful. First, there was the language barrier. She barely spoke English, and my Spanish was….painful at best. Then, there was the fact that regardless of the love we had for each other, we do NOT work well together. I was also like 13, so…pure spite incarnate. I was probably 15 when we tried again. Communication was easier, and I had probably graduated from being Chaotic Evil to Lawful Evil…but teenagers really are the worst. I remember being so frustrated because the yarn kept slipping off.  I was also quite sure there was some trick she just wasn’t telling me.

For those keeping score…yes, we were still working with Red Heart. It was blue, and I believe it was going to be a sweater for Chiqui.

Fast forward to my early twenties. I’m working in a call center. A friend’s wife just started working there. Maria is Spanish, from Spain (how cool is that???). I was crocheting a green and pink Afghan which I remember clearly, but have forgotten who I gave it to… She was knitting, but I don’t remember what because I had only graduated to Chaotic Neutral at that point,  and was very centrally focused–on me. We were talking about our relative crafts, and I mentioned my previous attempts at learning (being taught) knitting.  It just wasn’t for me.

Oh no!  Maria was sure she could teach me.  We worked in a call center, so we had spare time between calls.  She started me off with a baby blanket.  So I got some needles and baby yarn…care to guess what brand????  This time I learned to knit.  Still in Spanish.  My first blanket had a ribbed edge, and eyelets on the diagonal.  Nope, still no pictures.  And I don’t remember who that went to.  While Concha was knitting Continental (throwing), Maria was knitting English (throwing).  I can do both now, but the throwing worked better for me to learn.

The above is not the original blanket.  My knitting journey has been a loooooooooooong one.  When you had to pay for film and processing, you didn’t take random pictures of random things.  At least I didn’t.  This is, however, the same brand and colorway of yarn.  So, it’s something, right?

Shortly after, my Aunt Beth was having a baby, and wanted a layette. I know how to knit, so she asked me to knit one.  I mean, by that time, I had knit like three or four baby blankets–I was practically an expert.  So, I went to the craft store, found a booklet, some more baby yarn, and set about starting to knit a baby sweater. !@#$%^&* (cue needle scratch on record)

Have you ever read a pattern???? They are full of nonsense!  I mean, what the heck is a knit stitch? and a purl stitch?  Remember how I said I learned to knit in Spanish? She never said “this is a knit stitch” she said “do this”. And even if she named the stitches, it’s not like that would have been the same in English as in Spanish.  She might as well have named them Laverne and Shirley.

Keep in mind, this was the late 90’s.  The internet was barely a thing.  I didn’t have access to it. And there certainly weren’t any YouTubes yet.  What I had available to learn by were weird drawings (not done by my above-mentioned friend) in the booklet.  So, there I sat, with the booklet in my lap, stabbing at yarn (swearing), and then going “wait! I know how to do this!” and then doing it again with the next stitch.  Finally, I made my first thing. As far as I know, that sweater was never worn.  But, my aunt was thrilled with it.  I never let her see what the thing was supposed to look like.  That’s a secret to my success.  Liberal use of design features.  Some may say “never let them see you sweat”.  I don’t. I want them to know I worked hard!  I say “never let them see the pattern”.  That way, they’ll have no choice to believe that the left sleeve was intended to be longer than the right sleeve.  It’s a design feature!

So, I’m thankful Concha tried to teach me to knit (twice).  And I shared with her before she died that I still knit, and am grateful for all that she did.

I’m thankful that Maria didn’t believe me when I told her it wasn’t my thing.  I have since shared with Maria how much that has meant to me as well as let her know that her knitting has been passed on to multiple people.  I use her “technique”, but in English, to teach.  I’ll tell you about my first pupil at a later date.

I am also thankful that my Aunt Beth didn’t have any doubt I could do the impossible. She usually doesn’t, even now.

I’m sure there is a lesson here, probably something about perseverance.  There might also be something in there about striving for more than you think you can achieve.  What do I know, I’ve only gotten to be as good as Lawful Neutral, and that only on good days, I’m probably still mostly Chaotic Neutral.

Interestingly enough, I am wearing that shirt as we speak…and I didn’t plan it.