Uncategorized · Wednesday In Progress

Yarn Potluck

Trying to find ways to stay connected is a difficulty many of us are facing. I’m a misanthrope, so…eh…not so much. It is funny how often I find myself in this role, though. For most of my work life, I’ve worked “remotely”. I didn’t work inside an office. I reported to the office, but I rarely had to go in. Even when I worked in the office, I supported, or was paired up with people who worked remotely. It’s a different type of rapport building. You can’t just smile at someone as you walk past their desk. You have to be intentional about contact. And some of that contact is dumb. In the office, when you come across an odd name, you can chuckle, and mention something about it, and someone will hear you, and there may be a short interchange. But, in the field, you actually have to pick up the phone and call someone and say “Guess what name I came across?”.

I think I’ve told you a dear friend and I became friends because I misdialed an interoffice number. I happened to catch him on his first day at that company, and because I was used to the weirdness of remote work, I chatted with him. Unbeknownst to me, for several years, he thought I had intentionally called him to check in on his first day. I wish I could lay claim to that kind of thoughtfulness. I can’t. I misremember birthdays. What actually happens is that I remember the birthday at an inopportune time, and then forget to call when I get a chance. But if you want to know that a co-worker’s name makes me giggle every time I see it…well, I’ve probably told you three times. For inquiring minds–his name is Jason Wason. I *know* it must be pronounced Wah-son, not Way-son….but in my head, his parents are jerks that gave him a rhyming name.

I’ve done a whole thesis (literally) on community. My thesis was specifically on the music scene, but since it’s my thesis, I’m extrapolating. And it’s completely extrapolate-able. I’ve read a lot of research on the importance of community groups on social wellbeing. Clearly, one of my social groups is the fiber community. My knitting group hasn’t met since last February (we might have gotten into March, but since I still have N’s birthday gift, I am pretty certain it was February). At the beginning of all this, I had suggested to meet virtually. However, no one was interested. I think it was a combination of us all thinking it was going to be just 6-8 weeks, as well as some fear of the technology. But whatever the real reason. I heard crickets. OK, then.

Then, last fall, when all signs were pointing to this being super long term, they decided to try to meet virtually. I had already started new habits/routines, and then I had recovery, so I was out a couple of times at the beginning. It’s definitely a different thing. In person, there are often long periods of silence when you are just working on your project and enjoying being with each other. Or, we’ll have multiple conversations going on at once, and I go back and forth between a couple of them. Silence on virtual calls is weird and uncomfortable. Some people aren’t used to this format, so have loud/distracting/weird background noises going on. Cross talk is almost impossible, and really should be discouraged. But…one of our very first members moved away several years ago, and doesn’t get to come. Except now, since we are virtual, we get to spend time with her. Another member also moved away during this time, and hasn’t had to stop joining us. So, like with most things, there is both good and bad.

At a virtual retreat…because yes, everyone is trying to navigate this new world…an attendee was talking about a project she and her group of friends do. In this project, they all send her a skein of fingering weight yarn. She splits it up, sends back out mini-skeins, and they work on a project together.

I spoke with my group, and we had enough interest that I decided to try something similar. Poopie called it yarn potluck. So, part of my recovery from surgery was getting squishy presents on my porch and splitting up the yarn into mini balls. Because what I had did not evenly split between the six of us, everyone got a batch of five, and was missing their own. I had SO MANY questions about the yarn. But, the hilarious thing is that pretty much everyone sent in a turquoise-ish color. I KNOW that if I had specified a color, it would have been even more questions (is this too green? is this too blue? is this teal, or turquoise?). But since I didn’t, they pretty much all sent in turquoise. Please excuse the wires, I was doing this on my work desk 🙂

I then had to pick a pattern. This was my genius idea, so it was only fair that I had to figure out the details. I needed something that would lend itself to many pieces of yarn. I wanted something that was relatively simple so that people could personalize. I took an informal poll, and the consensus was for a cowl. So, to Ravelry I went. I found this: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/coulis Simple, easily adaptable if you want to add patterning, yet still beautiful if you don’t want to think. I thought this would be good for our first attempt.

As far as I know, only myself and one other person has finished the cowl (or, frankly, even started on it). But that’s OK. The point isn’t for us to do something specific. The point is for us to feel like a community. I have plans for the next thing, probably in a month or so. I’m thinking of calling it “Steel Wool”. It’s like Iron Chef, but with fiber arts. I will have a challenge fiber, and we will incorporate it into a project. It won’t have to be knitting. It could be crochet, or weaving, or spinning, or collage, or…I don’t know. I’ll probably have that going for 2-3 months, and then try to figure out how to do a Round Robin project.

We keep hearing that we are all in this together. But unless you are naturally a hermit, you probably are having a hard time with how together looks right now. You may have even tried reaching out, but it wasn’t the right medium, or maybe not the right time. Try not to get discouraged. Look, realistically, there probably won’t be any more of my group finishing the cowl. But these ladies (because the guys didn’t wish to participate) came together to do a little thing. We had conversations back and forth about yarn, about patterns, about whatever. And that’s what the point was.

Wednesdays are generally about works in progress, and I finished the cowl. But community is still in progress. Community is ALWAYS in progress. It doesn’t matter if there’s a pandemic, or not. We should always be working on community. It’s important for the world, it’s important for our health, and it’s important for our souls.

Do you have ideas for virtual fiber connectivity? Do you want to be sent some challenge yarn? Let me know.

Good night Dear Reader!

Wednesday In Progress

Still alive!

I am back after an unexpected hiatus. There are many reasons for this hiatus. I had vacation, which was a mixed bag, and I’ll probably talk about it later, once enough time has passed to make it funny. We came back from vacation to find that the furnace has died. As my Gpa would say: D-E-D, dead. Our April has been colder than usual. And I had no furnace.

Those of you who have chosen to follow me on Facebook (La Tejedora Crafts) or Instagram (La Tejedora Crafts) may have seen a picture of the fire in our fireplace.20180417_090754.jpg  So, I did have *some* heat. However, one of the things I love about my house is that when we had four human sized people in the house before Things 1 and 2 moved out, the acoustics were such that it didn’t really *feel* like we were all on top of each other. Funny thing about air, whether it’s transporting heat, or transporting sound, it reacts pretty much the same. So, my house was mostly an icebox.

It wasn’t helpful that Poopie’s job is now 5 days a week from home, and I had 14 days straight working from home during this time (yes, including weekends).  Despite me waking up to the shopping list in the featured image from Poopie last month, we are both still alive. Honestly, the biggest kerfuffle we had was over fire building.

When we go camping (most often with my MIL and FIL), there are two camps (lolol puntastic!) when it comes to the philosophy of fire. It so happens, in this case, to run down gender lines, but I am unaware of it being necessary to be gendered. My FIL and Poopie like refined, restrained fires. They are very good cooking fires. What they are not, however, are good heating fires. When camping, either FIL or Poopie will get up and make some anemic little fire, and cook us yummy food, which we have to eat bundled up in 17 layers of clothes because the sun has barely made it over the horizon (I may have taken some poetic license with the imagery, but seriously, it’s freaking cold in the mornings). The rest of the day is spent with the two camps vying for control of the fire. Every time FIL and Poopie leave the camp on some adventure, MIL and I, who have stayed behind to read and relax (because—vacation!) load the fire with a bunch of wood and get warm. When FIL and Poopie return, they stifle our glorious fire and tame it. I told Poopie that it’s like they are afraid the posse will find us. Spoiler alert…there is no posse. Imagine all this playing out at home, with just Poopie and I.

The most hilarious part about these differing views of fire is that they are in direct opposition to how we tend to feel about almost everything else in life. MIL and I tend to be the more practical ones, while FIL and Poopie tend to be the wild, untamed, unrestrained ones.

So, work and dealing with furnace quotes, and deciding which furnace, and whether to add AC, and, and, and all conspired to make blogging much lower on the prioritization scale.

HOWEVER, I still took some pix, I tried to make the pages easily searchable in both Facebook and Instagram. Both are La Tejedora Crafts. So, even if I wasn’t blogging, I was still thinking of you Dear Reader. Please do check out one or both of those pages and follow me there.  You get more pictures than just the blogs.

20180417_181227.jpgToday is Wednesday. Which means Works in Progress. I have been working on three, count them, three memory quilts for forever. I finally got them done, and the recipients have them in their hot little hands.

They are my first foray into T shirt quilting, which was quite satisfying.20180417_180431.jpg I learned a whole lot about quilting doing these, so expect to see pictures in the future as I need to demonstrate future thoughts. The loved one who passed was clearly an Oregon Ducks fan, so I chose the colors accordingly. The backs are yummy minky in colors which align with the recipients. I am absolutely sure that when I was asked to do these quilts, the expectation was that I would have a simple blocked quilt with everything the same size.

I try to have my work be individual, and fabulous…one could say Santabulous. So, of course, I went overboard. It was a lot of work, and took a lot more time than I would have ideally liked, but I’m very pleased. My MIL told me they were ugly. I’m going to assume she meant the colors, and not my workmanship (she’s an Oregon Beavers fan).

Lots of little changes have been happening for me and my household during my hiatus, which will need to be accounted for. May involved another vacation, and other work related garbage. Somewhere in this hiatus, there is also Other News. Which I will get to in a later post.

I’m still working on being gentle with myself.  I think it will be a life long endeavor.  WIP’s are things that I tend to beat myself up about.  Things that I don’t get finished for whatever reason.  Falling down on the blogging “job” is also something I’m working at not beating myself up over.  This is all a learning process for me. You might say that blogging is also a WIP 🙂

Thank you for your patience. I hope it was worth it.

Wednesday In Progress

Quilting? Gardening? Sarcasm and wittiness?

When I told a friend I was thinking of starting a blog, she asked me what the blog was going to be about–Quilting? Gardening? Sarcasm and wittiness?  I said “yes”, and she said she’d read it.  That was all the encouragement I needed.  You can blame her.  That’s not true.  Like I said in my first post, a lot of big and little things conspired.  This encouragement was just the last nudge I needed.

This post will be not knitting-centric. *gasp*

Most crafters have several projects going at any given time. There are a select few who have self-control…  I’ve been told… I don’t know. I’ve never actually met one of these crafters.  If you are part of a crafting community, either online, or IRL, you probably have heard cute phrases for some of the projects languishing away wherever you hide them…usually “UFO” as in UnFinished Object.  A different friend wanted me to do something on my blog with regards to UFO’s.  But alliteration!

While I can think of some cute things to do with aliens and UFO’s, nothing was really working for me. So, I figured I’d let the idea marinate in my head for a while.  Eventually, I came across the term WIP, which stands for Work In Progress.  How wonderful!  A: it works with Wednesdays, and B: it sounds so much more intentional than UFO.  A UFO is something foreign, over which we have no control; a work in progress is something we are working on.  People also seem to use the term UFO to describe a project they’ve given up on: That’s not an afghan, that’s a UFO. WIP is just something that’s…in process.

Now, this isn’t to say that if you dug deep (or just glanced through, really) my projects “on the needle” so to speak, you wouldn’t find some items which would qualify as a UFO. I’m going to work on getting those back into a WIP state.  That being said, what I’m currently working on is a gift (or three), so I’m not going to show or talk about them much yet.

This week, the WIP I’m wanting to talk about is a shop hop!20180207_115549.jpg

I know I’ve been mostly talking about knitting. That’s because knitting has been my go to for a long time.  Like I said, though, knitting isn’t my only craft.  Several years ago, L introduced me to shop hops.  Shop hops are quilters’ trick or treating.  You show up at a store and say you are shop hopping, and they give you the fabric and instructions to make a (usually) 6” completed block.  Before you get too excited, you need to know that there needs to be a shop hop currently happening and the store needs to be participating in said shop hop.  Showing up at random stores may lead to embarrassment and confusion (if done right all that will be on the owner, not you).

There are all sorts of different types of shop hops with all sorts of parameters, but they tell you all about them at the beginning–so don’t worry. It’s a great way for the shops to show off their “style” as well as get folks through the door.  For the shop hoppers, it can be a fun day (or more) road tripping and seeing different areas.  Sometimes, I can convince Poopie to be my chauffer.

Right now, there is a shop hop in my area, and I’m in the middle of doing that. Which is why I’m calling it a WIP.  20180207_164757.jpgFull disclosure, the baggie full of goodies will likely end up on the shelf of my quilting table for a good long time  before being pulled out and put together. (side glance to the left) So….doubly WIP.

Now, we can look at all the unfinished projects and despair. I mean, I often do.  But, we can also look at how much extra enjoyment I am getting.  I enjoy the process of shop hopping.  Even when I do it alone, I enjoy the puzzle of getting the most bang for my driving.  Then I get to see all the blocks, and side projects.  I get reminded of awesome stores just outside my normal shopping zone.  Then, later, when I pull out that particular shop hop’s bag, I get to re-enjoy the squares and techniques.  I get reminded of why I love how this person writes their patterns and try out new techniques.  Then, I get to figure out a setting fabric.  *swoon*

Setting fabric is the “background” of the quilt. While there is often a theme, or feature fabric, for a shop hop, it can be difficult to find something to pull it all together.  Or, if you are like me, 6” may or may not be 6” (insert NSFW joke here).  The featured picture for this post is a blanket I made for my co-worker’s baby from a shop hop.  As you can see, while there was a featured fabric line, the color schemes were not really compatible.  Also, one block was NOT 6.5” (the size you need to get a finished 6”).  Go on, guess which one.  The setting fabric in this example is the grey and I chose a setting pattern that hid the miss-sized block.  I’m not sure the picture does it justice, but there are glitter dots in the grey.  Side note, after that quilt, grey became one of my favorite neutrals, it’s soooo much more versatile than I had thought.

I will be spotlighting different WIP’s as we go along. I’ll try to talk about why they fell by the wayside, and what I’ll do to get through whatever obstacle that is.  More importantly, I will try to remember to find the fun that I can when I can.  Taking pleasure in the little things, like finishing a shop hop.  But, in the meantime, I have to get to 16 stores, and Madrona before next weekend.  OMG MADRONA IS NEXT WEEK!!!