Scrap-urday

Madrona day 3

The thing with these events is that sooooo very much goes on all the time.  You try to take in everything and tell the story, but there’s just SO MUCH. I feel like a toddler going “and then…and then…and then…no wait, first…and then…” I can’t tell everything all at once, so I’m sure Madrona stories will end up in future blogs.  Today was my big day.  I took 3 mini classes.

The morning class was social media.  Frankly, we just went over Instagram.  I learned a bunch.  But clearly not enough. I *thought* I had successfully linked my Instagram to the La Tejedora Facebook page.  However, the featured photo did not end up  going to Facebook. The featured photo is of a lot that has been abandoned for at least the last two years.  However, the spirals are new since last Madrona.  I saw that on my walk down to the hotel from my Airbnb yesterday morning.  Of note, I now need to make sure to add my Instagram to this blog (but not tonight, please not tonight).  I’m latejedoracrafts on Instagram. Huge shout out to Debbi Stone for putting up with all the myriad ladies with all our various skill levels.  My poor friends had to put up with my live-texting my frustrations with a particular classmate.  There’s so much to tell today, that I won’t get into her issues (or, more accurately, my issues with her) this post.

The one complaint I have about the mini-classes is that there is not any transition time between classes.  My first morning class was 9-10:30, and my next class was 10:30-12.  Which would be fine, except it was 3 floors down, and the other side of the hotel.  I got to run, run, run.  Pam, thankfully, agreed to have my 10:30 stuff for me, since she was taking that class as well.  I made it, and all was well. Amelia Garripoli (I apologize, I’m not sure of her current online presence) taught small loom weaving.  20180217_104337.jpgWhen I sat down and opened my notebook to be ready to take notes, I found this.  I don’t remember which kid had done this, but I’m thinking it was likely Thing 1.  This was a random notebook from the house, and this was done a long time ago.  But, how fun to find it!

Pam informed me that I was taking notes for two.  And she kept trying to tell me I was going to be teaching this technique at CRABS in April.  Um, no.  She can teach it at CRABS, or at the Yarn In in July.  It’s very interesting, and I look forward to playing with the technique some.  20180217_111830.jpgThe round part will be woven to make the top of a hat.  My plan is then to pick up and knit down.  I’m planning on using twined knitting to keep a similar texture.  We’ll see how this experiment ends up working.  There was also a technique for continuous weaving which should use a Danish Scarf Loom–which may or may not exist anymore.  I didn’t play with that technique, but it plays with the idea of what is the warp and what is the weft.  This is what I want Pam to teach this summer since the idea is completely fascinating.  Weaving is really Pam’s area of expertise more than mine.  We’ll see…

Then, lunch and  resting.  Otherwise known as doing my homework for my 3:00 class.  My poor calves are killing me from all the hill walking and stairs.  My goodness, the stairs!  Prior to Madrona several yaers ago, I thought Tacoma was flat.  I always knew that Seattle was super hilly, but I never really thought about Tacoma.  I was wrong.  So very, very wrong.

Three P.M. brings us to Anne Berk.  And Zippers. I hate zippers.  Not like in life.  But in crafting.  I don’t sew zippers.  If at all possible, I work around zippers, or try to talk MaryAnn into doing them for me (she won’t…she tells me she’ll show me..how rude!).  Adding zippers into knitwear?!?!?!? Madness!!  I mean, there are so many cool sweaters I could make Poopie, but they involve sweaters, or modifying them to not have zippers.  Which is work.  So I haven’t made them (I’m sure that’s the only reason *eyeroll*).  wp-1518925463438.jpg

There are prohibitions in all walks of life about trying to join un-like things.  No spinning linen with wool.  No using steel screws in aluminum.  No joining machine woven with hand knit.  But there are always ways to make things work out eventually.  wp-1518925488242.jpgAnd so it is with zippers.  As you can see, in a very short amount of time, I learned how to add a zipper to knit fabric.

My fear of zippers has been conquered!! This isn’t to say that I won’t still have some trepidation about working with zippers, in the future.  I mean, I’ve spent years and years being afraid of them.  Bad habits are hard to break.  But, if I am aware that I have a tendency to fear and avoid zippers, I can keep working on that.  Eventually, I won’t have any problems with zippers, and may eventually even learn to love the zipper!

It’s been a long day, and I have an all day class with John Mullarkey.  It is a design class, so he probably wants me to be awake for it!  I’ll sign off now.

Friday Fails and Fixes

Madrona day 2

Remember how I told you I went to a sports ball event last week? Well, I won Blazers tickets at Christmas party for my day job.  My plan originally was to give them to Thing 2 and her S.O. for Christmas. However, Poopie thought it might be fun/interesting to go to the game.  So, last Thursday night, we went.  As you can tell, our seats were nosebleed seats (third row from the top).  Which means that Poopie and I were both terrified we would randomly fall over, and tumble to our deaths.  Neither one of us is really into any of the sports balls.  This was an experiment.20180208_185625.jpg

Wednesday, I realized that I needed to start another hat so I could knit while watching the sports ball tournament (full disclosure, I’m totally using the wrong terminology for purposes of aggravation).  I mentioned this to Poopie, and he asked me if I wouldn’t rather do a project where things change when there’s a score.  Don’t worry that this sentence didn’t make sense.  This happens in long term relationships (a friend and I have been known to have entire conversations without saying a single word). The important thing is that I knew what he was talking about.

Poopie was referring to one of the first classes (I think it was *the* first class, but don’t want to exaggerate) I took at a festival.  I don’t recall the name of the class.  But the instructor was Debbie New.  I had no idea who she was, but she had already written Unexpected Knitting.  This class was a very interesting take on patterning.  If you check out her book at the library, or purchase a copy, you will find that she is an insanely smart person.  This particular idea is a variation on the one she calls “Cellular Automaton” knitting.  It’s an idea taken from nature, where the environment dictates how the pattern develops.  (I really need to figure out what would be necessary to teach this technique) Anyhoo, I thought this sounded like a great idea for a souvenir of the sports ball event.

The idea *was* great.  The execution was not.

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pre-game

The first section here is my attempt at remembering what to do.  I separated it with a purl row.

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first quarter

Then we have the first quarter.  My plan was to do a yarn over each basket, and the direction of the decrease would be who made the basket, so right leaning would be us, and left leaning would be them.  I chose to do lace vs. a knit/purl patterning because the yarn is speckled and fuzzy.

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second quarter

What that means, though is that the “wrong” side is generally stockinette, so I can’t “record” any points during my knitting back section.  So, you can see partway through, I gave up on that, and did yarn overs regardless of right or wrong side.

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third quarter

I missed soooo many baskets though, because I was going off of crowd reaction.  I apparently dropped a bunch of stitches, because everything got smaller.

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fourth quarter

As you can see, the match went into overtime.  Poopie was less than enthusiastic about that.  Which made me unreasonably happy.

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OT hahahahaha

The featured photo is what I ended up with.  While I am perfectly happy with a random patterning, this just looked like I had no idea what I was doing.  Even if that is often true, I try not to advertise that.  It’s a secret between us, Dear Reader. So, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.  I like the idea of a keepsake of the sports ball.  But I did NOT like the scarf.  I decided to take it out and start over.  Poopie reminded me to take pictures.  So here they are!!

Why, you may ask, am I talking about sports ball from last week when I’m at Madrona?  Well, this is the scarf that I was working on on the train.  So, there’s that.  I’ve restarted it, and re-did the rules.  I may post more specifics about it, but yesterday had a story that I thought would go well with Friday Fails and Fixes.

Remember how L was working on green? It’s a pattern that Madrona put out in 2014 for the event.  Well, yesterday, while waiting for Pam, L had to frog and tink and was *very* mildly irritated with a mistake somewhere in her knitting.  Meanwhile, I was knitting away on this scarf.  Then I got super excited.  I had had a mutation!20180215_162212-e1518840096919  There was some error somewhere, and the patterning I hadn’t even realized was occurring in my “random” stitches got messed up.  It may be difficult to tell, but the eyelets below the box tend to go up towards the right.  Regardless of how random the pattern is, the eyelet is always to the right.  However, you can see in the box that the eyelets are to the left of the row below. I got off a stitch somehow.  It was super exciting for me.  L thinks I should teach her this technique so that she can be excited for mistakes as well, rather than irritated. I told her I’d think about it.

So, in this post we have a couple of methods of dealing with failure.  We can be glad we tried something, but decide that it’s really not for us (sports ball games).  We can admit that something isn’t working in the form that it’s in and try something new (first scarf). Or, we can be excited to see what new fresh hell we’ve wrought exciting things we can discover (current scarf).  Regardless, if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying new things!

 

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.

Monday Musings

Penny Lane

This week has been so eventful! I finished the shop hop. I went to a professional sportsball game. Aaaand…I got my first PodPledge supporter! This is so exciting, now I have to deliver on what I promised for support. I will also get to see exactly how the accumulation works. I *think* I understand, but I’m often a kinetic learner, so I may not have fully understood. While I will get that off before I leave for Madrona, I’ll need to play more with that site once I’m back. Everything I receive via PodPledge will be used to offset the costs of fun events…like Madrona.

Speaking of Madrona, I’m getting all my stuff and things together for the classes.

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As you can see, my packing is mostly project related, vs. clothes related. It’s all about priorities.

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I have also made sure to print out all my supply requirements and homework. I am finally getting excited.

We got our train tickets last week. I had planned to have a room to myself, but Pam needed a roomie, so we’ll be snoring in tandem.

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I think I forgot to tell her I’m *really* not a morning person. She wakes up at the butt-crack of dawn because she’s used to having to do farm stuff before work.

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Hopefully, she’ll have all her appendages when we are done.

It was at Madrona last year that I met Pam. Usually, I make her tell the story of how we met. She says she was in class, keeping quiet, focusing on learning tablet weaving. This is where people who know her laugh in disbelief. I assure them that she actually was minding her own business, but they never believe me, either. Anyhoo, in her story, there were these two girls in the corner (of which, I was one) laughing and being loud (I agree). But *this* is where her story gets wonky. She tells people we were saying things like “Marilyn does it this other way…”. (Marilyn is a “rival” of the teacher of the class we were in) We were not. However, we WERE the only three who the instructor remembered the names of.

Fast forward to the next day, I’m in a different class, minding my own business. Pam is next to me makes a couple of forays into small talk. I’m terrible at small talk. That and my RBF probably makes me come off pretty poorly. Luckily, Pam is never deterred. She asked me “what are you doing after this class?” I replied “eating lunch”. See?!?!?!?!? Terrible! “You need to meet my friends…and show us how to do that” Referring to the Portuguese Knitting I was doing. So, I followed along, and the rest is history. This part, everyone who knows her believes.

Pam is a force of nature. No one seems to notice me frantically blinking out SOS with my eyes when we go to different events together. That’s not true, Dorothea did, but she told me it was too late. I did have a chance to escape at the very beginning, but much like small talk, I’m terrible at picking up cues.

This story starts with our Airbnb room, which was located over a pawn shop. The instructions are to pick up the key at the pawn shop before such and such a time. If after that time, please go to the bar next door, and the bartender will have your key. Barb, who was my roomie last year, and I arrive after said time. So, we go to the bar. We ask the bartender about our key, and he’s confused. So he hollers at this guy who’s sitting at the bar, much like Norm from Cheers. The guy confirms there is a key behind the bar, and we get our key.

It’s a lovely little room…but, the door doesn’t actually latch. As you can see from the featured picture, it’s a lovely door, but the deadbolt is what keeps the door closed. I met Pam on Friday, and we were to meet for lunch on Saturday. Barb had a class Saturday, whereas I did not. She picked up her keys from the table, and I closed and locked the door and went back to bed. Later, I got up and got ready for lunch…but…no key. Barb had taken the key, thinking it was her car keys, and I was too asleep to know. So…I was locked in. I couldn’t leave because the door wouldn’t even latch (much less lock), so I would have left all of our stuff in a room with the door wide open. I didn’t call Barb because she wouldn’t have had time to come back and get me and go back for her class. The end result being that Pam thought perhaps she had scared me away (as if!). Had I just let her believe that… I could have escaped her orbit.

BUT…where’s the fun in that? Pam persevered, and I said “Yes” and have had many adventures since, and am looking forward to next weeks adventures! See, don’t you want to help me make new, exciting stories?

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!!!

Monday Musings

Ma’am, you need to leave

I’m going to tell you a story that even my knitting ladies haven’t heard yet.  This just happened this past Thursday. I wish I could say that Thursday was the first time I’ve heard those words from a bouncer…We all know that that’s not going to be the last time, either.

Poopie and I went to Portland for a concert.  You’ll soon find that concert knitting is something I take VERY seriously.  I have to take lighting, seating, and table space into consideration.  There are some places which have surprisingly good accommodations for crafting, and I can do relatively complex work.  Thursday’s venue, however, isn’t one of those.  It doesn’t often even have seating.  So, the knit hat is what I generally take to work on when I’m headed that direction.  I can knit the hat standing and I can even do it in the dark, if need be.  These are but two reasons why it is absolutely my go to project on the go. However, I do need to make sure I have cast on prior to arriving, as that can be a problematic step to do standing up in the dark.

Well, Thursday was my lucky day.  While Poopie made his way to the front at the stage, I went up to the balcony and found a seat!  Up at the stage, one of those blurry guys is Poopie, he’s looking down at his phone. 20180201_193513.jpgHere in the foreground, you see the brim.  I’m that far along before the opening act got onstage.  When it’s general admission, you gotta get there early.

Prior to the concert beginning, I listened to a podcast on my iPod, and knitted.  Once the opening act started, I turned off my iPod, but kept the ear buds in.  This, Dear Reader, is why I can still hear even after all these years of being married to Poopie and going to all those concerts.  My earbuds double as earplugs.  So, still knitting along around and around in 1 x 1 rib, just listening to opening act vs. podcast.

When the opening act was done, a hand landed on my arm.  My neighbor in the next seat over asked me what I was knitting.  I told her I was knitting a hat.  “Oh, like a tuque?”  (Clearly, she is from Canadia).  I confirmed that’s what I was knitting.  She complimented my color choice, and I thanked her.  A little later, she asked if I thought I would be done knitting the hat by the end of the concert.  I chuckled and said I didn’t think so.

I continued knitting and listened to the headliner, and knit, and knit, and knit some more.  Meanwhile, Poopie was up at the stage so he could gaze adoringly at the guitar players. Lo and behold! I did finish the hat.  But, by that time, I really wasn’t into doing the finishing work.  There was probably enough light, but I would have had to strain my eyes, and it wasn’t worth it, so I put it away and fidgeted my way through the last few songs.

As everyone was getting ready to leave, the same woman asked if I had finished my tuque? I said I had, mostly, but I needed to weave in the ends.  She asked if she could buy it from me? I apologized and said no because I hadn’t woven in the ends. The woman assured me that she didn’t mind the ends flopping all about.  So, I took the hat off the needles and handed it over to her.  I had asked her for what I thought was fair for an unfinished hat, and she gave me more than that, but less than she had pulled out to hand over (what she had pulled out was more than I ask for a finished hat). I would have woven in the ends, anyway, but the bouncer was giving us the bum’s rush.  How like me to irritate a bouncer because I’m trying to complete a knitting transaction.  There were still lots of people up in the balcony, so I don’t know why he was hovering over US.

That was my excitement for the week!  Poopie thinks that she wanted the hat as a souvenir of her experience at the show.  I tend to agree. I would love, love, love to hear this story from her point of view.

I had planned to take pictures and all of that, but my plans went awry.  I was probably going to use the hat in a scrap post because I was using up spare bits of yarn to make a striped hat.  The lighting, though didn’t make in process pictures very viable.  I was going to wait until the next day when I had better light.  But, my hat had a different destiny than what I thought. The story I thought I was going to tell changed and became a different story.  Honestly, that is a theme of my life…probably life in general.

I do wish that I had finished my calling cards, so I could have given her one.  While the mystery of me is good for her story, where will she get her future hand knit tuques from???  Although, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of being the mystery knitter in some woman’s story.

In case I haven’t been clear before, I try to copy Life After Work in many things.  I tell her it’s the sincerest form of flattery, which she seems to be buying so far.  I did have some business cards done up for La Tejedora Crafts. However, when I started the blog, I knew I needed to update them, and carry them around to pass out like calling cards (this is the part I’m stealing from L) instead of just “business” cards.  However, while I have the mock-up done, I haven’t taken the time to print and cut the cards themselves. I’ll be doing that, you can be sure!

Monday Musings

Zen and the art of crafting

I flagrantly paraphrased the title of a wonderful book.  But I love the title of this post, and think I may unpack this over several posts.  (holla back to my yarn wall!!)
Today was a Monday.  Let me tell you, it was MONDAY.  It started off literally with me having to send an “All the best” email.  For those of you who don’t work with me, that’s how I say “FU” in a professional email.  Everyone I know in any sort of customer service gig has a phrase like that, like “Have a nice weekend”, or “Enjoy your day”.  How are we to deal with these days? Well, I craft.
“Zen is the “spirit of the valley,” not the mountaintop.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
…And so it is with me.  Crafting has been there for me in my valleys.  My very first yoga instructor explained how yoga/meditation can create some space around ourselves.  A mental moat, if you will.  That moat gives you space to respond to, rather than react to people and situations.  Many articles have been written about the difference between the two, and how important that difference is.  Reacting is sending the email that says “had you read the previous email, jerkwad…”  Responding is “all the best”.  Actually, responding is probably “I’m sorry you feel that way”.  “All the best” lives somewhere in the middle.  This is a journey, Dear Reader, I’m not there yet.
Even before I understood what meditation was about, I think I was meditating while crafting.  As I form a stitch, or spin a length, or any of the myriad tasks I complete on my way to my finished project, it is almost as if I enter an altered state.  While I engage one part of my brain to do my craft, another part is processing complex thoughts and feelings.  More articles talk about what meditation can be.  I have taken from my research* that anything done mindfully can be a form of meditation.
I find it difficult to do traditional meditation.  I know I’m supposed to let the thoughts pass through, but I seem to pick at them.  When all I’m tasked with is paying attention to my breathing, I get bored.  It’s not good to admit.  But, Dear Reader, if I don’t admit to the two (ha!) shortcomings I have, you’ll never think I can relate to you.  When I am crafting, though, I don’t seem to need to to pick at the thoughts.  They can come and go.  I can pay attention to them, or not.  That little bit of attention to what my hands are doing is all it takes for me to enter into the appropriate head space.
Not every project is a good Zen candidate, though.  You need something that you can “zone out” doing.  That thing depends on your familiarity with the craft in question.  It also depends on what you need out of the project. Something that is technical for you may not give the “Zen” experience. In fact, there have been many times in my crafting where I’ve needed to meditate to deal with what I’m trying to craft!  Crafting to solve my crafting problems! It’s crazy!!!!  (We’ll talk later about what those more complicated projects can do for you mentally)
Granted, crafts don’t start out as being calming or soothing.  I remember directly after teaching DeAnna to knit, her telling me I was crazy for thinking she’d ever find knitting relaxing.  Well, no, not while you are learning.  But it wasn’t even a couple of months later that she related a story about being irritated with her 70 kids (there are actually *only* five), and one of them brought her her knitting bag because he thought she needed the stress release.  She has many stories of using knitting as a stress relief (which is what meditation is supposed to do, right?).  The point is not to take up crafting in the hopes that you will suddenly find Nirvana.  Unless you hid “Nevermind” in the bottom of your craft basket.
If, however, you have already taken up a craft, see if maybe you can use it as meditation.  Is there something repetitive that you do in this craft that needs you to pay just a little attention? I, personally, have many projects going at the same time.  Each has a purpose, and one purpose could be meditation.  Even if you don’t have an entire project for this purpose, you may find that within a project, there is a step you dread because it’s mind numbingly boring.  Instead of looking at it as boring, does it help to use it to see if you can turn it into meditation? (I’m looking at you miles and miles of stockinette stitch in the body of a sweater–and don’t think I don’t see you quilt binding that needs to be hand stitched…)
Crafting has the added benefit of being “useful”.  It gives us an “excuse”.  While we can discuss the reasons why it’s BS that we need excuses, the fact remains that excuses make things easier.  You don’t have to explain you don’t want to talk to anyone today because you sent five “all the best” emails.  You are crafting.  You don’t have to react to your family member’s questionable political view, because look, that stitch just dropped. Hunh, where did that go?  And those days you just can’t even? For literally no reason other than it’s Thursday? Well, you’re being productive.  And you didn’t have time to shower because you had this project you needed to finish.  It’s not depression (unless it is, and if it is, get help for that shit, you are neither Superman, nor Wonder Woman)
That’s not to say that those who are close to you won’t know.  But just as it’s easier for you not to have that argument, it’s easier for them as well to not have that argument.  You don’t have to explain you need to decompress.  You don’t have to explain that yes, you are just sitting there doing nothing, but that in itself is doing something.  You are making Things.  And if secretly, you are building a moat so that you don’t scoop out their eyeballs with a spoon to feed to feral dogs, well, we can let that be our secret (that was oddly specific–unless you live in my head–in which case, it was just specific).
The featured photo is a gift for Barb.  It was Zen crafting at its finest!!  I spun the yarn, and was able to be soothed by that.  And then, the pattern was simple enough and repetitive enough that I was able to be soothed by the making of the scarf as well!
*there are no sources cited.  This is a blog, not a dissertation.  Use Google, like I had to!