Monday Musings

The life of a Hat

I craft in public. Lately, it’s been knitting…so this story is another knitting story.  I promise I do other crafts, it’s just knitting is uber portable for me.

Often, I’ve been told by strangers some variation of “I don’t have the patience to knit”.  My response is always the same…I don’t have the patience NOT to knit.

I DO NOT have patience.  I can’t stand waiting.  My time is valuable, dammit!!  However, since beginning crafting, and taking my crafting with me, I’ve been much more chill about having to wait in lines, or waiting rooms.  I just make sure I have something portable with me.  Take this hat, for example.

The life of the hat often begins on the yarn walls.  I’m going to re-use some photos from before to show you.  20180108_083103Here you see where it all begins…the Yarn Wall.  In the corner, is the Fun Fur.  If you look really closely at the photo of the Yarn Wall in the previous post, you will see the yarn in the very lower left hand corner.

The body of the hat actually was in the music room, but was hidden underneath a failed weaving project. See, underneath that cloth is the yarn I used.

20180113_142814 I know I can do hats pretty much anywhere, so I had decided to make a new hat be my new carry along project.  I wanted to try something different.  And I was inspired not only by my yarn wall, but also by talking about my yarn wall.  I wondered if maybe I could use the Fun Fur to make the hat look like it had a fur trim??

20180111_203205.jpgI tried a couple times to cast on.  Oh, yeah, this is why I don’t care for Fun Fur.  It’s not really all that fun to work with. So here I am at a bored board meeting.  I’m being unnecessarily snarky.  Strangers may think I craft because I’m not paying attention.  The opposite is true.  I actually am better able to focus when crafting.  I will discuss that in another post.  This is actually the second attempt at casting on.  I didn’t like the look and feel of the first time.  20180112_212808.jpg

Here I am knitting in a bar.  Poopie and I were at a friend’s birthday party last weekend.  Those ladies in the background were not part of the group.  Hat knitting is wonderful for bars.  It is small, and I can knit the hat in the dark.  Thank all that is holy, because the stupid Fun Fur makes it impossible to see your stitches anyway.

20180113_212025.jpgAnd here it is the next night at a concert at local venue. I have, apparently, a reputation for knitting at concerts.  There will often be chairs set aside for me at house shows so I can sit in my corner and knit while listening to live music.

I actually took several more pictures over the week, but my phone ate them before I uploaded them to WordPress…so, my lesson for this post is…save your pictures right away.  This hat came with me to stand in line outside of the Old Church in Portland  for a general admission show on Tuesday.  It also came with me to a City Committee meeting on Thursday.  My knitting is also commented upon (I’ll assume positively) as I perform my civic duties. 20180120_111958.jpg

Remember folks, you need to be involved.  If you don’t like how things are going, get involved and change them.  If you like how things are going, get involved to keep them going that way.

OK, off my soapbox, and back to my hat.  The final trip the hat made with me was to the mountains for a snow weekend.

Here we see me close to getting it off my needles.  You will see that while on a snow weekend in a cabin, and playing a tabletop game, I am finding time for knitting.

Turns out, the hat ended up very much as I had hoped.  The Faux Fur look worked out, and it adds a stylish touch to an otherwise “boring” beanie.  I’m not at all certain it was worth it,  but I had the yarn, and was able to experiment.  I, personally, wouldn’t buy Fun Fur, even for this, but since I had it, I’m glad I found a use for it.

While I have mentioned lessons and have jumped on my soapbox, the true lesson of this hat and post is that you can find time for crafting.  I’ll be talking a lot about how crafting benefits me, and what I get out of it (besides the things I make).  But, this is how I do it.  Just one stitch at a time.  Wherever and whenever I can, I make just one stitch.  And then, the next time, I make another stitch.  Each stitch is so tiny, it seems inconsequential, but put them all together, and you have a nice, warm, hat.

 

 

 

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.