Monday Musings

Yarn Wall

I’ve shared with you, Dear Reader, the beginning steps of my crafting journey. Being a journey, there are many steps along the way.  There are also supplies needed.  While I do not limit myself to yarn.  I have a passing acquaintance with yarn *snigger*

Speaking of yarn, do you see the header? That’s a slice of my original yarn wall. The above photo is a larger view of the wall.   I don’t honestly remember where I stole the idea from, but when Thing 1 moved out, I got my craft room back.  WooHoo!! I took large pieces of pegboard, had O spray paint them, and hung them on the wall.  While the local big box hardware stores had the pegs in stock, the costs were pretty high for something I wasn’t going to see anyway.  I was able to find them much more cost effectively online.  Since I am a six year old at heart, I am all about the instant gratification.  I did buy a package locally to get started and tide me over.  But, since I’m disgustingly responsible, most of the pegs were computer generated.  I opened up bins, and spent a weekend putting yarn on my wall.  It’s adorable–Poopie tells people I have 10% of my yarn up on that wall.  Sure, 10%, that’s a number.

However, my craft room was overrun by *dun dun duuuuuuuun* guitars.   And pedals.  Lots and lots of pedals.

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LOTS AND LOTS OF PEDALS

While I may have been pulling yarn out of secret stashes, Poopie was pulling out guitars…dafuq?  And my craft room was less *my* room, and back to not my room.  But, Poopie loved how the yarn wall made the acoustics in that room work for playing and recording. So when Thing 2 moved out, and he moved all his crap out of *my* crap craft room, he said I could have a yarn wall in there, as well.  He even hung it himself. So now, I have two yarn walls!! I think Poopie may still be telling people it’s 10% of my yarn.  I’m still letting him.

 

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Acoustically useful yarn wall.

What my yarn wall has done has been to give new life to my yarn. Before, it was in tubs.  I really didn’t know what I had. Plus, I’m basically lazy, and trying to find something, even if I know I have it, just sounds like a lot of work when all I want to do is craft!!!  Now, the yarn is up on the wall, visible.  So, it’s pretty before I’ve even turned into something.  Even yarn I will never use, that I bought “on sale”, or was given to me is pretty.  I also have less of a tendency to only know about 5 of my 6 balls of yarn, so I can better plan my projects.  I have been doing a much better job of using what I already have, and choosing projects to match my yarn rather than the other way around.  Which means I have been purchasing a lot less yarn.  And yarn that no longer speaks to me gets to find new homes which will be better at loving it.

Granted, I still buy sock yarn every time it goes on sale, but that’s for another blog.  “Staples” yarn (cotton, sock, and baby yarn) live in the music room since I don’t generally get to go in there to get inspiration.  Other yarns live in my craft room, where I can make plans for it. (insert diabolical laughter here)

Notice what you don’t see up on these walls? My Red Heart.  I haven’t taken my Red Heart out to breath.  It’s still languishing away in obscurity.

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neglected Red Heart

Yes, you do see a motorcycle wheel to the left.  My Red Heart is still in the garage.  I used to have tubs of yarn I got from an estate sale on my back porch in addition to what lives in the garage (and other secret locations).  The porch yarn moved to the craft room wall when I got the music room yarn wall.  But not my poor Red Heart.  The porch yarn was pretty obviously not where it should be, and the tubs were getting brittle because of the elements, so that took precedence. 

I want to be clear, I’m not ashamed of my Red Heart.  I just know that it is sturdy and can handle being in it’s vacuum sealed bag (see, I am protecting it).  The other stuff, though, it needed to be unpacked.  I needed to go through it and see what I could use, and what I no longer had a use for. I *know* my Red Heart.

All in all, I am very happy I’ve unpacked my yarn.  Don’t tell Poopie, but there is still a lot left to unpack.

So, the lesson of the yarn wall is to unpack your shit.  You don’t know what you’ve got if you don’t examine it.  Find out what you’ve been overlooking.  Find out what no longer works for you.  And remember, just because it’s not for you, doesn’t mean that someone else can’t love it. Unpacking your shit can be painful and time consuming, but it is worth it.  And don’t beat yourself up if you can only take it in small doses.

Th 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.

 

Monday Musings

And so it begins…

OK…I’m starting my first blog post.  I have no idea what I’m doing.  When have I ever let that stop me? OK…often.  I’m human.  But, I’ve been inspired.

There have been a lot of little and not so little things that have prompted me to make this (for me) giant leap.  I miss writing.  I used to write short stories, poems, and who knows what else.  However, one of the “drawbacks” with being surrounded by incredibly talented people is that I end up comparing myself to them, and find myself coming up short.  So, I let it slip by the wayside.  Now, I *could* journal.  But I am so weird about that, I get to thinking that I must do it daily, or I must do it a certain way, or…. Yeah, like I said, weird.  Somehow, I never got into letter writing.  Plus, many of these posts would be super weird to be received as a letter.  I can imagine Margot’s phone call now.  She would be all worried that I’d suffered a stroke, or something.  That’s not actually true.  She would be super happy to receive even the most rambling of correspondence.

Some good friends have a project starting, and they asked for some help.  But, for reasons unimportant to this endeavor, I need to have a blog, or a podcast.  Since I sound weird recorded, and DO NOT need the TV 10 lbs (not to mention my technical skills, time, and capacity for terror are not sufficient), I am blogging.  I was already kind of kicking around the idea of a blog, but wasn’t really sure if I’d have anything to say.  It probably would have stayed just an idea except I was asked for help.  I’m still working on saying no to people.  I’m getting better.  According to the people I’ve said no to, I’m too good.  I still think I have some ways to go on that, though.

I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll start at the beginning.  At nine, I learned to crochet from my Aunt Char.  My first project was a potholder.  It’s a super simple pattern, and great for beginners.  However, my tension was all over the place.  I’m not sure where you, Dear Reader, are in the crafting spectrum, so if I over-explain, I apologize.  Tension is how tight or loose you work the yarn.  Uneven tension creates uneven fabric. In my case, the potholder was not the flat, double-layer fabric it was intended to be.  Rather, it laid flat on one side, and the other side had a mound…like a bubble rising from inside.  My dad made fun of it. I cried.  My mom said (not for the first, nor last time)  “Don’t worry, honey.  We’ll take it to Grandma Bonnie.”

The next time we went to visit my grandma, we took my deformed, red variegated Red Heart monstrosity to her.  I reluctantly passed over the potholder, and she was so excited. She told me how the bubble actually made the potholder fit better in her hand.  Even at nine, I knew she was lying to me to make me feel better.  It was hideous, and should be burned–except it was Red Heart, it would just melt.  Except….

Except, she kept that stupid potholder until literally the day she died.  And she used that potholder.  She didn’t keep it to pacify her distraught granddaughter, she kept it to use it.  And use it she did.  When she died, that thing was frankly gross…and not from my handiwork.  It was like the Velveteen Rabbit.  Nothing had worn off of it–did I mention it was Red Heart? and not the cool stuff we have now.  The nasty stuff from 30 years ago.  It was stained and melted, and just really unusable for anything.  My grandma wasn’t lying to me.  She wasn’t trying to make the best of a bad situation.  She just really thought it was cool that the potholder conformed to her hand.

I’d love to say I learned from that something profound, like “even in flaws, perfection can be found”.  I was nine.  I learned nothing.  But, clearly, the experience stayed with me.  And I built upon it.  Just like anything else.

I know this post doesn’t have pictures.  I’m learning as I go, and I wanted to get a post out so I could see how it works.  Also, I have no pictures of the potholder.  Who takes pictures of potholders? Remember, when I was nine, digital cameras were not even thought of.  And if my dad laughed at the potholder, he would have been furious over wasting film and processing on it.  Even by the time grandma passed, digital photography was just beginning.  We ended up throwing out the potholder.  I’ll try to do better on future posts.

Huh, WordPress says this is over 700 words already.  See, I do have lots to say!  Not sure how much is interesting to you, Dear Reader, but this felt cathartic to me.