Little Morning Rambles

So far the weirdest part about staying up all night and sleeping during the day is drinking. There’s nothing super weird about having a beer or a glass of wine before bed, lots of people do it, I used to do it regularly. It somehow feels very weird and a little taboo to have a glass of wine before bed when bedtime happens to be about 10:30 in the morning. Taboo or not, I’m going to enjoy my glass of wine today while I sit in my sunny spot and watch the snow sparkle outside.

Life Long Maker

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 28

Do you do any other crafts besides knitting? What are they, and did learning to knit come before or after learning these other crafts?

These kinds of prompts are fun for me because I get to spend half an hour digging through all the photos on my computer (wishing they were actually organized..) and relive a bunch of memories and shitty hair cuts.

I have been creative from very early on in life. I spent a lot of time playing with Lincoln Logs and Legos and was lucky enough to get piles of art kits as gifts for most of my life. I was also fortunate enough to go to a Montessori school where my creativity was not only encouraged but fed with new skills. We were taught to make crochet chains with our fingers by age three (what an excellent way to build fine motor skills while also keeping a group of preschoolers quiet), we also learned to do basic running stitch embroidery by age 4. From there I hit the ground running. IMG_0061My mom tells this story of me around age 4 that I vaguely remember; she walked into the kitchen to find me sitting at the table where I had traced, cut and was now sewing an entire outfit for my doll by hand without help. I remember not being able to get the shirt over her giant doll head so I cut up the back of the shirt and used yarn to lace it back up for an edgy and decorative and reusable closure. Textile things have always come easy to me, and I’ve always enjoyed them. Lanyard keychains and friendship bracelets were basically my shit in the late 90’s.

10391654_1190185527029_8038564_nI majored in art in high school, mainly paintings and print making but I did crochet myself a full human spine out of plastic bags which was pretty cool. From there I went to art school and fully developed my love (obsession) with all things fibers and textiles. The main philosophy of the school was to teach you from the ground up. So for textiles we learned to dye our own yarn and fabric, we learned to make our own yarn and fabric and from there we basically could do anything we wanted. I really really liked weaving. The meticulous threading process, spending hours hunched over the back of the loom threading hundreds of threads through the reed and heddles. During my weaving course I taught myself how to knit (we didn’t really have a knitting course at that time, and by the time they added one I far surpassed the knowledge range of the teacher on that particular subject). I also learned to quilt at the end of my senior year. This class was only offered once a year and each year I never seemed to have time for it in my schedule. I’m so grateful I was able to fit it in, but I wish I could have learned sooner, if I had my trajectory might have been very different. These are some of my favorite pieces from the end of art school. The top two are from my senior show in which my partner and I studied the duality and dichotomy of silk moths and wool eating moths. One moth is lauded for created fiber and one moth is loathed for consuming it. (Top Image is a silk grid on a silk screen with a projection of silk moths spinning cocoons, middle image is a woven wool screen with handspun wool grid covered in different food stuffs used to encourage different larva to eat the screen – we were NOT ALLOWED to bring wool moths into a fiber department for obvious and disappointing reasons).

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This image is of a very large quilt I made and cherish. It’s a lone star quilt with a hand dyed gradient and hand quilting with hand dyed matching thread. My sister still has the actual  images she took for me but I’ve never seen them.

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Since then space has been a little limited, so its hard to produce large works and life gets in the way of spending 200 hours laboring over one project. IMG_1275I’ve made some smaller wall quilts and other little things, but mostly focused on knitting. My new house has a tiny extra bedroom that I’m using as a sewing/craft room but my loom is definitely not going to get in there. We have a mud room with great light that I might end up using once we get the giant couch out of there. I would love to be able to weave again. I do have some quilting and sewing projects lined up in the mean-time.

Long Weekend

I sorta fell off the face of the earth for a few days there, sorry everyone. I’m back now. I switched my sleep schedule back to normal for the holiday and that tends to result in both K and I passing out on the couch at 7:30 pm and waking up at 2 am with sore necks. I’ve been struggling a bit with staying up all night lately, I’m trying to decide if the benefits are worth the troubles. Anyways, hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, or regular ol’ weekend for any readers not in America (as most of you are not).

It was in the 50s on Friday which is unseasonably warm but a most welcome reprieve. K had some secret Black Friday/Birthday shopping to do so I stayed home to rake all the leaves out of the front yard. Not an entirely un-enjoyable task, at least the weather was nice, but my hands hurt so bad from rake. Even now, three days later, the bones in my hands feel like they’re bruised. That didn’t stop me from knitting though. I knit an entire pair of socks these past few days – all that’s left is the kitchener toe and to weave in the ends. It’s my first of five (???) holiday gifts this year.

I also got to see my best friend and her family this weekend. My town is situated conveniently between her Husband’s family in Illinois and her family in Wisconsin. We were able to meet up for breakfast in between baby naps and catch up. Saturday we took a lovely little hike at Glacial Park. I basically spent the weekend trying to soak up as much sunlight as I can for the last couple weeks of Autumn.

I’ll go back the knitting posts tomorrow and finish those off over the next few days.

Holiday Knitting Rant

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 21

Do you knit gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays?

I used to do this a lot more than I do now. One year I think I made like ten things as gifts and I don’t think I bothered to start until at least Thanksgiving. I’ve cut down a bunch in the past years for various reason’s that I’ll probably get more into tomorrow, but mainly it ends up being so stressful that it takes the fun out of it. There are certain people that I’ll happily knit gifts for. I know they’re going to appreciate them and I know that they’re going to take care of whatever I give them.

I knit a few things for my best friend when she announced she was pregnant. I love making baby items – they’re so fast and they’re just so stinking cute. Knitting baby items is basically like making sample sizes. I can experiment with new techniques or make dumb adorable stitch patterns with a lot less time and a lot less yarn. She loved the little things I gave her, and sent me pictures of her little guy wearing them which is basically the greatest thank you I could ask for. She then told me that anything else I make for them she’s insisting on paying for. At first I was a little hurt by this but she explained to me that what I make is worth a lot more than I give myself credit for. This has kind of been simmering in the back of my head for the past year or so. Yes, knitting is my hobby, but it’s also my passion and I’ve worked really hard to become very good at it. It goes back to discussions my studio had over and over again about the value of “art” and “craft” practices and how they’re both perceived by people in the art world and everyone else. I’ve always felt like the craft world is highly undervalued by most people and I know there’s conversations all over the internet that basically boil down to people expecting crafters to make things for free or for material costs – like it’s something we’re going to do anyways so we should be overjoyed that someone is willing to buy us yarn.

Sorry for ranting but this is where my brain is at as the looming holiday deadline approaches and I internally debate what and for whom I should be knitting. I know most of my readers are knitters and crocheters and crafters in general, what are your thoughts on all this? Do you knit for everyone or just a select few?

No Pain, No Gain

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 16

Have you ever had a knitting related injury?

Hoooooo boy have I ever. I have been absolutely plagued by hand and wrist problems since I started knitting. When it first started happening in 2011 I thought it was Rheumatoid Arthritis. I went to see specialists and they basically told me I was too young for that kind of problem, gave me ibuprofen and told me to stop using my hands. This wasn’t really an option for several reasons – namely I was in school for a degree in textiles and as a general rule, you need to use your hands to make them. I’ve since given up on doctors.

The worst it’s ever been was 2013/2014. I was working wayyyy too intensely. I was in constant pain, I was having a really hard time doing simple tasks like buttoning shirts or holding a toothbrush. I would get shooting pain up to my elbows if I turned my wrist a certain way. I could no longer hold a pen to write more than a few words- which makes taking notes fairly difficult when a lot of professors didn’t want computers in their classrooms. My hands were also randomly spasming and I would drop whatever I was holding- which was often at the coffee shop I worked at- let’s just say my shoes smelled permanently like PSL.

I try to be ergonomic as possible when I’m working but I also tend to knit for long periods of time without very many breaks. Things aren’t nearly as bad as they were but every so often it hurts too bad to knit and I try and take a break for a few days. I’ve learned to deal with it and have found that if I knit at least a little bit every day, especially when I just wake up, my hands tend to be less stiff and hurt a little less over all.

It’s not a waste of yarn if you’ve learned something

Life is really weird when you stay up all night and sleep during the day. That seems like an obvious statement but trying to plan things for say a Wednesday evening is really hard to wrap my head around. It’s hard for my brain to conceptualize time right now. Like right now, Tuesday at 6 am is basically Monday night. Dinner is breakfast, breakfast is dinner. I don’t know when to shower or when to eat lunch. I’m getting used to it, but it’s weird.

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 7

What is your least favorite piece that you’ve knit?

Going through my Ravelry page today trying to figure out what my least favorite project is. I don’t know that I could pick one specific project out. Sure I’ve had my fair share of failed projects but I’ve also learned something from each of them. Scrolling through I can remember making most of them. I remember what the yarn felt like. I remember who I gave the project to. And I remember what things didn’t work with each one. There are things that I definitely don’t need to make again and there are things I would make differently if I made them again. I picked out two projects that should have been made differently.

IMAG0529_mediumThis first one is a lace hat I made for my mom. I remember buying the yarn and I think my first pair of bamboo needles. The yarn is so silky and has such a nice drape which is exactly what went wrong with this hat. It’s way too floppy, even for a slouchy hat. The pattern called for wool which would definitely hold up a little better and actually be warm. On the other hand, this was the first project I knit that incorporated short row shaping – so I learned something. And my mom stills wears it even though I think it sucks. tumblr_nk16u9ojC41qhxvzyo1_540_small2

 

 

 

 

 

The second project I found is this pair of socks. I had been coveting a mitts pattern for a while but at the time I didn’t want to make mitts. I tried to make mittens with this lace pattern which did not work after several tries. I decided to try and make them into socks. Things I didn’t understand at the time of this project were ankle shaping and negative ease. The picture really makes them look a lot better than they are and it was not an easy picture to take. Besides the obvious mix ups in the lace, these are super slouchy and end up making my legs seem much bulkier than they are. I don’t hate the idea of frogging them and starting over. I would probably use the yarn to make the mitts as they were intended in the first place since the wool is really quite scratchy. If I made socks like this again I would use the sock yarns I’ve been using for my other projects and change needle sizes down the leg for shaping since I think adding stitches into the calf would be rather obvious in these.

It is pretty cool to look back at the things you’ve made and see their merit even though they’re not up to your current standards. Having real physical evidence of things you’ve learned is really encouraging and I hope in a few years I can look at the projects I’m working on now and see how much I’ve learned since.

Do you guys have knitting duds? What do you do with them?

Everything in my life is a WIP

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 3

Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?

In my last post I mentioned I usually like to stick to one project. But that pretty much only applies to knitting.

I tend to keep a lot of creating things in my brain, in my studio, on the floor, on the coffee table, in my purse. They’re everywhere. I’ll just talk about some of the big things though.

IMG_1006I’m going to include this one as a giant kick in the butt to work on it. I honestly kind of forgot about it until now. My best friend got married in 2015 and I decided to make them a quilt as a wedding gift. I of course never finished it because I’m a garbage human and shitty friend and I never finish anything on time. I mean actually there were some major problems like a lot of white fabric being mislabeled so half of it was a slightly different color white, resulting in tearing out a lot of very meticulous seams. Then I got overwhelmed by a new very stressful job and my mother wanting her dinning room table back. So no it’s in a giant bucket in my studio. Maybe I’ll do something with it.

Earlier this week I started a Bullet Journal. I don’t even know why besides I had a dot paper notebook and a bunch of cool pens. I almost never keep up with a sketchbook or an actual written journal. But I’m kind of obsessed with the stupid thing. It’s basically like data collection porn to me and I can’t stop. I’ve filled like 20 pages in only a few days. There’s something satisfying about feeling more productive than I actually am.

The most exciting (for me) thing I’m working on is a Tech Editing course. I realized that Tech Editing for knitters is like an actual real job a few months ago and something clicked in my brain. It’s literally the perfect job for me. I won’t have to have children screaming at me or kicking me. I won’t have to come home covered in nasty coffee shop syrups. I can make my own hours, which works out great for my newly adopted third shift sleeping schedule, and I can do something I genuinely would be good at and give a shit about. I should be ready to start taking clients by the new year so stay tuned!

What is time?

Just a quick little update. I’ve been pretty quiet across all social media for the last week or so. I was having some crazy insomniac nights. I made the decision to completely switch my sleep schedule to match The Boy’s third shift life to optimize our time. It makes sense since I’m able to do the things I need to do while he’s at work. The transition has been a little brutal, but I spent the last two nights making curtains for my living room so I no longer feel like I’m living in a fish bowl.

Once my body catches up to my brain.. or the other way around I’ll get back into more regular posting.

Me Too

Like many people one of the first things I do when I wake up is check my social media from the warmth of my bed, trying to force myself to wake up. This morning my feeds were filled with female friends and acquaintances posting a simple statement: Me too.

I’ve been struggling with what to say all day. I’ve been going between avoiding my social media feeds and scrolling through them with great sadness.

I feel like most women know somewhere in there hearts that shit like this happens to literally all of us but somehow we are able to put it out of our minds in order to function on any basic level. It’s hard to ignore today. It’s all over everything. Every single woman is raising their collective silent screams saying IT’S HAPPENED TO ME TOO. It’s hard to look away. I find myself wanting to see every post just to silently acknowledge every person’s trauma, discomfort, secrets, and pain. It’s not enough. Everyone knows it’s not enough. The hashtag will stop trending, our pain will be shoved back down where we’ve stored it all these years, and we’ll move on simply in order to keep functioning.

A few of my braver friends have shared an experience with their hashtags. I spent the day reliving many of my experiences in the quiet moments. I’m sure many other people are reliving much worse things every single day that they just can’t put out of their minds. I count myself lucky to be able to push those experiences out of my mind. Lucky in that the bad things that have happened to me have been mild compared to others experiences. Lucky that within my own mental illness I’m able to shut out things I don’t want to deal with so easily. Today I let those things I push away not only make their appearance but also play out in my mind. I know none of those things are or were my fault. I hope I’m lucky enough in the future for these experiences to not get worse. I hope other people reliving these things in their quiet moments are able to know that they’re not to blame.

I was fourteen. I was at a cafe with my other fourteen year-old friends. We were drinking coffees and hot chocolates. We were chatting and laughing and feeling alive. An old man came up to me, leaned in real close so that no one else could hear him. He said to me “You have beautiful eyes.” That was the first time I remember feeling that my body and my personhood did not belong to me. It wasn’t the last time.

Autumn Adventures

Yesterday the sun came out for like four whole hours in-between the bouts of endless dreariness and rain we’ve been having. The weather seems to be affecting me way more than I’m used to. I’ve been having a lot more panic attacks and days where I just feel like I can’t/don’t want to do anything at all. The Boy and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine – even though he was going on 18 hours of being awake. We drove over to the local nature preserve  and went for a little hike.

Fall weather definitely fucked us up. In our ongoing game of temperature chicken we’ve gotten used to it being pretty cold all the time. We checked the weather before we left – 67 degrees – pretty much the same as in the house. We left with jackets and scarves… Not ten minutes in we were stripped down to t-shirts and sweating our asses off. Despite the swamp ass we had a nice little walk and enjoyed some nature and then promptly took a two hour nap.