It’s happening again. I’m falling into that void where depression meets crafts. Normal people get depression, stay in bed for days with no motivation. Not me. I turn my grief, my anxiety, my huge amount of anger and drive it into a need to create. I have a Facebook feed filled with my creations. The worst part was after Christmas my arm hurt so badly (tennis elbow = knitting elbow?) that I couldn’t knit for about six months. I’d try only to be unable to flex my wrist or twist for days.
What have I been doing since my December knitting madness?
January & February were devoted to skiing. You can’t think while you are skiing. It’s waiting, waiting, waiting, followed by an intense one to five minutes and back up again. I put my audiobook on and let it rip.
March was just intense. I received some devastating news. I attempted to backpack my way out of the anger and grief. Then my body said, you haven’t been doing this for a year, WTH! Then I flipped to planning my garden and starting seedlings. I finished my cross stitch cross from last year. I also, painfully, finished my kids green sweaters.
April was when I really did a lot of work in the garden, doubling it’s size. Plus we got back into camping and I pulled out the spinning wheel again.
May and June were gardening, camping, backpacking, vacation and so much more. I started to realize I was overscheduling myself and coming off the worst of the March shock.
July and August were overscheduled again, but well worth it. The garden was abundant and we have jars of tomato sauce for the winter. I finished my rainbow blanket from knit picks and started a sweater but more importantly, picked up spinning again.
I’ll post about my spinning and dying and sudden returning intense interest in all things fiber in the next post!
So here we are on Super Bowl Sunday. In between cleaning the house, studying for my test, reading up on Micro Economics and cleaning the mess of gasoline that spilled on the garage, I am getting ready for the Super Bowl. My husband worked last night and this morning, so we’re not too eager to go out today. Despite the fact that I am not a football fan myself, I do look forward to this game. While I can let you know my affiliation, I think it is best if I remain neutral in the matter.
Isn’t it funny how family affects us? I grew up in a certain area with two teams for each sport. My mother and uncle were the ones who determined my teams. I remember when I told my mother I was dating (my now ex) a new boyfriend, she was more concerned that he was a (deep breath) Mets fan, then anything else.
My uncle passed away in May. He was the biggest sports fan in the family. He lived in the basement of my grandmother’s house and many times I passed the staircase to hear him yelling. I’d jump or react only to realize he was yelling at the tv, whether it was at the offending team or toward his own. He was the one I remember going to live games with. He had a passion for his teams like no one else I’ve ever met. I wish he was here today to see his team one more time.
Enjoy the game, be safe and if you can manage, knit something pretty as well.
So, it is Saturday. I’m sitting in my living room experiencing a serious problem. I have recently become addicted to words with friends. Now I understand how Alec Baldwin could be kicked off a plane because of this. It probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal if that was my only recent addiction. I am now riveted to the Pinterest page. If you haven’t experienced this website, stay away. At first I thought it was nothing but a time waster. There are pictures of everything from how to organize your home office to creating candles from tangerines. You create different boards and pin pictures to your board. You can follow other people, like “pins,” and of course, repin. My big discovery was that on most of these “pins” you can click through and it will take you to the website. For instance, a few of my patterns are posted. So, if you are new to pinterest and stumble upon a picture of my wedding garter, you can click on the picture and keep clicking until you get to my website. You can follow people with similar interests and organize your boards for different parts of you life.
I have several boards going:
Health and Fitness: I need to lose weight and am even drinking a green smoothie now.
I’m happy to announce that I have renewed my domain for the third year. That means I’ve already been posted for a whole two years! It is a wonderful feeling to know that I’ve been sharing my adventure in knitting and spinning. While I still feel like a beginner, I’ve learned a lot and hopefully taught others something as well. While I do have patterns up, creating new patterns is as much a learning experience as a teaching one. These are not advanced patterns that you would find for sale in a knitting shop but more of “a look what I can do and you can too” shared knowledge. I hope that I have sparked some interest to try something knew.
I was about 16 years old when I first started knitting. My high teacher thought it would be good teach a group of us who were hyperactive and overstressed. I remember sitting in the TAG room at our school with the old metal knitting needles. We three girls didn’t really listen so much as kept yacking away. I didn’t pay attention and as usual, chose to do it myself my way. A few scarves later those needles went under my bed into the mess of assorted objects.
At 18, I wound upstate in college with a roommate who knit scarves. Before I knew it, I was at Wal-Mart buying yarn and a new set of metal knitting needles. Drama ensued and after a tumultuous year at college and transferring to a closer one to my home, I was still knitting away. My grandmother told me she used to knit and also mentioned that she hated scarves. (Months after I gave her one for Christmas.) The knitting needles went back under the childhood bed.
I was 23 when a trip to Wal-Mart brought me back to knitting. I can’t remember exactly why I picked it up again but do remember that it was a difficult time for me. I made scarves for everyone I knew. In fact, I used to sit at work when it was slow and knit away (I miss THAT!) I met my now husband and remember sitting in his kitchen, talking all night long, while I knit away. We recently found the old scarf I had made for him so many years ago.
We moved to South Carolina not long after. I had stopped knitting but wound up out of work far from anyone I knew. I was tired of scarves. With the internet at my fingertips, I found a pattern for socks. I found straight knitting needles at Wal-Mart (again.) I still have those red heart, red and green, acrylic socks. They weren’t my best socks but they are my best-loved. I have been knitting ever since, learning step by step. I’ve had my spinning wheel for almost a year now and am enjoying a new adventure.
The 2011 Florida Fiber In was last weekend up in Orlando. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this all year and I wound up sick the night before and barely slept. The early morning part of the Fiber In was great. I sat and listened to the lesson on dyeing yarn. She demonstrated how to dye yarn using Kool-Aid and a microwave. It’s too bad my microwave has been broken for over a year now. I may be the only person in Florida without one. I did get a few ideas. I also learned a few other things about spinning. There were a lot of interesting people and many more vendors than last year. There was plenty of wool and alpaca. I just wish there were more fibers like cotton. I found a woman who had an old spinning wheel like I originally bought over two years ago. She only spins cotton and absolutely loves it. If anyone would like to donate cotton for me to spin I would appreciate it! By the end of the day, I was too tired to really enjoy much. I wound up leaving early a little cranky.
In the meantime, I had not unpacked my spinning wheel or even knitted anything in the week after. In fact, I’ve ripped two projects that weren’t coming out correctly and lost my size six harmony needles. I’m suffering from the fiber blues. At least today was spinning group day. I am still not feeling well and was tempted to skip it, but am glad I went. It is great being around others who think like I do. It is so rare, especially down here.
I’ve recently been introduced to knitting podcasts. I never knew there were people out there that took an hour of their time and talked about knitting. I have an i-pod and decided to download some of these. The first few I chose were mostly disappointing. The Knitpicks episode I listened to was informative but slow. I had to stop listening if only for the fact that they were talking about weaving and I cannot afford another hobby. Yes, I was feeling that itch of I want a loom!!! The angel on my shoulder said, “No Tracy, you have enough crafty hobbies. You don’t have time or money for another.” Then the devil on my other shoulder said, “Hehe, I want one. Credit cards are proof God loves you.” Then my boss came in, the i-pod went off and a stack of work was pushed my way.
A second podcast was quite disappointing. The girls were advanced knitters who were complaining about all the people who post patterns on Ravelry using different terms. Then they continued complaining more, interjecting apologies every once in a while in case they offend anyone. I may be biased, but isn’t it a good thing that people can learn and share on this vast resource known as the internet?
A third podcast was filled with talk of expensive yarns that even the devil on that shoulder just shook her head and said no. Sigh.
Finally, I found two thanks to good advice from new knitting/spinning buddy. Stitch It is from the same person with the website The Art of Megan. I learned to spin on my first spindle from her. Of course, she doesn’t know this. I liked listening to her talk about her garden and her house. The second was the The Knit Wits. They were hilarious! They are a married couple who moved to Oregon. I love how they communicate and the fact that the husband interjects his opinion with the crafty, knitting, spinning wife. I relate to both of these two more than the others I’ve listened to so far. I look forward to downloading lots more episodes.
So, less than a week out of the summer classes (accounting for all of you who don’t know me) I am already in daydreamy wanderlust mode. I’ve moved from New York, to South Carolina to Florida in the last five years. I’ve currently lived in the same place for the three years, the longest since I left my childhood home. My mother and her boyfriend used to travel a lot when I was a child and I was used to sleeping in a different hotel each night. The wish to keep moving hasn’t left me. I’ve been relatively happy in Florida, yet three days ago this idea flourished within me and it is has bloomed within me. Where is this place I am lusting after????
Yes, the girl from the east coast has fallen into love. Does this have anything to do with Sock Summit taking place there last weekend? Maybe? The three main reasons I have fallen in love with this city in the last few days are 1- most microbreweries in any city in the country 2- fiber friendly area 3- nature. Yes, my husband and I would probably go broke in beer and knit shops (especially if occuring in that order) but I think I would love this city. It is a liberals dream land. Yet I am stuck in school and three years away from being vested for a government pension as long as it does not mysteriously disappear. I’m just in love lust with Portland, Oregon
Knitting and Yoga go naturally together. Both have meditative qualities. There are a couple of things that I reach out to when I am ultra stressed. Knitting is the normal every day stress reliever. Then of course, there is tea. I have tea to wake me up and tea to calm me down. There is the glass of wine or a really good beer. But there are times, almost phases, when I reach out to yoga. I am not a guru or even the least bit good at it. I am a dabbler. I like yoga when the mood fits. I like certain poses but am still not fit enough to keep up with the dvds. This is something I want to work on and then life gets in the way.
This is a modification of Matsyasana (Fish Pose). If you work in an office, use a computer often enough, spend hours studying or are hunched over knitting needles you may have pain in your neck and shoulders. I do all of these. In From the Neck Down, by Roger Cole, it states “But when pain and tingling spread beyond the hands and wrists to the arms, shoulders, or neck, the cause may be another, less commonly known condition—thoracic outlet syndrome. TOS is caused by compressing or overstretching nerves or blood vessels far from the hands, near the top of the rib cage. It can develop from repetitive stress and unhealthy movement patterns, like playing a musical instrument for long hours or typing with your head pushed forward and out of alignment with the rest of your spine, or from an injury such as whiplash.”
Think of your knitting. Does this sound familiar? I did it with just the one block and I felt the release (spasms) immediately. In the days afterward, the result was not so obvious but I believe that over time, this will benefit me. I also am trying to straighten my posture. I try.
It’s the last Monday in May. For most of us, that means an extra day off from work, maybe a barbecue with friends or a day at the beach. We’re supposed to think about those who fought for our freedom on this day. I hear on the radio, on tv and even via the internet how we’re supposed to honor those who fight. The truth is that I cannot possibly understand. I am lucky because I don’t have a spouse or a parent or a child fighting in another country and never have. I’ve never woken up in the middle of the night wondering if a loved one was hurt or worse. I don’t know how I would handle that, especially since I’m a natural worrier. I’d probably give myself an ulcer. Sometimes I feel like I should apologize for not having the intimate understanding.
This is Memorial day, a day to reflect on our nation and those who support it. So, thank you all those who have fought, members of the military, and the families of those members. Thank you from someone who has not shared that experience and hopes not to. Now, I’m off to the beach!
It’s Sunday afternoon and after a busy week, I’m sitting on my couch with a sleeping cat curled up beside me. I have two chapters to read and outline as well as a group project to e-mail my group members about. I have phone calls to make, laundry to check on, vacuuming to be done and dinner to make. The week has flown by in a mass of to do’s. I have spent over a week working on a sock which I’m finally at the heel. I love the yarn but I’m using size 1 needles doing two rounds at a time in periods of five to fifteen minutes that I can find through out the day. If only I could knit while on the treadmill or elliptical but I have a feeling that experiment would end in a trip to the emergency room and a messy stab wound. I like sharp knitting needles. I spend dinner time talking to the hubby while flipping through knitting books and magazines that are conveniently layed out on the table. Life is busy, even on a Sunday afternoon but knitting is an addiction that can fit into even the busiest of schedules.
Thanksgiving is a day of showing gratitude, of family and of eating. It is also a day of reflecting on the past. We celebrate two cultures coming together and sharing a bountiful harvest. America is built on that ideal of plenty. Many will gather whether in front of the family table or in restaurants through out the country but so many are less fortunate, especially recently. Be grateful for what you have and remember those who have less.
Aside from that, Thanksgiving is about the past and I was just flipping through the latest Interweave Knits magazine, I came across an article Taking Flight by Bethany Lyttle. The article remarks on a mill in New England. It is about Pam Allen who created a yarn company, Quince & Co. The article was intriguing but it made me think about the history of knitting and how much we’ve changed.
Knitting is about creation, now and then. Most knitters know that it is actually less expensive and time-consuming to run into the local Wal-mart and pick up a $1 pair of gloves then to put the hours, the attention and the more pricey yarn into a pair of homemade gloves. Yet, once upon a time, this was a necessity. Can you imagine the pilgrim’s knitting socks and gloves to keep warm in the cold Northeast winter? Did they have sheep around so that they could create their own yarn to make into protective clothing? Of course. My closet would be a lot smaller if I was required to hand make everything for my family!!
On that note, I am going to watch a movie and knit a pillow for my Grandmother. Happy Thanksgiving.
Well, two weeks ago I set up my Etsy shop. http://www.etsy.com/shop/knitwerks After checking it two, three, four, nine times a day, I’ve fallen into a slump. I’ve accomplished nothing after getting everything set up and posted on there. I currently have, half a carrot knit, a too too small wedding garter, another wedding garter ripped several times over, and three rows of a pillow. I’m lost and brain dead. Work has been crazy, school is time consuming, and my mind has gone to that place where the static on tv is soothing. Christmas is coming and I really need to get moving. I need original ideas but how do you get them when your brain is on autopilot? I’d really love to know. . .
It’s a week before my mother’s birthday and once again, I have no idea what to give her. First thought, Amazon gift card! But, is a gift card, even one from amazon with those billions of books to choose from, tacky to give your very own mother? Second thought, something to do with socks. Until recently, she only knit socks. Yes, this is one of those rare cases where I taught Mom (from a distance for the most part) how to knit because she saw me wandering around my apartment with my red and green homemade socks at Chirstmas time. She decided, I want socks.
Three months later, she realized that I wasn’t about to make them for her like I said I might, and she went on her own journey to learn how to make them. In my defense, I learned how to make gloves for her. Yes, I sent her hand-made gloves (two right-handed gloves but a pair nonetheless!) Then, for years, she only made socks. Now she’s onto hats but she’s not the diversifying type. I went on to knitpicks and looked up sockblockers. But, a women who likes to collect so much probably already has a set. Do I ask? That will ruin the surprise. I remember last year I went onto Etsy.com and found sock shaped stitch markers and she loved them. I won’t post what I found this time (although I did make her swear she wouldn’t read my blog. . . but that’s a story for another day!)
Etsy is a great site to visit if you are out of ideas and need a gift. These are handmade or vintage items that have a unique flair to them. They don’t scream ‘I ran into Walmart at the last minute and got you this lint-remover.’ It’s a great website to just browse around as long as you haven’t had three glasses of wine and a paypal account linked to your credit card. Then it is a bad, bad, bad site. Go to the Etsy Showcase and browse around. I found the flowers for my hairdo on my wedding day off there and they were absolutely perfect. The picture is of the three plumeria hairpins created by Butterfly Enchantress on Etsy. I’ve also bought beautiful unique earrings from Lowcountry Beadworks. They have everything from jewelry, to fabric, to toys, to pet collars. Take a look and don’t blame me if you charge up that visa bill.
I am very sad to say my summer break is almost over. While I’ve still been working full-time, it was very nice to have the break from the classes. As I’m taking another accounting class beginning Tuesday, my juggling begins again. I really enjoyed getting to hide in my books, knit a few pillows and a sweater that came out completely wrong and a first draft of a novel that I’m down on now. Okay, so some of this summer’s projects failed miserably. However this summer I:
1. Completed two pillow patterns and began a third.
2. Finished a first draft of a novel.
3. Made my first homemade linguine.
4. Finished the entire Sookie Stackhouse novel series (yes 10 books!)
5. Read and listened to numerous more books.
6. Made chinese dumplings from scratch.
7. Made potato parathas.
8. Went to a wedding and got to visit the central timezone for the first time without realizing I was showing up to said wedding an hour early!
I’m sure I did more than that, but those were the things that I came up with. Summer is and always has been my favorite season. Things will get busier soon but I will try very hard to keep up the blogging and keep the patterns coming. I’m looking forward to the Florida Fiber In coming up. This year it will be taking place September 17-19 in Orlando. http://nomadicfiber.yolasite.com/ I look forward to learning how to use my spindle.