We’re leaving today, but you wouldn’t know it. We’ve just been wandering around the house, fiddling with this and that. I know there are so many things I need to do before we go. Not including pack the entire van. But we just want to get out there before sunset tonight and if we can’t manage that, before 9 am tomorrow. I keep feeling like I’ve forgotten something, though I always tell myself that even if I do, it’s not that big a deal. First, we live 45 minutes away from the campsite. Second, I can either borrow “it” from someone or buy it somewhere. And third, I probably don’t need it that badly. Rich and I usually work together well, but there’s something about packing for a trip that leaves you irritated. So we may not be communicating successfully. Just gotta get out there and it’ll be okay! Actually, I ought to go and see if he needs me right now…
To knit or crochet? That is sometimes the question. For me, it’s knitting, even though I learned to crochet first. I guess it just didn’t inspire me as a 12 year old. But seven years later I picked up the knitting needles and that stuck. Recently I’ve tried to revisit crocheting, but it seems like my brain is too full of knitting terms and abbreviations. I just can’t remember the crochet stuff! So whenever I do decide to crochet, I just make it up as I go. Seems to work out okay.
This week I attended a crocheting group at church, or rather, an introduction to crocheting. Helping other people get started is fun, but definitely a challenge. I’m always worried that I’ll teach them wrong. Or if they are struggling it’s because I didn’t explain it well. Also, I think it’s funny that everyone gets hung up on that intial sliding loopy knot thing. Haven’t even gotten started yet and things are already a mess! Oh well, it’s a journey, right?
Question: Do you know how to knit and crochet? Which one did you start with? Was it more difficult to learn the second one than the first? Have you ever taught someone to knit or crochet? What were the challenges?
This was supposed to be posted last week, but I had no internet connection for a few days.
When I skirted my three new fleeces last week, I was reminded of something: I do not have a skirting table. It was a painful reminder, as I spread the fleeces out on the driveway and continually bent over as I walked around picking up unwanted bits of debris. It was also hot out there. Another significant negative: the unwanted items don’t just fall away from the fleece as you work through it. Rather, they stay stuck in with the good fiber. And if I had a skirting table, I could use it for drying washed fleeces too. So why don’t I have one? They are usually big and bulky. Plus it’s just one more thing Rich and I have to build. As of now, I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got.
In contrast to having need of something but not having the capability to obtain it, I now have a new piece of equipment that I did not feel was a necessity. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I just got a serious ball winder. Up until this point I’ve been using a nostepinne to wind every ball. I’m quite good at it, but sometimes I wish I had something quicker. I do have a plastic ball winder, but it is garbage, so I never use it. But I didn’t want to spend the money on a good one, so I just kept using my nostepinne. However, Rich decided it would be a worthwhile investment and made the decision on my behalf. Now I want to find reasons to use it.
Question: How long do you “make do” before you break down and buy the tools and equipment that are made for the job? Do you wait until you have need of something before buying it or do you buy a tool assuming you will use it eventually?
This week has been a hot one. It’s been in the nineties, which I would say is fairly unusual for June in this part of Ohio. Apparently it’s going to be one of those summers. Usually I like to have the windows open to enjoy the breeze and my neighbor’s yapping dog. However, we have air conditioning, and even though I am generally unenthusiastic about fake air, we’ve needed it this week. After turning the house into a little sauna on Monday with two crockpots going and a few burners on the stove, I knew something would have to change. Plus I was hearing even higher temps for the rest of the week. So, I decided to close the windows and turn on the A/C. Even though it is now 15-20 degrees cooler in the house, it still feels warm and I am so sluggish. Also, I feel trapped in here. All week I’ve just been wandering from one thing to the next, not really feeling like doing anything. I think I know why businesses keep their offices so cold. When you are already cold, you keep moving to warm up. But when you are warm, you just want to lie down for a nap. Or at least I do.
I know I’ve got stuff to do to get ready for the show this weekend, but it’s been a challenge to get motivated. In the past summer has been a serious slow-down for me. The heat does not inspire you to turn on the stove for dyeing or sit with a pile of wool on your lap. I need to find some splashy activities to do outside. Suggestions?
Question: How does the weather affect you? Do you change your activities based on the season? Do you find that heat drains your enthusiasm? What do you do in the summer?
I used to think I liked change. When I was a kid, it meant getting my furniture rearranged and sure, that was fun. Now, as an adult, it means something more. It means packing and unpacking all your belongings or updating every document containing your name or learning a new building and new people at a new job. This week I didn’t have to deal with things on that scale, but making the adjustments for my new website has been stressful. Jeremy did a great job making it look pretty and he’s been so helpful with all my frantic questions. However, I’m still rattled. My old blog had been essentially the same since I started it in 2007, so yes, it was due for an update. But now I have all these customizable options that I didn’t have to deal with before. I can change this? Yes! But where? And that too? Maybe. But how? What does this do? What does that mean? The spacing is weird here. Well, you can’t do anything about that.
I’m trying to decide what should be abandoned with the old site and what should remain. What are the most important elements? Suddenly I have no idea what’s going on. And I’m afraid I’ll lose my readers in the transition.
Question: How do you deal with change? Would you rather keep things the same than learn something new? What do you think of the new site? What should stay and would should go?
Several years ago, when I was in college, I was given an older Fricke drumcarder. It was being discarded by the university art department since they no longer had a fiber program. Someone rescued it for me and ever since it has haunted me. They usually cost$500-700 new, so to get one for free is amazing. However, I was intimated by it for a long time. I used it a bit at first, just making batts of a single color. Then I tried a bit of blending, but nothing too exciting. Seeing how popular art batts are right now, I wanted to try to make them, but I had no idea how to get there. Until I came across a video on YouTube posted by Ashley Martineau of Neauveau Fiber Arts. It talked about making a “sandwich” with the fibers and then sending it through the carder. Of course, mine aren’t nearly as thrilling as the ones she makes, but generally I’m excited to be making these and more importantly, using my drumcarder!
Question: Is there anything you have been intimated to try? How did you overcome your “fear” of it? Have you worked on anything new this week? What encourages you to try new things?
Still talking about buttons. Someone told me a while ago that only crazy people have button collections. And then I thought about two groups I am a part of: the Society for Creative Anachronism and fiber artists. Both have button collections. Both could be considered crazy. To be honest, I have a set on Flickr dedicated to buttons. It isn’t overflowing with photos, but still, it’s there.
I don’t really know what is so appealing about buttons. I’m also aware that I have far more buttons than I could ever use in my life. But it’s nice to have a large selection from which to choose. Plus they are an interesting link to the past.
Question: How do you deal with buttons? Do you buy them for a specific project? Do you keep a collection around? Have you ever selected a project to showcase a button? How do you like to buy your buttons? A large random assortment or individually?
Earlier this week I mentioned a spinning group that I’ve been attending off and on for a couple years (years, really?). Out of all the different knitting circles and crafting groups I’ve wandered into, this is the only one that I continue to participate with. Once I went to my local library for a meeting and I felt very out of place. One woman actually told me, since I was a spinner, that this wasn’t the place for me (the rest of them weren’t that advanced). Another thought she had misdirected me and I should be in the Girl Scouts meeting next door. Even though the library is within walking distance, I haven’t gone back to the group. Other groups I’ve tried have been full of drama, lacked actual discussion about fiber, or been too far away. Sometimes the people are so dreary that I can’t stand to go back. Also, I find that a lot of groups meet during the day, and while this isn’t an issue now, it was a major hindrance when I was in school or working full time. Most of the time I keep to myself, but I suppose some little part of me knows I can’t be an island. That part makes me reach out to find others who have a similar love of fiber. And sometimes I succeed.
Question: Are you a social crafter? Have you ever had any negative experiences with knitting or spinning groups? What makes you return to a group?
I’ve been feeling mopey and nostalgic lately, which has driven me to browse through my Flickr photostream. I like to look back to the beginning, seeing how far I’ve come since establishing the account in late 2006. It’s pretty obvious that I had no idea how to use a camera when I began six years ago.
My first photo, a knitting project, was posted on October 29, 2006. The colors are washed out, it’s out of focus, and yes, those are my legs. Overall it’s pretty dreadful. Even though it’s a WIP, there is no way to tell what the project is supposed to be.
Also on that day I posted this image of some very early handspun yarn. I remember being very proud of that skein. But the image is not flattering. Apparently I had not discovered how to focus yet. And you don’t really see much of the yarn itself.
Here is another washed out gem. I must have been trying to work with natural light, but eventually went ahead and used the flash on this one. Overall it just looks sloppy and flat. I had hung the yarn on a speaker, probably thinking it would be artsy, but instead you are distracted by that weird grey thing in the corner.
You can also see that I hadn’t decided on cropping the photos to a specified size. I remember being annoyed that the pictures on the page weren’t lining up, so I eventually settled on cropping everything to 10 x 8. I prefer it when things match.
Question: What are the earliest images of your craft that were posted online? Did you start off knowing how to use a camera? What techniques have you improved upon since getting started? Include links to your photos if you like.
Yesterday I discovered a new spot for taking photos. It’s on the same side of the house — the south side — but the window is a little farther down. It all started with my cat wanting to sit by the window, but not wanting to sit or stand on the crates. I put her basket by the window and she finally sat in it, but she would stretch all the way across the crate to reach the basket. Later in the day I took a leaf out of the dining room table. While I was looking for a place to stash it, I realized it fit perfectly across the top of the crates. Now the cat can get to her basket and her fur won’t fall through the holes onto my yarn. But then I wanted to take a few quick photos while I was in the wool room, so I cleared a spot by the window. At first I thought the wood would be junky looking, but I think it works. And the light isn’t bad there either. Of course, it all hinges on getting it at the perfect time of day and hoping the sun is out. But I was pretty excited to find a new photo spot! I’ll have to experiment and see how the hour effects the light.
The one on the left was taken in the new spot and the one on the right is at the previous spot. Which do you like better?
Question: What is your photo taking process? Do you have a special spot you go to for pictures? Do you always try to use natural light? Do you adjust the pictures on the computer afterwards or do adjustments with the camera?