Tuesday Tip Day: Don’t Be Afraid!

Spinning1

I’m leading with this, because I actually spun something. I spun something that’s semi-consistent and it’s getting easier!  Craft-fear, begone!

I would think this tip would be unnecessary to even discuss if I hadn’t been experiencing my own “craft fear” for the last four years.  But, maybe you’re like me.  Maybe you’re the type who doesn’t open her books all the way for fear of creasing the spine.  Maybe you’re hesitant to use a fresh pack of colored pencils because they all have perfectly sharpened tips.  Maybe you have a cabinet full of the “good china” you received as a wedding gift and have never actually used it to eat.  Maybe you collect blank journals, only to shelve them and never, ever consider actually writing in them because that would be desecration or some such nonsense.

That’s right: nonsense!

I do this.  You should not.

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Saturday Night Hooking: San Diego Knit & Crochet Show!

This post comes to you a single day late, because instead of writing about yarn yesterday, I was walking among aisles of it.  The Knit & Crochet Show ran from Wednesday until Saturday, with the first days devoted entirely to classes.  Despite the fact that I am officially on summer break (I recently landed my first teaching job, which now makes my summer a “break” instead of “unemployment”), I decided to forgo the classes and simply attend the marketplace yesterday with my friend Kathy.

Knit & Crochet 01

I hastily snapped this photo after waiting at a red light for a while. I promise it -just- turned green. This is about when I started getting really excited. A convention FULL of yarn!

Now, back in October of 2011, I attended Vogue Knitting Live, which is held in Los Angeles.  I’m going to be honest when I say I expected the marketplace floor to be as big as my previous experience.  The Knit & Crochet Show is cozier, and to be fair I didn’t take advantage of any of the classes that were offered (and that list was extensive!).  So, all I can go by are the three aisles of knitting shops, which were each dense with their yarn and roving offerings (as well as beads and bags and notions).  What I will say is, though Vogue Knitting Live is a bigger show, it didn’t give me nearly the one-on-one attention I received yesterday.

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Tuesday Tip Day: My Go-To Crochet Pattern

The very spirit of this blog is about trying something new: new patterns, new recipes, new substitutes for ingredients, and so on.  My personal desire to bring this back was to encourage myself to get back into the kitchen and to search for challenging patterns to try.  That said, I’m going to backtrack on all of that and give you a tip: find an easy, quick pattern you love and keep it handy.

Someone’s post on Facebook popped up in my feed yesterday and, beside a goofy cartoon character, it read: “There are 20 Fridays until Christmas.”  Without bothering to validate that claim, I felt the panic crawl across my shoulders.  Right now I’m practically made of time.  My cells are composed of free time, which bounce around and multiply into even more free time.  If I get a teaching job, school begins mid-August and my body will instead be replaced with anxiety, excitement, and ideas, but no time to do anything else.  What does this have to do with my tip?  If you’re like me, you favor handmade gifts.  There’s something extra magical about choosing the right yarn (whether for the charming name, the hand-dyed colors, or the pleasing texture) and pairing it with the perfect pattern.  In the past I have purchased skeins of yarn with no idea what to do with them.  This has led to an overflow in my yarn cabinet, as this yarn has simply been stashed away and labeled with invisible tags that read “someday.”  I read a lot about “stash-busting,” but I can’t just throw my yarn at any pattern.

Except this one.  Allow me to introduce you to this thoughtful Christmas gift I received Christmas 2014.

Pattern

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Saturday Night Hooking: The Game is On!

I think the closest I’ve ever come to time travel was re-reading my “about me” page for this site.  I was twenty-nine when we started, working with Monique at a concrete company in Temecula, and now, at almost-thirty-three, I’ve started and stopped a completely different job, finished my bachelor’s degree and completed a semester of student teaching.  Monique one-upped me, though: she created life!  A life that is a little over a year old now, with beautiful dark hair and eyelashes, just like her mother.

It was never my intention for this site to go dark.  It’s just somewhere in the middle of commuting, schooling, and marrying people (that was my job, everyone!), I stopped keeping up payments on the hosting.  But now that my world has calmed, I wanted to bring this back.  I didn’t realize how much keeping this blog encouraged my creative growth and challenged me to try new things.  Without this accountability I tend to stop branching out and instead stick with the tried and true.

So, hey, we’re back!  And without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my little friend:

Sherlock!

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Happy Twenty-Thirteen!

Ah, the new year.

Typically, this is when we begin to swear off junk food, promise to eat thirty servings of vegetables every day, commit ourselves to nine days of exercise each week, and promptly forget that we have all-consuming jobs and responsibilities that make slicing out a part of our day and reserving it for resolutions feel impossible by the second week in January.  And while I, too, will be making good-health commitments to my body along with most of the rest of the world, my resolutions have a lot more to do with making the most of those tiny slices of time.

See, I started a new job in November that’s tacked on an extra two hours-ish of commute time to each of my days, and pairing that with taking one class a month to finish my bachelor’s degree has made the initial transition trying.  I decided to take a month off of school for December, considering the new-job-exhaustion I was feeling and the likelihood of transforming into a full-fledged Scrooge over not being able to bake as many Christmas treats as I wanted or to make sure each and every gift was as perfect as possible.  And, while that time off did help, I now know that in order to experience a holiday season as magical as I expect for myself and my loved ones, I’m going to have to prepare sooner.  A lot sooner.

That said, I am resolving to begin now.  I know plenty of crafty people who create the entire year and stash their future presents for gift-giving situations and it’s time for me to become one of them.

The second important note is: to create with variety.  Here I am speaking only about knitting, but that could translate into any of the other homemade things in which I dabble.  Christmas rewarded me with four volumes of knitting stitches that will help me — finally! — create my very own knitting pattern.  More than homemade, I love the possibility of being original, so I expect to get a lot of use from those books.  (Thanks, Mom!)

And the third, and final, craft-related resolution is to use that spinning wheel!  I’ve been so intimidated since my first attempts of making a giant mess of my roving, but over the last year I’ve seen such an improvement in my knitting, I expect that, too, just needs time and practice.  I can hear my friend Kathy right now: “Just fifteen minutes a day, Katie.”  It’s enough to practice but not enough to get angry about the errors.  I think that I should be able to spare that much!

Hopefully you’ve all recovered from any party-induced weariness by now and have written your own (small!) list of resolutions.  By announcing them to the world, I give my friends and family free license to nag me, all year, on the status of my resolutions.  I suggest you do the same!

Good-bye, 2012.  We learned a lot this year, whether it be about life and love or cumin and cables.  Looking forward to all the new information 2013 will bring!