Monday, March 29, 2010

The Power of Community


One thing that I've been learning in my Christian walk the last few years, is the power of community and of continuity. I was in a triad study, just three of us, and since we were small, we could grow close and trust each other. As a result, powerful thing happened that wouldn't normally happen in a larger setting.

And then...there's knitting friends. Although I don't have anything like a knitting triad group, I do have my Friday afternoon group at my LYS, Silver Creek Cabin. I started going a few years ago and have been a little sporadic in attendance. When things heated up in my life, I went more often, needing to have just one place where there were no major crises. Of course there were always yarn crisis, but that's a different story.

The women have been very supportive. They have enabled me to knit my first sweater in a long time, followed by many more attempts. They have helped me in learning new things as I have also helped them. There's always food, laughter and a real down to earth group. We aren't pretentious or gossipy and don't require that you buy your yarn at the store. It's where I bought my first loom, borrowed a few wheels and started needle felting. They also come up with hilarious ideas. Like the time we had to dress up from the neck-up for Halloween (see pic below) or when the textile center had a Rowan exhibit, so we rented a limo and got champagne to go there. And then there are the summer things, such as the owner grilling us brats.

Last Friday, I brought my cardigan to work on. I had accidentally (of course, why would I do it on purpose) knit a sleeve on inside out. The only way to fix it was to rip and re-knit. I got it out, knowing that I couldn't tackle this on my own and alone. When I got to the point where I had knit up to what I had ripped, another lady cheered me on.

And so it occurred to me, that my LYS group was my support group for knitting. What had seemed at first to be a frivolous way to spend an afternoon when I could've been cleaning, has become something that I need to do to be sane. Where else would I go to get through the tricky things? To show off something new? To ask about a pattern or a color of yarn? Sure there are online places, but it pales in comparison to real live cheers and smiles. I am fortunate to have found a place where everyone truly does know my name, and they are glad that I came.

I sometimes wonder what makes our group so special. It is made up of:
  • The shop owner - who runs around ragged sometimes while we're there and never gets to work on her own stuff.
  • G - who knits a sweater every time you turn around and always leaves early to let her dog out.
  • A - who knits a sweater a week and always wears one. Who is the go to person for our knitting problems.
  • Jn - who is a newer knitting and whose 2nd project was socks. She is undaunted and she is fun. And can often be found busy doing something, probably gardening.
  • D - who sometimes fills in for the owner. Who is very sensible and put together.
  • Jnc - Who is true and caring, whose son we knit helmet liners for when he went overseas to Iraq. Whose wheel I currently have borrowed.
  • N - Whose humor makes us almost roll on the floor. Who is not afraid to laugh at her quirks, and not offended when we laugh as well.
And so many more personalities. We are very different in about every way; age, lifestyle, income level, skill level, but when we sit around the table, we are equals, we are friends.

What can be done when a group of fiber enthusiasts get together, is often greater than what one can do on their own. For many years, I had knit "in the dark" on my own, following my own tune. But without the honing of others, I would not be who I am today. I am now "in the light" wth the support of those who understand fiber. Just another aspect that knitting and Christianity have in common.

May everyone who reads this be as lucky as I am to have such a group of supportive crafters. And may they always be a friendly group to cheer each other on- through crafting and life.


From my LYS Halloween party, 2008. She won something.

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I thought it was interesting last night that since I didn't advertise my blog post giveaway, my responses went down a bit. But oh well, if people don't want to read, then that's the way that it goes. Thank you dear readers for reading and posting! It was great to hear from you all, and many of you are crocheters as well. Kudos to you hookers!

The RNG has picked #4, so Andrea - send me your info so I can get the book out to you. Congratulations!

For this week's giveaway, I'm going to put together a little surprise love package from my LYS. A few gifty things that are in the shop, some may be unique to it.

In order to enter for this prize, please reply to this post by Saturday March 20th midnight, CST. I will use a RNG to pick a reply at random. You are welcome to reply more than once, but only your first reply will be entered. Good luck, and have a fun fiber week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Where it All Started


My mind is a bit blank on topics, perhaps it's all those ideas that were bouncing around in my head the last two weeks. We still remain RV-less and on firm ground. The dream is getting farther away, but I still am simplifying my life. But I thought, why not tell the story of how I learned to knit?

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I grew up in the country where you could barely see the lights of your neighbor's house, and my closest friend on the street was about a 5 minute walk away on a dirt road. Of course walking to school was uphill, but only one way. My siblings and I had to find ways to entertain ourselves. I was the last of them, and 6 years apart so I was sometimes bored and watched a lot of TV.

One of my favorite cartoons was the Flintstones. Wilma often got out her needles and some birds and knit things. "Knit one, purl two, boys," she said to the birds or something like that. So I thought that it looked like fun. I had already learned to chain skeins and skeins of yarn into pretty braids, undo them and chain them again. Why not knit?

We also had a closet that was stuffed with fun things. Sort of like the treasures you'd find in the attic. Past the boxes of things we used regularly, I struck gold. A bag of yarn, needles and a couple of how to books! I brought them to my mom, wanting her to show me how to do it.

"I don't remember how to do that stuff," she said.

I was crushed. How was I going to learn? So I studied the half finished objects that were in the bag and took them apart, trying to figure it out. Finally, I sat down with the two how-to books and taught myself how. Pretty soon, I was churning out essential things for a pre-teenage girl; baby sets, acrylic mittens, acrylic washcloths and was thrilled.

Once the word was out that I was knitting, I got yarn! Bags and bags of colorfully, tightly balled acrylic. Oh, the joy! What nice people they were to give me all of that nice, nice, yarn. What a fun word knitting was. I found something that I could sit and do, to stave off boredom and when the girl down the road didn't want to play with me. It was bliss.

Years later, I was watching an Elizabeth Zimmerman DVD. She said something like, "some people wrap the yarn around the wrong way and twist their stitches." My mouth hung open. I did that! I had taught myself to be a twisted knitter. I promptly mended my ways and found that knitting wasn't as hard as I had made it out to be.

Thank you, Wilma Flintstone and Elizabeth Zimmerman. You made a real difference in my life.

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Thank you for all the posts from last week! I so enjoy reading them. I ran the RNG and it picked #5...so Cinnamoon send me your addy - you've won!

For this week's giveaway, I am giving a copy of one of my favorite books, America Knits. Originally published under the title, "Knitting in America," I picked up this book as one of my first non-garage sale knitting books and it gave me many dreams. Although I've never knit anything from it, I treasure this book.


In order to enter for this prize, please reply to this post with whatever you wish. I am doing something different this week, and not advertising my giveaway. Post your reply by Saturday March 20th midnight, CST. I will use a RNG to pick a reply at random. You are welcome to reply more than once, but only your first reply will be entered. Good luck, and have a fun fiber week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Casting About


So last week I was ready to hop in an RV. Today I'm feeling more adrift, like on water. I think there's a theme here - movement, travel, new places, new things, new experiences. Go, go, go!!

And yet here I sit, landlocked and not traveling, adrift; idling and just...here. Could this be because of cabin fever? Depression? Hormone changes? Too much sugar? Who knows. What I do know, is that I feel as if I'm casting about for something but I'm not sure what that is. Which is a stupid image.

Envision this: someone goes fishing but has no idea what they are going to catch. All they know is, they must go out and try this thing called fishing. They gather tools for it as they can, and try some different baits. They do catch some fish, but none are keepers. For a little while, the fishing is fun and good, but then it pales and the person tries another tactic. What the person is missing, is a goal.

And as I type this, I'm just watching what my fingers are typing because this isn't at all what I was going to say this week. I'm actually pretty amazed that the last couple paragraphs were in me; and that what I am seeking for is so clear. I need a goal. But casting about for a goal can be just as hard. What is needed is some time to think and write some more, off the blog. I'll spare you all the grizzly details and continue on with a kinda fibery blog post.

Anyway. There have been some fun developments lately:

  • Spring has finally come to Minnesota! We have had a string of days that are above freezing
  • My mother-in-law found me a fleece or two for free
  • I now have another borrowed wheel
  • I am about 1/3 the way done with cleaning my craft room
While I've been spinning, I've had this strange idea. What if I could hook up an exercise bike to a spinning wheel? While I peddle away, I could sit back and draft the yarn onto the spindle. Of course the ratio of the bike wheel to the whorl would need some adjustment, but think of the benefits! Exercise and freshly spun yarn in one. This would actually make me want to exercise more. Why has no one invented one yet?

My husband also had a great idea. Why not equip the wheel of the spinning wheel with blades - and make it into a fan as well as a yarn maker? Brilliant.

I think it's time for the spinning wheels of the world to become multi taskers and modern. We are (or at least I am) a modern spinner and I demand more than just making yarn for my money.

How long do you think it will take the wheel makers to catch on?

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I so enjoyed reading all of the responses last week. I love dreaming and hearing of others dreams. So readers - when are you going to make those dreams come true? Is today the day that you step forward? I hope that it may be so.

As for the winner, I have run the RNG and it has chosen #18- my neighbor kjgon of whom I am going to lunch with this week. She already has a club, so I will extend it for her.

For this week, I am giving away something that can be used in two ways - it's a yarn that multi tasks! Plymouth Yarn Happy Choices in color 5. This is sock yarn that comes in a scarf that has been dyed. You can wear it as a scarf or knit it into socks or whatever you choose.

In order to enter for this prize, please reply to this post and tell me of a crazy idea that you've had - fibery or otherwise. Post your reply by Saturday March 19th midnight, CST. I will use a RNG to pick a reply at random. You are welcome to reply more than once, but only your first reply will be entered. Good luck, and have a fun fiber week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

That Won't Fit in the RV

Oh no...did I do a Rip Van Winkle? Were you all waiting for me to wake up? So sorry, I must have snoozed past my alarm. Okay, seriously, I have been tired this week and haven't had time to blog. If I don't do it Sunday, it's hard to get back on track. I'll try not to make it a habit. Now, we roll.

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Lately, I've been dreaming. Dreaming of something other than what my life is right now; traveling to different places, having a clean and organized home, house swapping, learning to cook Greek, foster care, spinning wheels, the list is endless. What I have been dreaming up is a new lifestyle.

Imagine this. We (my husband and I) clean up our home, sell it, then buy a great RV and travel the country. This could work! Because he works at home, he doesn't need to be any one place. At the end of the year of rambling around, we come home, buy a plot of land, continue living in our RV until we have a house built. Brilliant! My husband wasn't so excited. But, the dream lives on.

As I clean my craft room out this month (I need a forklift and a hazmat suit), I have a new mantra: "That won't fit in the RV." If I don't care enough to smoosh it into cabinets into my imaginary RV and travel around with it for a year, it's gone. So long. I now have 5 bags of yarn that are waving their little wooly ends good-bye. And I haven't even started on the other side of the room, or the closet. Yikes! I could fill an RV and call it my craft room (which isn't a bad idea, hmmm).

Where has all this stuff come from? I think that there's a clutter monster that comes into my house at night, throwing around my stuff and adding things in places that I won't find out about until I declutter. I want a simpler life, and a simpler craft life. I love going yarn and fiber shopping. So why deny the pleasure? If I can get rid of what I don't need, then when I want to make something new, I go buy the yarn or fiber! No cluttered craft room and worrying about moths.

Wish me luck.

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My giveaway this week is for something a little strange. I've started a little club on my etsy shop, for the stuff that I'm getting rid of out of Rosalind's Surprise Stash Cull of the Month Club.

Each month, you will receive at least a gallon ziplock bag of Fiber & craft items which will include:
- At least 1 full skein of Yarn Shop quality yarn
- Possibly other yarns; partials, other LYS and Big Store yarns, mystery yarns, fiber
- At least one notion or fiber goodie
- Other craft items as desired
- Surprises that I think you will like

If you're already part of the club, I'll extend it for you another month.

In order to enter for this prize, please reply to this post and tell me what you are or have been dreaming about - fiber or otherwise. Post your reply by Sunday March 14th midnight, CST. I will use a RNG to pick a reply at random. You are welcome to reply more than once, but only your first reply will be entered. Good luck, and have a fun fiber week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sleep Before Posting

What? Today is Monday and there wasn't an update yesterday? For shame. I bet the lot of you were up late, refreshing your screens to see when my next update would be.

Ok. Seriously now, I was away for the weekend. My plan was to post after putting hubby to bed. But I fell asleep! I will do my regular posting tonight.

And to not keep you in suspense for our last week's winner of the lovely sock yarn, I have run the RNG! It has picked #12.

Kozmic - come on down! You've won the sock yarn. Thank you to everyone for posting! I've so enjoyed learning about your knitting places.

See y'all tonight.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

These Needles Have Moved

Wondering where the posts have gone? I've started a fresh new blog called Needles Norman. Every once in awhile it's nice to start something new and fresh. Since my crafting trends have changed, thought it was time to do this.

Sundays I post a regular post, with a Weds short. I have a giveaway every week as well. Come join the fun!

This blog may be archived in a little while. So please bookmark and/or become a follower of the new one.