Thursday, April 26, 2007

Knitting from Necessity and a Sale

The last few days I've found myself knitting from necessity. It all started when I had to run to the post office, just quick and it was late, and I was tired, and so I didn't put Layla in her kennel. Layla love, love, loves her kennel. Layla is a strange dog in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is she suffers from what is known as "separation anxiety", in lay terms she freaks out when left alone, unless she's in her kennel. I literally wasn't gone at the post office for more than 15 minutes. When I got home Layla snaked out of the bedroom to meet me at the door with the gnarled remains of my wallet. So after I called the credit card companies and the bank to request new cards (yeah, you should heard the costumer service reps responses when I said "my dog ate it, no seriously") I knit myself a new wallet. Yesterday when I went to the Post Office, I put Layla in her kennel, and the Post Mistress complimented my new wallet.

Meanwhile, the clutch went out on my VW, and so it was in the shop, and I was sans motorized vehicle. No big deal really. I live in a neighborhood where I can walk places and I have nice bike. The trouble didn't arise until I went to Yoga and couldn't quite manage carrying the yoga mat on the bike. So I left the mat at home, rented one for the day, and started working on a pattern for a yoga mat bag that I can fling over my back next time I want to ride the bike to yoga. I've frogged the bag in progress 3 times to make changes. I'm currently closing in on what I think will be the final design. I hope to finish it this weekend at Camp.

Yup, we're taking the wonder pups to Camp. The Lee Mannix Center for Canine Behaviour puts on the camp for dogs and their people every year. We'll take over a resort on the Blanco River. There'll be Agility, Lure Coursing, Tracking, and Swimming Lessons. I've got a bet with the trainer that they won't be able to teach The Mike to swim. I hope I lose, I'd like The Mike to swim.

On a final note, I'm having a sale in my Esty shop. I've marked down a lot of the wintry woolly items by 20% or more. I will continue to clear out the wintry stuff as I add some of the summer knits I've been working on, including the yoga mat bag. So if you feel like it grab yourself a bargain.

Progress report on the blanket - 3 squares finished 60 to go.

Monday, April 16, 2007

TA-DA! Finished

Ok so I finally got my WIP pile whipped into shape, so to speak. All the fulled bags waiting for embellishment were finished and sent on their way. The One Skein Stash Bag is officially a finished object.
I really loved knitting this one, and she truly was a stash buster. I used two colors of Tahki Cotton Classic, Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, Mission 1828 Cotton, and Elsebeth Lavold Cotton Patine. Phew!

I also finally did the last bits to the ribbon scarf.
What I love about it: It's brown. That's actually why I bought this skein, the colors. It's a soft light grayish brown, with hints of pink and green. I also love how the drop stitches make it drapey. What I don't love: The yarn content is 50% cotton and 50% nylon. I was truly a sucker for the color on this one.

Objects off the needles... No more work in progress wreck... right? wrong! I couldn't stop myself in the meantime from casting on some new projects. I started the Tank top from One Skein, but quickly got impatient with the row after row of stockinette.

So I started knitting squares for a blanket. It's a good exercise really, I can do a variety of stitches in a variety of odd ball yarns which is a perfect monotony buster. And because I want my blanket to be at least 4 feet wide and just over 5 feet long I need to make 63 squares. In other words this little project will be on the needles for some time.

I also started the Child's Vest in the Knitting for Peace Book. I started the stripe pattern using a three balls of Cascade 220, a heathered blue, a heathered orange, and gray. About half way through, it dawned on my that it looked "red, white, and blue" and the thought of some poor child running around Afghanistan in "red, white and blue" stripes made my stomach hurt a little. So I frogged it, and started again in just the blue and gray. Very Dapper.

So much for finishing. I guess I'm not that a-typical of a knitter after all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Space of Your Own

As I've been in the process of moving I've been thinking a lot about home, and setting up the space were we live. As crafters, artists, and folks who work from home I believe these are especially important considerations and that it's key to have a space of your own - a functional and pleasing space designated for and designed to accommodate your specific needs.

It seems like it would be an obvious thing when settling into the place where you live that you would spend some time thinking about how you actually live and create an environment suited specifically for yourself and the people you live with. What are the things you do in your daily life? What restraints do you have? Do you have guests, do you feed them, and do they stay the night? Do you prefer to eat your meals at a table with family, or standing at the kitchen sink gazing out the window? It would seem that the answers to these sorts of questions would determine how we create our homes, although I suspect that too often people don't consider their own lifestyles and instead abide by a set of assumptions like "couch in front of TV, table in kitchen, and clothes in closet".

While knee deep in the physical nature of moving I've focused a lot of my mental attention to just those sorts of questions and considerations. One thing was clear as day - I needed a "craft room". It can go by many names; office, studio, craft room, crap room. And it can take on many arrangements. The point is to have a space, some area of your living environment that is devoted to and fully functional for what you do. While the whole house is reaping the benefits of this meditation, my craft room, I feel has benefited the most.

There are several reasons why you should designate a part of your home specifically for your crafting: The first applies most specifically to the folks, like myself, that work from home - having a space where you do most of your work helps in making that mental transition from taking a break to play with the dogs to getting your work done and that work has value even though you're still in the company of the dogs. Another reason to have an area devoted to your craft is the stuff, the stash. The word "stash" implies a hiding place, a secret stash. And for some of us crafters our space is just exactly that - a place to hide our mess. For me personally I want my stash stashed from the rest of the world but available to me for inspiration. On any given day I fondly a lot of yarn, and glance at lots of books, and it's important to have those books and that yarn handy.

Depending on where you live, and your budget, and how many people you live with, your space can take on any number of arrangements. I'm lucky in that I have an extra bedroom to make my own, and the only thing I have to share this space with is a futon for overnight guests, which we have fairly frequently. My craft room serves and functions in all the ways our lifestyle needs it to. You may have the luxury of an entire studio outside your house. Or you may be limited to a dresser full of yarn and a favorite chair with perfect light. Whatever the limitations and opportunities the point is to make a space that works for you and the way you live.

I've mostly settled into my new home and my craft room. I've got a desk for the computer as I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet blogging and maintaining my ETSY shops. I've got an old kitchen table where I can set up the sewing machine or the swift and ball winder. I've got good light. I've got a dog bed in the corner because the dogs tend to want to be near me, lucky me. I've got the necessary futon for those overnight guests. I've painted the walls a color that soothes me (two colors actually, divided by a chair rail). And most importantly I am filling the space with things that inspire and delight me - my orchids (which are blooming), art I love, books I read, curtains I'll sew (nothing says home like curtains you sew yourself), and of course my stash.

Do yourself a favor spend some time thinking about where you live, and how you live, and apply some creativity to making your space, whatever space you have, a space of your own.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Welcoming Myself Home

Long time, no post, I know. Haven't been knitting either. I've been moving into my new home. The move was anything but smooth - the sellers hadn't actually moved out, the moving truck full of our stuff went to a warehouse in Pflugerville, and we slept on yoga mats on the floor. But in time the furniture was delivered, Mark the fence guy built our fence, the fridge arrived and I filled it with food, and the sellers got the rest of their crap out.

So despite the fact that my stash looks like this ...

And my work space looks like this...

I feel like I'm actually winning the battle of the boxes, and I have painted all but the trim in what will be my craft room (more on that in future post). So I'm back on the blog and back on the needles.

Last night I heaved a sigh of exhaustion, mixed myself a drink, cast on, and sat knitting in a chair. I've started the Tank Top in One Skein. I'm knitting it with Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. I'm expecting it to be lovely and drapey and soft. It's also orange.
More progress photos will be posted to soon.

I have to say that despite the unfinished projects, and the maze of boxes, while I sat knitting the house really did feel like home. I felt comfortable, and calm. I was able to enjoy the progress made and not feel freaked out that I was knitting instead of a zillion other things on the list. It felt good, damn good.