Tag: yarn

Of Yarn and Photography

I took a furlough day the other day (ours are voluntary, this year at least, and only one day makes the damage to the paycheck manageable) and Sibling-the-Elder and I went to a yarn festival.

I was less than thrilled by the festival. I’d signed up for email notifications, arranged a hotel, all sorts of things. Upon arriving at the location of the festival I was told, in stringent tones, there was a $10 entry fee and they only accepted cash at the gate. (Please note–the entry fee was never mentioned in the emails, I went back and looked.) Okay, fine, point me to an ATM. There was one inside but they weren’t going to let me go in because people were cheats and liars and didn’t come back to pay the entry fee. Yes, that’s really what I was told. Nothing like being accused of being a cheat upon arrival. Finally, it was determined that another worker could walk me to/from the ATM. Considering that all I was getting for my really high entry fee was a walk through the vendors, I was disgruntled.

Once we achieved the vendors, who were sprawled out across a huge building in a seeming haphazard manner, I looked, but didn’t buy. Can you believe I was actually not in a mood to buy yarn? I was nearly shaken out of it when we reached a vendor selling Blue Moon Fiber Arts Yarns. BMFA is on the west coast and I’ve never been in a shop that carried it. (The Master Sergeant and I have discussed a west coast trip for fishing and BMFA reasons.) Tina, the BMFA color-mistress, came up with a cool process of infusing black and white with hints of color and I wanted some of those yarns. Only, the vendor was complaining that they’d had inadequate time to set up and refused to let me in the booth to those yarns. Four hours to set up the day before, and it was nearly noon when I got to the booth. Disgruntled was deteriorating into peevish.

Ultimately I bought one skein of yarn, some beautiful green wool from New Zealand. And truly, most of the vendors were lovely, but I felt really turned off overall.

When we adjourned to the outside, there was good Polish food!! Despite my braces having been freshly tightened, Sibling-the-Elder and I packed away blini, potato pancakes, sausage and applesauce and loads of sour cream.

And then we adjourned to out front of the community college–to take pictures.

Sibling-the-Elder is quite a photographer and it had been nearly ten years since she’d last done a full shoot of me. Usually being in different states, if not continents, tends to do that. Here are a few of the pictures, we took over 400 and edited heavily. The yarn is the one skein I acquired that day.

Kids Knitting, the update….

I know you were all frantically wondering how my kids knitting group was going. After today, I think you deserve an update.

Thoughts so far: it’s going to be a good crop. All of my kids from last session have returned and I’m trying to encourage them to think outside the garter stitch square. Three of the four “brand new knitters” from week 1 have really taken off. The other one hasn’t come back but might yet. It doesn’t seem to be a problem that I’m only teaching “intro” on the first week of the month and I haven’t had to say “No, I’m not teaching basic knit stitch” today. I’ve had to sort out some funky knitting and do some refreshing but nobody starting at ground zero.

Unexpectedly: It’s going to be a BIG crop. I had 15 kids today. 14 girls and one diligent boy (who is a heck of a knitter, I must say). And they’re active knitters. I’m highly encouraged by this. Knitting is good for math skills, creativity and, to paraphrase the Yarn Harlot, I’m passing to a new generation the ability to take sticks, string and your cleverness and create something useful.

Today: We had a slightly disastrous first round of pom poms. Suffice to say I just didn’t have enough stuff prepped. But they got the instructions and they got to see how to do it…and I promised we’d do it again next week. So next week don’t be surprised if there are a ridiculous number of pompoms emerging from the children’s department.

I told them about the Knit in Public Day, details of which are about to spread far and wide and will be reported here once Madame Director and I hammer out a few more things. In the interim…much to do and less time to do it in.

A Different Kind of Life

I made the mistake of explaining my current involvement in online social networking sites recently. The response from the adult in question, who has no problem shoving gaming down the collective throat, was that I obviously had no life. Forgive me if I snarkily disagree. It’s a more wired/screen focused type of life but it’s where I have developed a number of new close friendships and professional relationships and it has led to a number of IRL contacts.

I’m into my “adult” years (according to advertising categories). I’ve reached that point where friends aren’t as easily come by after relocation. I’m not currently in any coursework where I might go to coffee with classmates and while I have some awesome coworkers, even we need some time away from each other. I wouldn’t really consider myself an introvert but going to bars by myself has never particularly been my thing (and generally not that of most people I know) so I’ve moved more into meeting people in online communities. With such a wealth of people to be met through friends of friends and through hobbies, is it any wonder that many of us are doing the same?

Social networking has also allowed for regeneration of old friendships or to continue/supplement current or newer ones. Because of bizarre schedules and never knowing just what time zone the Brunette is in, I’m hesitant to call him when I usually think about him–which is usually between ten p.m. and midnight. It might be okay, or I might be interrupting the one night of sleep he really needs before an early morning in Florida. But when I see him in online chat we can catch up, in real time, without having to worry about interrupting each other. One of the editors I used to work for is in Alabama, which is a bit far for board game night, but we can Scramble our little hearts out on Facebook. And “old-fashioned” email is keeping me connected to a high school classmate currently deployed in Iraq.

I have friends all over the world who share my knitting and yarn fascination. It is to them I turn when I hit a snag in a project, need inspiration, or just feel like jumping into a debate that to pursuers of other hobbies, sounds amazingly trivial. Alongside the conversations comes notes about each others lives and it is incredibly difficult to separate yourself or to not care. We cheer each other on whether it be a knitting or other triumph and share sorrows and grief. When you are connected one way, it is easier to find other connections in life.

Such of course is not to devalue the new friends I do meet locally nor the friends I see only in person. Having face to face interaction is one of the best way I like to spend time with my friends. On a recent trip, I checked email once in four days, perfectly content to let the online world take care of itself while I immersed myself in the people I was with. While I probably missed a few things, as I would if I missed a night out with friends, I could browse through and catch up on details when I got back. So while it may not be a life some would espouse, it is a full and pretty rewarding one. And it means there’s usually someone up for a chat when the insomnia kicks in yet again.

About the Canada story….

There’s a story going around about how a knitting group has been ousted from a library.

Several people have passed this on to me as I happen to not only have a little yarn issue but I have a pretty healthy knitters group here at work. (And in the interest of full disclosure, we’re going on a four month break after today– we’re going to do scrapbooking for a few months. Knitting will resume in January.)

I have a feeling we’re not getting the full story. It’s unclear if the knitting was library sponsored or was an outside group using the space. The Yarn Harlot mentions in today’s post that this is a small branch open only part-time without a lot of programming space or staff. That is a very different space to try and coordinate as opposed to my children’s department, where we have several spaces we could use for programming and I’m fortunate enough to have the time to take ninety minutes out of my schedule to supervise a small group of attendees while other staff is available to help patrons find books/check things in and out/etc. I have a solid group of knitters but not a huge one and that can be both positive and negative in the eyes of those higher up or in the community.

It is always difficult to know what to cut, what to change and what to promote. Libraries have missions and mission statements, with a focus on literacy and information literacy. Most libraries have increasingly restricted budgets and sky-rocketing materials costs, with patrons who think they should never have to wait more than five minutes after a release date for the latest best-seller or block buster movie. It’s a delicate balance of buying copies to meet a need and spending all your money in one place. And trying to make space available to public groups while still having space/time for library programs is an even bigger headache.

I hope the library is successful in being able to create more literary focused programs and events that will appeal to their community. I hope the knitters step up and create a book group. I hope people understand this isn’t about hating a specific craft or punishing anyone but trying to meet their mission and the literacy and information needs of their community. And for that book club may I recommend:

Shall I Knit You a Hat?
by Kate Klise

and

Chicks with Sticks (Knit Two Together)
by Elizabeth Lenhard

and

At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee


to start?

(Stephanie even has audio books–they might be able to get together and listen to her read!)

In Which I Again Diet in the Yarn Sense

It was time for another yarn diet, she sadly realized, staring around her living room. For, gentle reader, the yarn had not only taken over a wall of the den where it was supposed to live but it was launching an unorganized invasion of the living room.

There was yarn in sorted boxes, which had been cataloged and organized and posted with full admission of stash to Ravelry. That yarn hadn’t even been touched since said posting because, well, it was sorted and who wants to mess up something already neatly tucked away. But in a heap was the yarn that followed her home from when her sister came to visit in the first week of April. The yarn that was supposed to have been knitted up promptly into baby gifts and sent out again. And in the purchase bags and tissue paper was the yarn from her last two trips to Chicago where she summarily hauled a patient friend in as she squeaked over the new colors and then returned only a couple of weeks later for just one more skein–or 10. On the coffee table lounged the gorgeous skeins from the online independent dealer who has such wonderful colorways. The cone of lace weight sat beside the laptop being ignored now that half of it had gone to live with AudioGirl. The newly started lace scarf and the drop stitch shawl that had to be finished for a rapidly approaching birthday flopped inelegantly beside the futon. Three pairs of mitts that just needed thumbs were scattered throughout the current projects basket, the new yarn, and everywhere else.

There were just so many colors and types of yarn and so much potential.

And she realized yet again she was compensating. As other girls bought clothes and magazines to fit in, she was buying yarn, looking to be just a little bit further into a “cool crowd.” Some would scoff at the notion of the use of knitting and cool in the same sentence but it was her sanity–that simple repetitive habit that created so many beautiful objects. Did she really need the latest sock yarn update? No…and she’d managed to stop buying a week or so before. But something more formal need to be negotiated with her stash.

Summer Reading was starting soon, could she make it to the end of that without yarn purchases? That would get her through the hottest part of the year without more wool warming up the apartment. It would keep her from binging on silk on days when she just couldn’t sing another round of Itsy Bitsy Spider. It might prevent the wholesale buying of pounds of dishcloth cotton (maybe). This sounded reasonable.

And how much would be her goal to knit up? For those babies were going to be born and grow whether the yarn get knitted or not–and she bought it with those babies in mind. But the goal for these summer months would be three pounds of yarn. That would at least get the equivalent of her last purchase out the door so her stash would stay at an “even” level. Sort of. Any more than that would just be deserving of a very large banana split–assuming she could find somewhere in small town USA that made most excellent banana splits. It would not get a yarn reward because, well…wasn’t the point to use up some of this yarn?

She would, however, start a spreadsheet of things that look yarntabulous to buy. At the end of the summer that could be revisited to see a) if still available in the color wanted b) do I really have a project in mind or just binge wool buying c) had I had a bit much of the sock yarn Koolaid. Considering she doesn’t at present knit or wear hand knit socks…..

In the week preceding up to summer reading kick off stash must be photographed and organized–the rest of it so that she could fully admit how much she owned. And projects needed to be ziplocked and prepared.

Oh…and the rest of life needed to be seen to also.