Archive for February, 2015

A delicious eggplant purple!

A delicious eggplant purple!

Well. Let me tell you, those turban headbands were a hit. Seriously. I made the one for myself – which was actually a bit too large, as I’ve discovered – and the girls each demanded their own. First, I made another white one for Bryony, which also came out a little large for her little head, but she loved it. Then I bought the hot pink and teal blue to make more headbands for them. The hot pink for Aneira took another two days, because I had to intersperse knitting during my breaks from studying (if you suffer from insomnia, pick up textbooks on pharmacology and surgical nursing. You’ll be immediately cured, I promise you). I made hers a touch smaller, and also upped the ribbing from a 2-1 rib to a 2-2, and it worked out beautifully. The teal blue for Bryony was a slightly thinner yarn, calling for size 11 needles as opposed to the size 13s I needed for my and Aneira’s headbands. I upgraded hers to a 2-2 rib and made it smaller also, and haven’t laid eyes on the white one since. Every time that kid walks out the door, I get a hug and a “Thank you for my hair thingie, Mama!” Big hits. I didn’t even get pictures of them before they were snatched by the children! And while I’d love to post pictures of the girls wearing them, I won’t. As I said, way back when I began this blog, this forum is far too public, and I won’t expose my children on it. Far too many predators out there, and they don’t need to see my kids. So I’ll try to snag the headbands back again for pictures. This may take some time.

I’ve finally started on the purple one for myself, once again only able to knit when I’m away from the books, which isn’t often, so I haven’t gotten very far, as you can see from the picture. The purple yarn calls for the size 13 needles, but, well, I didn’t realize that when I started it – because I forgot to look – so I’m doing it on the 11s as a 2-2 rib. The only real difference between the 13s and the 11s is that it’s a tighter knit, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Purple is my favorite color, and this is a deep eggplant shade that I love. I can’t wait to be done with it so I can see how it looks. I’ll take any shade of purple I can get hold of, but the deep, dark amethyst is by far the one I love most, while pastel purple is the one I like least. Pastels in any shade are nauseating for me, at least in terms of any adult using them. I’m not even thrilled to see kids in pastels. You have no idea how sick of pastel pink I was by the time my girls were out of baby clothes. Never have I been so happy to see clothes in other colors.

While the headbands made the grade, on the study front, I did not. Veterinary technology classes are considerably harder than veterinary assistant classes. In the space of a week, my grade has dropped from an A to a C, and I am supremely unhappy with myself for that. I don’t want to just skate into graduation by the skin of my teeth. I want to do this right, otherwise, what’s the point? To that end, I’ve already signed up for tutoring. I’m determined to get it right, one way or another. As I told the hubby last night, I never had a Plan B. This is it. It’s also not as though I’m still in my twenties, with plenty of time to pussyfoot around what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m closer to fifty than I am to forty now, and that has an effect on the landscape. So I either do it badly or I do it well, but it’s getting done either way. If I really work at it and still don’t do better than a C, well, then, at least I passed. The grading system in this field is a little different than normal, though, and my grades aren’t as low as a normal C. A C here starts at 77% and goes up to an 84%, which would be a B anywhere else. So it’s some consolation. A B is 85 – 92 I think, and an A is 93 and better.

Time to get back to the books now…break’s over. See you soon!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Read Full Post »

Weekend project time!

Weekend project time!

We’re expecting 16 inches of snow to drop on us this weekend. It’s nothing in comparison to the northeastern states and Canada – holy cow! – but generally that means lots of closures in Colorado. I used to regard this fact with some measure of disbelief. After all, in New York, if it wasn’t over two feet deep, almost nothing closed. You could be late to work, but you were still expected to be there, so the first time Aneira’s school closed down here, I was shocked, because there was less than two inches of snow on the ground. Why on earth were they closing?

It took me a couple of years, but I think I’ve figured it out: every single road here has curves or grades. Every. Single. Road. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Picture driving that. I can’t speak for the private schools, but the public schools in my area do not bus, so you’re driving your kids to school and back every day. Just doing that accounts for four trips in the vehicle per day, not including whatever else you have to do. Granted, they’re short hops, but the statistics say that most accidents occur close to home, so that’s four opportunities to wreck your vehicle, not to mention yourself. Then factor in teenaged drivers, cocky with owning their first car. Then factor in other people who shouldn’t be driving: those elderly people who haven’t yet come to the realization that their eyesight isn’t quite good enough anymore, drunks, stoners driving high…add all that up together with curvy roads, or hilly ones. Yeah, I’m thinking staying off the street is a very shiny idea! Sure, there are people who are very capable of driving in bad weather, who know to slow down, how to avoid locking up the brakes, who drive defensively at all times…and then there are those others. Even the best drivers can’t always avoid an accident.

That being said, before things hit the nasty point today, we had errands to run, one of which was for some thick yarn to keep me busy the rest of the weekend after homework is done. Once the girls saw my turban headband, there was no end to the clamoring for me to make one for each of them. I used some of the remaining white yarn to make one for Bryony already, and started another one for Aneira. Then I made a realization: if they both have headbands in the same color, the arguments would be epic. New plan needed. Thus, I went off to Michael’s and Jo Ann Fabric for some hot pink yarn for Aneira, teal blue for Bryony, and purple, of course, for me. This oughta keep me happy for the weekend!

Now that thicker yarns are finally on my radar, I foresee buying more of them. They’re fun for short projects like the headbands, and look just as pretty as fingering and sock yarn. I had a very hard time today, keeping it down to three skeins of yarn, but I had limited myself to spending only a certain amount, and there were a few there that, though I wanted them badly, one skein alone was two-thirds of my budget! There was a skein of a deep, dark purple, with something sparkly all through it, and it was gorgeous, but it would have cost too much today, so I very sadly bid it adieu, at least for now. Thankfully, the BPD wasn’t acting up today, so no manic phase, where I wouldn’t have had a budget, and would have spent every dime I had.

One of the nice things about picking up a craft, any craft, is that it forces you to learn patience. We live in such an instant gratification, disposable world now. Learning something like fiber arts, or pottery, or stained glass or anything else, really does force patience upon you. You envision a knitted scarf in your mind. It’s gorgeous, and you want it now. Well, you’ve got two choices. You can knit what you see in your head, but it’s going to take you a few days to do it because you can’t sit and knit all day. There are kids to take to and from school, homework to help with, meals to cook, laundry to wash, whatever. Or, if you really want it now, you can go buy a scarf at the store, but it won’t be the one pictured in your mind. It certainly won’t be one of a kind!

Can you imagine what life must have been like during the medieval era for instance, when your life and your clothing depended on your own skills? You raise the sheep to shear the wool to spin into yarn to weave into cloth to make a dress. Or you went hunting a boar in the woods and took the chance that he would skewer you while you were trying to do the same to him, so you could bring him back to dress and cook and have meals for a couple of days. I wonder what they would think of our world? “You want a woolen dress? Well, there are thirty or more variations available in as many different stores, in all colors and sizes and prices – choose a place and let’s go get it. You don’t have cash? Hey, that’s all right, just use your trusty credit card. While we’re out, let’s pick up a pork roast at the store. We can take it home, toss it in the microwave because it’s pre-cooked, and have lunch within ten minutes.” Really, what would they think? How would the quality of our clothes, our food, our things, hold up to their opinions? How would they feel about the differences between our worlds? I weave and spin and knit because I enjoy it; for them it was survival. If you didn’t hunt, you didn’t eat. If you didn’t weave, you weren’t clothed. It’s an entirely different perspective. I can’t imagine they would really approve once the novelty wore off. We throw away everything, up to and including marriage. We have instant gratification in just about everything. We have instant mashed  potatoes, for crying out loud. Just add water, butter, and milk, stir, and voila!

My mom never made food out of a box, with the exception of cake mix. She made meals from scratch. We begged for Chef Boyardee to no avail, but the only way we were getting that was by visiting our friends whose parents were more agreeable. I realized before I moved out on my own, though, that Chef Boyardee and others were all garbage food. Now, in adulthood, I’ve yet to hear anyone complain that I made potato salad rather than buying it at the deli counter. No one prefers Prego over my homemade spaghetti sauce. Every member of my family would rather cultivate patience and wait for what I cook than eat pre-packaged food. Okay, there are exceptions. I haven’t yet convinced them that baked macaroni and cheese is better than that Velveeta boxed crap any day of the week!

But anyway, the point is that I think learning how to do things for yourself makes you patient by default. It’s not always going to work, of course, because sometimes you do want it right now, and we do live in a world where it’s possible to get it right now. Ah, but how much better do you feel when you’ve done it yourself? It took you longer, but I’d bet anything that the quality of what you made far exceeds the quality of the one in the store.

I also think that the more self-sufficient you are, the better off you’ll be in the long run, and when the opportunity comes up to learn to make something new and functional, I always want to try it. There are things I still want to learn: candle making, soap making, canning…and if I do, if the apocalypse does come, I’ll be able to provide better for my family, by the ability to give them blankets and clothing, to give them light and a way to keep clean, to store food, and I’d even be able to barter those skills to those that don’t have them. It’s a crazy way to think, isn’t it? But the world wasn’t always industrialized to the extent that it is today, and there’s always the chance that it won’t be again. We thought it would happen once before; remember Y2K?

So far I’ve only tackled small things like scarves, belts, placemats, crocheted blankets, hats…one of these days, I’m going to tackle a sweater, just to see if I can. I’ve developed enough patience now that I know I can finish a project. My only unfinished projects now are the ones I’ve had to frog several times just as I get into a groove. But I’ll go back to them…just not this weekend. This snowy weekend, my skills belong to my girls and the headbands they want!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

I did it!!

I did it!!

Wow! I did it! It took me only a few hours with some big, chunky, thick yarn, and, as promised, used up less than half a skein! I did it!

There were more than a few mistakes along the way, I must admit. Among them, forgetting how to do a cable stitch, for one. That accounted for about three unknit-reknit sessions all by itself, and I am very slow. And my faux-grafted seam could be better…lots better. But it was only my first time, so I think it looks pretty good, and also that I’ll make more! After all, the kids need a way to keep their ears warm too, and they would look so cute in these in some bright primary colors. Aneira, of course, will insist on pink.

I’m so proud of myself right now, I could do a Snoopy dance, but it’s nearly one in the morning, and my studio is directly above Aneira’s bedroom, so I think I’ll refrain. But I did it!!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

I know I just left here. I know I just posted. But I have to say this, because it is so. Gorram. Irritating.

I just went to cast on the stitches for the turban headband, okay? And the only end I can find for the yarn is the outside end, which means that, should you use it, the skein is rolling around all over the place. Also irritating. Why is it so difficult for yarn companies to leave the end hanging out where it can be found???

Seriously! Nothing is more annoying than having to pull out the entire center of a skein of yarn just to find the end you need, when it’s so simple to just leave it hanging out in the first place. I’m really not in the mood to pull out the yarn ball winder to create my own center-pull skein. I just wanted to sit down and knit while watching mini-me play her video game. Now I’m not even sure I want to knit, just because I don’t feel like rewinding an entire ball of yarn. Gah!

Okay, rant over, at least temporarily. Please return to your regularly scheduled program.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

Size 13 needles and Lion Brand Thick & Quick yarn

Size 13 needles and Lion Brand Thick & Quick yarn

That seems to be my theme for this week. School has restarted; I’m now on part two of the journey to becoming a veterinary technician. That means I’m doing the last forty weeks, give or take, of my degree. It also means that life just got ten times harder. The first two courses I’ve landed in are surgical nursing and pharmacology, and I’m floundering already. I foresee a lot – and I mean a lot – of time spent with a tutor! But I really need to do this, so I’m going to do it. I have no desire to be on disability for the rest of my life; neither do I want to go back to work if the job is one that doesn’t make me happy. There are enough people out there who hate their jobs. I don’t intend to be one of them. I may never get rich, being a veterinary technician, but I’ll love going to work.

The other new thing I’m doing is knitting a turban-type headband, which is an item I saw on another blog, Confessions of a Yarnho, and pretty much begged for the pattern. GG had a giggle at my expense – I wasn’t kidding, I really did beg – and sent me the link to the pattern, which ultimately put me on Jenni Hodges’ blog, Spicy Life. It looks like a quick pattern that even I, novice knitter that I am, can handle. So I’m giving it a shot. Even though I’m a novice, I’ve come a long way from sitting next to my mom knitting the garter stitch that bored me to tears. Now, at least, I know how to read the instructions!

The pattern calls for really chunky thick yarn, and huge needles – size 13 – so I had to go out and not only buy yarn, but new needles for this one. Yeah, big hardship there. I’ve never really knit with thick yarn before. I have an ongoing love affair with fingering and sock yarns, so I’m very thankful that Jenni was very specific about the yarn she used, so I could follow her pattern! Otherwise, I’d probably still be standing in the store, wondering what to use. Just like in cooking, the first time you try something, you follow the recipe. Only after you’ve done it right with the recipe a couple of times can you start tweaking it and adding and subtracting things to make it your own! So I got the yarn, and a pair of Boye size 13 needles. I didn’t even have to look at my needle collection to know that I didn’t have anything near that size. See love affair above.

This is the best time for me to give this a shot, too. Hubby is off at an appointment of his own, the dogs are lazing around in their favorite spots, Aneira is still at school, and Bryony is totally wrapped up in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean on the Playstation. When better? Wish me luck!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

That’s me. Always have been, always will be. You can take the girl out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the girl. More than that, I am a Long Island girl (and no, it is not pronounced “lawn GUYland”, contrary to popular belief). As we begin planning to move once again, and not to New York, I am realizing now how special and unique my home state is, especially Long Island. Once upon a time, I couldn’t wait to get out of there, and I left just as soon as I could, running across the country to Arizona, where I thought I needed to be, only to discover that 1 – the world outside of New York was entirely different to the world I knew, and 2 – once you’ve left her, it’s nearly impossible to go back. Note: I did not say totally impossible, just nearly so. I have known others who have managed to go back.

There was a woman I went to school with in Arizona, who had done a study on people who have been uprooted – voluntarily or not – from their home states, and what she found was that of all of those people, the ones from New York and Oregon are the ones who are the most rabidly loyal to their home states. I believe her, because I am one of them. More to the point, I am loyal to Long Island. I haven’t lived there since 1996, and am not a big sports fan, but if you asked me who I root for, it’s the NY Islanders, the NY Jets, and the NY Mets. I don’t care how well the teams are doing, or not. They are all affiliated with Long Island, therefore they are my teams (Yes, even the Mets. Queens is on Long Island, folks, whether you like to admit it or not. If Long Island sank into the sea, Brooklyn and Queens would be lost too). And the first things I look for wherever I live are good pizza, Nathan’s hot dogs, a Sprout’s market for my Boar’s Head deli meats, and a good bagel spot. I have given up on a good delicatessen. Sorry, but chain delis like Schlotsky’s and Jason’s, or sandwich shops like Subway simply do not cut it. If you’re making a pastrami on rye, you don’t nuke the pastrami, for starters.

Food isn’t the only thing I miss. I miss the diversity and the culture, the availability of transportation at almost any time, and no, the city really doesn’t ever sleep!

Long Island does, but it, too, has its uniqueness. Sleepy little hamlets, playgrounds for the rich, farms, a reservation, beaches all around. We gave the world Billy Joel, Steve Buscemi, Billy Crystal, and the Baldwin boys: Alec, William, Stephen, and Daniel. And I’ve never seen such close-knit communities anywhere outside of LI. While many of us left NY upon graduating high school or college, just as many of us stayed, some still in the homes they’d grown up in, sending their children to the same schools we attended, where some of the teachers still remain, thirty-some-odd years later. When I left, I thought of it as stagnation, but I see it very differently now.

LI is populous enough that town boundaries amuse me. One side of the street could be one town, while the other side of the street is another. And though there were several thousand people in town, we all knew each other on some level, even those kids that never attended the same school, and many of us across town boundaries. I didn’t realize until I left how unique that was. The places I lived since then, it was lucky if you knew your immediate neighbors, never mind the rest of the town.

The one thing I apparently never mastered was the attitude. My mother always told me I was too nice for New York. I never had the in-your-face, take-no-prisoners personality that is known as the NY attitude, and I always envied those who did. Maybe with strangers whose opinions I cared nothing about, but if you were even an acquaintance, I was likely to put up with more from you than I should, and I’m still that way. Hard for me to draw a line in the sand and say “I’m done!” I’m trying, though, and all of my other New York survival skills are honed just fine, thanks!

Speaking of which, I discovered that fact when I went back three years ago for the first time in fifteen years. It was automatic to put my purse cross-body under my jacket, meet no-one’s eyes as I walked, and to walk quickly.It was like riding a bike, yet still a surprise that I fell back into old habits so easily, without much thought, even after such a long absence. These habits weren’t practiced at all, in either Arizona or Colorado. Not that both places don’t have their dangerous areas, but in both states, none of their cities resemble cities as I know them. To me, they resemble suburbs, where I never felt the need to use concrete jungle survival skills. You never see the crowds of people on the street in Tucson or Colorado Springs that you see in Manhattan.

As a side, humorous note, I would like to add – for people who have never been there and only seen movies – when you see high-speed car chases down New York City streets? Know that these could never happen. Never. Never. The streets are far too congested for them, at all hours. Better at night, of course, but still. And not all of New York is NYC. In fact, in geographical terms, NYC consists of only a very small part of the entire state, even when you include the outlying boroughs. Don’t forget the Adirondacks and the Catskills, which are beautiful (and much older, gentler mountains than the western ones); or Niagara Falls. Upstate New York is gorgeous, and has many rural areas.

Yes, I am a New Yorker. I may never live there again, that’s true, and may not have the stereotypical attitude, but I will always be proud to say that I am from New York. I will always believe that it is the best state of the union, and I will always miss it.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

Red and black finger woven strap

Red and black finger woven strap

Another strap started. This one I chose to do in black and red perle cotton, and I’m now working on a clear plastic clipboard. It anchors the work perfectly, with the added bonus that I can see through it to the book beneath. It doesn’t get any better than that!

This one will be a good bit longer than the others; I’m hoping to use it as a tassel belt for Aneira. If all goes well, there will be a diamond pattern in the very center, with chevrons to each side of it. So far, not so bad. The chevrons on the present working side are going pretty well, although using black might have been a tiny mistake. The lighting in my studio is not the best all the time, so seeing which thread I need to work next is difficult when the color is so dark.

have figured out the secret to working a successful chevron though. When I’m doing the chevrons, my bottom shed always has the outermost threads, so when it’s time to change sheds, the first thread I pick up always comes from the bottom. In a chevron, your weft weaves from the center outward; you’re taking two threads from the very center of the piece. The one on the right goes through the shed to the left, the one on the left weaves through to the right, leaving a gap in your upper shed. When you reach that gap during the change of shed, once you pick up the last upper thread before the gap, you’re going to pick up two threads before continuing to change the rest of your shed.

I don’t know if I’m explaining this clearly. Let’s try this. Let’s say you have a piece consisting of sixteen threads, which is eight upper (U), and eight lower (L). Your upper shed will only have six, because your two upper center threads have gone on a trip through the shed in two different directions, leaving the aforementioned gap. Starting from your outermost thread on the lower shed, you’re going to switch them out. Uppers are going to become lowers. So you’re working this way:


The two Ls you just picked up in the center become the two center Us, which will be the next ones to go on vacation through the shed in opposite directions, leaving a new gap.

It might help if I explained quickly how you’re going to change the sheds in the first place. Your warp threads will be in one hand, held separately so that you can see which are upper and lower. You’re going to use the index and middle fingers of your other hand to pick up each thread of the warp. Your index finger always picks up the lower shed, your middle the upper. Whichever shed has the outermost thread, use the corresponding finger to pick up that thread and work your way across the warp until you have all the threads on those two fingers. The two vacationing threads are not included; they should be up out of the way.

Look at your fingers. Between them, there’s a cross, right? Take your free hand, and slide your index finger into the space occupied by your other index finger. Slide your first index finger down to separate the threads, while leaving the second in place to keep upper and lower separated. You’ve now changed sheds.

Let me just say, learning to change sheds alone was a royal pain. It doesn’t feel natural, and you will fumble it a whole lot before you get it right. Well, you might have better luck than me, actually, and get it right away.

I honestly didn’t mean to turn this into a tutorial. I tend to think of tutorials as being made by people with some expertise, people not me. I’m no better than a novice myself. Truly told, it’s probably more honest to say that I aspire to be a novice! My original intent was just to write down my own observations of what I was doing, for anyone interested in trying it, and somehow it turned into a tutorial. So I hope it helps, and if it doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll see if I can explain it better!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

I mention role reversal in the tag line of this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually tackled it before. It refers to the fact that, once I’m done with school, the likelihood is that I will be returning to the work force while hubby becomes a house-husband. It’s a huge role reversal for both of us, as we both come from the mindset of either both adults work, or the man does and the woman stays home. Yes, I know that’s an antiquated mindset, but it was what we grew up with. My mom was home with us until I was twelve, when she went back to work, but only part-time so that she could be home when we got out of school. Honestly, it had nothing to do with gender roles. Dad had the job that earned the larger salary; it only made sense that he worked full time. Since they were adamant that we would not be latchkey kids, this was how things worked out.

In our case, hubby has myoneuropathy in his extremities. It’s a nerve disorder, and it means that for him, confining his feet in shoes or socks causes excruciating pain and swelling, so he is barefoot year-round, even in the snow. It’s a huge issue for him, as he is one who has a workaholic personality and hates being jobless. Sure, he has a disability income, but though that allows him to contribute to the bills, it does not stimulate his mind or allow him to take care of his family in the “traditional” ways, which drives him bonkers. But where can you work when you can’t wear shoes? We haven’t yet found the medication that works for him; the problem has only recently finally received the proper diagnosis, so we’re really only just starting down that path.

It’s also a huge issue because there are precious few places that won’t toss him out because he has no shoes on. We’re thinking of asking the doctor for a note or something that he can keep in his wallet that he can pull out to prove that yes, this is a medical problem.

The whole thing really stabs at his pride. He doesn’t do idle well, and to a certain extent still believes that it is his job to provide for himself and his, not mine to provide while he sits at home and does nothing, as he sees it. Not that he’s actually doing nothing, since he does all the housework now, but he doesn’t consider that work, just the price of having a home. And okay, yeah, if you work outside the home, you still come back and have to cook, clean, and do laundry, so I understand that.

So that’s his side of the role reversal. For me, the hard part of it is letting go of the familial reins. I liked staying home with my kids and shaping their childhoods, driving them around to see their friends, baking cookies, going to the playground. I hated the housework and don’t miss it at all, but at the same time I think no man washes dishes as well as a woman, no man knows a thing about laundry, no man knows how to cook (this last is absolutely true in his case. Mac and cheese is the extent of his culinary expertise). He does things differently than I do, and that drives me bonkers. The first thing he did upon taking over the household was rearrange my kitchen, and proudly show me what he’d done when I got home. I smiled through clenched teeth, said it looked wonderful, and did my best not to murder him on the spot. Eventually I got used to the changes and tweaked them a little since the fact that he cannot cook means that essentially, the kitchen is still my domain, and I want things where I can find them when I need them.

The switch is difficult for both of us, really. Nowadays, he’s more mama than mama is, and it’s not a role that particularly suits his personality. He loves our kids, don’t get me wrong, but his level of patience is much lower than mine. I’m more philosophical. The kids have been acting up all day? They’ve been fighting over the most idiotic things they can think up? You’ve been asking repeatedly for chores to get done, in increasingly louder tones of voice until you are finally invoking a trip to Kingdom Come if (insert chore here) is not done immediately? His response is more likely to be a blowup of epic proportions, almost right off the bat. After repeat number three, he’s had it. It takes longer for me to reach that point. They’re kids, and this is what they do. It’s in their job description. Check the fine print. But even I will reach that point with them. Bryony, in particular, is very good at pushing parental buttons, and she has a shriek that could break glass. Aneira’s specialty is needling her sister – quietly – until said shriek is employed, at which point I detonate and both children wind up in either the corner or their respective bedrooms.

Okay, neither of us is perfect. And it’s going to be awhile before we each get used to our new roles. Of course, just as we do, things will undoubtedly change again!
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

I had started this post ages ago and forgotten it, so here it is now!

I wonder, sometimes, why I didn’t major in art. Then I remember, there are several reasons. Firstly, I’m no prodigy, at least not yet. You have to master the various techniques before you can start to be original. I haven’t mastered any yet, because there are so many different things I’m interested in, and I keep bouncing between this one and that. If I could keep my focus on any one thing at a time, maybe I could perfect a technique. Secondly, I really want to work with animals. Third, you have to be exceptional to find a career in art, and I’m not.

Fiber arts are a hobby for me. I thought about the possibility of a career once, but it was pointed out to me that taking a hobby you love and turning it into a job more often than not means that you will eventually hate it, because it becomes something you have to do, and your own creativity is suppressed because you are doing what you are told to do, rather than what you want to do. It’s a good point. I used to love writing. I dreamed of writing a best-selling novel. I was good at it. But I don’t like being told what to write, how to write it, when to have it done. Unless I’m extremely interested in the subject matter, I don’t like research. Thusly, I am not the next Nora Roberts. I lost interest in writing as a career. And other than this blog and the occasional Facebook rant, I haven’t written in ages.

I don’t want that to happen with fiber arts. It’s one thing to make something that you like for yourself and that you think of as saleable and put it up on a website like Etsy if and when you feel like it…or not. It’s another to know you have to get up every morning at a specific time to get to the job where you are not the boss, do as you’re told all day, take breaks according to someone else’s decision, clock out at five and drag yourself home. For something that involves creativity and design, that sounds like the seventh circle of hell to me.

Now, animals are different. Yes, I have to do research papers in order to get the education. No, I still don’t like them. Yes, I will have to be at work at a certain time, I will not be the boss, I will be doing as I’m told, etc. No, I don’t mind. Why? Because I have no desire to be the veterinarian. It’s difficult enough to get my brain to accept two years of nothing but math and science. The idea of another six years of more complicated math and science makes my brain shrivel. I don’t want to be the boss. I know the downside of my job, but the upside is getting to see the animals, help them, and send them home. Like being a grandparent: see the grandkids, spoil them rotten, and send them home to their parents on a sugar high you don’t have to cope with.

I can’t speak for how others might see it, but I don’t see veterinary technology as a creative career, so it doesn’t bother me to not be the boss like it would in anything involving the arts. Really, fiber arts are all about relaxation for me, and they wouldn’t be if they were a job. And not just the fiber arts, but the beadwork and chain maille as well. I like making pretty things, and there’s a part of me that wishes I could go back to being a full-time, stay at home mom so I would (chuckle chuckle, guffaw guffaw) have more time to spend making them.

And then reality stepped in and slapped me in the back of the head. In this economy (ye gods, when did I grow up enough to use that phrase???), the fact of the matter is that it’s financially extremely difficult to stay home. People need things, and things break and need repair, and “things” cost money, which does not fall out of trees. Thus, one must have a way to get money that does not involve jail time, which means a J O B.  If one is fortunate, one might get said job in a field that one likes, if one were to put forth a bit of effort, or so one hopes. I went back to school in hopes of avoiding jobs like McDonald’s.

So I’ll keep on plugging, learning my trade and my craft, and keep everything in its proper place and perspective. After all, that’s what life’s about, isn’t it? I can’t believe I just said that. Yikes, I really did become a grown up at some point…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

Chevron pattern

Chevron pattern

HA!!! YES!! Thanks to Gerald Findley’s book, I’ve managed to start a finger woven chevron pattern, which is the same pattern I tried when I made the initial running-before-walking mistake. When I tried it the first time, I couldn’t get it right because I was doing it from a YouTube video and books that were just a touch too vague, at least for me. I just could not get the hang of it. But the step-by-step pictorial in Fingerweaving Basics was actually detailed enough that I could follow it and create a respectable chevron! Go, me! So I’ll practice that for awhile before trying anything else. I’m totally proud of myself on this one, because finger weaving is a real challenge for me. Weaving is much easier when all of the warp is under tension and changing the shed is as simple as treadling! In finger weaving, everything is literally done with your fingers, from tension to changing sheds. Your warp threads are hanging free at one end out of necessity. In loom weaving, both ends of the warp are under tension, and you have a dedicated weft on a shuttle that goes back and forth through the sheds. In finger weaving, because the warp threads are also the weft, they have to be free to be pulled through the sheds, and that lack of tension makes the weaving that much more of a challenge, at least for me. Maybe as I get used to it, it’ll become less difficult.

Maybe I put it wrong. I said finger weaving is a challenge, then I said difficult, which, in my mind, are two different things in this case. A challenge isn’t necessarily a bad thing, whereas being difficult is. So, ideally, I’d like it to remain challenging, but less difficult. And who knows? Maybe it is just a matter of getting used to a different way of doing something.

I’m going to keep at this. I’ve seen pictures of large sashes, with really complex patterning, and I’d like to get good enough to try my hand at something larger than a strap. Right now, I’m in no way ready.

While I’m practicing finger weaving, I’m giving thought to dressing my Flip and making something with her. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a warp on her, and I’d really like to try again on a doubleweave blanket. The last attempt was an unmitigated disaster, but I’d like to give it another try. But there are so many things going on here that I don’t know if I’ll be able to really do a large project.

For one thing, I go back to school next week, into the technician portion of my education. That’s going to be a lot more grueling than the assistant program was. It’s funny, but people don’t really realize how much is involved in anything veterinary. Human doctors and nurses only have to learn about one species: humans. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians have to learn about every other creature on the planet, and know enough to be able to work on those animals. That’s a lot of work!

We’re also making plans to move out of state again, this time way to the north. We considered the South, and decided against it. The contender areas now are the PNW, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I’m leaning toward the midwest, personally. As beautiful as mountains are, my fear of heights borders on phobic. I am utterly terrified on a mountain, and I’d like to avoid them, thanks. I think I’d like the land of 10,000 lakes, and I miss autumn in a place with lots of trees in a big way! So while I’m still in school, we will also be getting the house ready for the market and packing away non-essential things so there’s no clutter during showings and it will be easier (snicker) to keep clean. Of course, “easier” and “clean” are relative terms when you’re talking about a house that contains four big dogs and two children. Just sayin’.

And all this must be done while studying, doing homework, cooking, and helping Aneira with her schoolwork. Small projects might be all I’m capable of for awhile!

Ah, well…I’d better hit the road to pick up Aneira. Blessed be, happy crafting, and happy living!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Loop Braiding

A no-equipment technique for braiding cords and bands

ice cream magazine

................... for lovers of ice cream. Your free on line magazine for sweet frozen treats. Recipes, inspiration, artisanal ideas for your delectation.

Colour Complements

Hand Dyed Creativity


Rock On....

The Ravenwood Legacy

Looking for a tale of things Supernatural? Then you came to the right place.


Journalist and Researcher - MA, The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism

My Tangled Yarn Knitting Adventures

Ramblings from an obsessed knitter

Italian Home Kitchen Blog

Italian Home Kitchen Blog


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.


Artist and Desert Dweller with Big City Style.


let go or be dragged


Every day I'm jugglin'.


the holy land...or something

The Cvillean

The adventures of little read writing Hood

Gettin' It Pegged...Loom Knitter's Clique

Whipping up love with pegs & string!


MadScotWerx Blog for leather and medieval works.

Fluffy Pink Turtle's Adventures in the World

Who Knows What a Fluffy Pink Turtle Can Do Loose in the World!

inkled pink

warp, weave, be happy!


one Englishwoman's work

%d bloggers like this: