Do you enjoy these creative practices?

Question #3 from my survey; this one is super interesting. When I put up the multiple choice answers, I focused on the things I was most interested in at the moment. I was curious to see the other ways people practice a creative spirit. (Maybe I should have phrased it that way!) In any case, the comments reflect many other activities and even, “ways of being” which are self defined as creative. I love it. Just the spirit I was hoping for.

As of 8am West Coast time, the survey has 37 responses – excellent! Thank-you so much for taking part. If you have not joined in yet, please add your voice to the conversation.

If you are curious, here is the full list of additional practices so far:

  • music
  • writing
  • fashion
  • food
  • entertaining
  • gardening
  • jewelry making
  • woodworking
  • crafting
  • building
  • beading
  • pottery
  • blogging
  • business
  • costumes
  • signs
  • painting
  • parenting
  • relationships
  • health & well being
  • up-cycling
  • problem solving
  • poetry
  • scrap booking
  • flower arrangements
  • crochet

Amazing honesty in the responses, thank-you so much. I am honoured to be connected to so many creative people. Rightly so, many times it has been noted that “creativity is a way of life”. For many of us, it can’t be separated from our daily life. It is present in everything we do. I think that is pretty evident by this list.

Speaking of creative projects, enjoy these photos from a recently completed silk scarf I knitted. The pattern and yarn came from LoopsClub in Tulsa. I’m a member who receives a kit each month. Because there is always another project on it’s way, I stay focused on getting projects finished. For me this is a good incentive. Otherwise projects sit on needles for years, waiting for me to complete them.

Silk_scarf_1 Silk_scarf_2 Silk_scarf_3 Silk_scarf_4

How important is creativity in your life?

Wow! 14 people have completed my survey – What does creativity mean to you? That is awesome, thank-you. If you have not taken the opportunity yet, please add your voice to the conversation! I am learning so much about what the creative experience feels like on a personal level.

When I was thinking of the questions for the survey, it was tricky to generate ideas which would prompt meaningful answers. Everyone is so different and lived experiences would likely run a full spectrum of possible responses. Yet, there seems to be some patterns developing which I had not thought of in my original assumptions. Interesting stuff. When my survey is complete, I’ll post the aggregate graphs so everyone can see the clusters.

The second question of the survey relates to how important creativity is. I think that even if there are differing opinions about what creativity means or what kinds of activities should be deemed creative, everyone seems to have a sense of it’s importance. In my answer choice for “important” I included the bit about “balance”. For me, the really creative things I want to do, must be balanced against a whole bunch of stuff I have to do. For example, cooking a new recipe at dinner is somewhat creative, but all the old favourites and the dishes are not so creative. Not to mention all the grocery shopping and recipe research which had to be done ahead of making dinner.

Maybe creativity will have greater importance in everyday situations if we place more value on it? Shelley Berc wrote a good piece entitled, “Creativity in everyday life“, on her blog called, “The Creativity Workshop”. I’d never given much thought to adding creativity into my everyday tasks, simply through perspective. It is worth a try.

I’ve always thought it was important to have a space in order to “be” creative. This was a priority for me, long before computers came on the scene. So I still keep a space, is only a desk for now. Maybe one day it will be a whole room again. But for now, even my desk is hard to claim as my own. I often end up on the couch or in my bedroom. Good thing I need very few supplies for writing!

Do you think of yourself as a creative person?

I’m curious. When someone says they self-identify as being creative, what do they mean? I think of myself as a creative person, I would use that label, or agree with it if someone asked me. I create all kinds of things and have creative thoughts. But, I was speaking with someone who I think is really creative and she hesitated to characterize herself in that way. She clarified that she considered herself “crafty”, but not creative. She thought the term “creative” applies mainly to artists.

That got me wondering, is the word creative only applicable to someone who has a certain set of skills? Do you have to be paid or commissioned for your efforts? Are some pursuits not serious or special enough to be considered creative? Is knitting less creative than painting?

I was reading a comment online from a woman in Scandinavia who said that you had to earn the right to call yourself creative. Since she had completed her schooling, (in photography), she was now “allowed” to use the term creative to describe herself, but she only did that in her professional work. Do people commonly have such limiting beliefs about the concept of creativity?

There have been many articles written which detail lists of common characteristics among creative people. While these are interesting reads, these traits are not unique to creative people alone. In fact, many smart people have these abilities. So maybe we are all creative, if we have attained a certain level of success? But there were so many highly creative artists who didn’t achieve any notoriety until after they died.

If we think back to childhood, everyone was creative. Children are creative beings. As a parent, I had the wonderful opportunity to relive that as I watched, played and created with my kids. And now I can see what happens to all that innate creativity. It gets schooled out. My children want to get rid of the lego, put away all those art supplies, cast off all those projects which once filled them with hours of joy.

Coloring

I am not worried, they will come back to it, as I did. Hopefully it doesn’t take them as long as it took me.

This is the first, in a series of 10 questions about creativity. If you are interested in my survey, please follow this link. I would love to hear your thoughts, here or there.

Thankful, creative, fun

Every Friday, Daily Creatives gathers 5 interesting things from around the web. This instalment was posted last week. If you are interested in these kind of things, head over and check it out. Don’t forget to sign up for the email list.

Weekly_Round_Up_Banner

Settle in and see what I found this week to inspire you! Enjoy.

The Thankful Tree

Emily Rose posted this on her Flickr feed, called “The Thankful Tree”.  Wonderful reminder at  Thanksgiving, but I would make one at any time of year. In fact, when the forsythia have set buds, (might be already here on the Coast), you can cut a bunch of twigs like this and the wonderful yellow flowers will open in the house. Maybe little tags of grateful in Spring colours need to be added to that?

washclothquartet1

My goodness. Makes me want to sit down and get knitting and replace every wash cloth I own! These are simply lovely. Free patterns on Tricksy, “Washcloth quartet“.

Knit Bag

A really great knitting bag which feeds the yarn through the big ring. The ball stays in the bottom of the bag and doesn’t roll all over the place, like normal.

Shells_Loreto

My treasures from Loreto, Baja California Sur. Alas, this is how I am remembering them this time. I didn’t want to add the extra hand carry weight on the way back and I’m running out of room in my house for another collection of shells.

80s_90s_Game

Awesome game, (well not really), but we had a blast playing it with all 8 of us in Loreto Bay. 4 adults who came of age during the late 80’s and early 90’s, (some of us still growing up), and 4 teens ranging from 13 to 16. What a hoot.

2014 Annual Review

I am inspired by Chris Guillebeau. He shared a deeply personal annual review on his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity. Problem for me is a lack of process. I can see from Chris’s post that he creates a detailed set of goals and then conducts quarterly reviews. I would think it makes the Q4 review a little easier to manage! But have to start somewhere, so here we go.

Crafts

January

  • Rang in the New Year in Mexico. A nice family dinner at Corazon Cafe where a singer played guitar. Moved from sleepy La Paz to a big Cabo resort where the kids ran around the pool and played for 5 days.
  • Woke up one morning with a full dose of inspiration. Created a new architecture for my blog.

Categories_web

  • Bought a “Los Cabos” journal for an e-course with Brene Brown. The content followed her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”.
  • Practice is a Process
  • Wholehearted
  • Travelled to Oslo, Norway for the first work trip of the year. Left my family in Calgary, on the way home from Mexico and peeled off via London.
  • Got my hair cut quite short. It was time for a change and the end game was to let my natural color come through. But we made a tiny mistake by putting so much light hair dye in. First I looked grey already and second lots of my natural color is a much darker!

Short hair

  • A few days spent in Denver, Colorado on a work trip.

 

February

  • Back to Oslo, Norway early in the month.
  • On the way home, stopped in Calgary where my parents picked me up for the short trip to Fairmont, B.C. Skied at Kimberly and Panorama during a week of vacation.

Fairmont

 

March

  • Sent my daughter off on her own to Calgary by plane. She was thrilled.
  • On the way to the airport, near the end of the month, was hit by 2 cars near the entrance to the tunnel. My car ended up being written off. I had to catch a later flight to Calgary.
  • Spent a few days in Bassano, Alberta with my daughter. My Aunt hosted a kind of retreat, which was lovely.

Knitting_webB&W

April

  • Renovations on the new MBR were coming along nicely in early April.
  • Quick trip to Oslo, Norway.
  • Bought a new car.

New car

  • April 12th we had a warm enough day to wear shorts and sit in the sun!
  • Around my birthday, headed off to Munich, Germany. Another work trip where we ended up in Austria. The last of the “fancy dress” parties.

80s party

May

  • Tacked on an extra day to spend May 1st walking around Munich with a dear friend.
  • Early May, off to Newport, Rhode Island for a work trip. Entertained customers at The New York Yacht club and sailing on an old America’s Cup boat.

Sail Newport

  • May 27th, the garden was in full bloom. Didn’t get to plant anything this year. Enjoyed everything that was already there!
  • Fallow State

June

  • June 2, our first crab boil of the season.

Crab boil

  • Spent my anniversary working in Seattle, Washington.
  • My Son graduated grade 7. A big one for him as he would head to a private school in the Fall, leaving 8 years of friendships behind.
  • Tried my first Annie Sloan painting projects after taking the course at The Passionate Home in Langley.
  • The MALM Transformation
  • Inspired by Paint

Paint card_web

July

  • Ringing in my husband’s birthday and Canada Day, we spent a few days on the Sunshine Coast. Unfortunately the weather was less sunshine and more rain forest.
  • Personal Space
  • Attended the most amazing conference called “The World Domination Summit” in Portland Oregon.
  • Service, Community, Adventure

Theatre WDS_web

  • Drove to Bassano, Alberta and then back to Calgary. Spent a few days recovering from all that driving. Picked up my kids and drove back to Vancouver. Managed to avoid any hail damage in what was one of the worst seasons for the area.
  • Canned a few jars of beans as they were coming off the fields. Processed bushels of fruit for our freezer.
  • Food Preservation
  • Renovations of the MBR were almost complete. Bought some artwork at the White Rock Farmer’s Market and finished the last of the Annie Sloan paint projects.

August

  • On the way to Oslo, Norway stopped in Stockholm, Sweden for a long weekend with my girls. 2 dear friends who also work where I do. One based in Stockholm and one in Hong Kong.
  • Stockholm Helgen

image

  • Home on my son’s birthday with great plans to be “present” for him. However, the travel was starting to catch up with me. Had the worst swelling in my legs. Felt – just – bad. Ended up sleeping for a long time.
  • Teenager in the House
  • Mid August, picked up my nephews from the airport and then shipped all 3 boys off to camp on Thetis Island.
  • Took a last week of summer vacation when my Sister and Parents arrived from Alberta. All the kids took a week of skim boarding camp at White Rock beach.

Skim boards

  • My sister and I, taught ourselves how to add beads into a knitting project. Made great progress early on, as usual!
  • The Good Beach Life

Beads knit

September

  • Private School
  • Early days, my daughter was not back in school. That was due to the Provincial teachers being on strike. We had an interesting experiment in home schooling, which my daughter did not enjoy.
  • Education Hacking

Daytimer_web

  • Mid September, off to Hong Kong for the better part of 2 weeks. This was a long trip and I suffered coming come with adjusting back to the schedule. For many nights, had to take sleeping pills. This was unusual and a little concerning.
  • Unpacking

HKG_web

October

  • Early October off to Alicante, Spain. Another long trip, about 10 days. While it was a fantastic location and I quite enjoyed much of it, had a very tough time with my mood. Even had an episode of what I could only call “panic” which was very strange. Made an appointment with my doctor.
Team SCA leaving Alicante October 11, 2014

Team SCA leaving Alicante October 11, 2014

  • Extreme Sports
  • Missed Canadian Thanksgiving which was a bummer. This is a non denominational holiday all about food!
  • My husband who was the VP of Marketing for a high tech company was laid off as they continued to downsize staff. This is no fun to go through, but he successfully negotiated a fair severance.
  • Dia de Muertos Shrines
  • Last day of October we adopted a cat. Not sure what we were thinking. But he is considered a “senior” as a 7 year old. At least we stopped short of a kitten, (we almost adopted 2 kittens), who would have tore our house apart.

Lynch

November

  • Creative Soul
  • Joined a knit-a-long where I created a very nice hat. My daughter, who looks amazing in hats, immediately laid claim to it. That works well, I look terrible in hats.
  • Hosted a work friend for dinner in White Rock and she gave me a lovely present!

Worry Dolls

  • Day trip to Calgary, mid month.
  • Picked up my Aunt and Uncle arriving from Calgary who were staying at our house for a week.

December

  • Spent a fantastic week in New Orleans, Louisiana on a vacation of a lifetime! Really felt like I was in another world.
  • True Rest & Relaxation

NOLA

  • One more trip to Calgary for work with a couple of days added on. Relaxed for the weekend at my parents house, attended a Christmas party at my sister’s house and a family Christmas dinner. Super nice.
  • A Christmas Eve flight to Mexico. Will spend the last days of the year, back where the year started.

Next year

  • A group of three represent woman from all over the world. We will do amazing things.

Dolls

  • A new beginning for my husband, built from the ashes of the past.

Crow

Creative soul

After a very hectic couple of months, this weekend was my time to settle back into my groove. That means turning my focus to what matters most. Seems logical enough, and probably easily done for most. But I really have to practice turning off the world for a bit.

Started on Friday. We wanted to surprise the kids with the family pet, we had discussed, but not confirmed we would get. So we hoped over to the local animal shelter and had our new, old cat, Lynch unleashed into our life by surprise to our children. My daughter was so over joyed, she almost cried. That reaction was unexpected. Clearly she had listened when we had firmly told her, no promises.

Lynch_web

Saturday I started my knit along. Yarn, needles and pattern in hand, the first post also indicated I needed to create a space for my knitting. Well, that meant I needed to transform the chair in the corner into something a little more special. For that, I needed to do a little second-hand shopping. And this day turned out wonderfully.

Knitting Space_web

Sunday was about Annie Sloan paint. My newly found, old treasures needed some chalk paint love. So in between coats drying, I knitted rounds in my temporary digs. I’ll have to carve out time over the course of the week to get the wax on. Then there is the beret, which is the reason all of this started. Only half done the ribbing.

Annie Sloan projects_web

So little time, so many creative things to do.

Yarn along

Just now I stumbled across 85 other people who think reading and knitting are 2 of their favourite things….me too! Or maybe 86, in this case. Who knew! A yarn along….love it!

I have to say, I don’t associate with many people who are the same as me. My chosen profession, or maybe the companies I have chosen to work for, are not exactly full of creative types. At least not in fibre arts. This form of community becomes super important, I dare say essential for my creative expression.

read&knit_web

I’m working on so many knitting projects right now, but the one that I worked on as recently as last night and will add more rows tonight is Linate Classic Mohair scarf. I picked up the yarn at a second-hand store. It has been worked before, at least the first 2 balls. But it is so decadently soft. I love it. Won’t see the light of cold days for a while yet. But I’ll think of these days when I wear it.

I’m reading an amazing book called “Creating A Life Worth Living”, by Carol Lloyd. I have quite a few other books on the go, but this one is my main go to right now. It is a combination of reading, creative workshop and designing new habits, I just love it. It is meant to take 12 weeks to finish, which I think I can do.

Of course, it bears mentioning, I can’t knit and read at the same time. I can’t even knit and watch TV all that well together. Somehow I am managing to watch Glee with my daughter and knit this scarf at the same time. But that is probably because the plot line is fairly predictable. I have to stop knitting when Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker or Jane Lynch are on – I love them.

That’s a wrap

If I were making a film, I would be at the end of shooting photography and heading into post production. AND there would be a party forthcoming to celebrate the momentous achievements to date.

Well there should be such a thing as a knitter’s wrap party. Not sure what it would look like. All us knitter’s elegantly perched on the edges of furniture holding cocktails in fancy glasses showing off our newly finished projects.

Probably not. We are already on to the next project. In fact we had a few more in progress all the while. The party would be more like a drop in at a local yarn store. Not very majestic or celebratory. But the most important moments in life are usually passing by without much fanfare. In fact, I think that is one of the hallmarks of being an adult, no one throws a big party after every little milestone is accomplished.

So I am taking a moment right now. This project was a big deal. Took a long time. Inspired from Purl Soho in New York City, co-designed and sourced by Kristina at Gina Brown’s Vancouver. Then stitch after stitch after stitch until finished.

It was meant to be done today. There has been a break in the heat, just enough to prompt a few windows to be closed, maybe a little wrap around the shoulders. Wait a minute….I now have the perfect one!

wrap done_web

Here are the yarns that made up this pattern. Heirloom knitting.

P.S. – now…I’m going to need something else to knit for the last 3 episodes of SOA, season 5. It needs to be easy….it is too difficult to pay attention to complicated instructions when the action on-screen is non-stop.

Yarn finds

Over the last few weeks, I have stumbled across a few very interesting yarn finds. This is the way things happen for me. If I head out on a shopping trip hoping to find a certain thing, I almost always come away with something different and usually far better.

First up was my recent trip to New York City. As luck would have it, the timing of my work sales meetings required me to stay over a weekend. Then my husband joined me because we wanted to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary together, (imagine that.) So I dragged him down through Soho to a yarn shop I have been following online through a blog called Purl Bee, (my wrap project is in the top left corner, more to follow when it is complete). The projects and photography are amazing and you can buy all these things at the shop, called Purl Soho. I had no idea what I might want to buy, and I had almost walked out of the store having been there for maybe 10 minutes, when I saw the most lovely yarn. Well, I had to have it. I bought the needles required, the yarn and they printed the pattern for me and wound up the ball. What service! I was thoroughly impressed with the shop and wished they had a Vancouver location, even Seattle would be worth the drive.

View from my hotel room in New York City - started the hat promptly after purchasing from Purl Soho

View from my hotel room in New York City – started the hat promptly after purchasing from Purl Soho

Finished the hat in New York, while enjoying Madison Square Park

Finished the hat in New York, while enjoying Madison Square Park

Strolling through the White Rock Farmer’s Market today and came across a stand selling skeins of yarn! Wow, hand spun by a woman who calls her company – Fibre Nerdz. I picked up a skein of merino and hand dyed blue faced Leicester, (BFL). I’m going to work this into the second last position of my wrap. It is going to be lovely.

Fibre Nerdz - handspun by Sandi

Fibre Nerdz – handspun by Sandi

While talking about yarn, I received a pamphlet from the Peace Arch Weavers and Spinners Guild for the 30th annual Fibre Flare Sale in November. What luck! I didn’t even know that such a thing existed. All these creative people gathered together in one place.

I was thinking a hand-made sausage on a bun would be a nice tasty treat today at the market. That stand was not there, but the beautiful yarn was. So glad we ventured out in the rain today. It would have been far easier to stay shut in.

Now….who is going to sit, holding the skein of yarn taught, so I can hand wind it into a ball?

Multitasking

According to Wikipedia:

Human multitasking is the best performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking. An example of multitasking is taking phone calls while typing an email. Some believe that multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

This could be my problem. One of the many “issues” which form a healthy list, best left buried under a cover of denial.

Multitasking – humans are probably best not to try to do. Replicate a computer? Who’s idea was that?

But the allure of multitasking is very appealing. And who doesn’t love the thrill of actually pulling it off? Typing an email and being on a conference call is tricky. Sometimes people can hear you tapping away on your keyboard and if you hesitate for a millisecond after being asked a direct question – busted.

Apparently talking on a cell phone and driving a car is worse than driving drunk. So the government has banned that kind of craziness. Personally, I drive a stick, so have never been able to talk on a cell phone, change gears and steer around a corner at the same time. Hands free only helps that situation a bit. I dedicate my commute to private fuming about the state of traffic. No one else needs to be part of that.

Lately I have been multitasking in a very strange way. It started back in February on our annual ski vacation. I was lured into watching back episodes of a TV show called Sons of Anarchy – season one. That would be fine to keep your attention quite wrapped up all on its own, but I couldn’t just sit there. So I worked on my knitting project of the moment. That week was OK, I finished season one without too much damage to my psyche, or my knitting.

The details about the next part are not clear to me now. Did I start Season two before I started to knit my lovely heirloom wrap? I guess it doesn’t matter. Suffice to say that while I was in New York last week and couldn’t watch Sons of Anarchy for a while, I came to my senses. There she was, in the window of Purl Soho, a sample of my wrap project. I knew right away I was in trouble. Somehow, after only 4 colors, I was 35″ into the thing, with 7 more to go, I was going to have a very long and skinny blanket.

Purl Soho New York City

Purl Soho New York City

This takes me back to another time of my life where my Aunt and I worked on a project together. Somehow doubling the amount of butter in a cookie recipe really does make a difference. (Very rich, flat cookies).  Of course I have done this kind of thing by myself as well. For years we moved around several extra 4 gallon cans of the ugliest green paint that I severely over calculated consumption on.

All is not lost. I have cut back the amounts of several upcoming colors in the wrap. Just need to remember which ones, probably should write that down. I think we are on episode 7 in season 4 for the Sons of Anarchy. I’m in so deep, I am calling the new FBI character, the “bad guy”.

Suffice to say, multitasking does not always produce predictable results.

Hand made

The other day I was asked, “why does anyone knit anymore”? The assumption, of course, is that mass market consumer wearing apparel is so inexpensive, the economics of making something yourself doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows that goods produced in foreign lands are cheaper. And therefore, better.

But I think differently. As it turns out, so do many others. However, I am a realist. There are only so many things of which I use everyday that I can make for myself, or even source from another local, small-scale manufacturer.

I think the thrill comes from the hunt. As I learn about new and inventive ways that people are turning back to the basics of local resourcefulness, I am inspired.

  • FOOD – for anyone that has followed this blog, I have written about this so many times, (when I search for “local food” there are 2 pages of references). This is well covered, not just by me, but by a quick google search for your area.
  • SHOWS – Make it! – the handmade revolution. An upbeat experience that gives enlightened shoppers the opportunity to buy directly from Canada’s top artists, crafters and designers! Got Craft? – Vancouver’s largest Indie craft fair.
  • MAKER – Mini Maker Faire Vancouver – Vancouver Maker Foundation is a non-profit committed to building a strong and vibrant community of Makers in the city of Vancouver. Maker Faire – A family friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.
  • CLUBS – Lego club – Connecting adult building in greater Vancouver. West Coast Knitter Guild. Knit Social – Our mandate is to help this community of crafters and artisans grow and become even more closely tight-knit.
  • SHOP – Homesteaders Emporium – A one stop shop for all of your urban homesteading needs. Spool of thread – sewing lounge.
  • INFORMATION – The DIY Daily – searching the web so you don’t have to.

I have to give a personal shout out to my Mom – thank-you for teaching me all this stuff, before it was cool. I may not have appreciated it then, but I sure do now. Back in the eighties, (the height of conspicuous consumption), we were recycling, composting, making our own from whole foods, crafting for fun, gardening for the taste.

Heirloom knitting

A valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.

Families here in North America used to be different. A young woman setting off on her new life would have a chest full of items that her Mother would have set aside for her. Many of the pieces would likely be heirlooms. They would be used and treasured and then passed on again, in due time.

Sometime recently, (within the last fifty or sixty years), most people give away old things. Instead, they covet brand new purchases, in glossy wrapping and a branded carry bag, from a store. More than likely, these items, (and all the components within), have travelled a very far distance. Hundreds and maybe thousands of people have been involved in the manufacture, distribution, selling and marketing of any one item.

The more popular idea of “heirloom” is often associated with vegetable seeds. A growing trend of new age urban pioneers, are going back to the land to grow food. The old seeds have been saved and the resulting plants taste better, are more beautiful to look at and are very rare.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this idea of creating heirloom products. I’ve been saving my own tomato and pumpkin seeds for years, with great success. (I even grabbed a handful of poppy seeds from a neighbour, as I walked by!) My sister’s sweet pea’s will adorn 2 areas of my garden this year. Every time I walk by their sweet scent, I will smile and think of her. But can a Mother really expect to have a wearing apparel item passed down and appreciated by her family? Even jewelry seems to go out of fashion in a relatively short period of time.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if I might want to have something passed down through my family, it needs to be of a certain quality. Then I take a quick cruise through my closet and realize, there is virtually nothing in there that could become an heirloom. Almost all my clothes are disposable. Purchased from mass retailers, relatively “trend-right”, these things will not pass the test of time.

The few potential pieces I own are fabulous jewelry, hand-made by my Aunt. (One day, when she is a famous designer, they will be highly coveted pieces, even outside our family.) So I recently turned to my Aunt for help.

I had come across a fantastic pattern for a wrap from the blog of Purl Soho in New York City. Purl Bee published the details for an Amazing Seed Stitch Wrap. The yarns could easily be purchased from the link provided and I could have been half-finished by now. But, in order for this to be my piece, I needed to choose my own colors. That is near impossible to do online. Then there was the problem of the cashmere costing $50 per hank. (The project calls for 4 of them!)

As luck would have it, Gina Brown’s came to the rescue again. (I’ve written about the Calgary location before – “Increasing stash“.) So we made the pilgrimage to Kitsilano in Vancouver. With help from the actual Granddaughter of Gina Brown – Kristina, we created an array of colours and yarns that will be my signature wrap. And maybe, if I’m lucky, this piece will have stories to tell as it adorns the shoulders of women in my family as time marches on.

Gina Browns Kits_web

Gina Brown shawl_web

Yarns shown here, (from the left):

  • Glazed carrot – Malabrigo
  • (Peach) shade 0201 – Sublime
  • Lettuce – Malabrigo
  • Lavanda – Malabrigo
  • (Light lavender) shade 0011 – Sublime
  • Azules – Malabrigo
  • (Light teal) shade 0109 – Sublime
  • (Stone) colour 300027 – Debbie Bliss
  • Fresco Y Seco – Malabrigo
  • (Teal) shade 0227 – Sublime
  • Vaa – Malabrigo

More about these yarns:

  • Malabrigo Rios – Pure Merino Superwash, made in Peru
  • Sublime – 75% extra fine merino, 20% silk, 5% cashmere
  • Debbie Bliss – 55% Merino wool, 33% microfibre, 12% cashmere

Yarnitis a.k.a. too much yarn?

Just over a week ago, I received a pretty healthy sized box of yarn in the mail. 4 new projects worth, to be exact. A vest, a shawl, a sleeveless sweater and a loose knit summer sweater. This yarn is meant for patterns I found online marked easy. I don’t want to attempt anymore projects marked intermediate.

While I adore my newly finished shawl, the pattern was mistakenly marked “easy”. However, I knew from the onset there would be problems. First issue was that I evidently can’t read or count very well because the whole thing had to be ripped back after I was already 400 meters into it. So that set me back. Then, I managed to finish the knitting, blocking and sewing, but the crochet was left. I think there is a condition of reduced cognitive ability whereby a person can read the words and they should flow into a set of actions, but for a select few of us, they do not. That is crochet instructions, seriously. I am fine, if someone knowledgeable sits beside me and corrects me each time I veer off.

I guess knitting and crochet are related. They both require a stick like device to create patterns of knots, but that is where the similarity ends. While I covet the projects that can only be completed with crochet, I have to reign in the craziness. I do not need a queue of more unfinished projects that belong to the criteria, “things I don’t know how to do, yet.” Now that would just be crazy.

No, I’m not there yet. I’m only slightly ill. Like a low-grade fever, I’m acting a bit strange, not quite my normal, logical, practical self. I get it into my head to research yarn for a new project and there she goes….of on a tangent.

What’s 4 new projects? Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, it wouldn’t be except for 2 other reasons. First is that I have started 7 other projects on needles and have yarn at the ready for 2 more. I have recently abandoned at least 2 projects, rolled the yarn back up or given it away. Oh, that totals 13, unlucky. So fine, I don’t like one of the yarn colors anyway – so that goes too. Now I’m back to 12. But I digress. The other reason that 12 projects might be a tad too many is I am a very slow knitter. Added to the fact, (or maybe the reason for it), I don’t have very much time to knit.

These are labels you can actually buy to sew into your hand made goods. Funny, yes,  in a sad but strange sort of way.

this took forever

This morning, I made sense of all the projects because there was knitting covering almost every surface of the living room. My daughter was having some friends over and there was no where for them to be without disrupting my delicate placement of projects. The other reason organization was in order is because, I have another new project in mind. But 12 is my new limit. Nothing else can start before something is finished. (Does anyone know where I can find a good deal on cashmere?)

I have to be strict with myself here. Because every time I finish something, or give up a pattern, the yarn goes into my stash. And that is taking up more and more space. But we are renovating and I get a whole new “creative” space where my knitting supplies and my formidable fabric collection can be arranged. I never thought I would need to buy furniture to house all this stuff.

Knitting project side board

Knitting project side board

So this entire shelf is really just temporary. We can’t have friends over for dinner like this. Next Saturday morning, this will have to move to the floor of my room. When will the renovation be done again? Maybe I can get one sock and a dish cloth done this weekend, which would remove the bottom 2 bags from this photo. I know, not thinking big enough, but the rest of these are garments, not measly accessories.

The next bag up is a sweater I started in Mexico 3 months ago. I just booked tickets for the same trip in 9 months time….I would really like for that sweater to be done by then.

Maybe my illness is more related to balancing  my ambition with my skill at completion? I’m not the only one with this condition:

Too many projects?

Projects_web

I wonder if there is such a thing as having too many projects on the go? I spread out all my “not finished”, knitted pieces on the dining room table. It was quite surprising to see just how many there are. They spend most of their time tucked away in little bags, ready to be taken somewhere at a moments notice. They are my security blanket for time spent waiting. I could just play games on my iPad, but I experience enough screen time in a day. Need to give my eyes a rest from all that.

Set_web

First up is a hat and scarf set using Red Heart Boutique Cosmic. Knits up quickly, (hat is already done), but I’ll never wear it. Color is not my favourite, (consequence of ordering online), and the whole thing is very big and bulky for me. So my enthusiasm to finish this one is waning.

shawl_web

Next is the most wonderful shawl made of Patons Silk Bamboo, that I cannot wait to wear. This needs some crochet, that I do not know how to do. My Mom is going to help me with that next week, so this should be ready to use when the weather gets a schkooch warmer.

Sock_web

This one is a simple sock made with Patons Classic Wool Worsted, where I suddenly learned how to NOT twist the knit stitch, part way through. I think you can see what I mean. I had to teach myself to knit differently, and I did it. Unfortunately, the next sock in the pair will be perfect and this one will be, twisted.

Sweater_web

Once you have worked with merino wool, like this Malabrigo Arroyo, you can’t go back! However, this sweater is going to take so long, I’m not sure I will ever finish. The price is in a whole other league, but the feeling of working with the yarn is sublime. Might be what I need to finish this project, a constant cost check.

Sweater2_web

And finally my second attempt at a super easy pullover sweater. First one had ridiculously long arms and a short body. I’m not sure if I have rectified the problem, we’ll see. I am pretty creative here, working with 2 yarns to bulk up the weight and gives a nice melange effect. Red Heart Eco-Ways recycled blend and Patons Grace.

Truth be known, I have at least one more project on the go, in the back of my closet. Just completely lost the desire to see it finished and the yarn is not nice and I’ll never wear it. Added to this are the projects that I am at the ready to start. Yarn I am itching to cast on.

It is a sickness, I think.