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These days of mine…

Are filled with crafting and creating, when I’m not futzing around online, reading or watching Netflix, but I haven’t always been a crafty soul…

In my youth I was more concerned with other things and trying to sort out yarn and needles, hooks and string or anything other than my mildly artistic doodling was overwhelming.  I groused for years that I lacked the skills to save my life if crochet or knitting were involved.  Reading, music, life in general took front stage and the attempts to craft were put in the closet of my mind.

Fast forward to my mid 20’s.  I found myself pregnant and desiring to make items for my soon to be child.  Knitting was still too complex to fuddle through, yet crochet seemed more approachable.  Success happened, soon I was creating gifts for cousins also expecting, toys, blankets and clothes for my son… Crafting was happening!  That once complex means of creating things by hand wasn’t quite so complex and distant in my life, I was thrilled and began learning as much as I could about it.  New stitches, reading patterns and charts, collecting hooks and patterns soon paved the way to my creating patterns to share with others.  I could do this, finally I was a crafty person that could make items that even my very skilled great aunt approved of!

Time slid away with crochet being my only crafting outlet until by my early 30’s I was interested in the skill of hand-spinning.  Taking a spindle or a spinning wheel and fiber and creating hand crafted yarn.  A friend of mine had learned how to do this in an art program in university, she did it often while we sat over coffee and chatted, I was enthralled by the craft and desperately wanted a spinning wheel of my own.  Another friend happened upon a spinning wheel at a local yard sale and called me about it, arranged for them to hold it until I could get there and for approximately a 1/4 of the price brand new, I had my own spinning wheel.  Within a week I was spinning as if I had been doing it for years, producing my own yarns from fiber I acquired from online groups and sources that introduced me everything from raw fleece to clean and processed fiber.  Over the years I have tried so many of them… different kinds of wool, mohair, silk, cashmere, angora, dog fur and so much more.  Thick, medium and fine yarns accumulated in my baskets, they didn’t translate to crochet as well as I hoped, so they languished, waiting for a purpose.

Within 6 months of starting my journey as a spinner, I found a particularly large set of needles and took a chance in buying them as a gift for my friend.  Instead, she used them to teach me how to knit.  These large needles and a couple of strands of thick yarn, her patience, a little trial and error and some practice doing just the knit stitch and there I was knitting!  I could do it, I could process it, it wasn’t nearly as hard as my young self had convinced me it was…  There went I with much practice, learning new stitches and new things about this craft, deciphering patterns, collecting the various types and sizes of needles.  I could now knit.  The joke was on me and I was teased about how I could now knit to save my life – LOL.  I didn’t care, I was having fun, I was exploring this new field in my skill set and having a grand time.

 

Now all these years later,  I don’t crochet as much as I once did, knitting has taken over as my craft of choice… Slippers, socks hats, mitts, scarves, cowls, shawls and even a sweater among the things I crafted on my needles in the intervening years. There is a fairly large stash of yarns hidden and tucked away in odd spots of the house to feed the habit with, sometimes I go on the odd foray to the store to buy something for a specific project, otherwise I try to stick to what already lives here.  As well, I have a fair stash of hand-spun yarns, in spite of how much I have sold or gifted to other knitters. Years of spinning have produced a lot of finished skeins of my hand-crafted yarns and I have even taken to knitting things in it for myself and others, instead of holding on to it for “something special in the future”… My future is now and the yarns are finding a use in my knitting finally.  

I have a half dozen items for myself, I’ve done several items for my daughter-in-law, a couple for my son, an item or three for friends as gifts.  Creating things by hand, even as far as creating the basic components from scratch is like therapy for me, the joy and accomplishment that comes from it is so much greater than I could have imagined all those years ago when I bemoaned my lack of skills.  Sometime it takes time, maturity and the right teachers to make it happen.  I have to say, I am plenty glad that all that and more have been a part of my life.

 

I look forward to sharing some of what I do in the future…  Hope you will enjoy taking that journey with me.

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Coffee, chores and the spinning wheel

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My normal time to crawl out of the cave of sleep and get on with the day varies somewhat day to day, but anything before 9 am is unusual.  I am usually getting up to attend an appointment [or another such important reason], still awake from the night before or on the very rarest of occasions I just happen to wake up and can’t get back to sleep for that couple extra hours.  This morning I was awakened by Son heading off to work at 5:25 am and I really tried to get back to sleep [seriously, did not feel any need to start my day THIS early!], but it eluded me and I was stuck crawling out of bed at 6:15 after nearly and hour of trying. 

First on the list of things to do, let the dog out, hit the loo, let the dog back in, feed her before she gets her tail in a knot.  Then I hobble into the kitchen and wake up the coffee maker, get morning meds, grab fresh brewed coffee [blow lots to cool it down some so I can drink it without burning my mouth], park my butt in front of the computer and start reading blogs, news, facebook messages, email…  First rounds of chores done.

Next round of things to do, pick a project I have on the go to spend some time on.  This morning the first choice to finish plying off the singles for a friend’s custom yarn.  The wheel starts sounding grumpy from the start, not good… Inspection reveals I have loose parts in tight spots, this means pulling things apart to reach them.  Wrench, pliers, lube spray to loosen the main nut, glue to fix problems, determination and stubborn will take a little less than 3/4 of an hour to get the wheel fixed up and working again.  A bit of spinning to test that all is back in place and I am ready to go again.

I toss a load of laundry in, it was meant to go in last night, but I was just too tired to fuss with it… Bed was calling and it won.  Today it needs doing, all the extra towels got used up cleaning a spill over the weekend and I would like them back in the cupboard ASAP, the extra stuff to make up a load are bonus.

Back to the wheel, another round of plying… It is meditative until the treadle hinge starts squeaking, damn it, forgot to tend to that while doing that other maintenance stuff… BREAK TIME!  Need another coffee to keep me going, maybe throw up a blog…. ZZZZZzzzzzz….

Murmble, groan, WHat?!  Sorry, dozed off for a bit there, told you it was way too early for me.  Time to go throw something together for lunch, finish up that load of laundry and go find something to do for the afternoon.