Blessed and Grateful

I hate to do this to you, I really do. I’ve read posts like this myself, and I remember how flat out jealous I felt. But I just have to show you how generous and kind Eve of www.artbyeve.com is in her spirit. Look…

Yarn Gift from Eve I

That’s four skeins of Anne (lace weight alpaca & silk blend) and two of Betsy (worsted weight merino & silk blend). It’s all soft as clouds, and the colors are so vibrant! I am utterly distracted. That orange is just crying out for something amazing to be done with it, can you hear it?

How did I end up with this bounty? I sent a picture and a link of the There and Back Again Story Scarf, to share with Eve how lovely her hand dyed yarn looks in the project. Just that. I thought it would be fun for her to see, because in a way this project is a collaboration between us. Our two sets of hands made this thing happen. Isn’t that a beautiful thought?

And in response, she sent me a wonderful and encouraging email, and then all this gorgeous yarn, and invited me to make more things! Yay! I’ve been walking around all morning with a goofy grin on my face. I may have done a little happy dance, and my husband may have been confused by it. Whatever. I was not “standing there flailing; there isn’t even any music.” If he can’t recognize a happy dance it’s his problem. 🙂

If you want some elegant yarn of your own to cuddle in your arms (and maybe dance with), Eve tells me you can get it, among other places, from her friend Living Dreams Yarn & Fiber’s Ravelry page – there’s an Ebay link. Looks like it’s called Sublime Lace there. Or she has an Amazon shop, too. Go at your peril. You may not be able to resist the pull of this yarn’s seductive gravity.

So expect to see some new projects featuring more fabulous alpaca/silk lace weight soon. Though I already have January’s projects nearly ready to go (six projects to roll out, can you believe it?! I’m a little stunned, myself, but I keep re-counting, and it still comes out to six: three hats, a soft cowl, and two scarves), so it will be a little later in the new year for this fine, fine yarn.

Thank you, Eve!  I am so very blessed.

Yarn Gift from Eve II

Local Motion

It is wonderful to feel connected to the wide world, and explore other cultures and see all the things there are to see. I love the internet for that.

It is also wonderful to feel connected to neighbors, to live in a place where you know people around you and they know you back. That’s something Americans like me have pretty much lost and are trying to recapture.

Mid November, we headed to one of the (many) yarn shops here in Portland. I work downtown, and Pearl Fiber Arts is within lunchtime strolling distance.  With the help of the owner, my husband and I selected lace weight yarn for the There and Back Again Story Scarf I had graphed out.  I wanted a clear bright yellow and a nice green – something bright, but natural looking, if that makes sense.  We picked “Anne,” hand dyed by a local woman (www.artbyeve.com) with a farm and crafty, crafty hands. It makes me happy that the scarf I made for my husband helped a local store and a local fiber artist. It’s good to keep the local economy humming along; it helps ensure interesting people stick around, for one thing.

We went back to the store after the scarf was finished, and showed Cindy, the friendly store owner, what I had wrought. She took the great picture of Rick above, saying “Mordor,” and showing off his latest possession. Doesn’t she have great lighting in her store? I’m really impressed. And you can see the yarn I used to make it just to the left of his head. The yellow’s on the top row, the green below.

Cindy posted the picture to her Facebook page. And then a local reporter wrote a link-stuffed paragraph about all this local activity. If you go to OregonLive.com, click on Entertainment, click on Living, go to the Index and find Knitting, then go to the blog with the headline that starts, “Blue Moon Fiber Arts,” then scroll down to the bottom of the article to “Update II,” you get a nice little paragraph about it all. (I love that; just goes to show that newspapers are really trying but still don’t quite understand how to work the web. It’s endearing.)  Or you could just click this convenient link I am providing for you.

I’ve had a couple of newspaper articles written about me over the course of my life, for one reason or another, and this is the only one that got all the facts right, by the way. Tickled me, too, that she called me “local knitter/designer.” It’s true, that is what I am. But it feels kind of fraudulent, like I’m claiming expertise and longevity and that people in the community might nod and say, “Oh, yes, I know her, she lives down the road, does nice work,” when I’m such a noob. Nobody knows who I am. I’ve only been doing this for about two months now.

But I’m not going away any time soon, if I can help it. I plan to grow into that title. Local girl sticks her neck out, looks around, likes what she sees.

Go Time

Gift giving. Man, it’s hard. You love somebody, you know lots of things about them, but then you are standing in front of the jewelry counter at Macy’s wondering if she’ll like this watch. You know she wants a watch. You’re (pretty) certain you can’t knit a watch; this is going to have to be a purchase.

You know she likes gold more than silver, and big and chunky rather than fine and delicate. And you know your basic budget. And yet you stand there, thinking about all the little things that could make this particular watch, which is gold and kind of chunky and thankfully affordable, still possibly not appealing to her. Like, maybe the numerals on the dial are too spiky, or the links are square, but she’d prefer rounder edges. And it’s not real gold, just gold colored. Maybe that would bug her. You want to show love, but maybe you’re just going to show your ignorance.

It’s happened to you. You like delicate, colorful tree frogs, but you have a friend who thinks big warty toads are the same as frogs so she buys you hideous toad birthday and note cards, thinking that’s what you like (true story). You don’t want to be that guy if you can help it.

How to decide? Buy it? Put it back and decide later? Sneak into her jewelry box, looking around for more clues? Why is this so hard?

Bought the watch. Thank goodness for gift receipts, amiright?

The Speech

My coworker friend Jason was teasing me, back when I first put the Name of the Doctor scarf up on Ravelry. It gathered hundreds of “fave” love/like hearts ❤ in the first few days, so he said I was going to reach a thousand “faves” soon.

I responded, “Oh, no! That freaks me out – I can’t even think about that! What if they want me to make a speech or something?” So that’s become a joke – I have a speech to prepare. And now, incredibly, look! Zowie!

Doctor 1000 likes

I refuse to admit to you or anyone that I checked back multiple times per day, nor will I admit that when the counter got to 999 I kept the page open and refreshed repeatedly. Didn’t happen. (Totally happened.)

So here’s my “One Thousand Faves Speech.”

Wow – this is all moving so fast. I opened my little Ravelry “store” at the beginning of November. I posted the “Name of the Doctor Scarf” pattern on November 14. I am absolutely amazed that it reached 1,000 likes in under four weeks. I am very grateful for the welcome Ravelry knitters have given me, and the enthusiasm for the scarf, despite its fancy-pants construction. The thought that someday soon there could be assorted doctor scarves hugging shoulders around the world fills me with joy.

Thank you to my family for letting me knit lots and lots, and to my husband for modeling for us, and to Jason and Steph for taking pictures and to everyone who took a moment to say something nice to me about my work. I’m so very grateful.

I love you back, a thousand times! And I promise not to let knitting fame change me. At least, I won’t let it change me too much. I might let it make me happier.

Thank you!

And thanks to you for reading this stupid speech. I’m such a dork. But really, a thousand people. That’s a lot. A lot a lot.

There and Back Again Story Scarf

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When her Uncle Bilbo returned from his grand adventure, young Peony Took sat at his feet and listened to his stories. She did not laugh like the others at his wild imagination. She went home and knit his entire story into a scarf, from his green door at home straight on through to his legendary treasure chest, and gave it to him for Christmas.

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Bilbo treasured that scarf and wore it every winter until it was practically in tatters, though his neighbors laughed to see his silly, impossible tale hanging round his neck.

Peony, encouraged by her uncle’s appreciation for her art, grew to become known far and wide as an expert with a pair of needles, and her bright and beautiful scarves, hats, mittens, socks and sweaters were highly sought after.

Years and years later, when Frodo Baggins’ parents died, Peony would have taken her young cousin into her home, though by now her own children had children of their own. But Bilbo wanted the lad. “Let it be,” she said to her family. “Uncle Bilbo has been alone for many years. I won’t leave him lonely. Besides, maybe taking on the responsibility of raising the child will help steady him.”

And feeling nostalgic, she pulled out her old, crackling paper pattern, and once again knit the scarf she had once made for Bilbo, and wore it for herself.

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My latest offering. I am super, super excited to share it with you! I keep referring to it as “the story scarf,” and my husband finally asked, “Story scarf: is that really a thing?” No, as far as I know, nobody else has done such a thing. I felt a kinship, in designing this scarf, with pictographs of ancient Egypt or Sumeria, and the Bayeux Tapestry. Not the style or the level of sophistication, you understand, just the idea of using pictographs all in a line to tell a story.

My husband is walking around wearing it today, and it just keeps catching my eye. You’d think I’d be more critical, as the designer, but this one really makes me smile. All my projects have delighted me lately. I’m not sure why – like any artist, I usually am disappointed by how far my art is from what I had imagined. But lately, I look at my stuff and I think it’s just peachy, and I don’t even feel worried about what other people might think if I put it out there. This is not normal for me; I’m generally pretty self conscious and start thinking my handmade thing is weird, stupid and embarrassing just before I show it to anyone, and then I make the presentation really awkward because I get scared to actually let anyone else’s eyeballs land on my sad little attempt at expression. But I’ve apparently turned exhibitionist.

Maybe I’ve learned to accept my limitations. And maybe I instinctively trust the online knitting community, which I have found to be upbeat and encouraging. Or maybe I have a brain tumor that just makes me giddily happy to share. Fine by me!

Anyway, how do you like the There and Back Again story scarf? What other story should I try tackling in pictographs?

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You can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

Geeking Out

I’ve always been a geek. And I had a lonely childhood. I’m not sure if those two things necessarily go together, but I know they do often. Certainly they did for me.

I found science fiction books pretty early in life, but I think the first truly geeky thing I did was get hooked on Star Trek, the syndicated reruns that played every weekday at 6:00 pm during the early to mid 1970s. I hardly ever missed a show, and quietly absorbed the whole thing, even if I’d seen that same episode five times already. I still love Captain Kirk, and Spock and Dr. McCoy, and the Enterprise. I want to go to there, as Liz Lemon says.

Probably my second big geeky romance was with The Lord of the Rings. I read that trilogy, and for the first time in my life, went to the library to ask if I could have the author’s address. I dearly wanted to send him a letter, to try to tell him how much his epic story meant to me, how it moved me. I was in Junior High, and outcast, and I wanted to see Tolkien’s elves with all my heart. After several days of checking back, the librarian regretfully returned to me to tell me that Mr. Tolkien had died the year before. So I reread the books, and waited impatiently for his son Christopher to finish editing the Silmarillion. This is how I got a US first edition copy (I had to wait until 1977). And then I proceeded to read the book to death, so even though I have a first edition, it is in sorry shape and not worth anything as an object. But I remember sitting in our backyard with my teenaged daughter one summer day, while I read the story of Luthien Tinuviel and her lover Beren to her out of that broken, ratty old book. We both had tears in our eyes as I finished.

I share these tidbits to try to convey how much it means to me to find other fanboys and fangirls out there, others who get excited about fantasy and science fiction, fanfic and cosplay, and getting excited and making things. Others who understand my attempts at obsessive geeky  artistic expression. Hooray for the internet! What joy! I love all you nerds.