Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill + 1 Up (K&C Blog Week - Day 2)

The new things I've learned this past year could fill pages!  It seems that most anything I attempt, I jump in with both feet and lots of ambition - and sometimes very little sense.  For example, I never knew about all the video help available online until my Mom decided to start knitting.  She thought I could teach her, and I was flattered, and gave it a shot.  But.... she's left-handed.  I thought (all this thinking - I smell smoke!) that it would be easy - just have her sit across from me, right?  Well, maybe not, since not only are the hand positions reversed - the good thing.  The stitches are also reversed - not so good.  I also learned that it is far more difficult to teach things that sound so simple in a book.

With that experience crawling through my cranium, I started digging for more technical information about why knitting "works" the way it does.  I found it in books by Cat Bordhi, Barbara Walker, Elizabeth Zimmerman and one called Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson.  Being rather designer-minded since childhood, these things flooded into my brain and did their own version of the hula in there, showing me possibilities I hadn't thought about for designing my own knitted things.  Only trouble - finding time to knit the samples and (of course) the finished things!

Specifically, I've learned entrelac, which has led me out to the land of madness in terms of picking up stitches and knitting off in other directions - what a design possibility!  Those ponderings led to cables combined with knitted lace patterns, mosaic knitting, really cool Fair Isle ideas and more!

In the last year I've also discovered knitting groups, Ravelry and Etsy.  These are wonderful, each in their own way.  Knitting groups allow me to knit (and spin) in public (not that I was ever opposed to doing that - I don't care if people think I'm weird - I AM weird, and I'm okay with that).  They also challenge me to look at what I'm doing in new ways - other people do different things with their knitting than I do.  The Brain hat comes to mind here... no, I don't have pictures (sigh).

Ravelry..... what a great concept!  I don't even really know how to describe it.  Part pattern library, part social network, part project journal and stash organizer.  I'm still learning my way around in there - so much to see and do!  Might be able to catalog my stash, but that will take a while methinks!  I've found patterns and lots of inspiration in that wonderful electronic environs!  Wandering through French patterns (wishing I remembered more of my high school French so I could use them!) marveling at the differences between designers.  Rediscovering yarns, sources of supply and designers that I'd forgotten, and finding some I never knew before.

Etsy is also a great online venue for all things artsy.  I can look for (and find) most anything I could desire for my fiberish life.  I also have a shop there where I sell my handmade pens www.etsy.com/shop/krwizwork and even though I haven't really talked about it much here on the blog, it is one of the ways I feed my inner artist that actually makes me a few bucks.  People know what to do with a pen.  Hoping to save up the sheckles to insulate my wood shop so I can work out there year around.  But I have had a wonderful time inside with my wool this winter.

I used to joke that I could spin, weave and dye without strong drink.  I finally did more serious work on dyeing this past winter.  I've documented a lot of that early learning here in this blog, in fact, that's why I started the blog in the first place.  Most people get a glazed look when I start talking about fiberish things - and invariably ask "Can't you just buy yarn?  Why would you spin it yourself?"  To which, I have learned to answer "Because I can."  So, in this format, I don't have to encounter the glassy stare.... I can prattle on at length about what is important to me.  So, for the first time in my life, I've found a place to say the things that are "all about me".  Selfish?  Maybe a little, but I've found that there are people who are enjoying my little flight of fancy here.  Maybe not too many, but enough to keep me writing.

Thanks for the challenge Renee Anne, this is FUN! (wink!)

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