Category Archives: Zigzagging

Thinking…Exploring Options…Before the first step in a direction

Fiber Push Pull Talk Therapy 

Oh bother….

I didn’t unfollow enough fiber folk on Instagram last week. Too many pictures were posted from Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. Even though it was clearly muddy wet, too much exposure to pretty fiber and spinning wheels and more angst for me. 

Not going to succumb. But it still has such a strong pull for me. Which I really don’t understand. 

Ok I REALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS PULL. 

I need to use this blog post as a therapy session to resolve this crazy thinking. 

I AM a practical person. At the moment, I am feeling far from practical. Hmmm, Time (Money) just posted 4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You into Spending. 

I don’t even understand two of the ways. The ones I think affecting me are Anchoring Bias and Bandwagon Effect.  Follow the above link if you want to learn more. 

Talk Therapy begins now: 

❌ I don’t need any more yarn. I have enough for several years of contented knitting.  Certainly enough yarn to accomplish the all my current ‘needs.’

Yarn stash 2016

❌I am finally knitting with my very first handspun yarn from 2014. It’s not pretty. Very inconsistent lace to DK weight. But I’m happy  it’s no longer an albatross around my neck. 

Best part of the first spindle spun yarn

Worse of first handspun yarn

Openwork Triangle shawl nearly done.


❌I am now sad that I gave away my first wheel spun yarn at the local guild’s retreat as a door prize. I just needed a year apart to realize how pretty it is. Of course, it would be sitting in my craft closet for another few years before it was no longer too precious to knit.  Ok, it would have become another albatross around my neck. 

First wheel spun yarn 2015

So what is it about spinning?  

  • 🚫: Is it about having the wheel? The other accessories like a counter, nittynotty, the lazy Kate, the swift?
  • ❌: Is it about buying fiber? 
  • ❌‼️ Is it about processing fleece into fiber? (More equipment, more time)
  • ✅: Is it about the process?
  • ✅: Is it about the yarns produced?
  • 🚫: Is it about knitting with handspun yarns?
  • 🚫⁉️: Is this a social activity?
  • 🚫: Will this make shoulder & arm injuries worse?

Ok, too much red and not enough green checks. This could easily become one of the many hobbies I am consumed by and then abandon in a few years. Sigh…Maybe once a year, I will scratch the spinning itch with a spindle project or rent a wheel. But not now, first I have more SSK KALs before July. But I am dreaming of spindle spinning some purples & blues. Several fiber folk are doing a simple 15minutes a day (#spin15aday).  Can I do this?  Will find out after SSK.  

Oh, a friend asked me to knit a girl’s cardigan. Sounds like fun. And probably this first project to knit after July. 

Ok, I’m feeling a little better. Plenty to do without adding yet another fiber craft. I think I just needed to have a plan for my knitting. 

Thanks for letting me indulge in some talk therapy. 

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Tempted to Spin

I MUST have an ADD problem. 

I have a huge sewing & knitting to do list. 

I have an neglected etsy business I’m convienently ignoring. 

I just started marbling fabric, paper & scarves for fun. 

I was obsessed with pattern making on fabric (shibori and block printing) on Pinterest & Instagram. Fortunately, that obsession has played out. In the process of unfollowing those feeds. 

But STILL, I want to get a spinning wheel and make yarn. Not because I need yarn. Just because it looks like fun. 

M U S T not follow through….

I’m TRYING to downsize. 

Not add yet another rabbit hole. 

What is wrong with me?

I’ll try unfollowing spinners in my Instagram feed and podcasters, except for The Knitgirllls. 

My small spinning stash

Small Projects Turn Into Bigger

Remember that little Easter egg 1 particle skein of yarn dyeing experiment success? 

 

Overdyed with Easter egg dyes, Nebbiolo cowl pattern by Thea Coleman

 Well. I thought I’d do a bigger project, a sweater’s worth of yarn. And a few more scraps of the first yarn to make a matching hat.

 

Yarns prepped for overdying

 
I thought I’d just multiply and duplicated what I did the first time. What could possibly go wrong? 
Well. A lot. For one thing, I wanted a dark teal color from that bright green. OK, use all of the turquoise & blue dye pills & every other possible blue food dye in the house & maybe some black. 

 

Every blue & turquoise food dye in the house

 
This is where math would have been a good idea. And doing more research and learn for other experienced dyers, like this one: http://www.dyeyouryarn.com

Mistakes:

  • I used too much vinegar in the soaking bath. 
  • I used too hot a soaking water. 
  • I mixed all the dyes together before pouring them over the soaking yarn.
  • I poured them all at once into the soaking water

That dye stuck to the yarn exactly where it was poured. 

Blotchy ugly yarn dyeing

 And the reason I didn’t post anything last week:

  • I was exhausted & defeated by simple Easter egg dyeing. 
  • I have to figure out what I did wrong. 
  • I hate wasting good yarn. 

It took a second whole day of driveling small batches of very diluted turqoise, blue & black food coloring to get closer to what I originally wanted. Repeated over & over again. (Cool soaking water and no extra vinegar)

I’m thrilled with the final results. It’s not going to work for the sweater. It will make a beautiful hat, figureless mitts, & big shawl set.  I’ll save that project for later. 

 

Over over overdyed yarn

 
Now, I have to find another yarn in stash to make the original sweater. 

Here’s the finished cowl & ‘matching’ hat. Buck hat & Nebbiolo cowl both designed by Thea Coleman. 

 

‘Matching’ hat & cowl, Buck hat designed by Thea Coleman

 
Chat with you next week. 

I did another ‘bigger’ project: recovered kitchen bar chairs. 

20 Minutes & 3 Months

Last fall I was happily working on a custom bag for a dear friend. Most of it was done except the last bits. She did ask for a matching card holder. No problem…until…

It turned out to be a problem. A simple easy card holder was a total failure. And I didn’t have an ideas to resolve it. 

Life gets in the way, an new chronic illness and she was busy moving, so I was given too much license to procrastinate. 

The longer I procrastinated, the harder it was to go up and make a new card holder.  I did finished the hobo bag. Made some significant changes in the design (added hidden magnet closure, moved the pleats at the bottom, & simplified the straps). Very happy with it. 

 

Utter Maddness Hobo bag

 
I may have to make a smaller one for myself. 

Then the card holder. It was done in 20 minutes and 3 months. I don’t know why fear gripped me. The solution was so simple. 

KonMari Method Fail: Digital

Last week I published & then deleted a post about using the KonMari idea for my digital life. I was premature in that posting. I’m still not sure I’m ready to publish this. But here goes….

I thought the trip to Baltimore would be the ideal time to work on digital stuff. Unfortunately, I broken the first guideline of the KonMari method to gather EVERYTHING together to do the sorting. I completely forgot about my previous digital life before smart phones, an old laptop and really old Mac.  The Mac is so old, Apple refuses to let me even bring it in to the store. “We no longer have parts for this, so we can not be responsible for anything that could happen while in our possession.” And I haven’t even turned them on since I got this phone. 

AND the real failure was forgetting that my digital life was more about memories. Marie Kondo’s mandate saving mementos for last. Maybe I’ll update in a few months…when I can face those memories. 

On a better note, others have been thinking the same thing about cleaning up their digital life. 

Note To Self, an WNYC podcast, ran a week long experience called Infomagical. Their focus was on more about returning our smart phones back into a resource & tool for instead of the time waster it has become. 

This episode, Infomagical Challenge 2: Magical Phone, does a bit of the KonMari decluttering of apps on your phone. 

Of course I took it too far. 

I heard more on another podcast. So sorry, I can’t find that episode or which podcast.  I might have unsubscribed prematurely. Oops. Yet another fail. Ok, now I’m feeling desperate to find that podcast.  Searching ‘konmari digital clutter’….the main discovery, I’m late to this whole project. Still can’t find that podcart. 

I did find a extensive interview on GoodReads. Turns out my first fail was bogus & was an overreach of the method. Marie suggests gathering all RELATED FILES/documents/photographs into ONE folder, like the last family reunion. Keep the best of theses. 

Should have researched more before starting this. Sigh…More work to do. 
Chat with you next week.  

Road Trip 2:2016, Baltimore

Road trip 2, 2016: Baltimore

 

Driving at dawn

 
I’ve checked, the hotel is in the suburbs, not walking distance or public transit to museums, interesting events, yarn shops, or farmers markets. We are surrounded by shopping malls. 

I’ll keep up the ‘Spark Joy’ momentum, tackling my digital clutter. 

Oops, forgot it’s Chinese New Year. Hubby didn’t want to trek to New York or DC (can’t interfere with Super Bowl time). A smaller celebration at the Walters Art Museum is just the ticket.

 

Stay In Lane, Fort McHenry Tunnel, Baltimore

 
Normally, I wouldn’t make the effort to go downtown (paying for tolls, parking, & lunch). But a few months ago, I watched a wonderful long running PBS program called, Craft In America. Celebration featured one group of Chinese lion dancers. I had a new appreciation for their dedication & craft. This was my first time seeing a live dance. Impressive 9 minutes performed by university students. 

If you want more, here’s a video of Shanghai Spring a Festival elaborate lion dance, posted on The Kid Should See This

It was worth the trip downtown. Exploring the historic Mt. Vernon area of Baltimore. Seeing a bit of the beautiful Walters Art Museum. 

Chinese New Year ceiebration at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

 
We will be within walking distance an IKEA, & most important a public library. Guess I will be window shopping and reading, to get some walking and fresh air. 
Bonus. I saw a group perform tai chi with a fan! It was so cool to watch. And it just so happens, I’ve been thinking about starting tai chi again. (It’s been 12 years. I’ve forgotten everything.) 

  

Oops! I didn’t check the weather just before leaving for this trip. So I found some snow shoes on sale at the mall. Lesson learned, just routinely pack them for future trips. 

  

Everything Will be Vertical: KonMari Method

I didn’t think I need this book. ‘I can figure this out without her help.

I would clean, organize, & declutter when guests come & I loved how it feels.  But just like an ocean tide, all the floxum and jetsam floats right back on all the horizontal surfaces.  It was a constant battle. And much easier to ignore, than deal with it. 

5 million copies of Marie Kondo’s first book, ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ have been sold. Ok, maybe she’s got some tips I could use. 

My copy came through a 4 week old reserve request at the local library. Hey, I knew her focus was on elimination. So why buy the book, to then get rid of it?

When I asked if they also had the new book, ‘Spark Joy.’ Nope, but she said there are 17 people waiting in reserve after me for the Tidying book.  Lots of New Year’s resolution list? (Hmmm, maybe I should have put my name back on the reserve list.)

 

Chaos surrounding tidying potential

 
All that to say I have a two week check out time limit to read and start implementing the process. 

I can see a lot of rolled eyes and shaking heads of my knitting friends. Y’all probably think I’ve crossed to the other side. All I know that the chaos in my house makes me a bit crazy. But I also reserve the right to not touch my yarn/fiber/fabric stash until I am good and ready.

The book is an easy read. A lot makes sense. It comes from a different angle than what you would find on Pinterest where ‘Organize’ equals clever storage solutions.  Her focus is on elimination, keep only what ‘sparks joy.’ What you decide to keep are things you cherish and enjoy. She doesn’t care if you divide into giveaway or toss. It’s more about clearing out the psychological/emotional reasons for keeping stuff. You are really clearing away all the old decisions, indecisions, all the if-onlys, the what-ifs or the just-in-cases. They have done their job and it’s time for them to move on. 

I had two A-Ha moments. 

One of the first exercises she goes through before, ask what I want the house to be and why and why and why. I discovered that my clutter is really a scattered bunch of procrastinated to-dos weighing me down to a catatonic escape into social media. My drugs of choice are Instagram, Pinterest, and Feedly. I will deal with them later. 

The other was her comment about loungewear. Have the same respect & criteria for your loungewear as your public clothes. Ok, here was my downfall, I had relegated all the wrong color, wrong size, old tattered & stained and no joy stuff to my at-home-no-one-will-see-me-except-hubby loungewear. 

Other than loungewear, I was already pretty organized with just a few blind spots. Ha! Wrong! A Saturday project with some modifications in the process was all I needed. Ha! Wrong! I’m writing this on Sunday and am about half way through the process. 

Maybe if I simply stuck with her method of taking every single item and seeing if it sparked joy could have been faster. Instead, I needed to try on everything. Ok, not everything, at least clothes that I wasn’t sure fit.

Surprise! I fit into some much loved clothes & found long forgotten things that are now back in circulation. I did 10,000 steps between my bedroom & closet. 

I eliminated what was too small, too large, didn’t look good and didn’t spark joy. Good bye to sweats, skirts and dresses I wore 30 years ago, hand-me-downs, & never worn. Only pulled two items from the give-away pile.

Do you think big shoulder pads will ever come back?  I am keeping one favorite big shouldered jacket from the 80s. Really wishful thinking about those big shoulders. I tossed a shoebox full of old shoulder pads.  

 

The no joy pile of clothes

 
So far so good. 

Next, are the accessories, shoes, handbags, shawls, etc.

 She didn’t specifically talk about shawls or scarves. Her only edict is that everything must be visible and stacked side by side. This drawer makes me very happy to seeing everything at once.  But I don’t like rolling them.  I have to figure out a better solution. 

Handknit shawl drawer

 

Results: 

  • 5 bags to giveaway
  • 3 items to rework 
  • 2 items to over dyeing 
  • 3 empty shelves
  • A very happy person

Post-process morning-after:

I was a bit lost this morning. There’s no grunge clothes I use to wearing. This will be more of a mental/habitual adjustment than tossing stuff.