Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Looking back at the year...

In creating the name for this blog, I decided that using the word "textile" would cover my passions -- knitting, scrapbooking, paper crafts and anything involving any other textile out there. I gravitate toward them, wanting to run my fingers over them and examining the craft to find out how to recreate it. So textile it was -- because I seem to go through phases -- periods in my life where I do something ad nauseum and then move on to the next until I get the itch again. That was my year -- knitting, scrapbooking, knitting. I just can't make up my mind. But I have my reasons.

I knit alone. I scrapbook in a group. I knit in the winter, when it feels so nice to have something wooly and wonderful spread across my lap or around me on the sofa. I scrapbook in the summer and spring, when I feel like having wool against my skin would send me into the asylum. I knit when I need time for me and me only -- time to get in my head and contemplate the meaning of life while working simple patterns in softness. I knit for functionality -- if I need something and I can make it, I do. Mostly so far, I've knit spa cloths, scarves, fingerless mitts, blankets and ponchos. Nothing too complicated ... maybe because my life is complicated enough and there's something so very soothing about assembling something simple.

On the other hand, I've done TONS of complicated projects in paper -- three-dimensional embossing, pop up scrapbook pages, multi-layered spreads with vellum overlays and watermark accents. Hinged hiding pockets and exacto-trimmed photos adhered so very carefully with half-strips of tape runner rectangles trimmed delicately. I've spent weekend retreats cranking out 40 pages of memories -- the same time it would take me to make a small knitting project.

On a similar note, the legacy of my husband's layoff and lack of work for eight months back in 2002-2003 has left me with a desire to constantly support my habits by selling it to friends. When rubber stamping became a passion for me back in 2003, I signed up to sell so that I could subsidize my obsession. I became a rubber stamp snob, and had a blast educating my friends and family on the tenets of certain inks and papers (of which I still believe -- I just have a stash of stamps that is threatening to take over the house). When I migrated back to scrapbooking full-time (cards are a pain when done in bulk), I decided to join Creative Memories because they made it so very easy to make progress. That's no lie. And so now I scrapbook, and believe whole-heartedly in absolving the world of acid and lignin and all the many chemicals that threaten to destroy the world's precious keepsakes.

It all comes in waves, apparently. But looking back at the year, I have just a few comments about my crafts that I'd like to share with whoever is listening (is anyone even reading this?)

- It never hurts to get a discount. Like I said, I've subsidized my scrapbooking by joining CM. After all, If I'm going to be spending an ungodly amount of money, I might as well get a discount and get it all from one outlet so it at least matches. But I think hubby would draw the line if I tried to get a part-time job at the local yarn store.

- Three types of people exist when it comes to textile arts.

The lovers. There are people who, when they open a handmade gift, squeal with delight, touch it, examine it and even sniff it (I do soaps for the holidays). They want to know how you made it, what stitch, what adhesive, how it was pieced together.

The haters. Then there are the people who glance up to make sure you aren't looking (or worse yet, feign a smile and do their best to look thankful even though they're screaming in their heads) before thanking you nicely and plotting ways to show off the gift without actually using it.

The appreciators. Perhaps the person I like most of all is the appreciator. While I absolutely adore folks who love my projects, who use them with glee and can't wait for more, the appreciator is someone that not only examines the gift but also plops down next to you and starts a conversation about it. They not only love, but understand the need to create, the need to find new materials so soft or sleek that you can't help but enjoy them. They're like my husband, who doesn't really care for knitted items (though he's more than willing to touch, feel, act as model and provide commentary), and his friend -- whose mother is also a textile maniac and not only knits but owns a sewing machine that costs as much as a used Honda. He's at our house frequently and never fails to ask what project I'm working on at the time. He touches the yarn, asks whether wool would be better, and encourages me to try something bigger next time. "How about a mack-daddy blanket? I think the kids are ready for you to knit them some sweaters ... why not finish that single sock you did six months ago?" The appreciators are also the other cub scout moms who watch with great interest when I take projects to work on during den meetings. They're the ones whose mothers or grandmothers taught them to knit decades ago who might just want to get started again. They ask lots of questions and I love to answer them.

And the fourth, non-designated audience is my children. My oldest, to be precise. He absolutely loves soft things, and just can't wait to see what Mommy is going to do next while sitting at his den meeting waiting for him. My littlest really just wants to check the sharpness of my needles -- his favorites are the #10 ones made of bone.

- If I could scrapbook or knit while having sex, my husband would be a happier person. At least until my needles, scissors or embossing gun got in the way ;)

I'll write resolutions before the 31st. Unless I find a project to work on between now and then.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Post-Holiday Review

Well, Christmas is over and only a few gifts remain to be given. I'm on the final stretch of my last holiday project -- a scarf for my new stepbrother. I don't have to actually give it until tomorrow, so I'm on schedule. A few hours of TV knitting and I should be fine.

I'm already lamenting that I will have run out of things to knit when it's over. Time to shop for more yarn and find a brand-new pattern to work. Maybe a big mack-daddy blanket for me? Who am I kidding....

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Another down...

Only four knitting days till Christmas! And just a few more things to go.

Not quite sure if anyone is reading this blog, but it promises to pick up once Christmas is over. And, as promise,d I'll even do pictures. Just can't do that now because I don't want to spoil surprises!

Happy December 20!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another project bites the dust

Just an update ... one more project down ... three more to go! Sticks-a-flyin'...

Hot gifts this year are fingerless mitts from the wonderful Weekend Knitting book (one set even modified to fit a four-year-old under his mittens!), straight scarves something top secret and even a moebius scarf or two ... lots of fun to do and quick to hammer out.

Only seven knitting days till Christmas...

First Entry!

Welcome to my first blog! Thought it might be fun to set something up to share ideas with crafting friends -- templates, patterns, completed projects -- and have a little fun while I'm at it. I'm up to my ears in holiday knitting (and unfortunately can't post pictures because people might see what they're getting!) but will start putting ideas up soon. I've been knitting up a storm (which leaves me ZERO time for paper crafts, alas!) but as soon as the needles stop going a mile a minute, I'll post some of my scrapbooking and card work.

Happy holidays everyone!