Sunshine and Yarn

I want to talk to you about knitting, which hasn’t been very present on this blog this month, but has indeed been happening intermittently throughout.  It just stays hidden in the background, clung to desperately during those few quiet moments I have to myself.  It has been the time to reclaim my sanity in a rather bustling world.

I bound of Rosarian today.  I tried it on.  And even unblocked, it is beautiful.

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It looks weird right now – undulating stitches with no definition.  I’m going to block the heck out of it tonight, but for now it remains a ridiculously soft mass of springy fiber that is secretly something amazing.

I’m back to the socks now.  Don’t be alarmed.  I stopped because they seemed a bit small, so I waited until I could try them on the feet of their intended, which I was able to do last weekend.  I was so wrapped up in Rosarian, though, that picking up the sock was torture.  Now, it is calming.  Strange how that transition happens.

Things have been stirring around here, and I’m happy to report that the audition proved fruitful.  I have been doing a three day giggly happy dance over here, followed closely by the extreme paranoia and “Oh, crap, I’m really moving across country.”

I drive on Friday!  Next post from the road!

By The Seat of My Pants

(I just found out this never posted.  What?? I’m trying to catch up. Oi!)

Remember when I said this summer I would have more time to blog, and I would be sharing all of the wonderful things I’ve got going on with all of you in the blogosphere?  Do those sound like famous last words? Anyone? Beuller?

Yeah, I’m mostly winging it over here.  I would like to say that today I’m feeling the groove more, but I’m fairly certain that’s a lie.  Knowing this is the end of the Midwest has really spurred me into action, visiting with all of the amazing people in the area, spending time with family, and doing that networking thing I need to get better at.

Last weekend, I was auditioning in Boulder, Colorado.  I am going to stay positive and say it went as well as I could have hoped, although I may have been over enthusiastic about the sunshine and spent too much time before the audition doing things like acro yoga and biking.  My hips were feeling a bit tight the day of the audition.

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I lived the sunshine and the people, and really hope it works out so I can live there for a year or two.

But its over now, and I’m sitting here biting my fingernails and trying not to lose my nerve, waiting for an answer, and still at this point of having to make a choice.  Nothing I decide will be bad, but its all a risk, and I don’t want to jump the gun committing to plan b or c before I’m sure plan a is out the window having a tea party down a rabbit hole I can’t seem to locate.

Week 3 Day 4 into summer camp and I’ve realized I can only handle this for four days a week, but I’ve got to come back tomorrow and wrap up Go Green.  I want a nice, relaxing day but foresee a bit of the pent up energy issues coming out.  That’s been the theme this week.  I adore the kids, but I wish I could ditch the theme in the afternoon and wear them out playing red rover at the baseball diamond next door.

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Next week is circus arts, and I’m hoping I’ve got enough of a theater game arsenal in store to make the week easy.

Plus, I’ve got a mini top hat and a waist coat. You can’t ignore a crazy lady in a top hat and waist coat.

In the end, I’m counting down the days I’ve got left in Milwaukee.  I leave August 1st.  There are butterflies in my stomach.

Definition of Insanity

The commonly accepted definition for insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result each time. That, umm, may be me right now.

See, I have some really amazing friends who have really stepped up to help me recently. They helped me pack and move, they gave me a place to stay, they helped with my child. Really stellar folks who asked for nothing in return. I have one friend in particular who has been amazing this past year – watching Ellette every week, sending me texts to check in, giving me what for when I was being an idiot, creating laughter, perspective and warmth. She’s really made of awesome, and I always ask her how I can show my gratitude. And she always asks for:

Socks.

Yup, handmade, warm, knee high or higher socks. I made her one pair and she loved them so much she wore through the heels in less than a month. So, the terrible friend that I am, keep sending her images of scarves and sweaters and hats and purses. “What about this??” I ask, because I want to make her anything except for socks.

But the guilt wouldn’t leave. She’s been a much needed rock, even when we were getting frustrated with each other at times, and I couldn’t make her the only thing she wanted. I felt like a horrible person. There is absolutely no way I could refuse the big blue puppy eyes as she handed two balls of worsted weight yarn and asks “Can you make them stripe?”

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Sigh. Yes. Yes, I can make them stripe. Yes, I will make them knee high or higher. Yes, for you. So, Caitlin, the start of your socks. And if you find me under a bench, busily squirreling away yarn for a nest, chattering to myself, and possibly chewing on the ends of my needles, you will know why. It is the result of love and appreciation of you, combined with my complete irritation for making socks.

Are you really sure I couldn’t make a sweater instead?

Gratitude

Week 1 of summer camp came to a close today.  I have been on the road now for two weeks, and while I’m settling in to this lifestyle, it’s still a bit lonely.  It’s been so long since I’ve been on my own like this, but I’m learning.  Today, my kids helped.

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This is why I want to teach kids.  This morning I was greeted with smiles and hugs, the kids were excited to get in the air.  I was feeling rather exhausted after dealing with a week of chaos and tears that came with the job.  At the end of the day, though, we had a little show for our friends and parents, and I was reminded why I love working with kids.  They always amaze me.  They pick up more than I expect, and they are not embarrassed to show their gratitude.  At the end of it, I was surprised by a bag of homemade cookies.

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Now I get two days to myself.  Next week: Project Runway.

I’ve started the summer camp section of my summer travels.  I must say, it has been nice having one place to be that is solid for awhile.  Last week and not having a definite place to sleep and no daily structure was exhausting.  Interesting and entertaining, but exhausting.  Currently, I am sitting in the house of friends, content that I will be here for another week or so.

On the subject of transience, I feel a bit transformed already.  I’ve shed some of the darkness that has been weighing me down over the past year or so, and I’ve been able to reconnect with people who have been influential in my life – past and present.  Something about treating these days as my last in the Midwest is helping me get passed the negativity I’d been hanging on to.  That isn’t the only reason, and that alone is definitely not what has helped me take those steps, but it is wonderful nonetheless.

Now, summer camp… I have two camp groups a day.  The first is the younger kids – adorably uncoordinated but tiringly needy. I have an hour lunch break and then the older campers have their time with me.

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Everyone is having a blast.  I’m staying late I’m the studio every day to work on my own routines and enjoying every minute of it.

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I get to see those excited and smiling faces throughout every day.  And, even though sometimes I deal with tears, this is totally worth it.

Messy Endings, Fresh Beginnings

The past 10 days have been some of the worst I’ve had to face recently.  Decompression from Lakes of Fire didn’t really hit, but was masked by the head first dive into packing and purging, followed by problems with both U-Haul and my landlord, and losing a friendship that means the world to me.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now, trying to think of what I need to take care of next.  I’m essentially homeless, jobless, and right at this moment, I feel kind of lonely.  This morning, I was sitting in the car getting ready to take care of the loose ends, and instead started thinking of places I could drive to to escape it all.  Tying up these loose ends is like tying your shoelaces with buttery spaghetti noodles and a pair of broken chop sticks.  I feel like a fumbling idiot.

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In the end, my worldly possessions are packed in a box that measures 8x5x7.5 feet.  Everything that means anything to me is in there.  It’s exciting and terrifying all at once.  I can do anything, and with that comes the niggling fear of failure I’m constantly trying to buck.  I’m trying to patch up friendships and frayed nerves, knowing that if I don’t do it now, the chances of accomplishing it when 2000 miles lies between us is nearly impossible.

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My apartment lies empty save for the painters’ gear.  It no longer is mine.  Four years ago, I signed the lease and started moving in, thinking it would only be a year, it would be a blip in time when I learn amazing things and then go off to bigger and better things.  The first two years were a struggle to stand on my own two feet, being away from my family and friends.  I got stuck, and the last two years have been a massive struggle to keep my head up.  Hence, this year I decided it would end.  I had nothing keeping me here – I hated my day job, I had no family or significant other in the area, and the things I wanted to do were far away.

Sitting at this crossroads now, right on the cusp of change, still a small amount of quickly dwindling time to change my mind and my plans, I am heaving a huge sigh of relief.  While this may be one of the hardest, most frightening decisions I’ve made, I think it is also one of the best I’ve made.  It feels more right for me than any choice I’ve had to make to date, and that gives me hope to keep looking forward.

Austin and an Art Car

Or: “Finally Catching Up”

I went straight from Austin to sitting in front of a sewing machine and packing to 5 days of an amazing burn, and now I home, with a full night’s rest on my own bed.  I woke up to the prospect of cleaning, packing, and getting down to business.  So, I put my big girl pants on and poured a cup of coffee.

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Austin was all about the bus.  This was my third trip to Austin, and probably the most entertaining.  I’ve seen the sighs before, I’ve met some cool people and did a bit of street performing.  We went swimming in the river, window shopping on South Congress, and that was enough.  This time, I met up with 13 other people to convert this little bus into an art car for Burning Man.  They got the roof deck started during a different build weekend, and that is where I spent my entire weekend.

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Everyone in the group had something to offer – sculpting, building, sewing, organizing, etc.  And everyone was excited to be a part of this project.  No one rested until we were called to lunch/dinner/etc.  The drive to work was infectious.  Saturday morning, I was handed yards and yards of coarse rope and instructed to lash the railings.  I spent so much time with that rope and the drill and the glue that my hands were red and raw, my knuckles had been worn away, and I had transitioned from cursing at the pain to shedding quiet tears under the Texas sun, pulling as hard as I could on my knots.  But the end result was entirely worth it.

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We didn’t finish – not even close.  But, the bus is closer, and following another build weekend, it will be ready for the Playa.  There are miles of fabric left to be sewn to the bus and more molding to be done.

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These guys – they were absolutely amazing.  Thank you for letting me be a part of the build and a part of your burn.

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Let’s Go

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I wrapped up the day job today, and at the moment I am writing to you from the airport.  I’m ridiculously giddy, talkative, and bouncy.

I’m breathing deep and smiling wide.  Next stop: Austin!

It’s time to reclaim silly.

Maybe I’m Addicted

That little shrug is probably the quickest thing I’ve ever crocheted.  Once I understood the lace chart, it flew by so fast I think I got yarn burn on my wrapping finger.  I’m entirely enchanted by the lace edging, which is exactly why I was drawn to this pattern.  It’s easier than it looks (it also desperately needs a blocking, so hang on to your opinions until the after-blocking photo shoot.)  The only thing hampering my flow was trying to watch a show with my family while I worked on it.  I can knit and look elsewhere with ease – stare out a window while churning out miles of stockinette, or chatting happily away as my fingers deftly creating ribbing.  But crochet – the yarnovers and chains and there are so many holes to put your hook through – eyes on the prize the entire way.

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I think this will be a perfect project for the plane to Austin on Thursday, but this time in my size.  This morning I dug through my fingering weight skeins and tried to select the perfect one.  I kept getting drawn to this skein of Aracauna in fuschia and gray.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be so excited for the finished item that I complete it before I even leave for the airport?

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That’s ok, though.  Ellette asked for a shrug also, and I have the perfect yarn for hers.

A Bit of Lace

I found a gorgeous crochet lace shrug pattern on Ravelry last week.  I mean, this thing was jaw dropping.  And everyone I’ve showed it to since agrees that it is fairly stunning.  Of these people, Caitlin agreed, and even asked for one.  This makes me happy, because Caitlin has been watching Ellette for some of my training days, and asked for no payment other than hand knits.  The hand knits she wanted – socks.

Now, we’ve already established that I’m not really a sock knitter.  I’ve made socks, for sure.  I want to try everything, but I don’t really like making socks.  I’d much rather shave my fingertips off or inflict silk burn on my spine than spend tedious hours churning out a pair of the knee high socks she covets.  And it made me feel like a terrible friend.  I should just suck it up and make her a pair of socks or two.  Instead, I’ve been hinting at other possible projects – scarves, arm warmers, etc.  So, when she asked for this, out of yarn she had previously purchased (for socks), I was ecstatic, and started as soon as I could.

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The pattern is not particularly difficult, it’s just not well written.  Following the charts is making more sense than the written instructions, which is saying something because me and crochet charts have a long and bitter history.  But, once I got over the fact that the designer and mathematics must have had an equally long and bitter history because the numbers just weren’t adding up, I was flying through the pattern. (And I ask here humbly that you forgo the “I-Told-You-So’s” if it turns out that I’m just an idiot who cannot add)

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I’m finished with the back and one armhole, which leaves one more arm and the neck edging, and it’s done!  Super easy, maybe 5 hours of work so far.  I’m going to wind another ball of fingering weight and take it on the plane on Thursday so I can work on one for myself in Austin.

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