Archive | July 2015

My Purpose

I had the absolute honour and pleasure of helping Wendy with the beginner spinning program last week at HSTA. I get so excited when she asks me to help out. I LOVE watching people learn. I literally get butterflies in my stomach knowing the potential and how this may change their lives like it has mine. The joy. The peacefulness. The outlet for creativity. I could go on. I think I held myself together pretty well, but deep down I was crying tears of joy for them! I know some will fall comfortably in the vortex. Others have their toes on the edge. But this is something they will always have. If they spin today or 5 years from now, the option is still there.

Another thing I giggle about is how somebody gets something set in their mind that they probably won’t enjoy, but once they get their hands on it, game over. For example, there was somebody who wasn’t overly excited about dyeing. The next thing I knew, she was running around making up her own concoction and wanting to get the perfect colour that she held in her mind. I love it!

I just really enjoy passing on what I know. I know that I’m far from knowing a lot about spinning, but I do know enough to get people going. And it felt good. When I wasn’t sure about something, I would tell them how I understand it, but I wanted to double check with Wendy. More often than not, I was correct. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t passing on misinformation. It was also so cool to watch them do a technique that I demonstrated.

Sun dyeing at Fleming - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Sun dyeing at Fleming

Sun dyeing at Fleming - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Some more colours

I think I was put on this planet to teach. In fact I became convinced of that when I coached skating. I LOVED working with the kids and watching them grow. There were a couple of girls that grew into amazing skaters. I couldn’t help be think that maybe something I taught them helped them to get to where they were. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a music teacher. There were a bunch of perceived barriers in the way (if I knew then what I know now, I would have knocked them right out of the way!), so that never happened. I’m currently teaching workshops at the Kinmount Artisans Marketplace this summer. I love it. I just love it!

Soooo… I’ve got my sights set. I want to teach spinning. I want to fuel the fire in others the way Wendy fuels the fire in me. Whenever I do a spinning demo, I hear “That’s a dying art” a lot. I tell them that I’m on a mission to change that or “Not on my watch!” I want to suck as many people in to the spinny vortex that I can. That would make the world a much prettier, happier place.

To those whom I assisted last week: You all just blew me away with your enthusiasm, creativity and especially how quickly you picked up on spinning! I’ve seen a few others at the same stage, but I have never seen a class as a whole grasp it so quickly! You all did amazing! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, spinning and other. I hope to see some of you at OHS Level 1 in 2017 if I don’t see you before. If I can be of assistance in any way, you know how to find me. Don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you so much. I did my best to keep a lid on stuff, but I will say that you helped me through a pretty rough week. I appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

On the Wheel Today: July 18/15

Merino/Stellina blend, dyed by me - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Merino/Stellina blend, dyed by me

I had started this post on Saturday at the artisans market I attended, but I got too into the spinning to finish it. 

I also discovered the “before” picture too…

 

Merino/Stellina blend dyed by keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

I dyed this earlier this year


And after spinning and plying…

Spun and dyed by keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

2-ply, sport weight-ish (haven’t checked the finished WPI)

I’ve been doing a LOT of spinning and dyeing since my Sweet Pea had to go last Sunday. He was so upset, so I’m sure you can guess how I’ve been. But rather than let the darkness win, I have dove head-first into my wool. I know some out there were counting on me shutting down and being depressed. But I bet they didn’t count on me fighting back with colour and fluff. Who says wool can’t be used as a weapon?

On the Wheel Today: July 16/15

This one really excites me. I was inspired by some wool I was given a few summers back. There were a few more colours in it, but I’m loving these three. 

The fleece is Corriedale from Crow Hill Farm. It was a raw fleece – I have posted “before” photos when I was doing my spinning assignment. I then washed it and dyed it. I ran it through my drum carder and added some sparkle. I am spinning “z” with the intention of Navajo plying “s”. My plan is to keep the long sections of colour.  

Lilac/pink/lime green Corriedale - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Loving the lilac, pink and lime green!

I’d had this sitting in my stash since the spring. Between combating the heartache/anxiety of my son being away and Wendy fanning the flames, this needed to be on my wheel. This colour combination makes me smile.

I’m hoping to have this spun and plied to show the spinning students tomorrow. They all went to town yesterday with dyeing. It was magical to see! So it is my intention to fan some flames myself. I’m learning from the best!

On the Wheel Today

I’ve got some of Louet’s Northern Lights on today. This is one of my favourites to spin (except for the discolouration of my fingers).

I’m spinning my singles “Z” (for optimal crocheting) and I’m going to Navajo ply it. 

  

Gifting Your Work: Think it through before you’re too generous

If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you’ve probably figured out by now that I get the urge to rant every now and then. There’s a method to my madness though. I’m HOPING that by reading my rants, you may save yourself from some heartache or wasting your time. I think this is a big one because I’m sure that many of you like to gift you work. Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve figured this out long ago. For your sake, I really hope so.

I get the impression that a lot of people think that I give handmade gifts because I don’t have the money to afford to buy gifts. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Why would I put all the thought, time and effort into something when I could just pick something out/up in 10 minutes? I’ll tell you, buying a gift sure would save me a lot in the long run!

No, when I make a gift for somebody, it costs me more than you may think. The time that I put into that gift is time that I’m not putting into making items to sell or fulfilling orders AKA making money to feed/clothe my son. Or it’s my allotted “free time” (although what I like to do in my “free time” is the exact same thing I like to do when I work). So that six hours I spent working on your childs’ Minion toy? Yeah, I could have spun up a couple of skeins of yarn or whipped three or four hats. If we’re talking minimum wage here, that means that I’ve invested over $60 PLUS material into their gift.

We’ll start with those afghans that I made for some of my “friends” when we were in high school. I put quotations around “friends” because they sure as hell didn’t turn out to be friends (this only applies to a couple… The ones I’m still in touch with are there for a reason – I love them!). The very first one I made an afghan for turned her back on me because of someone else’s actions before we even graduated. I can’t count how many hours I wasted on her. And she wasn’t the only one to get an afghan from me. I’m going to be honest. I deeply regret making most of the ones I made. (My bestie still has hers though and she proudly had it on display until her little dog decided he wanted to adopt it. And by adopt it, I mean dig at it, potentially destroying it).

Another thing I regret is the Wonder Woman Minion I had made. Well, regret is an understatement there. I spent far more than six hours on that one. I didn’t have a pattern. I went based on pictures. She was a work of art. And for what? I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that there are two faces and some throwing under the bus involved. Now that I know what I do now, I would never have bothered.

And then there’s the ungrateful “family” member. I made them an afghan for Christmas one year. In that case, I did have to make the gift because I didn’t have the money. But it was the nicest yarn I had in my stash and it was NOT cheap. I’d never seen the afghan after I gave it to them. I was asked to make a sun hat for their child – never saw the child wearing it or got the picture I was promised. I have made a lot of things for the kids over the years and have never seen them worn/used after they were given to them. I didn’t have the money to get them a wedding gift at the time – I felt that anything I could afford wouldn’t be good enough. So I thought of what I could make. Nothing came to me. Why? Because I knew deep down it would just get shoved in a closet, re-gifted or donated (I have no issue with donating something after it’s been enjoyed, but this would have probably gone directly to the bin).

I don’t ask a lot from somebody when I give them a gift. A thank you is nice. Appreciation of the love, time and effort is a bonus. When I make something for somebody, I have put a lot more than thought into it. My son is proud to give gifts that I make. Any time he gets invited to a birthday party, I always ask him if he wants me to buy the gift or make it. So far he’s always asked me to make it. There may have been one exception. The other piece to that is that if the child gets a handmade gift from me, I hope they know they have/had a place in my heart. I wouldn’t put that time/effort in for just anybody.

Anymore.

There have been others that haven’t even said thank you.

No, in light of recent events, this really has me reconsidering gifting the things I make. A piece of my heart goes in to every piece of my work. And many of the past recipients don’t deserve a piece of my heart. I have ended up regretting it. I don’t want to do that anymore.

So please, for your own sake… Don’t do what I have done. Make sure that if you’re going to be investing all that time and money into a gift you want to make for somebody, think long and hard whether or not they’re worth it. Will you regret it? Is there a remote chance? If your gut is telling you yes, then save yourself and listen to it.