Tag Archive | inspiration

One With the Sloth

One of the many awesome things about my bestie and her honey (who shall henceforth be known as “manbestie” because his awesomeness is of the same caliber which is why they’re together!) is that they love to watch Animal Planet. When I get to hang out with them, that’s one of the things we do. As a result, I now know what a sloth is.

We’ve watched Meet the Sloths a few time. They just crack me up! They go along at their own pace, many with goofy little smiles on their faces. I get the impression that when people talk about sloths, they think they’re lazy because of how slowly they move. After watching this show, I’d say they’re anything but. When they want something, they will dang well put their all into getting it. There was one little guy that had lost an arm if I recall correctly. Did that stop him from trying to climb trees? Nope. Did falling out of said trees and hurting himself stop him from climbing trees? Nope. Did he seem worried about it? Nope.

Well, I’ve decided that this is how I’m going to approach the spinning course for the remainder of this level and the future levels. I am going to be one with the sloths. I am going to keep on keeping on. Sure, I have fallen out of trees because I missed a detail, didn’t fully comprehend the assignment, can’t read minds on how to mount assignments (there is a suggested template, but it does not work for every assignment – that’s a whole other rant that will be saved for after the fact)… However, I am NOT going to let this stop me. Ten years from now, I won’t give a rat’s ass that I didn’t mount my assignment “correctly”. I won’t care that I lost marks for under plying. I won’t lose any sleep because I wasn’t able to achieve the expected angle of twist.

I had decided last year after I had the proverbial wool pulled from underneath me that my sole purpose for doing this course is to make me a better spinner. No matter what my marks are, that is what is going to come out of this. I will be a better spinner. I will have tried fibres I never knew existed. I will have the opportunity to find what I like, what I don’t like. It will likely open even more doors for fun and experimentation with techniques and fibres. The most valuable piece of it all though is going to be the feedback. I have found that on the rare occasion, it can come off as snarky and maybe a little condescending. Whether or not that is the intention, I’ll never know. I’m not paying these people to be my friends and sugar coat stuff though. What I need most from them is to know what I’m doing right and what I can do to improve. They have all delivered. Look at Gordon Ramsey – absolute asshole in the kitchen, but he knows his shit. If people can filter out the condescending asshole piece and use his feedback, there is no doubt their skills become stronger. Fortunately for us spinners, it’s not THAT bad!

When I went into this course, I did it for some right reasons and some reasons that are starting to change. The main reason was my love of spinning. That will never change. Another was to help me with the loss of Mom. That has helped me IMMENSELY. To show my little hunny bunny that you’re never too old to go back to school or follow your dreams. I LOVE that I have removed that excuse for him. I will continue to do so! hehehe

Another was to be an instructor. There is no doubt that spinning has changed my life. I want to share that with other people in the worst way. HOWEVER… This objective has caused me a lot of stress and heartache. I had it in my mind that I have to have perfect marks in order to achieve this. A year ago last fall when I got a horrible mark, it killed me. I had missed a HUGE part of the assignment. If I knew that was to be included, I’m sure I would have ended up with high 80’s or even more. It was in an area I’m somewhat strong in. But for some reason, I missed that part that had to be included. I was crushed. Absolutely crushed. I saw my dreams of becoming an instructor fading very quickly. I’ve noticed other things since the beginning of the course that has me questioning things as well. I feel that assumptions are being made without confirmation and I fear that this is impacting my future in instructing too. Or at least I did. Assume away. You probably have no clue. Again, if I don’t end up instructing because of crossed wires and assumptions, that will save me a whole world of pain.

After processing all of that, it had me re-evaluating WHY I’m taking this course in the first place. Enter the sloth.

THAT is when I woke up and realized that marks aren’t everything. It’s one person’s opinion. Yes, there are guidelines to be followed, but if you gave the same assignment to another instructor to mark, there may be a different outcome. As I pondered it further, I asked myself if all this stress was worth it? I have enough stress going on in my life without this. So I had two options. Either I recognized that I’m navigating uncharted territory, pat myself on the back for doing my best and take the feedback and run. Or freak out over the fact that I’m not perfect so nobody will want me to teach for them because all instructors are born perfect. Uh, no. I’m at a place in my life now where I believe that if you’re going to judge my CURRENT skills based on marks I obtained at a time that I was just LEARNING those skills without seeing my work NOW… You’re wasting MY time. It would be the same thing as assuming your reading level today hasn’t changed since your first evaluation in kindergarten. I want to be an instructor with my whole heart. But I also refuse to sell my soul or jump through excessive hoops to achieve this. I was put on this earth to teach. However, I have a lot of other skills to share in my bag of tricks. If teaching spinning doesn’t pan out, there’s not much I can do about that. I am confident I will find my place regardless. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

If you’ve read this far, you may be asking what prompted this post. Well, for the most part, it’s seeing my poor classmates freaking out over the twist and grist assignment we have due at the end of February. Some of the most experienced spinners in our group are losing sleep over this. I’m not saying don’t put your all in and don’t try to wrap your head around it. However, it’s not worth losing sleep over though! If you get it wrong, guess what? The sun is still going to come up tomorrow. Your wheel will still be there. You won’t be any less of a spinner because it’s not perfect. If you don’t end up understanding it, the instructors will explain it to you and help you grasp it. I could be wrong, but freaking out about it is likely causing you to shut down. So any information you find at this time may not stick because of where your head is. This is NOT your fault. You’re LEARNING. Mistakes and not understanding things are a part of learning. If you don’t get perfect, be gentle with yourself BECAUSE YOU ARE LEARNING!!!!!!

I’m just going to be over here, being my sloth-y self. I feel I do understand the assignment, but for all I know, I could have it all wrong. Only one way to find out, right? So yes, I’m going to dive it and get ‘er done. This is the approach I had to take with one of the bigger assignments due in October. I just got to my breaking point. I stressed about and then I conceded. Whatever. I screwed up, but by the time I realized it, it was too late. What could I do about it? Nothing. I’m expecting lousy marks and I don’t really care. I did my best with how I understood things. I know where I went wrong. Knowing your mistakes are far more valuable than a mark that probably won’t have that much bearing in your life.

I don’t know what has changed within me. I was starting to think that my give-a-damn was busted, but it’s not. I still care. I do think that I’m getting worn thin from the other garbage going on in my life, so I’ve had to just scale everything back so I don’t let it overpower me. I think that smack of reality upside the head with that one assignment had a part to play. I think that practicing martial arts has made a huge impact too. But those sloths… I am going to be more sloth-like from here on out. I’m going to start early, do my best, go at my own pace and not stress about the outcome. Detach from the outcome. Once you hand that assignment in you have no control over it. The stress isn’t worth it.

Those sloths have their shit together.


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!

Day 2: Crepe Yarn and Pretty Colours

I’m a little behind with the updates about the course, but it’s just been so AMAZING that I’ve been playing with fibre rather than posting on my blog! I will back date the post for Monday and I will do my best to put up my thoughts about today’s class this evening. Unless Wendy and Karen show us something that distracts me again. Oooooh, look! Shiny!

Today was ANOTHER mind-blowing day in the Intermediate Spinning Class!

We started out with making Crepe yarn. This plying technique makes the wool extra strong. It’s good for garments and borders, especially from fibres that can’t/won’t hold their shape. Wendy’s example was that of a vest that she made for one of her courses back in the early 80’s. I believe it was a blend of camel down and wool. It was still in perfect condition! I enjoyed this kind of plying and I’m really glad to be able to add it to my toolbox.


This is what I spun into the crepe yarn


The center bobbin and the bobbin on the left will by plied together to make crepe yarn


Crepe yarn

We did a lot of colour mixing today with roving. It is so cool to see what you can achieve by carding colours together. We’re working on a colour triangle. We also covered tones, shades and tints (pictured below). Interesting stuff!


Here, we are looking at the tones, shades and tints with the colour magenta. It’s interesting how some of the puffs of wool look so similar in spite of the different colour contents


This is the scale after we removed the colours that are too close together


The shades of pink here are what my class partner and I carded for the scale above. The yarn in the center is my silk spinning. I had to take a second look at it because it was so well-spun that I questioned whether or not I actually did it!


One of the really cool things we’ve been working on is a colour triangle. Below we’re starting with the three primary colours. All of the colours here are achieved from a combination of carding primaries together. I have to say, this is something that never really crossed my mind before (because the novelty of all the other fun stuff hadn’t worn off and I wasn’t bored yet LOL). This just opens up a whole new door here. If you know me, you know that I LOVE playing with colour.



I started playing with some roving this evening and came up with some cool blends. I’m taking them to class with me, so I’ll try to snap some photos.

I have also officially set my sights on the OHS Master Spinning program. I am so excited about it! I have no idea how I’m going to pay for it, but I’ve learned something after all the crap that I’ve been through. Don’t ask how, just believe it’s going to happen. That’s how I got to the fibre arts course. That’s how I ended up here. It just seems that if I want to do something for the greater good, the clouds part and it magically falls into place. It’s like the Universe knows that I’m going to do something beautiful with these skills, so it sets things up to help me build them. I am so grateful for that!!!!

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!

And if my Sweet Pea asks, Little Mickey and Pooh did come to class with me:


Day 1: Intermediate Spinning

This week I find myself back at the Haliburton School of The Arts. I tell you, once you take one course there, you’ll want to keep coming back 😉 This time is a little different (and a LOT more relaxed). We’re focusing on spinning. Wendy, who taught the spinning and weaving portion in the fibre arts course I took, is teaching us this week. She’ll also be joined by Karen, who I’ve never met. I’m looking forward to it! I’m also in a group of delightful women which makes the course even more fun!


Course materials

The first day we did quite a lot of work with colour. Have you even had one of those moments where you’d just like to smack yourself upside the head because you “didn’t think of that??!!??” Yes, I had some of those today! We did a lot of colour blending with roving. Well let me tell you, this put a whole new “spin” on spinning for me! If you know me (or have looked around my blog), you’ll know that I LOVE colour. Put colour and spinning together and you get one happy camper.


Colour play on the wheel


Sample card… This is just so that we can remember how we got those colour combinations. Keeping notes in spinning is VERY important so that you can get consistent results if you spin something you love (or know what colour combinations to not do if you don’t!)


A variety of spinning combinations from just three colours



We did a LOT of plying today too. I already knew how to do Andean plying from school. I was introduced to Navajo plying (I realize that this is not the new “politically correct” term, but the other one seems to have slipped my mind since this term has been used for so long). I definitely want to play more with that plying technique because it allows you to keeps strips of colour. That is something that is very appealing to me.

The course is being held at the high school in the music room. So right off the “batt” I was smiling because of all the good memories that room holds for me. That was my home when I was in high school. I think I may see if I can feel anything by standing in the spot where I used to sit for my three years of taking music there. By the way, Pete the Fly is still there. And he’s just as annoying as he was back them. Good times. Good times…


And to those who think they have “won” and that I would be shut down and curled up in a ball this week… Think again.


Vader and the Crocodile

Vader is almost complete. I thought he was in this pic, but then I noticed he was missing the ridge at the top of his helmet. I know, picky, picky. I based this hat on the pattern by Snappy Tots. While this pattern was easy to follow, I could not get my tension to match. I ended up doing my own thing for a majority of this hat, but I just wanted to mention this pattern because that’s where I got my inspiration from.


I’ll have this for sale at Finnegan Lake Gallery located in Coe Hill, Ontario. I also have some crocodile stitch slippers for sale there and will be taking more over this weekend. I’m hoping to get a couple of pairs done using these yarns:



Time to get to work!

Misguided Designers and the Gifts they Give

After buying a pattern last week where the designer had stated that “you cannot sell the items made from this pattern”, I have decided to create my own shrug. I’m actually going to send “thank you” vibes to this designer because if they had have stated their wishes in the pattern listing, I wouldn’t have bought it. And I wouldn’t have got angry when I saw the fine print at the bottom of the pattern, trying to dictate what I can do with MY work. I’ll respect your wishes and not sell MY work made from your pattern (with the one exception I made before seeing this statement). I’m coming up with a prettier, better-fitting item that I can call my own. Thank you for your narrow-minded thinking and misguided perception of power. You’ve forced me to reach into my creative toolbox and come up with my own thing. That alone makes the money I thought I had wasted worth while! And if I end up writing the pattern out and selling it, well, I’ll be sending you even bigger “thank you” vibes.

Yes, I was very angry and frustrated at the time. But I ended up getting an even greater gift. I took my anger and turned it into creativity. This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on without a pattern. And by golly, I’m going to make it pretty!

20130106-143730.jpg From the pattern

20130106-143759.jpg My OWN design

For those who are unfamiliar with the in’s and out’s of patterns and your rights v.s. the designer’s rights…
When you purchase a pattern, you are purchasing directions to make an item. You cannot legally claim it as your own, copy, sell or share the pattern with anyone else in any form (unless you have some sort of agreement directly with the designer). You CAN sell the items that you have made from the pattern regardless of what the designer says. You own YOUR work, you’re the one who bought the materials to make it and you’re the one who put your time in to make the item. They don’t own the item, they own the pattern. Many think that they can tell you that you can’t sell your work online. There are even bigger rip-off artists that try to sell you “cottage licenses” for various periods of time which they claim give you the right to sell the items you made from their pattern. THIS IS A SCAM. You’re not even legally required to provide a link back to the designer (although it is good Karma to do so).

I was 3 rows out from being finished this project when I noticed the designer’s “wishes.” Had this designer listed their wishes in the pattern listing, I would never have bought it. While it is a beautiful design, I will not support people like this. What was even more frustrating was that the item I worked on turned out to be a little too small. There is NO WAY I’m going to rip out all that work and start from the beginning. I also don’t have anyone that I could gift this item to. Nor should I have to. I am going sell this item because it is my RIGHT to do so. I’ll even provide a link to the designer, but I will also include a note regarding their wishes.

I think most stitchers who do this for a living are on the same page. I’ve found that this is quite a sore spot in the crochet community. Many who I’ve talked to about this issue have felt the same way. It’s one thing if the designer states this up front. We have the option to purchase it knowing their preferences. But when it’s not put in the pattern listing, that is just plain dirty. I will NOT respect their “wishes”, I will exercise my rights. I have a family to feed and I buy patterns to make items to sell to feed said family. Why would I buy a pattern where I can’t sell the finished items from?

If you design patterns and you don’t want people selling THEIR creations from your pattern, then don’t sell your patterns! It’s that simple. People are going to do it anyway regardless of what control you think you have over THEIR finished items.


Patterns And How They Are Affected By Copyright Law

Selling Goods Made From Patterns – Copyright Infringement?

The Fire

I was in my favorite yarn store yesterday. I picked up some bright, fun roving to spin and some yarn for a hat that I’m making for a friend of mine. (I was a good girl… I didn’t pick up anything I didn’t “need”, as difficult as it was!)

When I went to check out, I started talking to the co-owner (it’s a husband and wife team). I had said that I couldn’t wait to spin that roving up. He said said no doubt, it’s exciting because you never really know the results you’re going to get until you actually start spinning it. I agreed. That is so exciting! Then he said something along the lines of “I envy you and my wife. When I get up in the morning, I putter around. I go out to my garden, I work in my wood shop but I don’t really have anything in particular that I want to do. When you two get up in the morning, you KNOW what you want to do. You sit down at your wheel, forget to have breakfast. But you love what you’re doing.”

He is sooooo right!

That got me to thinking about how very fortunate I am to have found my passion when I have. Sure I could have found it earlier if I was in the right place at the right time. But I’m just so grateful I have found it now! Spinning and stitching are my life! It pays the bills. Provides gifts from the heart. It provides an outlet to deal with the residual garbage in my life. It centers me.

A friend got in touch with me the other day, asking me to call her mom. She wanted me to teach spinning. So I called her. It turns out it wasn’t for her. It was for her 11 year old granddaughter. I was ecstatic to hear about somebody so young wanting to learn how to spin! I’m not a professional by any means and I told her that. But I will pass on what I know. The more people that spin in this world, the happier it will be!

I hope that what I show her will help stoke her fire. And I hope that that fire keeps burning and she keeps it stoked. My life would have been so different if I had have taken this path sooner. I wouldn’t change things, but I know I would have had a lot more outlets to deal with life.

But I am BEYOND GRATEFUL that I have the fire now 🙂