Jun 222012
 


Jane is at the top of my list of internet friends who I’d love to meet in person.  It feels weird to me that we never have since we’ve known each other for over 6 years and shared a lot of ups and downs.  I adore her writing and dry sense of humor as well as her crazy creativity.  One main tether between us over the years has been knitting.  I love it when I find another knitter who constantly blows my mind.  Jane’s Womb With a View still has me shaking my head years later as to how this was ever dreamt up.  Amazing.  I wanted to probe her brain for my blog and share her work with the rest of you.  She was ever so kind to oblige.

Wattsolak:  Why knitting??

Jane:  Knitting has this “link to the past” feeling that I love. I’ve always been kind of obsessed with what has gone before and what people did “once upon a time”, and I feel like it connects me with a simpler time. My grandma is one of those super-speed knitters that can probably knit in her sleep, and since I’ve been knitting she and I have really connected through that. That connection is so precious to me. I’m also a perpetual motion machine, and if I didn’t have knitting needles in my hand I’d probably be chewing my hand off just for something to do.
Wattsolak:  What’s your favorite knitting project thus far?Jane:  I loved making my stranded yoke sweater. The EZ formula is so magical, so personal, so mathematical. It’s astounding that you can punch in a few numbers and do a little math, and as long as you trust those numbers, you have a perfectly fitted garment at the end. Every time I found myself doubting the “pithy instructions”, I would just ignore the doubt and keep going. When I was finally done, I was in awe of how perfect it was.

Wattsolak:  What is your favorite source of inspiration?

Jane:  Is it bad that my answer isn’t “my children”? It’s totally not my children. I like things that are dark and scary, so I’m always trying to find a way to make something darker and scarier. Like “Hmm, that yarn is the colour of zombie flesh” or “That colourway looks just like a placenta” – those are things I’ve actually thought and then gone on to start experimenting. I’m not really very good at designing things, but I do love to mess around with a pattern and change it to suit me, even if it’s just with colour.


Wattsolak: What other crafty things do you do besides knitting?

Jane:  Nothing. Knitting is it for me. I actually find myself hating other crafts because they don’t measure up. I think scrapbooking is for the weak, and I can’t sew to save my life. Sometimes I try to garden, and then things die. But it’s fun while my hands are in the mud, so I guess that counts for something.

Wattsolak:  What is your ultimate knitting project/goal?

Jane:  My ultimate goal is to finish the sweater I started for Dillon [Jane's husband] 2 years ago. At one point I was making some serious progress, and I finished the back panel and got so excited that I draped it over him to see if the sizing was way off. And he jumped up and screamed “IT ITCHES! IT ITCHES!”  Well obviously, Sherlock. It’s Lopi. Anyway, I haven’t had the heart to pick it up since then. And that was 9 months ago. Someday I’m going to overcome the trauma and pick it up again.  I also really wish I could design stuff, but my brain just doesn’t work that way. I’ve improvised many times, but I go into a bit of a trance when I do that and can’t remember what I’ve done when it’s all over, so I can’t turn those things into patterns.

Wattsolak:  Exactly how much coffee do you drink in a day?

Jane:  Ha! Well… we make a 12 cup Bodum in the morning, and Dillon takes about 2 cups of that to work with him. I go through the rest during the course of the day, and sometimes make another pot. So A LOT. It doesn’t even affect me physically anymore. I need it to live but it doesn’t keep me up unless I forget to eat. But coffee and knitting go together so beautifully! How can I not drink it?

Wattoslak:  Seriously, those non-coffee-drinking knitters are ones to be suspicious of.

 


Thanks, Jane, you rock.  If anyone wants to see more of Jane’s amazingness, check her out on Ravelry!
Apr 242012
 

Two friends and I went to a wonderful craft market over the weekend, a Firefly Market at Chautauqua in Boulder.  I went to this last year with some other gals and it was just as fun this year.  Any day spent with friends surrounded with such brilliant creativity is a great day.  Plus it was in the upper 70s and we were at the base of the Rockies.  How can you beat that??  Actually, I could have gone for better coffee, but the strong cup at Foolish Craig’s later in the day made up for it!

Anyhow, upon returning home I was reminded of my post after last year’s market (see here).  I am so pleased to re-read this now and see that I stuck to each and every one of my resolutions.  How often does one get to say that??!  Whee!

#1: More respect for my craft room.

Messy, messy old place!

This was a big one.  I am not a naturally clean person.  I’m a “dump the whole purse on the floor to find something at the bottom then only put back what you need” kind of organizer.  This room has been a test of how well I can change that when I care too.  It’s taken much more attention than I’m use to but it has been monumentally worth it.  Look at it now!

I can’t believe that it looks like this most of the time.  At the moment I have fabric scraps on the floor and and miscellaneous other things strewn about, but for the most part it’s tidy.  Yay me!  There is still clutter on the tops of the shelves (one that didn’t make it into the photo) but it least I’m no longer tripping over it.

Also I have not one but TWO places to sit.  Fancy.  I spend way more time in here than I need to just because I like the space so much.  The big trees outside the window are also now fully covered in leaves so I have high hopes that it will stay cool here during the hot months.   Next I have to take care of the strange wall color that came with the house and find that just perfect rug.  Hopefully that will change before summer’s over.

#2: No more using yarn that I don’t like.
I don’t know why this no-brainer was such an epiphany to me.  I destashed so, so much yarn in the last year.  I think the knit night gals groan every time they see me walk in with a bag now, they’re so sick of it (That fun fur was supposed to go in the Goodwill bag, I swear!).  I’ve added a lot more to my stash also but at least when I look for yarn for a new project it’s all stuff that I’d actually enjoy using.  This makes my stash so much more enjoyable.  Duh. 

#3: Who needs to knit dishcloths?
I haven’t made a singe one since that post, thank you very much.

#4: Part with the infinite hibernating UFOs
And did I ever!!  That purple sweater was frogged and it’s now waiting to become a sweater for one of the kids.  Many things were frogged and the yarn was donated.  Some things that were un-frogable but not worth finishing simply went into the trash (eek!).  That trunk in the previous post is now out of my room and the remaining UFOs, the ones that will be completed, are organized in a very small drawer.  Phew.

#5: Not every known newborn baby needs extensive handknits
Okay, this one was harder mainly due to the fact that these babies just keep on coming.  Two were born just this week!!  I only knit one baby sweater this year and a few toys, but most all the other babies got hats.  What can I do?  There are so many babies from our knit night and I can’t not knit for them.  New motto: the number of hours taken to knit the baby item should not exceed the number of weeks that the baby can wear it.  A 10 hour sweater that a baby will only wear for 4 weeks?  No!  A toy that takes 5 days but they will play with for years?  Yes!

I did have one friend who is currently pregnant who I didn’t knit a thing for and I felt like I was being rebellious by doing so.  Yeah!  Heehee.

 

Now I’m trying to think up things for next year, ideas to live/stick by.  Here is what I have so far:

#1:  Design, design, design
Not like I’m not already doing this.  But I want to try to get out of my comfort zone here and branch out.  I adore making toys but I want to see what else is out there.  A sweater, perhaps??  Who knows.

#2:  Attend more art and craft events/outings
Now that my “baby” is two and it’s easier for me to leave her for extended periods, I need to go out and about more.  There is even talk of an out of town trip without children!  Ooo!  So grown up!

#3:  New yarns! 
There are so many out there that I don’t know.  Perhaps this year I’ll dabble with some silk??  Who knows!

I am so happy with this last year.  It has been the best knitting year ever!  I am so looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2012 has up its sleeve.

 April 24, 2012  inspiration Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »
Feb 122012
 

There are two main reasons that I don’t read much lately.  First, when I have free time it’s always a toss up between reading and knitting, and knitting always seems to win.  Second, my ideal time to read is when the house is quiet late at night which is unfortunately also the most ideal time for falling asleep.  This is usually what happens when I try to read before bed.

Last night in bed I was reading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting which is set in 1970s Bohemia.  I fell asleep with the stories and images of Czechoslovakia swirling around in my head.  All night I dreamt about Prague and the surrounding area.  Nothing concrete, just images, colors, and mostly feelings.  The gold of the countryside and the oranges of the city.  The smell of old buildings.  The sensation of the weather (we were there once in chilly March which is how my mind’s eye perpetually sees it).

Top three photos from outside Kutna Hora, bottom two are central Prague

I loved everything about this area and was sad to leave it once just as I was sad to wake up from it last night.  I awoke with a groggy nostalgia of those things and an urge to translate them into knitting.  I am in much need of an inspiring project so I’m letting the above images guide my creativity for the following week.  I’m excited to revisit this memory with a new angle!

 

 February 12, 2012  inspiration Tagged with:  1 Response »
Apr 112011
 

This weekend some friends and I went to check out the Firefly Handmade market at the Makerie workshop in Boulder.  Although money kept us from attending the actual Makerie event, the market was a fun public addition to the weekend’s activities.  Just look at all the great vendors that were there!

It was great to be immersed in all the craftiness and if nothing else it was a much needed kick in the ass to get me back on track for my own art and craft endeavors.  I bought a woodcut print from Wonderbound Press and felt a little sheepish over the fact that I’ve been telling myself for over a decade that I need to learn how to do this.  I’ve done lots of linoleum cutting in the past but never on actual wood.  This is going back on the top of my list of to-learns.

When I got home yesterday I had a new set of eyes.  I’ve become stuck in a craft rut.  So in the last day I have come up with a list of Spring Crafting Resolutions, if you will.

#1: More respect for my craft room.

I adore this room.  This is the one place in the house that is all mine. Often times it’s the only room in the house whose door remains closed.  Because of this  the room usually houses a number of things that I’m trying to keep away from small hands (hence the box of weeded out toys and the boxes in the lower left).  When it starts to get junky I’m less likely to try to keep it nice in there.  I mean, really, there is no reason that the dye pot and the dye pot lid aren’t together.  Or why the doors and drawers of the lovely yarn cupboard never stay closed.  Enough with the excuses.  I need to make this my room again.  And it needs to be clean and comfortable enough to hang out in.  And I need a chair.

#2: No more using yarn that I don’t like.

I’m so much less likely to finish projects that use yarn that I’m not crazy about. I don’t need to knit exclusively in Malabrigo or anything, but my cheap side needs to be muzzled a little bit more.  And kitchen cotton doesn’t need a permanent place in my stash.

And while we’re on the subject…

#3: Who needs to knit dishcloths?

I’m committing myself to knitting things out of love, not always necessity.  Yes, knit dishrags are awesome and last you forever but my knitting time is precious and I need to use it more wisely.  If it’s not the kind of project that I’d take to knit night and say, “Look how freaking awesome this is!!” I don’t think I need to knit it.     

#4: Part with the infinite hibernating UFOs

Oh sad, red pinwheel blanket that I started when I was pregnant with my now four year old.  You are never, ever going to be finished.  Green sweater made from another sweater’s recycled yarn, your half finished self needs to be frogged.  And that baggy purple Hourglass Sweater that’s two sizes two big?  I have something grand in store for you once you leave this tomb of UFOs.

#5: Not every known newborn baby needs extensive handknits

I know so many moms.  And my circle of friends from high school seem to all be finally having babies.  I know about 8 pregnant women at the moment.  I need to vow to not feel the need to making every one of them an entire layette.  Today I boxed up two baby hats to send to Seattle to a friend who had her baby in November.  I’ve been dragging my feet because I have this nagging side that I need to add something more.  No more.  It’s not going to kill me to buy something for a baby.

Whew.

I’m ready, bring on the spring crafting!

 

 April 11, 2011  inspiration, life Tagged with: , , , , ,  4 Responses »