Arts and Crafts are a slippery slope. You walk into Michael’s, JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby and see all the stuff. And it all looks so interesting and easy to do. Today, I want to tell you about my fall down the side of a steep hill. Or a jump off of a cliff. Really, it’s all the same, isn’t it? But let me start by saying that I was a crafty child and my undergraduate degree is in art. So the leap was an easy one to make when it came.
I have, in my adult life, always been a quilter. Quilting is a beautiful expression of art in fabric. And I am a purist – piecing by machine, quilting by hand. So my production level was very low. I did produce some amazingly beautiful pieces – one of which was done entirely by hand, piecing included. It was a baby quilt for my best friend’s first baby who will be graduating from high school this year. It is still lovingly referred to in their home as ‘Aunt Maura’s quilt’ and is now put away as an heirloom. The pride I feel when I hear that is worth every minute spent. In the last five years, however, fibromyalgia has taken over my life. And most specifically my hands. The movements and the grip necessary to quilt are no longer possible for me to do. The devastation I feel about this loss is indescribable. One of my life’s goals was/is to complete a whole cloth quilt. I have one started and I just cannot continue.
At Christmas about the same time I was struggling with the realization that my hands were unable to quilt, my sister-in-law offered to teach my daughter to knit. We bought her a kit for Christmas and Sue began to teach her. I decided that since Sue would be leaving to fly back home, I should probably learn to knit so that I could help A1 if she should need it. Ha. I say again, Ha. It turned out that the way Sue knit (she’s a thrower) did not work for me. I was completely confused. Several hours and YouTube videos later, I was knitting. And A1 had long since given up. An addict was born. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some needles and some slightly better yarn than Red Heart Super Saver and began making. And knit and knit and knit. Many YouTube videos taught me how to do new and exciting stitches. And then I found Ravelry. Oh, the love I feel for Ravelry. Seriously. I found my people. They were so passionate about fiber arts and so encouraging about how easy it all was. (Damned enablers)
Around that time, we moved from Iowa to Kansas. The house we bought had a baby grand piano in the living room corner when we viewed it. As we were moving in, a nosy neighbor (I have gotten to know her enough now to call her nosy) asked if we were going to put a piano in the corner also. No, I replied. I thought a spinning wheel would look amazing there. What? What just came out of my mouth? I don’t spin. I don’t want to spin. There is enough yarn in the stores to knit with! Within three months, I had a spinning wheel and was starting to produce my own yarn. I really don’t know how that happened.
By this time, I have several thousand dollars worth of fabric, sewing machines, knitting needles, yarn, spinning wheel and fiber. And as I am walking through JoAnn’s or Michael’s, a book on crocheting Granny Squares jumps (I swear it jumped) into my cart. Crochet? What the hell? So, now I have crochet hooks and I am studying diagrams on crochet stitches and putting together granny squares. Guess what? You can produce a square faster by crocheting than by knitting! I’m sold! Today I am working on a blanket for my dad that is going to consist of the International Maritime Signal Flags. And a star shaped afghan for my husband. And maybe another blanket just because. It turns out, I can crank out crochet blanket yardage really quickly using the yarn in my stash that I was unable to knit due to hand strain. Slippery freakin’ slope. Next, I think I may want to get a loom and try my hand at weaving. The husband might just leave me at that point though. So I am holding off on that for at least a year!
Today’s drawing comes from tanglepatterns.com String 012 – link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/08/tanglepatterns-string-012.html Really not one of my favorites. But I did promise to give you everything.