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Category: hobbies

Fourth quarter and a look back

So I had a lot of ideas at the beginning of the year, especially regarding knitting. That tends to happen when I start looking at projects and am in the middle of a knitting high. The problem with that is I spent December knitting socks and gave myself carpel tunnel.

I tried to knit for a while into January and had a decent start on the find your fade shawl, but my hands were hurting all the time and I really couldn’t get as far as I wanted. So I had to put the needles down.

It didn’t help that when I did pick the needles back up again I lost my place and screwed up the count on my stitches so horribly it was a more humane death to rip it out and start something new.

That doesn’t mean I’ve done nothing just that my work has been sporadic. I’ve picked up writing again and I’m working on two projects one for nanowrimo and a fanfic set in the MCU.

I’ve also been drawing some. I’ve worked on some multimedia things, I’ve picked up and set aside a bullet journal on two occasions this year. I’ve tried watercolor and really like it. And I’ve decided to take my spinning wheel apart to clean and stain it.

With nano 2018 happening soon I’m taking October to do the preptober challenges that are hanging around on Instagram. Feel free to check that out. When the month ends I might collate all photos and do a full post about it. I’m trying to get into the habit of using this again and not depend on other social media outlets to be my only visibility.

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2018 Knitting Queue

Knit Queue

Well, 2018 is here and I’ve spent the last year with a whole lot of plans to get this site off the ground and ended up doing very little to even try. So instead of focusing on writing specifically this year I’m going to just focus on personal blogging and get something written for a change. Figure I would start the year off with my knitting plans and then go from there.

Find Your Fade

First up is Find your Fade by Andrea Mowry. Asymmetrical triangle shawl that uses colour melting to blend yarn colours to get a fade from one shade to another. My plan is to shift from red through oranges then blues to purples. I’m using mostly stash yarn and I was happy to find not only stash I really wanted to use but a colour shift I was happy with. The Deep red Diamond Luxury Yarn is a discontinued line of Soxy, in cranberry, I have about a skein left from when I bought it ten years ago. I’ve tried using it a couple of times but ending up frogging several projects.

Next colour is another discontinued brand, Waterloo Wools, an indie dyer from Ontario, who had some gorgeous gorgeous colours. The colourway is Santa Fe and it’s much oranger than the bottom left picture shows, I couldn’t find a decent colour and I lost the band years ago, I think it’s Algonquin, which is a silk merino blend. Next up, playing up the orangey reds in the Santa Fe is Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester Sock yarn in a special colourway from Baadeck Yarns called Baddeck Sunset. It’s orangey with pinks and reds sprinkled through. That weird yellowing filtered pic is a shitty approximation, once I get to that colour I will start taking pictures.

The next sock yarn is Opal Sock in the Van Gogh colour ways, the street cafe that has a lot of oranges but brings in some deep blues and greys. This colour is the transition from the reds into the cooler tones and I’m so excited to see how this shapes up. The next colourway is Malvin in Manos Del Uruguay Allegria, followed by Sheepy Time Knits on Sheepy Feet In Oncoming Storm. The Oncoming storm colour is too blue to transition nicely into the Araucania Ranco Sock in purples and pinks pictured bottom right so I a possible one with the Tannat from the Allegria line, but I knit a sock in that variety and think it’s way too red to do the right colour shift, so I’m waiting to pick up a colourway from My Fair Ladies in a few weeks achieve the right shift.

The next batch don’t require as much typing, holy crap.

Entrechat is a gorgeous little sweater for my cousin’s two little girls. I have the bottom colourway all ready to go. It’s Cascade 220 superwash Wave in Spring. The colourshift is much nicer than the picture appears and it’s a self striping but a slow one. I’m torn between the light and dark purple for the older daughter.

Braken By Ann Rowden is a bulky weight child’s sweater that I’m queuing up to knit for another cousin’s two boys. I’m thinking of doing this in Cascade 220 speckled, but the jury is still out and I’ve got a few other colours and yarns to look at before I get there.

Wurm by Katushika is a slouch style hat. The planned yarn is Sugar Bush Bold which is thicker than the suggested yarn so there is some math to figure out but it’s a quick knit and really gorgeous. These hats are going to be for my roomates.

Entwine is a super chunky ribbed scarf in Cascade Magnum. I’m making three, they take about two balls of Magnum to get a decent length, although for Dennis’ scarf I might need two and half because he’s so fricken tall.

Persian Dreams by Jenise Hope, this is one of those things I want to pick at and just pick random colours from the Knit picks palette I have lying around. I will probably need more white at some point for the edge, but I’m not looking at dealing with that until I’m near putting them together.

Flax by Tincanknits is a worsted weight sweater with a garter stitch decoration at the arms. I’m planning on using Brown Sheep Company in Lanaloft Solid, Botanical Gardens. I bought four cones of it a few years ago for my dad’s sweater and only ended up using a cone and a half for his sweater.

Usonian By Dee O’Keefe is a triangular shawl with a simple lace pattern showing off the stunning colours. I’m planning on using Manos Del Uruguay Fino a silk merino blend single in Brass Button and the mini skein set called Augusta which includes Silver Tea Set, Watered Silk, Storm Glass, Peacock Plume, Mourning.

Fallston By Dee O’Keefe another colourwork shawl in Manos Del Uruguay, this time in the colour collection Georgiana, which includes Damas, Peacock Plume, Velvet Pincushion, Brass Button, and Poison. This is only 450 metres, about 492 yards, and I’m still missing about 200 yds. If I finish Usonian first, I can add what colours I don’t use from that into this. I have 1390 metres of Fino, that gives me 690 metres per pattern. This pattern requires at most 613 metres, and the other is 622 metres. I might have to play yarn chicken with a couple of colours but hopefully I’ll be good.

Ranger Cowl By Michael Vloedman is a glorious architectural hooded cowl with a description so funny and fantastic I needed to purchase it. I’m looking at using Ashford Tekapo held double in either of the three colours pictures, or whatever I have in my stash at time.

Redford by Julie Hoover is a bottom up fingering weight sweater with garter stitch side panels and it looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to knit it Knit Picks Palette Victorian Love Letter Sampler I picked up last year.

I have three WIPS as well, Caledonia, a circular shawl I’m designing, and the Baby Surprise Jacket. Hopefully I will be able to keep to this plan. I’ve rejoined a few forms on Ravelry, the Anhk-Morpork Guild Wars, and The Lord of the Rings Stash Quest. With the exception of the hats and the four baby sweaters, I don’t have to purchase outside of my stash. The baby sweaters require superwash, they’re for children under the age of eight.

Overall this is good start on my stash, and hopefully once I catologue it and figure everything out I’ll have a better idea.

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An update of sorts

There’s been some restructuring behind the scenes around here. I’ve once again gotten myself worked up about meeting expectations. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy really, I want to do something I make plans to do it and I can keep on track for two weeks, then I forget, or I procrastinate and then it becomes this Big Deal™ and I procrastinate even more. 

Not a really sound solution to blogging and beginning a writing career. 

I’m going to try something new here, instead of scheduling deep posts such as the world building posts I’m going to start a thirty days of blogging, set a Max word count of 500wds and write something small every day. Observations, anecdotes, progress reports on various projects, and perhaps a bit more about me.

Fucking something. 

This will either work and be fantastic, or I will crash and burn. Maybe if I have an outside source to set the timer it might help. . . . Who knows.

Right now here’s what’s happening in Finn’s life creatively speaking.

SF Wip: no progress since January stuck in a major section near the end as I was tentpoling the major climax. Also I have decided that the first turn where a betrayal occurs might not last as long as I originally intended and have the conflict between my two protagonists be more external than internal. Basically I need the antagonist to split the pair not the plot. 

Romantic fantasy WIP: this is not new. This is a fic I finished in 2015. It’s started it’s life off as Hobbit fanfiction and is getting a facelift. I’m working on some background world building to take the place if the overt and obvious Tolkien influences so that by the time this thing is ready to publish the bigger stuff won’t be as obvious.

Painting: I’ve taken up painting. Both acrylic and watercolour. I dabble in both and have been really enjoying it as a stress reliever. I might post some of the finished pieces I’ve done in the last few months. 

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The Art of Making

Picking up a hobby is difficult.
You have to be willing to suck.
You have to dig deep and admit that you know absolutely nothing about this potential new hobby, but you would like to know more. Not only would you like to know more, you’re willing to put in the hours, weeks, months, and years of suck in order to get an even halfway decent. This is generally easier when we’re children. When we’re children we suck at everything, so one bit of suckage amongst the pile isn’t going to really deter us from at least attempting it. It’s why children have such fun pretending, and trying this new thing and that new thing. Something eventually sticks and with persistent effort they become better and better and suck less and less.

This lack of fear in the face of failure is so important in creating things. But the more we progress through school, the older we get, the less we fail at things. That’s natural. We begin to fear failure because at first it reminds us we’re still children when we desperately want to prove we’re older, and stronger. It’s a sign that what we do should be taken seriously and that we have value beyond being the product of our parents. I don’t think we ever really think of it in those basic terms. I don’t think most people even conceptualize this at all.

But it is definitely coded into our society. Or at least in Western society. That’s unfortunately my only frame of reference and the one I grew up in, if anyone else happens to read this and would like to weigh in on how their culture weighs risk/reward and failure/success in the arts I would love to hear it.

Right, so, western society has this problem with failure. Failure is bad, wrong, no good, horrible, it’s the worst thing that can happen to a person. Success is the goal, the key to the castle. If you’re not a success you’re a failure. There is no middle ground. It’s okay when you’re a kid, up to a point, there’s an implicit understand that as a child you’re going to suck at things because you don’t know any better.

It’s generally why hobbies that persist past childhood and adolescence tend to stick around for a while. I’m not about to get into a larger discussion of how western society and capitalism play a role in trouncing any and all pursuits that don’t also confer monetary reward.[western society and capitalism play a role in trouncing any and all pursuits that don’t also confer monetary reward.] And that hobbies and artistic pursuits are graded on a scale where the effort to become proficient becomes less desirable the older you get as a result of being less unique. That’s a topic for another time and I might pin it so that I can come back to it later.

And let’s not forget that gender plays a serious role in any and all artistic pursuits. Cis white men are given more importance, more credence, and conferred more celebrity/expert status for their hobbies. Women and other minorities have to pass a never ending line of hurdles and gate keeping even if they are more proficient, are more of an expert, etc.

This is one of the many failings of patriarchy and while it isn’t coded as important as other tasks it’s an intrinsic part of western society, so much so that talking about it feels odd.

All of this comes back to the idea that at some point, once we pass our teens, there is less importance placed on Making, Creating. We internalize the fear of failure and the unspoken capitalist view that unless it’s commercially viable there is no value in it, so it becomes harder to pick up hobbies as we get older. And very hard to stick with them.

I have two main hobbies, writing and fibre arts.

Writing remains a hobby only because I have yet to find commercial success. I’m pursuing commercial avenues, and I’m writing original pieces and this blog for that end. But ultimately writing is still one of my hobbies. I’ve technically earned more monetarily from my fibre arts than I have from writing, in that I’ve actually sold product from dyeing fibre and yarn.
In the case of both writing and knitting there was a case of pursued interest. I was interested in writing enough through high school and college, and had enough feedback through roleplaying and cooperative writing sites to make a concerted effort in getting better. I was given the opportunity to suck. To continue to suck because I showed real interest in improving.

In the beginning, I had no idea I sucked. I thought I was writing brilliant prose. It’s the wonderful ignorance one has when they’re just beginning to write, they have no concept of tropes, clichés, retread plots, because a) they are calling upon movies and books they’ve read, but do not yet have the subtly to bury their reference points b) are still amazed by the ideas that are springing from their minds.

Let’s face it, there’s an awe in realizing that the words you’ve written are your own, they came from your brain.

This is heady stuff.

It is hopefully enough to carry us through that awful horrible middle territory where we recognize how much we actually suck, and how much more work to do.

But first, we need spaces to suck. And I mean Suck. Where we can write the purplest of prose, wax philosophic on green or blue orbs, write sentences that have no definable subject. Break every rule of grammar even as we relearn them. We need to be given this opportunity, because, without it, we never grow.

I think this is why I also picked up knitting and stuck with it. There was the awe in creating something by hand that didn’t previously exist. There was a significant period where I wasn’t aware of my lack of knowledge so that my joy was able to flourish while I gained more knowledge. There was an intrinsic challenge that kept my interest. I mean yeah there were boring parts. For the longest time I was so utterly sick of scarves that I avoided them for a long time after started knitting other things.

I put time, effort, and money into my craft, and expanded my knowledge base to include weaving, dyeing, and then spinning yarn. I’m on a wavering scale, knitting is at the higher end where I have the experience to try my hand at some damn complicated lace.

I have enough knowledge of colour theory to make some rather pretty hand dyed efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I can seriously weave if I’ve got a good teacher with me to handle the spots where I’m a little deficient.

 

It’s important to have a hobby. It’s important to make things that didn’t exist before. I think it’s important to not decide on a hobby on whether that hobby will net you money. Not because monetary gain is inherently evil or some bullshit like that, but rather because your time is worth more than just money. I spent a lot of time trying to monetize either one of my hobbies and while I’ve decided that I wish to pursue a writing career — a career I’ve wanted in one way or another since high school but never had the courage to follow my convictions — the pursuit of that career is secondary to the pursuit of the hobby itself.

I love writing.

I love crafting sentences and picking just the right word to evoke the right emotion. I love when writing is easy, and even as I curse it, I love when writing is hard. And if you’ve found my site, you’ve probably been writing long enough to know that writing is hard. So damn hard.

It’s hard having disparate hobbies, or at least apparently disparate hobbies. We get stuck in this idea that we can only have one thing we can be good at, one thing we can excel at. And yes there is a certain amount of truth is taking the time to perfect something. But perfection isn’t the goal, persistence is. Pursue something because it is fun, because you receive joy from it. Hobbies can your spirits, and offers comfort in times when things are difficult.

If you want to learn something new, if you want to do find a new hobby. Do it. There are plenty of ways from the local library to youtube. Find a guild. Believe it or not you’d be surprised and how many things actually still have local groups and guilds.

The take away from this, at least I hope, is that creating is important. I’m going to finish this post with a quote from Ricky Gervais. I really like this quote. I snagged it from somewhere, feel free to share it, the message is important.

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