Monday, August 29, 2011

what's in your drawers?

mine has yarn. new yarn that i have been busy dyeing for the shows mentioned in my previous post. here's a quick peek.

this is the "not yet listed on etsy" drawer that i use for stockpiling yarns for shows.

 here's a navajo ply handspun that i made over the weekend. it has lots of overspun spots and little 'squiggly' bits that i hope will be seen as design elements rather than flaws.

 this superwash sock yarn is so squishy and nice. the base wool is brown sheep top of the lamb. i am working on a new technique that makes it both variegated AND transitions from light to dark from one end of the skein to the other.

i am trying to make a mixture of lighter, more subtle colors along with the bold ones.

Friday, August 26, 2011

good things

last weekend i was checking in with my pals at I like you, a fantastic handmade craft, clothing, and gift consignment shop in northeast minneapolis. and i was relieved to see that my yarn basket there was getting empty. perhaps the shorter days are calling folks back to the fuzzy, fibery projects that we tend to set aside during the summer. i replenished my stock with hand-painted sock yarn, a few skeins of kettle-dyed worsted and some handspun left over from my last show in june.

while i haven't yet been inside, i have peeked into the window of a sweet new shop at 38th and grand. Digs sells gifts, cards, craft supplies, designer fabrics and of course, my yarn! it's really awesome to be on a shelf with name-brand commercially spun yarn. crazy, right?

in closing, may i brag for a second? today i found out that i've been accepted into the HandmadeMN fall craft show. (The link goes to the roundup of last year's show.) And my yarn will be for sale at the textile center holiday show. i'll be new to both of these events so i am especially excited to be chosen. still waiting to hear about no-coast. i have my fingers crossed.

lots of stuff to be excited about and grateful for.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

24 gold coins

three years ago this summer i was in the middle of a major, nasty funk. work sucked, my attitude about pretty much everything sucked, i was feeling tired, worn-out, emotionally depleted, and was really hating my job. oh, wait. did i say that already? newspaper journalism is (understatement of the century) not what it used to be. Newsrooms used to be busy, bustling places where reporters really were a little bit like rosalind russell and people did yell "stop the presses." (ok, they still do but mostly to fix something that's hugely screwed up rather than to get in breaking news). it was a cool place to be because the work was important and you spent your day with (love them or hate them...) interesting characters. the newsroom was a melting pot of old, young, wisecracking, crotchety, witty, neurotic folks who were all really, really good at what they were doing. well, by the time we get to 2008 my newspaper had gone through maybe 3 rounds of layoffs, our pay was about to get cut 12%, the staff was depleted, dejected, demoralized and depressed. while the only option was to change with the changing times, i was pissed. and not just at what was being done to us, but to a large degree, mad at myself for not seeing it coming and not having a solid plan B.

i decided i had to do something so i took a "what the hell am i supposed to be doing with my life" course for "women in transition." some of the folks were like me, others had been recently laid off, others knew the layoff was right around the corner. all of us knew we were looking for something better but we  needed a nudge getting there. there were elements of that class that were genuinely useful. i particularly liked taking career planning surveys, inventories and learning about what kinds of jobs were a good fit for  my skills and interests. but mostly, i just didn't feel like i got what i was looking for. perhaps it was naive, but i really thought i would walk out of the 8-week course with a plan B. a solid idea and a plan for how to get there.

you see, i got to where i was in part because when i was a kid i liked this show. 

that must explain why there were a ton of kids wanting to be FBI agents during the reign of the x files and wanna-be forensics investigators because of CSI. there are worse things to do with your life, but it should have been better thought out.

all the reasons we choose the path we take are far more complex than i can write and nobody wants to read it anyway. but when i got to that place, that "women's" life-coaching class, i was ready for someone to tell me the answer. sadly, the answer didn't come. or maybe it did and i am still processing it. but at the time, the best thing i could come up with was to start a gelato shop. nope, it didn't make sense, not in minnesota anyway. the economy was beginning its descent, banks weren't lending and i knew that new small businesses almost always fail. but it gave me something to think about. something to doodle on the edges of my notebook. i thought about gelato a lot. in my mind i had the location scouted, the decor planned, the furnishings chosen. the place didn't have a name but i knew how i wanted it to feel. 

i can't remember her name, but there was one memorable woman in the class. her job situation was terrible. she had a tyrannical, narcissistic boss. she had been beaten down and was a miserable mess. honestly, the check-in part of the class was the worst because people would go around the table telling one sob-story after the next. i know i should have been commiserating and supportive but it just made me more gloomy. one day during "caring and sharing" she said she was working on managing her time and was really trying not to let the eight hours at work poison the other 16 when she was not. she said she was trying to remind herself that "every day we get 24 gold coins and it's our choice how we spend them."

wow. well said. and that was the most profound thing i got from the class. right there. do more things that make you happy. do fewer things that don't. it wasn't long after that i started doing more spinning and got my etsy shop going.

this weekend i did all the busy stuff i always cram into the weekends but i made sure i sat in the hammock and finished a sudoku. and i read a book. it was a short one, but i read an entire book when i could have been doing far more practical tasks. three years ago i don't think i could have allowed myself the luxury of that much stillness. i was too busy beating myself up blaming myself for not having it all figured out. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A plug for the kids on Etsy

Meet Pearl
I got a package today from one of my very favorite Etsy sellers. Pearl at PerfectlyPotholders is not just fabulously creative with a superb eye for color and meticulous design, but she's also a busy teenager. Her award-winning potholders have won me over and I will never use any other kind. These aren't the shaggy kind you made in summer camp that your mom said she loved because you made them. (She probably burned her hands and put them away when company came.) Pearl's potholders are made with what i think must be the best cotton loops ever made and her colors are very vibrant. They wash up like a dream and my oldest ones still look as spiffy as this new pair. This was a custom order. I gave Pearl permission to make something crazy and colorful. She Rocked It.

Pearl, you are welcome to use these images on your site or etsy shop.

And Emily
Tied for first place with Pearl is Emily of Nutheads, a newcomer to the Etsy world. Emily has been a creative genius from day one. She is a magnificent artist. She knits with skill far beyond her years, better than most adults i know. She is a gifted writer, athlete, dancer and musician. Honestly, this one is amazing.  Emily recently launched her shop. She sells tiny little poseable dolls with acorn caps on their little round heads. These nuthead dolls have amazing details. She makes their bodies with wire wrapped in embroidery floss then fashions tiny little clothes with the most delicate, teeny embroidery patterns. A doll like hers would look so cute posing on a bookshelf or even as an ornament on a holiday tree. Do explore her shop. All her dolls have a story and she has created collections around themes like the solar system and the rainbow.

This is Rhianna

And meet Irina, buy her!!

good luck to you both! i can't wait to see what you do next!