The Maker’s Year

One of my favorite podcasts is A Playful Day.  It was on a brief hiatus and recently relaunched a new format.  Kate (the lovely host)  has organized various online events in the past that I’ve taken part in, including Love Your Blog week last year.  This year she is focusing on the Maker’s Year.  You can read more about it on her blog and she talks about it on the podcast.  You can also check out the hashtag #themakersyear on Instagram where people have been tagging pictures of their making.  Through this focus, Kate is exploring all the different ways we make and celebrating both the making and the differences in the way we all make.

The question she posed on her podcast is “What does making mean to you?”  She has invited her listeners and readers to blog and post their answers.  It’s such a hard question because I can’t imagine not making.

I’ve been crafting for as long as I can remember.  My grandma crocheted and loved to craft.  When I was little I spent a lot of time at her house.  She tried to teach me crochet but it never stuck.  We would bake, dye Easter eggs, make felt Christmas ornaments and work on other little projects.  I’m sure this sparked my interest in crafting and baking.  My mom was always working on a craft.  She did needlepoint and latch hook rugs and made a lot of wreaths.

I was a Girl Scout until I was in 9th grade.  One of my favorite things was the Winter Jamboree, which was essentially craft camp.  We could sign up for all different craft sessions.  That’s where I learned counted cross stitch and tried a bunch of other crafts, including etching and something called tole painting (not my best craft).  I cross stitched for a long time.  I picked up scrapbooking and card making.  Nothing has ever stuck the way knitting has but all were fun.  I still enjoy making scrapbooks with my travel photos.

Perhaps because we always did crafts when my grandma watched me, I shared crafts with the kids I babysat.  There were 4 of them and 1 of me so it was best to keep them busy, otherwise trouble was not far behind.  Their mom did not craft and so it became our thing.  It got to the point where I would not even get into the house before they were asking what “cwaft” (one had a bit of a lisp when she was little) I had brought with me.  I know I created lasting memories for them.  Even the boys crafted long past the age where they would normally be interested in such things.

I do not have kids of my own but sitting down and doing a craft with them allows you to connect with them in a way that no other activity does.  I have other friends who do not have kids and they often ask how they can form bonds with the kids in their life.  I tell them to craft!  It does not matter if you can or not, you are the adult and they love the attention that crafting provides.  My only craft rule is to have fun!  I try to direct as little as possible and to encourage them to show their own creativity and make a mess!  Everything can be cleaned up.  I find when kids are allowed unstructured time to create they flourish (and, their parents really appreciate it too 🙂 ).

Case in point – I spend New Year’s Eve with a friend and her family.  They have a 4 year old and an 8 year old and they struggle to stay awake until midnight.  This year I thought “let’s do a craft”.  We made wish wands for the new year and they involved a lot of glitter!!  Fast forward to last week.  I was going to watch the girls for a couple of hours and when my friend told them who was coming over the four year old immediately asked what craft I was bringing.  For the record, we made loom potholders which were put to good use 🙂

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Making is a way to create memories.  Making is a language that allows me to connect with others.  My knitting friends (both in person and on line), my friend’s kids, and my family. Being an introvert (INFJ, which is less than 1% of the population, thank you!) having this secret language is really helpful.

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My goddaughters hard at work on rainbow loom bracelets!

And, the thing I really love about what Kate is doing – she is celebrating the differences.  I do not consider myself overly creative or artistic.  Most of my crafting skills are so-so (except for knitting, I guess I’m good at that) but that’s not why I craft.  I’m never going to have those perfectly set Instagram shots on my feed.  My feed is messy, in the moment and what I’m actually doing because that’s how I roll.  In that end, that’s what making is – it’s being messy, trying new things and just letting things go.  And, for us Type A people that’s probably more valuable than therapy!

So, as you are knitting away this weekend, think about what making means to you and then share it with Kate and your fellow knitters!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend

The alternate title of this post could be: All the Alongs.  Has anyone else noticed that with the new year there has been a rash of Alongs?  What’s a knitter to do??  So many to join, so little time.  This is especially true when you’ve committed to finishing all the WIPs in your Land of Forgotten Projects.  On the other hand, another goal was to continue to participate in various KAL’s and hashtag projects as I’ve found these to be fun and offer the opportunity to connect with other knitters.  I’ve decided to focus on just a few for right now.

This brings us to what’s on my needles this weekend.  One of the KALs that I’m participating in is the Wooly Wonka Fibers Handspun KAL.  Now, I don’t spin and I think I can pretty safely say that I will never spin.  I like my yarn already made for me. So how did I come into possession of this beautiful ball of handspun?

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If you are active on Instagram you will recall that in December knitters were posting and granting yarn wishes.  I did not post any wishes as I did not know exactly what I wanted to ask for.  And then I saw that Emily from the Knitting Butterflies podcast was offering a skein of her handspun to the first commenter on the post so I took her up on her offer. I decided that Handspun KAL was a great way to make sure I cast it on right away.  I did not want it to languish in my stash because it was such a kind gift.  It took me some time to figure out what to knit with it. I finally decided on the Shiny Penny Cowl by Lisa Ortale.  It’s $5 on Ravelry and is a great pattern. I found it last year when I was gifted random yarn without a label so I had no idea the fiber content or yardage.  This is the perfect pattern for these types of situations.  The pattern gives instructions for weighing the yarn as you go so you know how long to knit for and when you need to cast off.

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I’ve decided to join in on a few other Alongs as well.  Here’s a list and a brief description of each.  I’m sure I will go into more detail on each of them in future posts.

12 Projects in 12 Months: The goal is to complete 12 projects in 12 months and I’ve tagged all my current WIPs and have a few empty spots that will be filled with other projects I will cast on from stash yarn.  I’ve already completed one project so we’re off to a good start. This one was fun because I found out about it from my first Instagram friend.

The Maker’s Year: Over on A Playful Day Kate is hosting The Maker’s Year which is focusing on daily making. You can check out the posts on Instagram that have been tagged #themakersyear.

#366 Project:  On Instagram, I first saw Eskimimi participating in the #366 project. Sounds easy enough – post a a photo a day of creative pursuits.  I’m on it so far but it has been tougher than I thought.

GoalAlong: This is being hosted by Imagined Landscapes.  You can see the start of my goals page in the picture of my cowl.

For more information on all these alongs check out these pages:

Wooly Wonka Handspun KAL Ravelry Group: Handspun KAL

12 Projects in 12 Months: Ravelry Group

The Maker’s Year: A Playful Day

GoalAlong: Imagined Landscapes

Are you participating in a fun KAL that you want to share?  Let me know!