Quilts, Fibers, Aging, and Silliness

As I near the anniversary of making my first video, I find myself amazed at how much I have learned. Certainly video making has had its learning curve. Yet, it is what I have learned about myself that amazes me the most. When I began this new adventure, I would have been anxious and even horrified by the silly video-short that wraps up my latest vlog.

Covid-quarantine hair notwithstanding, a year ago I would have struggled with accepting the person I see on the screen. Now I can find joy and whimsy in the person – the whole person – who allows herself to be filmed.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of a major turning point in my life. I went from being/feeling healthy to something else entirely.

As with most who find themselves challenged with trauma, tragedy, and underlying health issues, I travelled through many phases of adjustment, including anger, denial, and the belief that I could control the outcome. Finally in this past year, I gained a greater understanding and perspective of just how much I have faced in these last decades, let alone, what I faced in the earlier years of my life. With a more clear understanding of the past, I was able to feel at peace because was able to stop longing for what I could not have, and instead, I began to truly celebrate who I have become.

None of us want to believe we are vain. Although vanity is not always a bad thing, it is a crippling thing when it prevents us from embracing life and from sharing our life with others.

Aging is a part of life, and for some, the events of our life speed up the aging process. It certainly has in my case, but then again, my body and mind have never really been in sync.

As I compiled this latest video, I recognized that vanity and fear of aging could prevent me from sharing a silly video-short with the wider world. This gave me pause and had me reflecting all that this past year of vlogging has taught me.

After reflection, I decided that I would continue embracing the joys of life and the pressing onward with my healing. Yes, my healing. Being able to see myself as I am and not as I have wished I could be is indeed a sign that I am healing.

My Mid May Vlog

In this video, I share updates on what I have been doing, provide a quick fiber dyeing tutorial, and share a ridiculously silly demonstration of basting a king-sized quilt with my husband on a breezy day.

The Promised Pattern

Saith Me… Master and Beginner

We live in a world were we no longer seem to celebrate the concept of mastering a craft or in celebrating the beginning of that journey.

There is nothing wrong with intermediate, but that is not a place where we get to sit while putting down the beginners or scoffing at the journey of further improvement.

I will likely never be a master, but I will never stop improving, nor will I ever forget the joy of beginning. The process of self-improvement, even when it is diminutive improvement, is where the joy truly begins. For in that small, simple advancement of the skill, we are rewakening the memories of our first glorious attempts at something that inspired us to try something new.

Overcoming Fear

Fear is never an easy thing to overcome. Whether great or small, fear can prevent us from fully benefiting from the joys of life.

One of the great fears in knitting is cutting open a finished sweater so that it can become a cardigan. This fear is made even greater when the sweater is knit from handpsun wool, loving carded and spun for the purpose.

Overcoming the fear allows the knitter to have the ease and benefits of knitting in the round, while also having the benefits and comfort of a cardigan sweater.

I enjoy making the top-down raglan sweater for ease of construction, accuracy of fitting, and management of yarn use. When making this latest sweater for my son, I was able to spin the yarn as I was also knitting on the sweater. This ensured that I had little unused yarn when the project was complete. Since the yarn I used was a blend of Mohair, Alpaca, and CVM sheep’s wool, I was glad to avoid making any more yarn than was necessary.

I have steeked sweaters before but the nervousness of cutting open a sweater remains.

While it is never easy overcoming any fear, great or small, it is always worth the effort, and it does become a bit easier as our confidence in ourselves grows.

Daily Creativity Challenge

After spinning and vlogging every day for nearly a month, I was fairly worn out. However, I also felt mentally energized. It seems the daily challenge of getting at least one creative task in before slumber helped me combat the fatigue the state of world affairs seems to generate.

I have long known this to be a truth – creativity combats mental fatigue. Finding the way to fit creative pursuits in daily is not always an easy thing. Demands of life can disrupt even the fiercest determination. Setting a goal or focusing on a gift for someone else can help keep one on course. With this in mind, I have embarked on another creative challenge.

The Christmas Countdown Collection. It would be more aptly be called the Holiday or New Year’s Day Countdown Collection, but I liked all the Cs. To be completely honest here, I was only going to do a Christmas Countdown Collection but I had too much fun dyeing fiber. Yes, I admit, I just couldn’t stop until the rainbow was well covered.

So what is the Christmas Countdown Collection? Well it is nearly 10 pounds of dyed wool roving that I now must spin into nearly 40 skeins of yarn. Each skein will be divided into two sections. Each section will be wrapped in festive paper. Each package will be unwrapped one at a time beginning on Thanksgiving Eve and going through until New Year’s Day.  Due to the need to send one set of squishy packages overseas, all of this must be done as quickly as possible. Yes, it occurs to me that I should have stuck to 25 braids of roving, but the joy of dyeing overcame rational thought.

As my daughter pointed out to me, if I spin one braid a day, and ply multiple skeins every few days, I should have plenty of time to finish this spinning challenge by the end of Tour de Fleece 2.0 (or in non-spinning terms – the end of September).

So let the challenge begin (okay, so it actually already began, but I am just now getting a video posted).


Oh, and for inquiring minds – the yarn is going to be used by my kiddos to crochet Granny Square afghans.

Spinning: A Lesson in Quality not Quantity

I decided to participate in Spinzilla 2014. When I signed up I thought it would be a week full of fiber, documentaries, and miles of yarn produced by my fingers and the power of my feet. I set a lofty goal of competing against last years ‘most yarn spun’ winner; a goal that was manageable if I remained dedicated to the task.

I envisioned hours of listening to my TV enlighten me about historical people and events while I spun brightly colored clouds of wool into sleek strands of yarn. The only thing that would prevent me from making miles of wool yarn was my own battle with fatigue. I was enticed by the thought of competing to win, something I seldom allowed myself to do physically since the fibromyalgia made itself known. I knew this would be a challenge – my challenge. Years ago I held notions of competing to win, but running was the center of that dream. Life, some good and some bad, interfered with pursuing such notions. I learned to enjoy the ride, not the speed in which I made the journey.

Spinning wool into yarn has been my therapy, and my joy. My feet no longer travel miles of asphalt, but they do propel me through miles of yarn. Whereas other exercises exhaust me after minutes, spinning can go on for hours without creating the fibro fatigue or fog so common with exercise. When I push it, I do get stiff, but it is a stiffness from activity and not from the fibromyalgia. This in itself is a blessing.

The week of Spinzilla began not as I expected, rather as unexpected as I could have imagined. A family emergency cost me most of the first day. Unexpected company, delightful company but unexpected, took up most of the third day, and fatigue coupled with a personal commitment dominated the fifth day. It was on that day that I finally decided that quality time with friends and family was more important than the miles of yarn I could produce. It was not a great epiphany, not earthshattering or new, but a simple quiet reminder that more fun could be had by enjoying the ride than in competing for a prize. With this renewed commitment to quality in life, I decided to join a group of spinners at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) for a massive spin-in demonstration on the seventh and final day of Spinzilla.

Typically I avoid crowds, particularly crowds where socialization is expected. Challenging myself to spin miles of yarn is easy compared to the challenge of overcoming a deep feeling of social fear and awkwardness, a fear which has increased rather than decreased with age and accomplishment. My husband, a.k.a. my spinning pit crew for an event that will require the transport of a wheel and other assorted supplies, encouraged me to embark on this challenge. Not much of a social butterfly himself but not from anxiety, rather by choice, my husband gently persuaded me to try something new; something I longed to do but from which I held myself back. He reminded me that my college’s moto, and something I try to live by, is Vita Abundantior, life more abundant.

There is little I can do to adjust the quantity of life which I get to live, but there are endless ways in which I can increase the quality of that time. All I have to do is make an effort and embrace the opportunities presented on my journey. The drive time and Spinzilla at the DAM will not aid me in the accumulation of yarn miles, but it will add quality to my life, and despite my anxieties I suspect I will have loads of fun.

Spinzilla 2014



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