Exercising Control

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One of the lessons I’ve been learning this year has been about how much control I have over my life. In the past few months I have been making my choices differently, more consciously making them to help me have the life I want. I feel that I have been thinking more clearly about my motivation, and about the consequences of my actions, large and small.

For example, if our kitchen (at the center of the house, next to my office) is relatively clean and the counters are clear, I feel calmer and have more energy, and I eat better. My quality of life is significantly increased if I clean the kitchen every day, instead of leaving it for several days at a time (I know, my housekeeping habits are not exemplary) or waiting for my husband or roommate to do it (though sometimes one of them will still get to it before I do). That’s a fairly mundane example.

Another thing that’s happened this year is that a close friendship, one which has been very important to me, has gone awry. I don’t know if it’s ended or is just on hiatus. My friend stopped seeing me or talking to me (unless we see each other socially) a few months ago.

I still don’t know why this happened. It took me a while to realize that something was going on beyond the normal ebb and flow of friendship resulting from schedule disparity, emotional cycles and life events.

I realized today (while cleaning the kitchen, in fact) that I went through the stages of grief mourning this relationship, spending a lot of time at the ‘anger’ and ‘depression’ stages. I’m happy to feel like I am finally at the point where I will be okay no matter what happens, whether our friendship resumes or not. It took a lot of work to get there.

And this brings me back to control. One thing I realized while I was grieving was that I had been relying too much on a few friends to meet my friendship needs. I have always been the sort of person to have a few close friends and a number of casual ones… but this is something I have control over, too. I know a lot of really excellent and interesting people, and I keep meeting more all the time. I don’t spend nearly enough energy on many of those relationships, and most of them would benefit greatly from even just a little more time and thought.

So I’ve been putting more effort into seeing people I don’t see very often. Some are new friends I want to know better, some are closer friends I just don’t see often enough, others are people I barely know but with whom I sense an affinity. This doesn’t really come naturally to me; I’m doing it gradually, so that it will be a life change I can sustain, instead of just an atypical spasm of energy.

But I have learned that if I change my actions I can change my habits, and from there I can change the way I think and the way I live. I just have to remember that I have the power to do this.

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The Book is Here!

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The book is here! It arrived from the printer much sooner than expected, and it’s b e a u t i f u l …

Read more about our publisher surprising us with it here.

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Effervescent Cardigan Pattern

Effervescent Cardigan Pattern Now Available!

The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!
Here’s the original version of the sweater, which I knit over 2 years ago.

Little Summer Sweater

The new version is a bit more refined than the original: the raglan, neckline and waist shaping are more well-integrated into the stitch pattern, the lower edge treatment flows from the body pattern more naturally, and I think the proportions are more well-balanced.

I’m pretty excited about it. I hope you like it!

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Following Through

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On April 13, I finished my first year of the 365 Days project. The next day, I started my second year.

I continue to get a lot of satisfaction out if this project, and it continues to have a surprising number of benefits. It makes me think in an articulate way about what’s going on in my day-to-day life. It gives me a way to express thoughts or ideas for which I may not have another outlet. It pushes me to do something creative and short-term each day, even on days when my creative energy is really depleted. I keep learning more about photography, and about how to use my cheap little point-and-shoot camera to best advantage.

There are days, however, when I really don’t see the point of continuing with it. I completed the first year, which was the important thing; my follow-through on projects is often not what it should be, and I was determined to change that pattern. Do I really need to follow through on the second year, or have I made my point? On days when I am really devoid of ideas, it just feels like a self-indulgent waste of time.

But then I get a shot like the one above. I am really satisfied with this photo, I feel like it says what I was trying to express. I’m pleased with the perspective and lurid colours, and I think it has the qualities my friend Libby often uses to describe my work: it’s a little sexy and a little creepy. This is when I remember what I get out of this project, and why I continue with it.

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Putting it Down and Walking Away

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This year so far has been one of change and upheaval on all fronts, both good and bad. Most of the time things feel like too much to write about, or even talk about. There is one big change that I need to share, though.

Back in the spring, Kim persuaded me to go to the Summer TNNA Show with her. It took some time for me to make the decision to go, and I almost bailed for financial reasons. In the end I went, I roomed with Kim and Julie Holetz, and nothing could have prepared me for how much fun I had!

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I met a ton of wonderful people, many of them other designers with whom I’ve had online contact. I had a great meeting with Amy and Jillian about the fall issue of Knitty. It was so awesome and useful, I wish we could meet like that every issue. AND, I made some really exciting contacts with dyers, yarn companies, magazine editors… in short, all the kinds of people you want to meet in this industry if you want design work.

And so, I am now working as a designer in both knitting and crochet. I spend a lot of time swatching, sketching, taking notes as I work on samples. I have designs that will be published soon in magazines! I’ll post here when new designs are available.

The next one will be a self-published sweater pattern that will be available Monday. It’s the new-and-improved version of this sweater. Looking back at that blog entry, it’s embarrassing to realize that it’s taken me more than 2 years to get around to completing this.

I’m working harder than I can remember ever working before, and I have more energy and excitement to put into the work than I can remember ever having. Although I have had a number of designs published in books, I have resisted making design work a major part of my life. My stated reason was that I didn’t want all my knitting/crochet time to become work time, that I liked having these activities be things I did for pleasure.

Really, though, I think I was just afraid to commit, and afraid of not succeeding. I had an experience this year which made me realize that I’ve been pretty consumed with fear of all kinds for a long, long time now, and that I could just put the fear down and walk away. Bits of it are still clinging to me, but I’m also making a lot of really positive changes in my life. This new career is one of the most wonderful things to come out of it so far, and I kind of feel like the changes are only just beginning. I’m looking forward to the future now in a way I haven’t done in a long time.

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Fibres West

Thank you so much to the sweeties who left comments on my last post. I really appreciated knowing that there are people who still want to read my blog, even though I never write in it. ;)

If you’re in the area, come hang out with Leanne and I at Fibres West tomorrow (Saturday March 21)! We’ll be knitting tags and promoting our book. It looks like a cool show, with lots of interesting exhibitors!

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Spring Is On Its Way…

I just wrote the following to a friend who’s coming out of a funk, and it seemed like a good note on which to start blogging again. I may have blogged about this superstition/tradition before.

I do adore spring in Vancouver.

I must share a homemade superstition that Zak and I have been observing since before we were dating, when we were just friends. On the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (like tomorrow!), we have a party, or if a party isn’t practical, we go out for a nice meal, and think about the coming seasons. It’s important to do something a little special, a little indulgent; tomorrow we’re picking up our roommate from school and taking her out to lunch at a good burger place with MILKSHAKES. The idea is that it will ensure good luck in love and life for the coming two seasons. (Clearly the marital strife that Zak and I had recently, and the deep and horrible funk we were both in, is a result of not celebrating the autumnal equinox.)

I find that when we take the time to remember and mark the passing and upcoming seasons like this, it really does help us sort our heads out about what we want in our lives in the coming months, and to head forward with optimism. Celebrate tomorrow, if you can. Hopefully our homemade magic will serve you well. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful spring!

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Starstruck

One of the things I love best about working for Knitty is ‘meeting’ all the designers whose work I edit. Some of them have become friends, which has definitely been an unexpected perk of the job!

Lately, we’ve had some patterns from well-known designers whose work I’ve long admired, whose names I saw in the books and magazines I devoured when I learned to knit in 2000. I’ve had email in my inbox from people like Nicky Epstein, Mags Kandis, Nancy Marchant, and – gulp – Norah Gaughan.

I have fervently admired Norah Gaughan’s work since I bought my first knitting magazine (VK Fall 2000). Her work inspires and excites me more than almost any other designer’s. To be editing patterns from her now… it’s a bit intimidating.

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In The Bag

Clearly I lied in my last post, when I said I would write again soon. In the meantime, my intrepid (and patient) co-author Leanne and I have written a book!!

It is now with the publisher for editing, designing, etc. I am still recovering, and I imagine she is too.

The last night, I was at her house until late, as we tied up loose ends and made sure everything was in place before sending off the manuscript. When I got home, Zak greeted me with a glass of wine.

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Writing the book was amazing, it was incredibly stressful and exciting and I learned a LOT. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to do this one, and that I had such an excellent person to do it with. I would have been lost without her.

I want to write another one…

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Still Here…

Oh my goodness, it’s been a long time. Dear blog readers, if there are any of you left, I will write soon. I have been living over on Flickr lately, where the 365 Days project is taking the place of a journal for me.

But there’s a lot to write about. I’ll be back soon. Thank you for stopping by.

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