Sunday, May 20, 2012

If You Give a Kid a Crochet Hook....

...He'll Want to Learn to Crochet. Ah, if only it were that easy. I have been training trying to teach my brother to crochet since his hands could hold the hook. He's pin sharp and curious as a cat. He also lives with a diagnosis of ADHD, so his brain sometimes goes a mile a minute. As someone who has anxiety, I know first hand the magical properties of crafting that soothe the mind and calm the soul. That being said, he's had his own bamboo handled "J" hook for a few years now, but it mostly collects dust unless I need one in a pinch. Whenever he sees me making something he either a) wants it for himself or b) has a new request for a handmade item he would like tomorrow please and thank you. But until yesterday, he had no real desire to learn the craft himself.

My Brother with his cool thrifted whip
I'm not really sure how it happened. I think I just caught him at the right moment, or maybe he caught me at the right moment. It happened yesterday, but I can't remember if I suggested it to him or if he suggested it to me. Either way, within a few minutes we were both at the kitchen table with a ball of wool from my stash and his neglected gold "J".

I crocheted the chain and did the first row, which is the most frustrating even for a seasoned crocheter. Then I just stood behind him and helped him here and there. Within the time it took for him to crochet his first few stitches he had already mastered the wrist movements! In my opinion, the wrist movements are the hurdle in teaching crochet. Every new thing we learn has a little hurdle that seems to make the new skill so very hard, yet when we jump that little hurdle the new skill seems all of a sudden so clear! When teaching crochet, I tend to think the first little hurdle is learning to twist your wrist with the hook and yarn. My brother, after watching me for about a second, said, "You do it so fluidly!" and that was it for him. He only had a little difficulty tensioning the yarn, so I helped him with that.

 In thirty short minutes we had a crochet square very indicative of a new crocheter, yet so beautiful all the same. For a moment I hesitated, what would the square be? While a first crocheted anything is very exciting, it is not as exciting as a first crocheted potholder, coaster, patch, or anything thing-with-a-purpose. Would he be disappointed, thinking this little square was obsolete?

First Stitches

Of course not! He's an eleven year old, with an imagination that stuns the adults in his life. Naturally, he knew what it was right away. A whip-grip. Yes, you heard me right. He as a whip we found in a thrift shop (that he is only allowed to use outside) that is "just like Indiana Jones".  I sewed the square onto the whip, it was a perfect two hand grip for him of course. Sometimes I wonder why I worry at all. In the end this colorful piece of wool fabric and it's purpose are so very him. And, a bonus, when we talked about his lesson the next day he told me he actually liked it and understood why I spend so much of my free time doing it!  Be still, my beating heart.


This experience, this quality time, with my little brother was so spontaneous yet so wonderful. I am trying to convince him to join me in a  Summer crochet-along featuring a favorite cat of ours. I'll let you know what he decides :)

Until Next Time

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bringing May Flowers

Well the rain as finally (almost) subsided here, though it was a little drizzly and awfully grey this morning. At the first glimpse of sunshine I grabbed my camera and ran outside for a morning stroll. Like I said, I love rain but I admit I was going a little stir crazy. I love sweats and tea but a girl can only last so long before the vitamin D deficiency starts going to her head. But let me tell you, the moment I walked outside (for the first time in four days) I knew it was all well worth it.

It was almost as if overnight everything had come alive! My little world was all of a sudden so lush! Some of the flower bushes in my neighborhood looked like they were actually exploding with blossoms.

The birds were singing such a beautiful song. The air was brisk from all the rain. It was so delightful. Yards were overtaken by dandelions. Wild patches of grass had sprung up, making our yard look a bit more like a jungle than a yard...

 But either way, I am so very grateful for our wet spell. I got some much needed couch time to decompress from this semester and the result was a wonderful, lush, fresh world all around me!

 Until Next Time

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rainy Days

Raindrops on the Window

It's been raining here for three days now and by the looks of the weather report it won't be clearing up until early next week. I'm not complaining, not really. You see, I actually kind of like this weather. It's perfect for cuddling with your furry friends, reading, drinking lots of tea, knitting or crocheting, and it's a lot easier for me to study for finals when it isn't gorgeous outside.

My SnugglyKitty, Sugar

So that's mostly what I've been doing. A lot of studying, a little bit of yarn-y, and even a little bit of cleaning and destashing. Yes, you read that correctly. I said destashing. Magazines in particular were my focus this go around, but I'll be posting on that futile effort later.

Mom's Sunny Shawl in Shalimar Yarns Breathless

I like rainy days because they give me a reason to be cooped up. I love being outside when it's nice out, but there is something so nice about staying in your sweats and plopping down on the couch during days like these. I've also had the past few days off from work so I have been able to get a lot done and still have time to relax, for which I am very grateful for.

Rainy Day Friends

The semester is coming to a close and I am getting pretty excited with plans for Summer. My best friend will be (relatively) close again, Andrew and I will have some more time to spend together, and naturally I've got all kinds of crafty plans. But for now, I'm cuddled up on the couch appreciating any excuse I have to be as lazy as possible.

I hope you've got some weather you can appreciate, for whatever reasons, where ever you are at right now.

Until Next Time. 


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Truth About Blogging

So, you might have noticed that I haven't blogged in almost a year. That being said, this post has been culling in my mind- creating itself, working itself through, and fleshing itself out. Honestly, I had thought I was done. Thrown in the towel, abandoned ship. See the things is, I stopped blogging because I wasn't enjoying it anymore. Writing the posts, photographing projects for it, finding all the links, all the parts had become arduous and I was beginning to resent it. I sat down a few times and tried to squeeze something (anything!) out, but it just wasn't flowing. A week went by, a month went by, six months went by. At first I felt a twinge of guilt. I felt I owed the few readers I might have had a proper explanation or "good-bye", but pretty soon I realized that I felt much better without the pressure of blogging in my life. Now and then I may have had an idea for a post or two, but it wasn't enough to get me back on the blog. Eventually, I accepted it- the blog days are over. Surprisingly,  I was actually quite fine with it.

Here's why: I realized during my months off that I was feeling a pressure when working on my blog. A pressure to perform, if you will. I was also operating, the entire time, under the belief that I had nothing to contribute. I loved reading blogs, but I didn't love writing my own. So, where was the disparity? Well, I thought about it for a little while and I realized something. My favorite blogs really get my gears turning and they each offer something unique. Whether it be writing style, content, photography style, personal flair, or what have you. I realized then that I wasn't enjoying writing my blog because I wasn't offering anything unique. I didn't feel I was putting anything into the blogosphere that didn't already exist in some form. This is odd because, quite frankly, I am rather unique. If you think I'm tooting my own horn, ask someone who knows me about Kiki, or my dolls, or any of my personal philosophies. You'd have to ask someone else, you see, because I never talked about any of these things. What was happening was that I was trying a little too hard to be polished, to be a brand. I was thinking to myself, though maybe not entirely on a conscious level,  "My blog is called Live.Love.Yarn. so I blog about yarn stuff." Knitting- cool. Crochet- cool. But everything else in this complex life? School? Love? Did you know I took a sewing class or that I love to read?  Work? Other hobbies? I prevented myself from blogging about these things because, I thought, "Readers are coming here for yarn".

But I am a lot more than yarn. I do love yarn, I love everything about it. But what about the "Live" and "Love"? By trying to brand myself I severely compromised the image of who I am. I manipulated my blog and image so it was  cut and dry "yarn". By trying to brand myself I revoked my own freedom to be my unique self, and all the passion and excitement I had for sharing my uniqueness. I became jaded by the attempt to be too polished, lost my interest, and kind of gave up.

Now, crafty business owners and business supporters don't get me wrong here. Brands are great. Fun even. But I'm not a crafty business women (yet?) and I, personally, did not go about creating an image in the correct manner with the right the intentions.

But here is the good news: I'm back. Thanks to a series of events that have been taking place over the past few weeks, I am back. I am invigorated and empowered and ready to try again. I have to give a big shout out to Sister Diane, creator of CraftyPod. The pieces of these ideas were all kind of ricocheting around in my mind trying to take hold of each other to form something, but it wasn't happening. When I listened to CraftyPod #123: Being More Authentic Online, with Kirsty Hall it all kind of clicked into place and I realized what had been bothering me. about blogging, all this long while and why. Anything she publishes is great and saturated with inspiration and ideas to really get you thinking, but this particular podcast really resonated with me.

I can promise it isn't going to be perfect, it never has been. If your subscribed to this blog still and you're thinking, "We've heard it all before", I can't blame you. I kind of feel the same. I'm thinking "Maybe it'll stick this time, but maybe it won't". But what is important is this: if I get to write about what I want to and really be myself I'll be much better off than before. I think I really owe it to myself and you to give it another shot.

It's going to be very different this time around, but I am really excited by that prospect. So thanks for tuning in again, if you are. If this is your first time here, welcome. I hope we can all enjoy the ride.

Until Next Time.