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Totally Inside My Head

An interesting day afoot in these parts……Fridays in June will be the ONLY day of the week I get to sleep in (I teach M-Th and have markets on Sat/Sun all month), so I woke up a little after 9 and crawled out about 9:45. HEAVEN. Most of the day will be spent creating new stock for the weekend of sales, as well as getting things tagged and prepped, and eventually tonight I will load the car with everything (so I don’t have to do it at 6 a.m.), as I normally do before a market weekend.

But what makes it even more introspective for me is that one year ago today, I arrived here in Colorado, excited and anxious about a wealth of new possibilities. While some parts of it didn’t go as planned (who ever expects to find a pathological liar?), others have exceeded expectations. I had never been to this part of the US before, and had only been to Denver once–for a conference in graduate school, back in 1994–and I’m totally enamoured with the setting I find myself in right now.

I live in an amazingly beautiful part of the world, without question. However, it’s a little remote (the closest Target is 90 minutes away and the largest community in the county is 28,000 people–Durango, which is 20 miles away). I’ve not really reached out too much to the gay community (used LOOSELY) here, but that’s on list for this year. I’ve talked with some great guys (most at a distance) and even met a couple of them that have definitely caught my eye.

But I’ve spent most of the year really working on my career and in putting down some (shallow) roots here. I’ve made a handful of good friends here, but I miss a sense of “tribe” and being able to hang with friends, being silly and social and spur of the moment. Thanks to my rodeo family far and wide, I’ve had some great times and can talk to several about intimate topics when I need to.

The coming months will see me focusing on myself again–changing my body how I want to and achieving those goals, enhancing myself financially and emotionally, and continuing to do the things that will forward my professional life, as well as getting more involved in my local community (used in a broader sense–being a good citizen, doing things to enhance the place I live, and getting involved in some of the GLBTQ stuff going on here).

I see nothing but blue skies ahead, but today is spent inside my head–figuring out where I want to be on June 7, 2014, and beyond.

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Art vs. Craft

I’m not one to take sides in this debate–what is art vs. what is craft–but I’ve always felt that what I do (knitting, crocheting, dyeing, working with fiber) is craft. To me, craft is more useful while art is more decorative, but many others blur that line (and I’m more with them). Over the years, I’ve listened to both sides of the argument, most often when some fiber folks (mostly weavers) take an “art” stance on their work, while dismissing more needle-based forms as “craft”. But that’s not what this is about, and all sides have valid points…..

I stopped by one of my local libraries today to renew a DVD that I’m using in my summer teaching, and I perused their non-movie/documentary section to find another one to possibly use next week with some of my incarcerated adult learners. While there, I found a lone DVD from the PBS series, “Craft in America“, took it home, and watched it tonight. It definitely left me wanting more, but the two local libraries I checked have no other physical copies of other episodes (I believe the series is in the fifth season). So I did a little digging around with search tools, and I came up with THIS LINK, where you can watch ALL EPISODES, plus previews, footage not included in the regular broadcasts, and more.

I highly recommend watching these programs, even if you aren’t involved in the fiber arts, other art forms, do crafts of any types, or just appreciate getting inside the artists’ mind or enjoy the creative process. Tonight I watched Season Two, which covered “Origins” (FASCINATING) and “Process” (very informative). I plan on spending a lot less time with the TV on in the coming days and watching every single one of these episodes via my laptop and strong internet connection.

For one, it’s interesting for me to watch, as I’ve always said I have almost no artistic ability and I find it fascinating to listen to artists and art students talk about their work, their inspiration, and their voice when it comes to artistic endeavors. Plus, it has TOTALLY inspired me to explore some alternate forms of creativity, both within my chosen expressive forms of needlework (knitting and crocheting) as well as to continue to make/sell/gift works of my hands. It’s extremely important to keep various forms of art/craft alive and out in the public eye. And for me, marketing/selling my handwork has just become more important–not from a cash standpoint, but to increase the amount of handmade good things out there in our ever-increasingly mass-produced world.

Just some food for thought……..CHOW DOWN!

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A Quick Update

So, thank you to everyone who followed the link I posted yesterday and purchased the K*Tog booklet. As of this evening, over $2,100 has been raised for Other Options, the grass-roots community organization doing great things in the OKC area with disaster relief. That’s incredible! Especially when you consider that it has yet to be posted to Ravelry, where many folks are waiting so they can keep it in their library there.

That’s a great start, and I know that a good bit more will be raised by the end of the three-month period that the e-book is offered for sale. And yes, that means you only have until August 31st to get your copy–it won’t be online forever……just three months.

In the mean time, summer session started at work, and that means a reduced work schedule for everyone at our agency, as well as a few of us doing different things in different locations. Each of us gets a month completely off–either June or July. My month is July, so I’m working Monday through Thursday from 8-12 each morning. I’m filling in for our usual instructor at the detention center on the reservation (there’s a large reservation in our community, and our agency does adult basic education and GED prep for the residents), and not only are the short days/work week a welcome switch, I’ve also enjoyed meeting these folks and working with them the past two days. It’s a new challenge for me, and I’m enjoying having my afternoons AND evenings free (I’ve taught two nights a week since August). I’ve been crafting a bunch and beefing up my stock for the various markets and shows I’m doing this year, as well as just taking it easy and enjoying my new digs (I moved into a new place at the end of May, and while it’s smaller than the last place I lived, it’s also less expensive and QUITE cozy). Life is great right now, on many/most fronts.

Be well, and again–thank you for your purchases supporting disaster relief in Oklahoma. Knitters are amazing people!

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K*Tog Goes Live!

I’m THRILLED to announce (and be a part of) an amazing project that went LIVE this morning.

K*Tog is a collection of 20 beautiful knitting patterns of all sorts, quickly assembled by Lars and Holly via Suburban Knits, where EVERY SINGLE CENT RAISED will go to a grass-roots organization doing great work in Oklahoma, helping those impacted by the recent tornadoes that hit the area. Instead of pledging to organizations where overhead eats into the donations, all funds raised will go for relief efforts.

For just $20, you get a beautifully-produced e-book of patterns for accessories and other projects to create, from socks to scarves to cowls to toys to shawls to garments and more. Please consider purchasing a copy.

I saw, first hand over Memorial Weekend while in OKC for the Great Plains Rodeo, the great work that my friend Mary Arbuckle (director of Other Options, Inc., a community-based organization in Oklahoma City) and her staff are doing to ease the hardship these good folks are dealing with after the storms that continue to tear up a community.

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Matters Not

Either way (see last post), the wallaby is now finished


and going to be blocked in the next couple days. I”m preparing HARD for the start of “market season” (flea markets, farmer’s markets, and the occasional craft/art show) that starts this coming weekend, as well having to stock two different gift shops in art galleries in the area during the upcoming week. EEEEK–I had better get super-productive (I’m already productive) and get more and more stuff completed to offer for sale.

Saturday and Sunday mornings/afternoons were both spent judging a trail riding competition just over the border in New Mexico (probably a 45-minute drive from my front door). The weather was PICTURE PERFECT and I had a great time both days, working with the 20+ riders that participated, as well as the other judges and the organizer (who’s a friend and the sister of a colleague). Plus, Saturday afternoon when all riders were in, one of them let me borrow her horse and I got to take a nice ride of my own. Here’s a quick shot of me, getting ready to take out to judge on Saturday morning


That’s my oldest hat, a great 10x Stetson with a special wide brim that suits me. It’s been far too long since I’ve been on a horse (almost a year) and I miss riding. I enjoyed being back up in the saddle again, and I hope to ride more and more as the summer progresses. It was good to be around horse people and the horses themselves this weekend. More in the near future, I’m VERY sure of that!

That’s about all I’ve got right now, as I need to turn in and get some rest before the week starts……it’s testing week for us at school (we offer the GED on the first Friday of the month), so it should be BUSY as folks get prepared to take from one to all five parts of the test. And there’s a strong chance one of my learners will take and pass her last section this week. It will be bittersweet milestone, as it’s been a joy to work with her over the past 5+ months as she turns her life around, finished her equivalency diploma, and then gets ready for college in the fall. We have the most amazing dim sum of learners at our school, and I really get attached to some of them (this is definitely one!).

Happy new week…..see you again soon!

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Which Is It?

I can’t decide if it’s redneck or just the teacher in me……



but please note the tip protector in the upper right-hand corner of the photo.

I’m working on the pocket of my latest wallaby, and since I’m using camo yarn and I teach, either is appropriate. Just trying to get ONE MORE wallaby done before my craft show season starts next weekend. I also have to stock a new art gallery sale space next week, so I’m building stock up as fast as I can right now.

Have a great weekend everyone. I’m judging a trail riding competition on Saturday and Sunday, and the weather here should be just perfect–full sunshine and temps in the 70s. I’m sure I’ll be sporting this hat, for maximum shade


ENJOY!

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Posting While Waiting……

Heading to Austin, as mentioned yesterday, for several days of Spring Break and to spend some time with Kris (butt photo in previous post). I’m spending a three-hour layover by goofing off online and should eventually break out a shawl or sock project that’s in my bag (worked on socks on the first leg and finished the leg and started the heel flap–I’m still a “traditionalist” when it comes to sock construction).

I was a vendor at an arts/crafts show this past weekend, and it was a disaster. Poorly attended, tight wallets, and some vendors didn’t sell a single item, and even more didn’t cover booth fees ($25 a table…..OUCH). I was slightly (only SLIGHTLY) more fortunate, but I still had PLENTY of time on my hands to work on various projects, including getting the ENTIRE body and pouch done on a size 2 Wonderful Wallaby in camo colors (all the pink and sparkly and feminine yarns I’ve been working with needed a counterpart!). I whipped up the sleeves and the rest of the body on Sunday (gotta love kid things–they go SO quickly) and finished the neck and hood this morning, before packing my suitcase and heading out. I’m VERY pleased with the finished results


and can’t wait to get back home (well, not really) to block it and soak it in some softener to combat the scritch of “Coeur de Rouge”. I brought some of the same yarn in the pink camo version with me, so I’ll work on that once I get to Austin, in my (limited) free time.

I think the finished sweater turned out STINKIN’ CUTE and look forward to seeing how the next one works up. I suspect these may be popular later this year at various craft shows, so I want to stock up now while I have some down time. Plus, it’s nice to work on something other than my “standard fare” that I make over and over and over again to sell in my booth (fingerless mitts, baby hats, and assorted household things like potholders and more).

I’m more than a little anxious about the week down in Texas, as Kris and I have yet to meet in person (it nearly happened in February, but I couldn’t sneak away, and he started a new job that month). We’ve talked and talked and talked over the past four months (nearly five) and we text all day long and talk at least once a day (and always say “good night” to each other…..it’s kinda sweet). So this five/six days together should prove interesting and hopefully back up what we both are thinking in terms of “what a great guy” the other is. Plus, I’ve never been to this part of Texas (copious amounts of time in Dallas, lots in Houston, some in other parts, too), and I hear great things about Austin. I also have several good friends who live there, many of whom I see regularly on the rodeo circuit, and two who I’ve known for 15 years (dating back to my years in Atlanta–pre-Matt!).

My last leg leaves in under an hour, and I’ll be there about 10 p.m. local time. Here’s to potential….and possible new beginnings!

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