The state of my crafting

Wow, it’s been a rough ride lately in my crafting life.

I was listening to a knitting podcast this week and it was mentioned that Mercury has been in retrograde. Maybe that explains why it’s been so darn difficult for me to complete or start a project in the past couple months. Of course, the fact that my commuting/knitting time has been curtailed due to cycling may explain a bit (as well as my commuting/listenting to podcasts time, too) but I’ve also just been sort of *blah* around crafts lately.

Despite my blog-silence on crafting, I have accomplished a few things: slowly and sometimes painfully, but accomplishments nonetheless. Now photographic evidence of those accomplishments will not be forthcoming just yet. (I was stupid and under deadline, so at least one of those items may not be documented in photos at all.) It’s dark right now and I can’t get decent photos of my newest finished object(s), so it’ll just have to wait.

I have been doing some things, though. Let me just list them here:

  • A sleeveless baby “saque” (whatever that means) in crochet and knit
  • A pair of socks
  • An object for the Chicago Crochet Coral Reef Project

What is that last one? Well, if I can alert David Reidy of the Sticks and String podcast to this cool new project and get it mentioned, then I guess I can put it on my own personal blog.

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project is run by the Institute for Figuring. This project is designed and curated by the founders of the IFF, Christine and Margaret Wertheim, who are originally from Brisbane, Australia but now live in Los Angeles. They started the project in homage to the Great Barrier Reef, as “wooly testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.” Each crocheted piece duplicates the hyperbolic geometry of coral and has been created by hand.

The Reef will be the coming to Chicago this fall during the Chicago Humanities Festival. Organizers wanted to add a Chicago touch to the Reef, so they’ve started organizing workshops to learn about how to create pieces to add to the Reef.

I was at the inaugural workshop on June 29 hosted by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. Not only did I get to stretch my newly-budded crochet wings, so to speak, but I also learned about hyperbolic space. Cool! My friend Jamie unintentionally grabbed the spotlight, though. She had learned about the workshop at the same Knitting Guild meeting as I did, but she got started right away on her object and brough the finished piece to the workshop. Margaret Wertheim herself kicked off the workshop, and she was thrilled with Jamie’s piece!

There will be more workshops, so if you’re interested, check out the My Space page they’ve set up.

As for my crafting mojo…it’s looking up. Just in the past couple days, I’ve started to feel more centered around it. I’ve cast off and finished a couple projects (the socks and baby saque), and started a new pair of socks.

Yes, there will continue to be crafting projects dissected and documented here. Just hang with me, and I’ll deliver.

Getting active

I really should try to blog every couple days at least, since so much has been happening in a week!

First to wrap up some loose ends: did I get everything on my list done? No. But enough was done that I felt a good sense of accomplishment and success. That was the most important thing. Work has been so demanding on me lately — taking up so much energy and time, while not providing that all important sense of accomplishment — that I really needed to feel like I was making progress somewhere. I guess this is also an important lesson for me, too. I can’t rely only on work to fulfill me. It’s much better to look for personal fulfillment in my personal life. Makes sense!

So, my little bit of spring cleaning/chore tackling has helped clear up some mental clutter, too, I guess. Some of my list didn’t get done because once I reached this critical point, I sidetracked a bit. These were good sidetracks, though.

The first one involved a new skill: crochet.

Crochted market bag
Have I gone over to the dark side? No, but I really did enjoy how fast this worked up. I started it on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and finished it up on Monday night. I have to admit that once I started it, though, I just didn’t want to stop. It was great to work on a project that could be finished so quickly.

Yes, I still worked on my other knitting projects. I did not finish my sweater, but I got most of the finishing done. I only have one sleeve left to set in. But, I’m not happy with how it is fitting, so I’ve set it aside for now. I’ll get back to it later. I will. Really.

The first Tofutsies sock is done, and although I seemed to have mental challenges getting the toe started on sock #2 (six attempts to do a short row garter stitch toe? what was wrong with me!?), I’m now working on the foot which makes perfect commuter knitting. Although my commuting time may not be so conducive to knitting these next few months. More on this in a bit…

Let’s get back to the market bag. I made this bag because I wanted something to bring with me to the farmer’s markets to carry my purchases. I’d heard that the crocheted string bags are much more durable than the knitted ones, so I thought I’d give crochet a try.

I’m so glad the farmer’s markets are back! I really miss getting fresh, local, flavorable produce. This past week, I’ve been to two farmer’s markets already. At the Thursday Loop market in Daley Plaza I added asparagus, strawberries, onions, baby turnips, and radishes to my new market bag. Yesterday at the Evanston farmer’s market, I picked up more asparagus, watercress, kale, Chinese broccoli (I love this stuff!!!), eggs, rhubarb, and more strawberries.

Yesterday afternoon was spent processing the “harvest.” I blanched and froze a couple pounds of asparagus, and froze about 2 quarts of strawberries. I still have just over one quart of fresh strawberries sitting on the counter, waiting for…something. I also cut up the rhubarb and made some strawberry-rhubarb crisp in custard cups. Baking them in the cups was a way to practice portion control, although I ended up eating two portions last night. Yum!!

I was in Evanston to visit the chiropractor for my usual 6 week check up, but I also had an appointment with a Chinese medicine and acupuncturist. I’ve decided I need to try something new to deal with the chronic health issues I’ve had in the past few months. The fatigue, mood swings, and weight gain must stop. It’s hard to be productive when you just feel like sleeping all the time, or crying, or wanting to rip someone’s face off. Traditional medicine isn’t helping me at all. My blood work was “normal,” but my gut tells me that I’m going through a major metabolic and hormone shift that that is resulting in misery for me.

So, yesterday I had a consult and an acupuncture session. The acupuncture was very cool. As he put the pins in the place, it felt like little circuits were being switched on in my body and currents were being connected. It was a very satisfying experience. I relaxed, yet felt energized, too. I also have some herbs to take twice a day. I go back in about 10 days for session #2.

The second sidetrack involved my bike. I took it into the bike shop had a rear rack installed, and purchased a trunk bag to mount on the rack. I’ve decided to use my bike more for running errands and for commuting to work. Last week I biked between Stitch n’ Bitch and home (about 7 miles each way), and Friday I biked between work and home (9 miles each way). Commuting to work on my bike takes me about an hour. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work on the train, but biking is a great way to get some regular exercise into my day. I’ve decided to bike at least once a week, and will try to do it two days a week if the weather cooperates.

Unfortunately, biking and knitting don’t mix so this will cut into my knitting time. Ah, well, life is full of compromises, right?