Saturday, September 15, 2012

Newest Projects and Why Etsy 'Feels Like Home to Me'

Well, the first project on the 'new' loom wasn't a total bust. I now have a framed piece of fabric art on my living room wall - and I like it.

I recently finished crocheting a large, round afghan that I truly delight in admiring, and am torn with the prospect of selling it, gifting it or keeping it. I love the colors as much as the design. But isn't that the way with nearly every item that a person crafts?

Speaking for myself, I pick out yarns for their color, first and foremost. Next, I choose a fiber that has a certain textural quality that I particularly appreciate at that particular moment. Lastly, I think of the use I'll have for the skein or ball or hank. In the end, what I create with the thread, yarn or material is something I will have an affinity for if only by way of its colors, texture and/or use. This is why I always struggle with the idea of parting with the item.

The longer it takes me to complete it, the more I dread the separation from it.

I suppose that all sounds very melodramatic, but fellow 'needlecrafters' know whereof I speak. A huge part of the reason for buying handcrafted items, is that the customer has insufficient time or expertise to do the work themselves, yet is quite aware of the hours and talent involved in its production. It is for this reason, IMHO, that is so successful. The majority of sellers on 'etsy' are also buyers and do appreciate the abilities of others to create in so many diverse niches. Therefore, it is a self-supporting community.

I not only purchased my loom on etsy, but my drop spindle and my first bit of roving. I also have had occasion to learn techniques by conversing with other crafters who willingly share their own expertise without even being asked. Etsy is more than an eBay for handmade goods, it's a community of artisans. It feels like what I always imagined an "art colony" would feel like. And I always had a secret desire to belong to an artistic community. Now I am, and it feels like home.

Here's a link to my etsy shop:
And here's a link to my facebook page:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

To Write or To Weave...

Hands On

I just received a vintage loom. A non-rigid two heddle that I have no idea how to use - yet. I have a lap loom that I've used twice now and made a really beautiful piece of material that I will make a handbag with. The other piece is a wall hanging. I got the lap loom to see if I really enjoyed weaving as much as I thought I would. I did. Hence the purchase of the vintage loom. 

It's a smallish loom but will make long pieces, unlike the lap loom which is limited in finished piece size. I can, in theory, make scarves and table runners, placemats and towels on this loom. It will also, once I figure it out, work up a piece much faster because you don't have to actually weave in and out for the weft, simply pass the shuttle through as the heddle can be raised to allow for that. The previous owner saw fit to include a step-by-step book on weaving that I didn't even know she had for no extra charge. There are such thoughtful people out there! 

Hands Off

So far, I've not put hand to pen, however, as I'd planned. I've written a few small blogs and poems but have not worked on the book since late last year. My hands have been busy on other endeavors, but that's no excuse. I don't like to ignore goals because it lowers my feelings of self-worth to do so. In that light, there may be a connection here that will spur me to my assignment again. 

Weaving is a metaphor for living in my mind, thanks to a book by Piers Antony that I read many, many years ago (With a Tangled Skein). In it there is a wise creature with 8 appendages charged with overseeing the fantasy world Antony creates, and who manages the threads of life which are tangled and straightened, woven and twisted, by the world's creatures' deeds and misdeeds. I found the concept fascinating at that time of my life (young adult) and pondered it enough so it became part of who I am. Who I am inevitably goes into whatever I write, so I find synchronicity in procuring a "new loom" and the continuation of my story book. 

Clap Hands

The other thing creative that I do with my hands is make music. I have been so busy crocheting, sewing and weaving (oh, yes, and learning how to spin yarn with a drop spindle, too) that I have neglected that creative outlet as well. Thankfully, playing instruments is like riding a bike - once you learn it, you don't forget how. There will be time. Clap hands. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

From 2011 to Now

The former year is one I won't forget since there were many "firsts" for me and my family. In 2011 my first son had his first baby, so I received my first granddaughter. What a grand meeting that was, too. 

I began to blog and started my first published website, "Body Over Fifty" ( which addresses issues and events in my small "over fifty" life. The aim is to help myself while, possibly, helping others going down similar paths.

I was in a car accident that was a first for me. It was a head-on at speeds of 55 mph and I survived fairly intact thanks to air bags and seat belts and the grace of God. Since then, I've seen car wrecks on TV that are very similar and resulted in death, so I consider myself so very fortunate. I was very concerned about being able to play guitar and mandolin again since my left (chording) wrist was pretty messed up. Months of physical therapy and exercises allow me to continue this love. Again, I'm so fortunate. 

New Dreams in 2012
This year promises to be another memorable one. My daughter will graduate from University, MTSU to be precise. Perhaps a new business venture for her will commence in 2012 as well, only time will tell.

The first half of 2011 was one spent writing for an online site. It kept me busy and paid a few bills. It also gave me confidence and practice in the craft, which I definitely required. That exercise led me to this blog and the website I already mentioned. It also impels me to renew my personal challenge to finish my book this year. 

Finally, because of roof repairs in 2011, I now have a viable craft room in a formerly leaky, dank, covered and enclosed porch. I have filled it with my collected crafting items and supplies and am awaiting the final touch - a work table - to make it complete. It shall be where you will find me most days and maybe nights in 2012. 

Having this space also freed up some needed space inside the house. I now have a better place to store and use my many musical instruments. I truly couldn't be much happier.

Because It's There
I know that creativity will not bloom simply because I have a room, more room, and supplies, but it will help. I find that being away from the "norm" of everyday life fuels my creativity. That meant being outside, but the craftroom is nearly there. The north and east walls are mostly windows which allow me to take in the hills, creek, flora and fauna. The ambient lighting is terrific during the day. There is a door to the outside as well, which means I can have visitors to my shop without disturbing the home environs; a great feature if I ever get to that point. 

My computer station is not in the workshop/craftroom, but it is a few steps and one door away. I have yet to master the ability to measure time accurately while on the computer, and I vow to spend my time more carefully this year. Hence, it shall not be moved!

Because I'm Here
When you realize that half your life is past, you wonder what you will leave behind when you depart. That is one reason I start the website - to help me get through this midlife challenge (I prefer not to call it a crisis!). I always saw myself as an artist, yet I went into nursing. True, they say nursing is an art, but it's a science more. The art of nursing is not the medical side, it's the personal, spiritual side. The more time I spent in the profession, the farther from the "art" of it I slid. Truth is, if you have leadership abilities and the brains to match, you're best suited for management positions when you're in the long term care arena. Unfortunately, this is not a creative position for the most part. The few creative functions - educating staff, creating new policies and procedures or figuring out how to comply with regulations while making employees' tasks less burdensome - ultimately didn't "cut it" for me.

So now I'm torn between the need for creativity and the utilization of an ability and profession. At 57, becoming a "floor nurse" is a daunting consideration. The physical and mental toll, the hours of mandatory overtime, the separation of the management person I am from the front line employee I would be - all of it makes me wonder if nursing isn't in my past now. I'm trying to stay open to that still small voice, however, in case I'm wrong. "Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will" is my mantra. 

There's a pattern to life. When I was a thirty-something, I realized that my late teens and early twenties were spent preparing myself for that portion of my journey. Now nearly 60, I see the same strands of web intertwined and outstretched to encompass today and all that it promises for my future. String theory notwithstanding, time brings me here and I only hope my weaving is true.