Friday Finds – February 19, 2016

We are all artists!  Resistance to doing our work can be paralyzing.  Melissa Dinwiddie is a creativity coach who published this great list of ways to overcome that stuck feeling.

10 Rules For Artists By Melissa Dinwiddie.
10 Rules For Artists By Melissa Dinwiddie.

Stephen Pressfield’s book Turning Pro is full of great ideas on overcoming resistance.  Here’s a very short YouTube video of him discussing some of the ideas from the book.   This book is definitely worth reading.  I enjoyed it more than his other books on this subject, which I found a bit too aggressive and even warlike.

Procrastination can be a form of resistance.  A common reason for it is perfectionism.  This article about Breaking the Perfectionism–Procrastination Infinite Loop is full of insight and techniques to get you moving forward.

I’d love to know your experiences and thoughts on this subject.  Do you know any great books or websites that might help others?  Comment below to share.

Here’s a fiber picture for the yarn lovers.

A New Handspun Yarn. I Named It Apricot Preserves.
A New Handspun Yarn. I Named It Apricot Preserves.

 

 

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Six Things I Learned At My Spinning Retreat

As a beginning spinner I am always learning things that surprise me.  I attended a spinning retreat in Northern Indiana recently and some things I learned amazed me.

1.  Some spinners think it’s easier to spin a thin yarn than a bulky.  Along with this goes the belief that it’s difficult to control the thickness of the yarn.  I am NOT an expert spinner by any means, but I know the secret.  It’s nothing glamorous and your parents and grandparents knew it.  It’s practice!  Simply practice spinning different types of yarns to get better control.  Along with this goes acceptance of what you make.  Let go of the need for perfection.  Things made by humans cannot be perfect.  I think even DaVinci had days he felt that everything he made was junk!

Some Spinners Thought This Yarn Was Quite Remarkable.
Some Spinners Thought This Yarn Was Quite Remarkable.  I Just Thought It Was Yarn.

2.  Some spinners don’t like to knit.  They make yarn and save it or give it away.  That amazes me.  But see the next point to understand about giving away precious handspun yarn.

3.  Spinners are generous.  As a newbie (first time I attended), I received a gift that included two rovings and some llama fiber.  Someone else gave me a beautiful handmade shawl pin.  When I asked to buy a second one for a friend she would not accept payment and insisted on giving it to me.

The spinners donated an enormous pile of hand knit outerwear to a women’s shelter in Gary, Indiana.  Some of them knit all year long and fill shopping bags and totes full of hats, gloves, scarves, socks, children’s wear.  They’ll never meet the recipients or hear a thank you from them.

They also created a piece of art when they yarn bombed an old chair.  It was given to an art studio.

I love these people!

4.  Other spinners love to try new things too.  There were spinners teaching themselves to spin coils, to spin bulky yarns, to chain ply.  I sold many rolags to people who were excited to try them.  Here’s one that sold.

I Called This One Tokyo Nights.
I Called This One Tokyo Nights.

I will see the buyer regularly, can’t wait to see what she created.

5.  I can spin without hurting myself!  This is marvelous news.  For a long time I didn’t understand how to stay pain free when spinning.  I’ll blog about it soon.

6.  My yarns don’t have to look like everyone else’s.  They are still beautiful.  Most of the spinners were spinning, white, cream, gray or black wool into fingering or worsted weight yarn.  I was spinning bright batts and hand dyed rovings into colorful super bulky yarn.  And that’s ok!

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I Started With This Batt.

 

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I Ended Up With This Yarn.

One of the things I enjoy most about spinning is the endless opportunities for learning.  I plan to attend the retreat again next year.  I’m looking forward to seeing all my new friends again, and immersing myself in three days of spinning and learning.

Friday Finds Jan. 15, 2016

TED has published a list of the most popular talks of 2015.  My favorite is number three on drug addiction and how everything we think we know about it is wrong.  What’s yours?

Did you know the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has an exhibition of knitted plants that are scientifically accurate?

brooklyn botanic garden

There’s a short article in the Wall Street Journal about the exhibit and the artist who created most of it.  She’s a self taught knitter, which is kind of amazing.

If you are a chicken keeper you may worry about your darlings out there in the cold, it is January, after all.  Maybe you’ve thought about knitting them each a sweater, but thought that would be a bit silly.  Well, in my relentless pursuit of knowledge, I’ve run across a pattern for a chicken sweater.  Pictures first!

chicken sweaters

The pattern can be found here.

And that does it for this week.  You must admit I outdid myself with the chicken sweaters…

For you fiber lovers, a picture of a new handspun bulky yarn that recently went into the Etsy store.

IMG_5575

Friday Finds December 18, 2015

Calvin and Hobbes might be my favorite comic of all time.  Love the relationship between them, the exasperation of the parents (I can really relate), and his imaginary adventures.  This absolutely charming image of them in a “real life” quiet moment just makes me smile.  The artist, Isaiah Stephens, is a genius!  Check out a few of his other drawings here.

cat_naps__calvin_and_hobbes__by_isaiahks-d4vtkej

How about downloading your next new pair of jeans?  I find the idea of downloadable clothes rather mind bending.  Listen to this TED talk for a glimpse of the possible future of fashion retailing.

 

Hey, knitters who love tea.  Have you been looking at all the amazing tea cozies people have made?  Here’s a fairly simple free pattern to get you started.  This is from Loani Prior, the author of four books on tea cozies, including her new book.  I want!

Pretty Funny Tea Cosies - High res cover

This is the last Friday Finds post of 2015.  Wishing all my readers a very happy holiday season.  Celebrate!

 

The Book That Changed The Way I Think About Fear

I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic last month, and it has changed the way I think about many things.

Before I start talking about this book, a word about her earlier books, just so you know I am fairly objective.  I read Eat, Pray, Love – or more properly, I should say I tried to read it.  I just could not connect with it.  So, I’m not a huge fan of all her work.

big magic

One of the most intriguing things she talks about is that fear we all feel from time to time when we try something new, or meet someone new, or think in a new way.  She points out that fear actually does serve a very important evolutionary purpose.  Our ancestors who paid good attention to their fears survived to reproduce.  Life was chancy and danger was everywhere – people who were cautious lived longer lives than careless risk takers.  The ones who put every unknown berry in their mouths lived a shorter life.    Since evolution weeded out risk takers, we’ve inherited that fear mindset.

Life is much safer now in general, when was the last time you met a tiger in your back yard, after all?  But fear doesn’t understand that.  And when you try something new or undertake a project with an uncertain outcome it can easily take over the show.

Ms. Gilbert explains all this in much more detail and more elegantly than I can, but additionally, she gives a great tool for overcoming fear.

She says we cannot and should not eliminate fear entirely, it’s purpose is still important at times.  It keeps you safe when something really is about to go south.  But undertaking a new art project is not terribly dangerous.  So, she gives you one way to put fear in the back seat where it belongs.

She advises talking to fear as if it were a person, and telling it that it’s not going to get to drive on this road trip.

Now, that may sound silly, but I’ve been doing this and it’s made a big difference in the amount of anxiety I feel at various times, especially when beginning a creative project in an area in which I don’t consider myself very expert.

Acknowledging the fear and putting it in the back seat helps me feel safe enough to move forward with things that seemed overwhelming in the past.  I don’t worry so much about what people will think about my work or even about me.  Fear seems to cooperate and sit quietly watching the scenery.

I liked this book so much I copied a section into my journal and read over it several times a week.

I recommend every artist and creator (and that’s all of us, isn’t it?) read this book.

If you are reading my blog hoping for juicy pictures of fiber, this picture of a new handspun yarn is for you.

Hanspun Silk And Wool Yarn
Hanspun Silk And Wool Yarn

Holiday Doings!

We did our first little sales event this past weekend!

There was a holiday celebration sponsored by the city of Carmel, IN.  There were carriage rides and lighted trees, beautiful shop windows everywhere, and lots of holiday music.  Many of the area merchants had special events going on and we were invited to set up a sales table on the second floor of The Simply Sweet Shop.

carmel photos 021

They had a cute little gingerbread house right in front.

carmel photos 022

This shop is in a darling old house, and has lots of unusual candy.  There is also a a tiny kitchen where Chef Terry prepares delectable lunches and pastries!  If you are in the area, you must have lunch there.  They have a really great menu, which includes lots of vegetarian choices, even vegan food is easily available.  Yay!

Simply Sweet Shoppe is located right in the arts district in Carmel, I plan to have a nice day out there sometime soon (after New Year’s I think) poking around the shops, and of course, lunching at the candy store!  Vegan panini with a side of tabbouleh?  Yes, please! And maybe a bit of nice dark chocolate to follow.

So, Cheryl arrived first and set up a very beautiful table.  She has a very artistic eye and a talent for making things look pretty!

Sales Table

Most of the day was quite slow, but several pairs of fingerless mitts did find a new home.  We also met several other local artists, and had some knitting time together.  I fear we will not be able to knit together during the holiday weeks, as there is so much going on then, so it was fabulous to have a nice long time to chat and knit.

While we were there something funny did happen.  The owner of the sweet shoppe asked us to hold a couple of things for her, so we took them off the table. But, we did not take them out of the Etsy shop, and that was a mistake because one of those items sold that afternoon!  We had to explain to the very understanding shopper in front of us that the item she wanted to purchase was no longer available.  She was disappointed, but fortunately very understanding!

The other vendors had an array of products.  One of them (Pop Your Tab Jewelry) was making necklaces and earrings from recycled pop tops from cans.  Here’s a sample.

Pop Top Earrings

She had a lot of very creative ideas.  Here are a pair of Peanut Butter and Jelly Earrings!  See the tiny cell phone and the teeny star fish on the other earrings?  Cute ideas.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Earrings

They had some adorable necklaces with word charms – words like ‘love’, ‘peace’, etc.  I believe those sold very well; I saw a lot of her shoppers were younger girls.  I think it’s great kids want to wear ‘love’ and ‘peace’ displayed on their person!

What I liked about these was the recycling ethic displayed.  I love the idea of wearing something that might help me be mindful of my footprint on beautiful Mother Earth.

You can email them at jamiejo.ayers@gmail.com to learn more about their creations.

Amanda Wood, a very experienced event planner, was there too.  She plans weddings and fabulous kid’s birthday parties (among other things).  She has a lot of creative ideas and is offering a “Soda Pop Saturday” party.  Kids get dropped off (parents make a reservation) one Saturday morning a month, stay a couple of hours, receive an old fashioned soda pop in a bottle, do a craft, play games, get a healthy snack.  Parents can do errands or (my choice!) enjoy a nice, peaceful, leisurely breakfast where they can actually talk to each other.  What a novelty.

Here’s her table display.  And here is her facebook page.

Soda Pop Saturday

There was another jewelry vendor – very different products from Stella and Dot.  Here’s a bracelet I liked.  White tigers!

White Tiger Bracelet

Her table was lovely.

Stella and Dot

Unfortunately, I’m unable to find her contact info, but I will make it a mission to find it.

There was a painter named Debbie Slack there.  She does several different kinds of paintings (see more on her facebook page).    I loved the painted glassware!

Mommy Juice

Mommy Juice

Holiday Lights Wine Glass.  Holiday lights are just about my favorite holiday motif.  They are pretty, shiny, colorful, and anyone can appreciate them.

Holiday Lights wine glass

She also had a painted martini glass.  This is such a versatile item, it can be used  for serving fancy desserts or little nuts or candies on a holiday buffet.   I might order one (or more) with holiday lights on it!

Martini Glass

There were several nice teenagers who offered woven scarves to raise funds for an orphanage in Bolivia.

Woven Scarves

Here is info on their fundraising project.

Orphanage Fund Raiser

The world debut of one of my new scarves took place at this event too.  This is an entrelac scarf knit from Noro Silver Thaw.  It’s not in the Etsy shop yet, but will appear there in the next few days.  Lots of visitors had to touch this one!  It’s incredibly soft and cuddly.

Silver Thaw Entrelac

The weather has finally become a bit more seasonal here in Indianapolis.  Today’s high of 39 has already been hit, and we will be falling all day.  The weatherman says there’s a small chance of flurries this afternoon.  Time to dig out the heavy coats and all the hand knits!