Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Half Baked

         This past Sunday I was on a hiatus from my usual post at Yarnology in order to visit my cousin Lisa’s family in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kelly graciously gave me the day off and I ventured down in my little Chevy Malibu to join my other cousin Erik, my sister, and my brother-in-law at this little gathering. Kenosha, as most people know, is right on Lake Michigan and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore a little down by the marina. The weather was cooler than it had been in weeks and all of us relished the feeling of the breeze blowing in from the dark expanse of water. It was picture perfect, the sailboats bobbing lazily in the distance while close to shore waves slapped against rocks. Though we all knew that Michigan existed on the other side of that blue horizon, it felt for a time as if we had been transported to some ocean coastline with only the promise of foreign lands looming in the distance. The magic of the moment had to come to an end as we turned our backs on the lake and headed home for some pizza and cousin bonding time. Though there are only four cousins on my dad’s side of the family, our group has grown considerably and now includes my sister’s husband Nate, Lisa’s husband Adam, and their two children Carl and Lena. Now that we’re all grown and living in different cities and states, getting together is certainly more challenging. But when we do have an opportunity to visit one another, it’s as if nothing has changed. Our sibling-like relationships have stayed intact, fueled by the memories we have of growing up together. My mini road trip came to an end on Monday afternoon as I drove home to Winona. I rolled down the windows and cranked up the music, taking pleasure in the wind whipping my hair from its ponytail and the sun shining in through the window. It was an enjoyable drive. But then I got home and looked in the mirror, only then realizing that my left arm and thigh were burnt to a crisp while the right side of my body remained pale and healthy looking. I’m attempting to view my uneven coloring with humor, but I confess it looks slightly ridiculous. There’s no way that I can get it evened out before work tomorrow, so anyone who comes in to Yarnology try not to laugh too hard even though I look a bit like a half-cooked lobster.
          Though this post doesn’t have much to do with knitting or my job as a Yarnologist, I figured it wouldn’t be a bad thing to write about other parts of my life. There is more to me than yarn and needles, as ludicrous as that sounds. Yarn didn’t completely leave my mind during this little vacation, however; I did try to go to the Kenosha yarn shop while I was in the area. Unfortunately, Fiddlehead Yarn is closed on Sundays and I was unable to check it out. They should really follow Yarnology’s example and open their doors on Sundays for yarn loving tourists like me. :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


You know how they say that life imitates art or art imitates life? I feel like I’m the living embodiment of that saying right about now. My life, while wonderful, is at a bit of a crossroads. I’m making the transition from dependent student and child to a self-sufficient working adult. Or at least attempting to. Currently I find myself in limbo, trying to push forward yet hesitating. There is a part of me that is dragging its heels, unwilling to wholly let go of the convenience and safety of childhood. But this is warring against another, bolder side that’s ready to take on the challenges of life, no matter how much adversity I am faced with; it is she who is responsible for my staying in Winona even now after my college career is ended. Instead of moving home to my sleepy Illinois town of Marengo, I decided some time ago that I would continue enjoying everything that Winona has to offer: the theatre and film festivals, the coffee shops and museums, and river and bluffs we’re surrounded by, and of course the little yarn store I just happen to work at. While the decision to stay was a relatively easy one to make, the means on which I’ll be living are a little more… how can I put this poetically… ambiguous. At the moment I have enough, more than enough even. I’m happy, healthy and in the scheme of things I don’t have much to worry about. But I confess that I lie awake sometimes while my mind creates countless scenarios in which I fail to accomplish the things I most want to do, and therefore fail in providing for myself. The morning brings a clear mind and my usual sunny self, but the shadow of a doubt always exists even on my brightest days.

But how does this deep, pessimistic chatter relate to art, you ask? Well, this limbo I’m in has begun to extend past my circumstances and into the pieces that I’m knitting. In all of the projects that I’m currently working on I’m stuck. In my defense, I’m waiting for back-ordered yarn to arrive to continue with one of them, but I have no valid explanation for halting my progress on the others. For some reason, my feet are dragging and I find myself unwilling to work on or finish the things on my needles. Yes non-knitters, most of us crazy yarn people have upwards of two or three projects going at once. I have attempted to explain my procrastination with several unconvincing excuses such as: this project is too boring, I really hate this pattern, it’s too hard, this is taking too long, and (my personal favorite) I just got this new yarn and I can’t wait even the smallest amount of time to work with it. So yes, I have completed several other things during my time of project stagnancy, but those unfinished items are still there quietly mocking my success. Alright, I might be getting a little carried away, but my frustration at their unfinished state is growing. And unfortunately I only have myself to blame for this. Mirroring my attitude toward my transitioning life, I want to move on, but my other less logical side is unwilling to take the necessary measures.

Limbo really isn’t the best place to be. I’m hoping that I’ll soon snap out of it, finishing and figuring out what I need to both in knitting and in life. It will take planning and determination, but I won’t stay in a state of unknown and immobility my entire life. There are so many new patterns to try, yarns to create with, and experiences to have. Possibilities stretch out before me and while it’s a little frightening, my heart also leaps with anticipation. I can only hope that soon my two warring sides will come to terms with one another and then I might be able to move from this place of limbo and settle into the life I will create for myself.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Christmas in July

          It’s the first day of July and I’m trying desperately to figure out where exactly time is flying to. Despite the 90 degree weather, it seems as if this summer has barely gotten underway. The long list of things I was planning to do hasn’t shortened much, and I am all too aware of the upcoming school year. With its commence our peaceful, picturesque Winona is changed into a busy college town. Why haven’t I taken advantage of the quiet coffee houses, or spent time on the practically uninhabited campus of Winona State? I can feel my window of opportunity for enjoying summer pastimes getting smaller as the days tick by.
           Part of my “problem” (which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much of a problem at all) is that I’ve been spending too much time in that darn yarn store. Not only do I have to work there (the horror!), but I find myself stopping by while doing errands, driving down to visit coworkers, being pulled in with the temptations of new yarn and possible projects. And it doesn’t even end there. I take this addiction home with me. Instead of taking a walk around the lakes or laying outside with a book, I end up spending many evenings watching How I Met Your Mother on NetFlix and casting on with that new yarn that just HAS to be knitted with right away! It’s a rough way of life; not everyone could handle it, but I do what I can. : )

            Last summer my knitting mainly consisted of Christmas presents that I was getting a head start on. It was the first Christmas since I started working at Yarnology and I was excited to be able to create handmade things for my family. I was a little ambitious, deciding to give a knitted gift to over 20 people, and I got started right away. There was a list, a plan, and I ended up finishing all of those projects, plus a few others before Christmas while working and going to school as well. At times I was stressed, worrying whether or not I would finish everything in time, but it was fun and gave me an excuse to buy yarn. This year I feel unorganized. I had the same plan: I would decide what to make for everyone, jot it all down in a tidy little list, and get started so I could have gifts stockpiled by December. There was just one problem: I got distracted. I procrastinated a little bit and then the store relocation was happening, new projects caught my eye, and before I knew it thoughts of knitting for other people were pushed out of my mind. Suddenly, I was making things for myself (shocking, I know). My Christmas knitting has taken a backseat, and though the holidays are still almost half a year away, I’m feeling a little guilt. Knitting for other people, finding the perfect project for someone I love, is one of my favorite things. But, I confess my motivation is severely lacking. Perhaps I’m being too ambitious, thinking I can top the gifts I gave last year. They were well thought out and made with consideration. I know that if I give myself a chance I can really do something special, but as the summer slips away I feel increasingly behind schedule. Inspiration comes when least expected, as I have learned in the past, and I’m hoping that it will again. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to get outside and enjoy some sunshine before the snow starts to fall. And here in Minnesota that will happen before we know it. : )