Sunday, January 19, 2020

These socks don't quit and neither do I

The other night it was SO cold for the walk to the grocery store, I slipped into some serious, heavy-knit, mohair socks before I put on my Blundstone boots. They were heaven.

I am telling you: handknit socks are the best gift you can give yourself.  Must be why I keep knitting them! Practically in my sleep no less because I keep finding more pairs I started and finished and forgot about grafting and running in the ends on.  In fact now that I think of it, I started knitting myself a pair in undyed alpaca as a Christmas present sometime back in November.  I wonder how far I got with those?

It's late to be wishing you all a happy New Year, but allow me do that now, with enthusiasm. Did you make resolutions, or clean up some critical part of your home, or otherwise solemnly mark the shift to 2020?

I cleared off my tiny desk and moved all the previous year's paperwork to longer term storage so I'd have free space for whatever exciting new things occur to me to try my hand at.  But the most important thing I did was to ask myself:

What do I do about Hugs For Your Head?

Ugh, I've pondered this SO many times, here and in my own head. I've tried and tried to go back to posting daily, even weekly, and felt terrible about failing.  I haven't been able to pay it the attention it deserves since we started renovating our house and that is a long, long time.

Definitely worth it for quality of life though.  I can't tell you how much I love looking out at this view on a snowy day like the one I am enjoying at this moment.

Just sets you up so perfectly for a cup of tea and something crunchy to go with it, don't you think?

When I started this blog lo these many years ago, that view was of cement slabs and patchy grass, and I was posting every weekday with pictures of textile projects I was working on.  Knitting, then spinning, then weaving, plus a little sewing and some basic embroidery which I have to say, I really love doing.  Blanket stitch forever! I lived in a tiny house and my days were comparatively easy, though I did have to move things around a lot because a tiny house is no place to have multiple interests.

Then there were disruptions.  The house sprouted a condo, and then blew up into a giant renovation project that lasted over two years.  I broke two fingers and couldn't knit for a while, and even now I can't knit as fast as I did, because they are still a bit stiff and unwieldy. The manageable home projects I used to do for fun became major time-intensive necessary undertakings, and my body informed me that five hours' sleep a day will no longer cut it.  I stopped feeling comfortable publishing knitting patterns, and couldn't see the point in designing them just for myself.

Also, I learned to paint, and I started writing novels again.  And that has been so amazing.  I love writing - it's all I've ever wanted to do - but at this point in my life I seem able to immerse myself in a story like never before, and I don't want to do anything to mess with whatever energy is flowing in that direction.

But I love Hugs too, so I've decided to keep it alive, rather than simply retire it and keep the patterns and past posts available as other bloggers do when they feel they've come to an end of a thing.  Still, as sure as I am that knitting will flow back to the forefront of my mind some day, I don't have enough to say to write about it now - certainly not as much as other inspired knitters do.  And I don't have the creative overflow to write something here every day the way I did - not if I want to keep writing novels, which are a huge investment of Brain.

See? There's still beautiful yarn in my life!

Instead, Hugs is adapting.

(and so will its banner, when I find time to remind myself how to change it.)

I will be posting here once every month - checking in, showing you whatever interesting creative thing I've discovered, and glad to hear what you've been doing too be it by e-mail or comment.  It probably won't be the same Hugs it was before, with nonstop textile tips.  But it will still be about making things and being happy. And it will still be me. Much of the feedback I've had over the years is that the me part was the real appeal of this place.

So, January!

This month I want to tell you about the amazingness of drawing with pencils while unskilled.

I know, I know, this is something you're supposed to notice as a teenager in a long boring class, using the cover of your binder or perhaps the surface of your desk.  But I was always surrounded by friends who could draw, and I knew I didn't have their eye, so I didn't bother trying.  Now I've learned that doodling is good too, and that you don't have to do anything complex to enjoy yourself.

Pete gave me a honking big hunk of soft graphite with some other art supplies at Christmas, and man is it fun to push around a page.  All I could think to try making was clouds over a rough sea, and I still love looking at the image I ended up with, but the best was the sound of the pencil moving over the paper, and the way the graphite felt crossing the surface.


Coloured pencils are also a revelation. I always thought of them as being good for colouring, and they are, but I'm not super interested in that so I missed out on their other merits.  As it happens though, I can produce a passable piece of fruit with coloured pencils.  All you have to do is layer colours - sometimes unexpected colours - and you get something that looks like your clever artist friend did it while everybody else was taking chemistry notes.  But again - scribbles also produce recognizable shapes.

What I've noticed as fallout from these tiny drawing exercises, which take about as long as a commercial break while curled up near the TV, is that I'm seeing the world around me very differently. I watch for shapes now, and the way light falls, and what colours look like and how they contrast and complement each other.  The other day I had to stop walking in a boring strip mall space just to take a picture of these amazing clouds over a sun patch:

I find it really exciting to see so many beautiful and inspiring and positive things wherever I go. If you aren't in the habit of doing it already, I can highly recommend being more noticing about what's around you, and also, picking up a pencil and drawing something badly just for fun.

In other news: Pete saw a bunny in our front garden recently.  Just as a break from raccoons it was a treat, but also - BUNNY :^)

See you next month - take care till then!