I've been blogging on a fairly regular basis since 2006 - which makes me a dinosaur in the world of the internet. I started with MadtownMama when Daniel was a baby and began this blog, Mad Knitting, a few months later. I don't want to quit, but I'm not sure where I'm going with this, either. I don't sell things, I'm not a designer, I'll never write a book (not about knitting, at any rate) and I don't make any money here. It is for me now, and probably always will be, a personal endeavor, a place to share my creative life, document the stuff I make, and share random tutorials from time to time. But now, I am going to just come out and say something: I'm having a bit of a bloggy identity crisis. I have been listening to a lot of interviews with "successful" creative people lately, and now it is starting to feel like I'm doing this all wrong, like I should be trying to make money here or write posts to gain readership or give it up altogether because everyone else has moved on to tumblr now. So maybe one of these days (like when the semester is over because man am I busy these days - I've had to turn down a lot of gigs, which is quite painful) I'll find a platform less cumbersome than Blogger (Squarespace is awesome, Weebly is really nice AND free) and move everything over and it will be lovely and fun again. What do you think? Quit? Move? Keep on keepin' on? Meanwhile, I have been playing just a little bit with the nice camera and new editing software, and I have a few finished projects to share. I'm taking a class next month on using said software, but for now I'm just messing around. I have lots to learn. Stuart's birthday was last week and we all worked on some handmade gifts for him. You're only seeing two out of three today because I'm only halfway done with his scarf (she hangs her head in shame), in part because of the time it took to help out with the kids' gifts. Anya embroidered a patch to sew on a neckwarmer we made for Stuart. She was inspired by the book Kids Embroidery by Kristin Nicholas. I highly, highly recommend this book, and if you buy it, I strongly suggest you order it directly from her website. She'll sign it for you, and as the author, buying directly puts more of the profit into her hands. Kids Embroidery is full of fun, colorful projects, useful introductory information about how to make different stitches, and my personal favorite part is the great diversity of children featured: there are girls and boys, and lots of faces that aren't white. Needle arts are for everyone, know what I'm saying? (I'll write again about that sometime. It's a topic that deserves its own post.)
In any case, Anya wanted to learn to embroider and worked on this project for weeks. She practiced stitches on a scrap piece of fabric, and then we designed the patch. What does Stuart like? Several things came to mind, but the topic of disc golf won out because that's an activity the kids love to do with their dad. They played just about every weekend last summer. So the image below is a disc about to land in a metal basket. She even used chain stitches for the chains!
Anya was pretty proud of herself. I sewed the neck warmer out of some fleece I had on hand, and stitched the patch on by machine. Notice, by the way, that the embroidered disc is headed straight for the embroidered basket. The first picture I drew, the disc aimed askew and Anya wouldn't stitch it because she wanted the disc to land where it's supposed to. Doesn't miss a detail, this girl.
Daniel and I decided together to make Stuart an apron. He isn't able to help with cooking very often except on weekends, but at those times we sometimes embark on rather ambitious recipes. He is particularly fond of frying things and will sometimes look for an excuse to fill the wok with oil and heat it up - eggrolls, samosas, doughnuts. You need an apron to do this, so we found a large piece of denim in my fabric stash. I did all the cutting and sewing, and I used an existing apron for the basic design. Daniel did the pocket decoration, however, using a bleach pen. Bleach pens are fun, man. I need to use them more often. I got the idea from an old knitting book from at least a decade ago where all these projects are knitted in denim yarn and then bleached to great effect.
This apron was fun because I used some hardware, which felt very professional, though it's not hard to do. I installed grommets in the sides for the ties (not pictured) and put a buckle on the neck strap.
The last batch of pictures are from Sunday. It was windy and warm, so we spent a bit of the afternoon in a nearby conservation park (Pheasant Branch, for those who are interested), hiking up muddy trails to the top of what the kids call "Mount Hill", where there are Native American burial mounds and an amazing view of a winding creek and suburban development below. I brought along my latest FO to get some photos. It's the scrappy cowl I made using leftovers of a variety of yarns. It's not perfect, but I like it and it's very light and comfortable to wear, a good transition piece.
I have this to say: Anya is WAY more photogenic than I am. All the pictures of me were dreadful except this one. They all make me look old and gray and blotchy.
I guess I could wear make up and color my hair, but I won't.
My only project on the needles right now is that (#*$ scarf for Stuart. I'm itching to do some sewing and even some embroidery (Anya's interest has kindled my own), so be on the lookout for more projects soon.