Headwinds and Racism

I often describe racism, sexism, ageism, etc. as a “headwind”. You may still accomplish things, but it’s a whole lot harder. And some goals you may not reach; you might even die.

The thing about headwinds, is that it’s really hard to notice a headwind that’s not in your face. They can be invisible. If it’s something that you’ve never experienced, you may not even believe headwinds exist.

Likewise, when the wind’s blowing at your back, you may not notice it. May say to yourself, “Wow. I’m really good at walking. This is so easy!”

And you might look over at someone struggling against a headwind and think, “Well, no wonder they’re behind. They’re not as good at walking as I am.”

This, my friends, is how racism (and other -isms) continue to exist.

If you aren’t experiencing a headwind, the only way to understand it is to listen to people who are. When black people tell you they’re experiencing racism, BELIEVE THEM. Do not try to explain it away. Do not say you have it tough too. Just listen. Look for the evidence of the headwind; if you try, you will see them everywhere.

If you’re not used to believing in headwinds, this can be a hard step. It can shake up your world view. It might even make you sad or ashamed.

Now here’s a harder one. You have to perceive your own tailwinds. Yep. We’re talking about white privilege here (this applies to male privilege, cis-privilege, straight-privilege, as well.)

You’re not as good at walking as you think you are.

That can be a hard thing to believe. Because it’s easy to see the things that get in your way. And easy to take credit for things you haven’t earned. We all have problems; all humans do. You will have problems and privilege too.

And if you’re white, you have some racist beliefs.

Yep. I’m talking about myself here, too. You don’t have to be openly racist to have racist beliefs. It seeps in because we live in a racist culture. It’s all those moments of looking over and seeing some not walking as fast as you and feeling good about yourself. You can be racist and not even be aware of it.

This is what is meant by unconscious bias. 

It’s racism (and sexism, other-isms) that hides in the part of your brain that reacts before conscious thought. It’s how racism continues to exist in a world where (most of us) agree that racism is a bad thing.

I had my eyes opened when I took an unconscious bias course at work. Guess what I discovered? Despite being a fierce feminist since I was eight, I had some misogynistic biases. We live in a sexist culture, and I had soaked some of that up.

And when I listened to the people of color in the room talk about their experiences, I learned about headwinds I hadn’t known existed. I spent my childhood in Mississippi in the 1970s, where racism was blatant. I told myself I wasn’t a racist because I wasn’t a person who actively abused and cursed at black people. And yet… I was (and am) living in a racist society. And yep, I soaked up some of that as well.

We all do.

Even black folks, to some degree, I’m sure. And that makes me sad. If the whole world tells you that you’re “less than” for all of your life, it’s really hard not to take some of that in. Black folks, you have my respect for having survived all that this country has thrown at you since the 1600s. And it’s a terrible thing that you’ve had to.

So let’s fix this.

I often say that the fastest way to fix sexism is for men to accept that women are as worthy and valid as they are. It’s not something that women can make happen. We can tell you about our headwind. Until we are believed, until men agree that the current situation is a problem and want to change it, sexism will persist.

The fastest way for racism to end, is for white folks to stop being racist.

How to stop being racist:

  1. Learn to see the headwinds
    1. Read books by black authors, Go to plays and movies produced by black people, Attend talks. Learn about what it’s like to be a black person in America. 
    2. If you’re lucky enough to have a black person talk to you about their experiences, listen and believe. 
    3. Also understand that it’s not the job of black folks to teach you about racism, they have enough work just surviving it. If a black person takes the time to educate you, take it as the gift it is.
    4. Look for signs of racism, obvious and subtle, in the world around you. 
    5. Learn about microaggressions. These are things that may not seem like a big deal to you. The black person (or woman, or gay person) experiences them ALL THE TIME, and that’s the problem.
  2. Learn about your own internal biases
    1. Take an unconscious bias training class if you can; a well-run one is enlightening. If one isn’t available, read a book on the subject. 
    2. When you encounter a person of color, ask yourself what you’re feeling. What thoughts pop into your head? Are you scared or upset, if so, why? Would you feel differently about them if they were white?
  3. Act
    1. When you find yourself responding in a racist way, no matter how subtle, challenge your beliefs. Is this so? 
    2. Overcorrect if you need to at first by consciously deciding to trust and like black people on sight. (Later you can dial this back, because nice folks and assholes come in all colors.)
    3. Have the uncomfortable conversations with other white folks when they say or do something racist, say it right then. LEAN INTO THIS DISCOMFORT. It is powerful to have one of your own say, “hey, cut that out.” And black folks have to stand up for themselves all the time. It’s wearying. Take one for team humanity, please?
    4. Publicly let people know racism is not OK with you.

If you’re thinking, “Wow. That seems like a lot of work” here’s some motivation:

  1. Studies show that diverse teams are more successful and profitable, and better at innovation. They make better decisions. Here’s an article from Harvard Business Review that provides an overview of the science: “Why Diverse Teams are Smarter”.

    Our world is on fire at the moment: culturally, politically, climate-wise. We need all the best people working on this. And I don’t want the young black girl who would have the best ideas about how to stop the next global pandemic to be stopped by headwinds.

    Want to make America great again? Stop racism.
  2. If you’re sticking to the bubble of people who look and think like you, you’re missing out on some great folks.
  3. Because it’s the right thing to do. If you believe in justice and “all people are created equal”. If you believe “treat your neighbor as you, yourself, would be treated”. If you are compassionate, or want to be. It’s going to make you feel so good to live up to your values.

I hope we will step out of our headwinds and tailwinds and walk together in a place of calm.

— Syne Mitchell

My First Protest

On Thursday, Google employees held a global protest against the way the company handled several cases of workplace sexual harassment.

It was my first protest. Everyone I’ve told that too has been surprised, including my son. I always meant to join marches, hold up signs, join the fight. Women’s rights, racial equality, climate change… I’d admire folks I saw doing defending causes in news stories.

Only I was never in the loop, too introverted, and to be perfectly honest… I trusted that other folks would carry the load. At this point in history, however, I don’t think it’s wise to sit out anymore.

The most amazing thing happened when I got up from my desk at the appointed time, 11:10am, to go protest. Nearly every man in my team went with me. It was incredibly moving, and I felt supported, like there was an army who had my back. Even writing about it now, I’m tearing up. If any of you are reading, what you did was awesome.

Protesting was hard. It brought up issues that I feel passionately about, reminded me of old wounds. And yet, it also gave me a platform and a safe space to express.

I created a set of story cards and showed them to people. Some were shocked and saddened. Too many women nodded knowingly. One young guy said, “Did that really happen?” It hit me later the irony that even a man at a protest against sexual harassment would ask that question. To be fair to him, he seemed earnest and concerned.

My favorite moment was when a young woman in her twenties was surprised and shocked by the story. As comforting as it can be to see another woman nod and affirm a shared experience, I very much hope that workplace sexual harassment someday becomes extinct.

One woman walked by as I was presenting and said to me, “that face, we always make that face.” And I thought about my expression. My lips were tight and my eyes were wide. I’d stare straight into people’s faces as I silently flipped through my story. It was a strange emotion, and after that woman’s comment I realized what it was. Solid, strong, calm, anger.

I cry easily, but I wasn’t crying that day. I wanted to drill the importance of this message straight into people’s brains. I wanted them to understand that it didn’t just happen to anonymous people far away. That it happened to people working alongside them, all too ofter. And likely they’d never know.

It was hard exposing this part of myself to strangers, and to coworkers I’ve only known for three weeks. After the protest I felt raw, and emotionally vulnerable. I woke up the next day with this panicked feeling of “Oh god, what have I done? How will I ever face those folks again?”

And then I saw this, and knew that even in a very small way I’d helped get the message out, and spoken up for someone who’s been silenced. It made it all worth it.

Geek Wire’s TLDR; report [1:34 minutes]

My first protest, I don’t expect it to be my last.

Poem: End of the Road

This is a poem I wrote when I was 26. Feels like I wrote it for my older self. What a thoughtful youth I was.

End of the Road

As people age, they become more themselves,
Less society’s construct.
As if our culture, obsessed with youth,
forgot to lay a path for old age.

For some, this is a tragedy:
Concrete conformity peters out,
Stranding them on dirt and gravel,
They stumble through their last years.

For others, a liberation:
As bruising asphalt fades
Revealing long-sought paths,
Through private wilderness.

–Syne Mitchell


How to search articles on WeaveZine.com

Google "site:weavezine.com 8-shaft"

Some time back, I published an online magazine, WeaveZine. When I went back to the workforce I had to shut down the business. Because I love the content, however, I’ve kept the site alive.

To make hosting it relative inexpensive and hacker-proof, I converted the site from a Drupal CMS to a flat-HTML site. In the process I lost the ability to have Search on the site.

But there’s a way you can search the site using Google. If you go to google.com and type site:weavezine.com before your search terms, it’ll search just on the WeaveZine site. For example, try the following in Google: site:weavezine 8-shaft

It’ll return all the articles that mention 8-shaft weaving.

(And yes, looking at the results, I see that I need to go in and manually change the titles to the actual author’s names so it doesn’t look like I wrote everything. That was a side-effect of my conversion process way back when.)

Anyway, this Google trick works for any site. Try, for example: site:www.interweave.com 8-shaft

Happy Googling!

eBook version of Inventive Weaving

The ebook version of my rigid-heddle book, Inventive Weaving, is on sale during the whole month of November for $2.99. Which is something like 90% off. Please help spread the word because I don’t want anyone who’d like to take advantage of this offer to miss out.

What’s happening is that Storey’s added my book to their Fresh Picks selection this month, along with books on cooking, solar panels, and electric fences. All of these are available in 5 different ebook formats.

If you’re new to ebooks, you don’t have to have a Kindle or iPad to read them. You can download a free app (Windows or Mac) that makes it possible to read the ebook on your computer or on other devices. For example, I buy Kindle-format books from Amazon, but usually read them on my phone or iPad.

And finally, Here’s the link to the Kindle version of Inventive Weaving.



Mending Sleaziness

I’ve been mending and burling the Birthday Blanket. This means painstakingly going over the fabric looking for flaws and fixing them. Most errors, like skips and floats, are easy to fix.

The one that’s been puzzling me is sleaziness.

Sleazy spot in the fabric

In places where there are two consecutive shots missing, it’s easy, simply needle-weave in two new shots of weft.

But what do you do when you only missed one shot? Needle-weaving in two shots of weft in a space only big enough for one would result in fabric that was too dense. Needle-weaving in one shot would mean doubling the thread in one pick and also stand out.

I puzzled over it last night and then went to bed.

This morning I woke up with an idea: split the two-ply weft into two single plies and needle weave both singles in separately.

splitting the plys

The first step is to needle-weave along one of the wefts, in the same shed. To make it easy to come back the other way, I made sure that the new thread was always on top of the existing weft.

needle-weaving in first singles

Then I came back the other way, weaving between the normal and the singles weft that are in the same shed. As you can see on the left, I’m getting good results. The fabric density with the two singles closely matches that of the rest of the cloth.

weaving in the second singles

Here’s a before-and-after shot of what the sleaziness in the cloth looks like, and the repair (pointed out by the needle ).

before and after, repairing sleaziness

If you look closely, you’ll see singles ends sticking out of the cloth. That’s a repair where the single ply broke while I was weaving it in. You could prevent this by adding twist to the singles after you un-ply them. In this case, I was working with a sticky wool, so I just fixed the error and continued on.

And that’s my new trick for repairing sleazy areas in cloth!


Weave on…


Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival

My new book, Inventive Weaving, is scheduled to be published tomorrow, though I know that some folks who attended Rhinebeck or pre-ordered the book on Amazon have already gotten their hands on copies.

This upcoming weekend I’ll be promoting the book at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, in The Dalles, Oregon. It’s one I’ve never been to and I’m interested to explore it. There are some great teachers there. Friday afternoon, I’m taking the Knit Smart class taught by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Friday, from 4pm-7pm, I’ll be participating in a book signing with all the luminaries teaching at the festival.

Saturday, I’ll demo weaving overshot on a rigid heddle loom from 11:00-11:45, near the registration desk.

Linda Gettman, one of my former students, is teaching rigid-heddle classes at the festival . I’m so proud of her! If I teach someone to weave, and they go on to teach others, does that make me a weaving grandma?

And yes, today’s 30 minutes of novel writing are done!

Yarn for Class!

This past Thursday I had lunch with Astrid Bear.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Astrid, she’s witty, fun, friendly, and knows an astounding number of people from many different walks of life. You’d probably like her if you met her, she’s just that kind of person.

Astrid Bear

Among the many hats Astrid wears in life, she’s also an indie dyer, working under the name Damselfly Yarns.  Her claim-to-fame at last year’s Sock Summit was the infamously named featured colorway: “Clown Barf.” It was absolutely the right name for the color, and it sold out within the first few days of the conference.  She told me the name for her featured colorway for this year’s Sock Summit and I’m not giving away any spoilers, but I can tell you my reaction: “I don’t care what it looks like, I want it.” It was that funny.

The purpose that brought us together for lunch was my procurement of yarn for an upcoming class at the John C. Campbell school: May 29th – June 4th.  In the past I’ve always dyed yarn for my classes myself. My thinking was that I wanted beautiful hand-painted yarns for students to learn on, at a reasonable cost. Unfortunately, this often meant I’d end up dyeing yarn frantically the week before class, and sometimes blow drying skeins late at night.

This year, I farmed out the work to Astrid. She got a big order, I got gorgeous high-quality yarn dyed to the specifications I needed for class, and students got lower materials fees than if I’d bought retail. A deal full of win all the way around. Here’s a teensy peek into the bag of warp, as a bit of a sneak preview. (You can see more of the colors on Astrid’s blog, but if you’re in the class, no calling “dibs” ;> )

yarn for class, warp

After work on Thursdays is my night to do derby practice with PFM (Potential Fresh Meat, a Seattle skating club.)

Rat's Nest

We practice at the Rat’s Nest, which is the practice rink of the Rat City Rollergirls. For a roller-derby fan, it’s a little like playing pick-up games of basketball on the practice court of the L.A. Lakers.  As we were clearing out, the RCRGs started gearing up for their practice and it was all I could do not to go all fan girl and start gushing and asking for autographs.

I restrained myself and watched a few minutes of their warm-up.  I loved their casual grace and athleticism on skates. It gives me something to strive for.

After my work-out I had sushi with Selah, which in addition to being alliterative, was a great way to end up the day.

Selah showed me a wedding dress that she’d just finished up. The bride was still there when I picked Selah up and she did wonderful twirls that we all enthused over. The gown’s  pattern? Selah’s own creation, and something very inventive and unique. The other piece Selah showed me is a jacket she sewed from Laura Fry’s handwoven fabric for Laura’s entry into the upcoming ANWG fashion show. That was from a commercial pattern, but had been fitted to Laura and was stunning.

Selah is sadly, blogless (I’m working on her about that) so you’ll just have to take my work for it that the work was lovely.

And as a follow-up to a previous post, Kai did indeed wear his shirt to school and do a show-and-tell segment about seeing his first roller derby bout. Apparently it went over well. I asked what he told the class about the game. He said: “Girls skate fast and hit each other!” He said it with glee, and has no concept that an all-girl game might be anything other than a completely valid sport. Have I told you how much I love this kid?

Kai's show-and-tell

The community league I practice with on Tuesdays is starting up a kid’s league. To Kai’s delight it welcomes boys as well as girls. I’ve got him signed up already.

I’m teaching at Sock Summit!

Guess what?  I’m teaching at Sock Summit in Portland!!!

If you don’t yet know about this event, it’s an entire weekend celebrating the hand-knit sock. It covers pretty much every way a sock can be created and is a complete ball of fun. I went in 2009 on the advice of Brenda Dayne and the encouragement of Astrid Bear and had an absolute blast.

(If you don’t already know, I knit a LOT of socks. They’re my go-to carry project when I need to take a little fiber-arts therapy to the doctor’s office, day-long meeting, etc.)

They posted the teacher’s list yesterday so I can finally talk about it. It’s been hard to keep mum while things were finalized. When I read through the list of who else is teaching, I paused. My name, in the same list as these luminaries of the fiber world? It was a moment blended of delight, humility, shock, and a wee bit of fear. The people on that list have set a high bar for excellence.

I’m teaching two classes, Twinkle Toes: eTextiles for Socks and Woven Socks.

See that last class? That’s the only weaving class at Sock Summit. I’m thrilled and delighted to be once again taking weaving where it’s never gone before. Because really, if you love one fiber art, isn’t it likely you’d love another? (1)

And then, when I thought the news couldn’t get any better, I read Cat Bordhi’s Facebook update.

Cat Bordhi on Facebook

How lovely is that?

Do you think one of these days I’ll get Cat weaving? Can you imagine what her brain-sparkly mind would do with yarn and a loom? I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking discontinuous warps and wefts going every which-a-way.

Today I’m having lunch with Astrid. She and I have plans to be roomies (along with two other fun women) at Sock Summit, I can’t wait to tell her the news!


(1) I’ll be representing weaving at Sock Summit, but by no means the only weaver there. A lot of knitters also weave, and vice versa. Some day it’d be fun to list all the knitting instructors I’ve met who weave, have woven in the past, or are learning to weave.

Bumps, Lumps, and Roller Derby

I’ve been discovering my inner sports fan. After a lifetime of my father dragging me to football games, and the utter shame of me attending not even one Seminole’s football game during my years at Florida State University, it’s amusing to have this hit now as a 41-year-old.

It’s roller derby.  Which if you’re not familiar with the sport, is a bit like football on skates,    with no ball. The rules are arcane, as with any sport, but the gist of it is each team has a jammer, which is the scoring player, who has to skate through a pack composed of blocking players, racking up a point for each player of the opposing team she passes.

roller derby

(The fact that I just had to cut out a sentence or two that went into further details and elaborations about the game’s rules shows just how far gone I am.)

Roller derby was popular in the 1970s until TV promoters took it in a ludicrous WWF direction. Modern roller derby is the re-imagining of the sport by women who watched roller derby as children and took the best parts of those days (women being strong, fierce, and playful) and made it a serious sport.

The feminist in me loves that when these women reinvented roller derby in their own image, they made it real. There’s amazing athleticism on the field: jammers who whip around the rink at top speed, blocks, whips, jumping over downed skaters.

Despite all that, derby is still playful. The women who skate  take on humorous assumed names. One of the Rat City Rollergirls is “Yoko O’no You Didn’t,” a call out to her Asian heritage and a sassy comment about how things sometimes go during the game. (There’s a complete list of all the registered names online.) And there’s fashion. Because modern roller derby is run “by the players, for the players” the gals often sew their own costumes and get creative with them.

I’ve been skating in derby practices, Bellevue Roller Derby and PFM, but I didn’t expect to actually enjoy watching the game. When I was a competitive fencer, after all, I never got into watching fencing bouts.

All I can say is that somewhere been the opening and the closing ceremonies, a latent “sports fan” gene got switched on.  I hooted and hollered when players on the field pulled amazing stunts. I rooted for the home team and groaned when they didn’t win. I did the wave, I shouted “City” in response to the other side of the arena’s “Rat” and heard an audience of 5000+ people speak as one.

With me at this event were my friend Selah and my son Kai. Selah brought a half-time show in her bag, samples of differential shrinkage cloth she’d woven in a recent class by Ruby Leslie.  They were amazing and soft, and full of textural interest. I’d love to take a workshop or class with Ruby some day if I can get the timing to work out.

Selah also found a bit of time to crochet during the bout. Me, I brought a sock-in-progress to knit on, but never took it out of the bag. (The knitting bag later filled up with T-shirts, patches, and a cow bell, so it was useful, non-the-less.)

Kai was a whole nother matter.  This was his first-ever sporting event and it’s a long six hours. I worried that he’d get bored at some point and that I’d have to walk him around and keep him entertained. When the game started, and he watched with a slack expression and I was sure I was in trouble.

kai and Syne watching the game

Quite the opposite. Apparently the “sports fan” gene is strong with this one. He was the one rushing us back from bathroom breaks and shopping trips at halftime so we wouldn’t miss any of the game.

He bought a “derby brats” (the junior derby league) button and a Rat City Rollergirl T-Shirt. When I looked at the T-shirt, with its saucy logo of a pretty gal with a fierce look and a black eye, and said “I’m not sure that’s appropriate for school.”  He replied, “Of course it is. It’ll be perfect for show-and-tell!” I belly-laughed so hard the other people in line stared. If you take your kid to roller derby, he gets to talk about it. Fair enough.

Kai got the autograph of a Denver Roller Doll. The visiting team was amazing, with great speed and power. I complemented her team and gently teased her that it’s because they had so much extra oxygen playing down in Seattle at sea level. She, like all the roller derby folk I’ve met, was big-hearted and gracious.

denver roller doll

As we walked out of the Key Arena, Kai said quietly, “That was amazing.” I said, “Do you want to go to the next game?” He looked at me as if I was a bit stupid and said, “Yeah. So I can track the scores. That last bout was 96 to 108.”

It was like watching genetic destiny in action.  His granddad will be so proud.

Kai enjoying the game

State of the Fiber-Arts Union

I’ve been through my first two weeks at my new job.  Starting a new job is always an adjustment.  There’ve been fun moments—my coworkers are a smart and lively bunch, and the technologies I’m working on are cutting edge—and challenging moments—there’s so much to learn, it’s like drinking from a firehose—and sad moments—I have less time with my husband and son, which really kills.  But helping support the family is important work, and if I have to have a job, I can’t imagine one I’d be better suited for (well, unless Handwoven was hiring.)

One thing that’s taken a hit the past two weeks has been time to work on fibery pursuits.  I was feeling somewhat bummed about that and decided to take a tour of works in progress.

My going-to-bed project for the past two weeks has been practicing lever knitting by working on an alternating-color scarf.  (The pattern is simple and has been all over the internet.  Essentially you alternate between two balls of color-changing yarn, knitting 2 rows of 1×1 rib with one ball before switching to the other.)  Lever knitting was something I learned at Madrona this year from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I decided to practice it right before bed because I knew doing so would let my brain chew over the new skill at night and help lock it into place.

lever knitting

If this doesn’t look like much scarf to have after two weeks, know this: the first night I think I did two rows.  It was glacial progress, retraining my fingers to new positions and ways of moving.  Many stitches were dropped and picked up.  The next night, another painfully slow two rows.  Then after a few nights, I was maybe getting four rows.  So it went for two weeks, steady but slow progress.  Then, yesterday, I whipped through about six inches while lounging in bed drinking tea.  (Then Kai woke up and started jumping on me.  I’ve not yet mastered the art of combat knitting, so I put the needles aside and cuddled and tickled instead.)  This morning another three inches of scarf jumped off the needles.  It’s kind of scary how fast the knitting is going right now.  I actually caught myself thinking: “On no!  This scarf is going to be over too soon!”  Which really threw me.  Is this project also making me a process knitter?

Right now, lever knitting is starting to feel so comfortable and fast that I’m actually scheming of knitting a sweater, one knit flat, with seaming….on straight aluminum needles!

To truly understand the weird irony of that statement you have to know that two weeks ago:

  • I hated straight needles, thought they were absolutely stupid and awkward.
  • Thought knitting was too slow to take seriously as anything more than useful finger twiddling.
  • Hated sweaters knit flat, because I couldn’t see why you wouldn’t just knit everything in the round, as nature intended.
  • Was scared stupid of knitting sweaters because every single one of the 2-1/2 I’ve knitting so far has been a failure.
  • Hated aluminum needles because the scraping sound of them rubbing together makes my teeth hurt.

That last was fixed by my splurging on a pair of US 8 needles from Signature Needle Arts.  I’d resisted them for years because of the hating of aluminum and the whole “straight needles are stupid” thing.  They are also dead expensive.  But, in the spirit of exploration and discovery, I ordered a pair.  They are, truly as lovely and well balanced as all the bloggers say they are.  I got the stiletto point and am enjoying the accuracy of a sharp pointy needle.  (Plus I love the name “stiletto” which invokes high heels and concealable daggers and reeks of mystery and intrigue.  Yeah, these are my dangerous and sexy, “stiletto” knitting needles: watch out, world!)

Enough rhapsodizing about straight-needle knitting, let’s see what else I’ve been working on lately…

This has been my bus-commute project.  A crocheted mobius scarf/neck warmer designed by my friend Selah.  I’d wanted to work on a mobius project ever since reading  Cat Bordhi’s Second Treasury of Magical Knitting, but it’s never arisen to the top of my work queue.  Selah figured out how to convert the mobius design to crochet, and generously shared the essential trick to make it work with me, and I’ve been using this as my carry-project.  Because it’s fascinating to watch the cloth grow from both sides, and because 14-inch straight needles would pose a hazard to other bus passengers on a crowded morning commute.

Crochet mobius scarf

These socks were my previous carry project before the mobius kicked them out of my to-go project bag.  They’re a fun twinkly yarn, and I’m considering embellishing them with LED sequins and a Sparkle to make glow-y fun socks.

Sparkly green socks

I wanted to get the 40th Blanket project done before Madrona, but with teaching two brand new classes, there was a lot of prepping and sampling to get done.  So threading this had to step aside to make sure that the students got their money’s worth.  (Teaching new classes is always a bit nerve-wracking, will there be enough material?  Too much?  I work hard to try to provide a balance for students at all skill levels.  I hope the students had a good time.)  So the birthday blanket project is still in progress, and I’m hoping to get it all done in time for the fall fund-raising season.  Because, at its heart, it’s a charity project.

40th blanket project ready for threading

I’ve also been working on a project on my rigid-heddle loom.  This is a fabric that I’m hoping will work for a garment that ties into a new passion of mine: roller derby.  That’s been a whole nother life-changer for me.  A couple of months ago I asked myself the question: “What could I do for exercise that would be excruciatingly fun?”  Because I know that if exercise isn’t fun, I just won’t do it.  The universe, as it often does when you ask the right question, came up with an answer for me.  More about this in a future blog post.

rigid heddle fabric

Oh, and last but not least.  I’ve been spinning.  This is Lorna’s Laces “Green with Envy” 100% superwash merino.

spinning singles on the bobbin

It’s appropriate that I end this post with spinning, as it was the fiber art that drew me in to so many other crafts.  When I was first employed in high-tech, working for Microsoft, spinning was my way to relax and ground myself after a stressful day.  So it’s no surprise that I’ve turned myself back to it right now, when I’m working hard each day to figure out bus schedules, and new technologies, and set up a build machine, and work through all the new names and teams.

Looking at the things I have on the go right now, I notice a couple of things:

  1. I’m getting a lot more fiber arts done in cracks and crannies of time than I’d imagined.  That’s a comfort.  I can have a job and a family…and my art, too.
  2. Most of the projects I’m working on right now are dead simple.  They’re projects to sooth the soul, not challenge the brain.  I’m happy with that.  It’s nice to know that no matter what’s going on in your life, there’s a way to fit fiber arts into it.  When things settle down at work (if they ever do) there’ll be challenging lace patterns and weave structures to spark my brain.  In the meantime, I’m happy with my comfort-food knitting, weaving, crochet, and spinning.