Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WIP It Good

After months of tiptoeing around, I can finally tell you my big news.

I got a new job!

It is my first full-time job after several years of unemployment and under-employment, and it is a job that I have always wanted in my field.  I am so happy to have this opportunity, but it also comes with many adjustments.  I have moved across the country.  I bought a new (used) car--and before that, I was in therapy to get over my phobia of driving that I have had for half my life.  Some days, I hardly recognize myself or what I have become.

All of these changes have had an impact on my crafting hobbies.  The biggest change is that I have MUCH less time to do it.  Obviously, part of that is due to my working more hours.  It is also because of my fluctuating energy levels.  Some days, I come home with enough energy to work on a project.  Other days, I come home and my only goal is to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime.  I didn't realize what a big adjustment this would be.

My new town also means that I have to work to find my crafting camaraderie.  Home Ec Workshop in my old town was a special place that embraced a variety of crafts.  I could bring knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, or tatting and know that I'd be welcome to work there.  In my new town, there really isn't any store like that.  (And certainly none with delicious Breakfast Boats.)  Most stores and groups focus on one specific craft.  There's a knitting store with drop-in time, but I doubt I can bring non-knitting projects.  I found a tatting group of real, flesh-and-blood tatters.  They are very nice and welcoming, and I am looking forward to learning things from them that I will not get from a book.  Finding outlets for embroidery and cross-stitch is much trickier.  There are almost no stores in the area for supplies, and I couldn't find any pre-existing groups.  I actually started my own on Meetup.com, which I will talk more about in a future post.  The friends I find may effect which crafts I end up focusing on.

All of this means that the list of patterns and WIPs (Works In Progress) that I have has gone from improbable to impossible.  With my new schedule, I just can't have as many projects going at once as I used to if I hope to complete anything.

That is why I made a New Year's Resolution.  You might be wondering why I am making such a resolution four months early.  Between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and most of my jobs aligning with the school calendar, it always felt more natural for me to make New Years resolutions in the autumn.  According to this article, non-Jews can also stand to benefit from setting goals at this time.

My resolution is the following:
  1. Make a comprehensive list of WIPs I have in each of the crafts I do.  For the purpose of this list, I included both projects I have started and projects for which I have bought supplies.  I also included time-sensitive projects that I will need to start in the next few weeks (like blankets for Babies In Progress).  I am in a temporary living situation, so I am leaving off projects for which I do not have immediate access.
  2. Starting on Rosh Hashanah, I will not start a new project until all of the WIPs I have in that craft are completed.
I'm not sure what will happen when I have completed this list.  Should I make a new list?  I see this mainly as a way to reduce the amount of projects I have going simultaneously as I transition into my new life.  By the time I have completed my goal, I will hopefully be used to my new situation, and have a better perspective on my crafting needs for the future.

And now some pictures from a WIP that is winding down.  The Story Time Sampler frame for September was Black Beauty (AKA, Tina Belcher's favorite frame.)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Back in St. Olaf

I have so many projects that need to be completed (more on that in my next post).  Maybe I felt the need for a short project to get me through a long one, like a cup of sherbet used as a palate cleanser in the middle of a multi-course meal.  Maybe it's because I've been watching The Golden Girls much more than I used to.  (It's the only show that seems guaranteed to be on 24 hours a day on at least one channel.)  I used to watch it on Saturday nights with my mom, along with spin-offs Empty Nest and Nurses.  I still remember the night when they did a massive cross-over event centered on a hurricane hitting Miami . . .

Anyway, I finished this piece in a week.

I stitched this on a piece of oatmeal-colored aida cloth that came pre-stretched on a frame.  Michaels is selling them in packs of three.  They seemed like the perfect background for stitching a quick project or gift.  I love the way the finished product looks, but working on it was sometimes tricky.  The biggest issue was that they did not sand down the wood frame enough, and I was close to getting splinters from it.  If I use them again, I will have to get some sandpaper.

The pattern comes from Wee Little Stitches.  Their specialty is patterns of "pixel people" versions of characters from movies and TV shows.  I have a few of their patterns on file that I want to make as gifts for people.

This one is for my parents' friend and neighbor, Laura.  Laura and her husband have been my parents' neighbors for decades--even through several moves!  Their daughters were some of my best friends growing up, and I have so many fond (if nonsensical) memories of our families getting together.

My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year.  Her prognosis was good, but she would still need to go through treatment.  Laura was a big source of help and cheer during this time, which put my mind at ease when I couldn't come in from far away.  I wanted to show Laura my appreciation, and she is a big Golden Girls fan, so this seemed like a natural gift.  It will also last longer than cheesecake . . .