Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stitching For My Sanity


It has been QUITE the winter, hasn't it?!

The world is on fire outside my window, but I'm still in here cleaning up cat puke, packing my kid's school lunches, and trying to convince the kids I teach at school, one afternoon each week, that art is still not only a "thing", but an important thing.

Meanwhile, I find myself quietly questioning my own work and whether or not it is all a waste of time at this point. Should I be focusing my energy in other directions? More important directions? Or is playing the part you've been given the most important action you can take?

And when I'm not being devoured by the news, parenting, the historical biographies I have recently become obsessed with, or, you know, an existential crisis, I am elbow deep in fibers. Knitting, spinning, and more often, crochet. Yarn work has become my winter sanity saver, since I can't be in my garden.

So today I'm sharing a few of the things I've made over the past couple months, in vain attempts to beat back the paralyzing grip of anxiety.

This is a granny triangle shawl made with variegated cottons, plus a band of variegated acrylic scrap yarn. I used Morale Fiber's pattern.

This is a granny square cocoon shrug made from a nice, neutral color cotton. Neutral color?! ME?! Shocking, I know. I didn't use any specific pattern for this. You just make a square, fold and hem it to create the sleeves. But if you really want a pattern, you can search etsy and find quite a few.

This little shrug is just a nice crocheted rectangle of triple strands of cotton which create a nice ombre effect. My mom had sent over a crochet flower a while back, and after noticing that it matched this little piece, I turned it into a shawl pin. 

This is the granny triangle, without fringe, crocheted in triple stands of size 10 crochet thread. For each band of color, I carried ecru and mint thread, plus a third color. 

This is just a scrap shawl, but honestly I think scrap shawls are my favorite projects, because my stash is always rainbow colored, so my stash projects always look like rejects from a community theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing, Technicolor Dream Coat. Or, Jesus Christ Superstar. Which is totally fine by me, man. 

Little cotton hats that I donated for children Christmas boxes. 

And I made my first pair of arm warmers! Which were super easy to make, just a rectangle stitched together at the sides with a hole left for the thumb, but I'm still excited, because up until this winter, I didn't even think I was capable of making any of this stuff. I didn't think I could follow a pattern, or count rows or stitches. There was a mental block there that I really had to go out of my way to defeat.

I am an artist, through and through, but it does feel really, really good to be able to make practical, useful things too. I've got my eyes on several different charities that accept these types of handmade items for babies, veterans, children, battered women and refugees, but I don't feel like my stitching(and tail weaving) is quite up to the standards that giving them to other people would require(Except for the hats. I'm pretty comfortable with that particular pattern). I mean, I don't want to send shoddy work out into the world, right? But, I'm getting there. And pretty quickly too, thanks to all the anxiety causing upheaval currently happening around the world. 

So for now, since I, insignificant little human, can't offer the madness of the world a giant cure, I keep on stitching, in hopes of keeping bodies warm, and I keep on making art, in hopes of keeping souls warm. 

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