5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Things About…ME!

August 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

The folks over at Craft do this interview thing called “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Things About…”, and it’s kind of cool. Sort of a Proust Questionnaire for crafters. Craft has invited their readers to join in and self-publish their own answers, and I thought it’d be a fun little meme to get involved in. So here we go:

5.4.3.2.1. things about...

One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of

1. I think I’d have to go with my very first self-designed sweater. It was right after 9-11 and like many other knitters, I wanted an American Flag sweater, but I didn’t like any of the patterns I was finding so I decided to make up my own. I wanted something very simple, with more of an Old Glory feel than a bright red, white, and blue. I found the perfect yarn at Smiley’s, but couldn’t figure out how to do the stars since I knew that I didn’t enjoy intarsia. Finally, I decided to use fabric paint for the stars.

C'mon, I gotta have at least one "picture in the mirror" shot on the blog.

I hardly every wear it anymore because it’s gotten so pilled (and I’ve lost a ton of weight so it doesn’t really fit right anymore, either), but during the years I did wear it, I got constant compliments on it. That’s what gave me the courage to continue designing, even if for a long time it was just designing for myself.

Two Mistakes You’ve Made In the Past

1. I was going on a long plane trip and thought I’d knit me some socks, a la the Yarn Harlot. However, since I can’t bear to knit plain socks, I threw in some cabling. Way, way too much cabling. I work toe up and ribbed the bottom of the foot (it’s like a little built-in massager!), and when I completed the outbound leg of the trip I was just finished with that part of the sock. I tried them on and they fit fine. On the way home, I finished up the cuffs, with cabling all around. They pulled in so much I couldn’t even get my toes in.

2. My favorite baking mistake: When I was 12 or 13, I was home after school by myself and I was allowed to bake, should I be so inclined. I’ve always enjoyed trying out new recipes and techniques, and I found a recipe for some sort of baked fudgey concoction. There was one ingredient that I had never encountered before, and so I called my mom at work to find out a) what it was and b) did we have any? She was in a meeting, so her secretary passed her a message and then gave me the reply: it was something we had on hand and I was indeed familiar with it. So I whipped up a batch of this stuff and waited eagerly and pulled it out of the oven, and it was clearly wrong. I called Mom back; she was still in a meeting, and her answer was the same as last time. So I figured maybe I screwed something up with the first batch and I threw together the second batch. Same results. It wasn’t until Mom got home and was reviewing the recipe for me to try to figure out what had gone so horribly wrong that we realized that somewhere along the way, “corn syrup” had gotten translated as “corn oil”. Let me tell you, a cup of Wesson is not the same as a cup of Karo syrup.

Three Things That Make Your Work Unique

1. I once read an interview, or perhaps a blog post, wherein Neil Gaiman spoke about how he enjoys writing in many different mediums and likes to continue to explore different ways of working in his chosen craft. I kind of feel the same way…I consider myself “polycraftual” but mostly I work in fiber-related crafts, like knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, a little quilting, weaving, dyeing, etc. When I hear about a new technique for working with yarn or fabric, I almost always give it at least one try. I occasionally branch out into other mediums, but not often and it doesn’t usually stick for long. But I find that I often am able to incorporate techniques or lessons learned from my branching-out projects, and that makes my main body of work richer and more interesting.

2. Despite my polycraftual-ness, I tend to be a bit of a purist. Although I see lots of art and craft that combines, for instance, crochet and quilting and embroidery and papercraft, it’s not me. I keep my paintings painted and my sweaters knitted, and the twain very rarely meet for me when it comes to mixing media. I find this is true of my work with food as well. I enjoy lots of different flavors, but I would rather have them available separately and then combine them as I eat, trying out different combinations that way.

3. When I was little, my dad was an accountant for a women’s suit company. He and my mother both instilled in me the ideas that line and quality will always out over fads. I like to incorporate quirky and fun details into my designs, but at their core I try to always have a sense of the classic, something that will last for decades, not a season or two. It’s a little different with food — I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m firmly on the bacon fad-wagon — but while the food itself is consumable and ephemeral in nature, the recipes themselves do still have that very basic core that can be dressed and re-dressed for different palates and changing tastes.

Four Tools You Love To Use

1. Wood needles and hooks. I’d almost rather not make something than make it with metal or plastic hooks/needles…I just like the feel of warmth and quality I get from wood. Knit Picks interchangeables are my current  faves — they’re really just great quality and ability to pick and choose which pieces I need is fabulous (though it has resulted in my having several sets of the same size tip).

2. My electric ball winder. I have gone through at least five (and possibly more) of the manual winders, and I hate them. With that added to my health/mobility issues, I decided it was time to upgrade. My fabulous LYS owner helped me pick one out, and it’s been wonderful. It did take some getting used to, as you need to tension the yarn on the swift differently than you would for the manual sort, but now that I’m used to it I don’t think I could go back.

3. The internet. Seriously, how freaking awesome is the internet? When I was in high school I was on the debate team and we spent our evenings glued to the microfiche machines at the library, going blind reading all that tiny, blurry print (well, except for the evenings when we were out TPing/saran wrapping people’s houses) (or so I heard…not me, Mom). If we wanted to access more extensive sources, we all piled into someone’s car and took a road trip to one of the colleges in town and used their library. If you couldn’t remember who was in a movie, you had to go to the video store and look, or wait until it came on cable (I have no idea what people did in dark ages before there was cable and video tapes). Now you just pop over to IMDB.com and Bob’s your uncle. Not only that, I can have 40 pounds of kitty litter delivered to my door tomorrow, should I need it. Man, that is just crazy. But crazy awesome. Because in addition to all of that, I can use the internet to find awesome new crafts and techniques, to access stitch dictionaries, to check equivalency charts, to hang out with other like-minded individuals, to see what my friends are up to, to read about the latest progress in the search for the Higgs boson…the potential is really pretty much unlimited.

4. How am I going to top the internet? With BRAAAIIINNNS, of course. My brain is the best tool I have. It can problem solve (most of the time) and figure out what other tools I need and just keeps spitting out fun new ideas to try (though it seems to be stuck in a bacon loop lately, but I’m kind of okay with that).

Five Inspirations

1. People who love what they do.

2. Nature. Yeah, it’s kind of a cop-out, but really? From the violence of a hurricane to the softness of a kitten, there’s just so much there. 

3. Science fiction and fantasy. Books, tv and movies, whatever…the scope of the human imagination is astonishing.

4. Other designers and crafters, especially those who have found a different/better way to do something.

5. Otherworld, which now that I’m thinking about it, is really a combination of the other four. Otherworld somehow manages to be energizing and relaxing and exhausting (in a good way) and revitalizing all at once. It takes place in one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever seen, was created and is still written and run by one of the most wonderful women I know, who has surrounded herself with an awesome group of people (which I am incredibly proud to be part of) who love to be there and who are amazing at finding better ways to get things done. Oh yeah, and it’s a fantasy setting. It is a fabulously unique happening, and every year 48 new people are lucky enough to get to join us in the experience (you could be one of them, I’m just sayin’).

So that’s me, in a very large and verbose nutshell. Thanks, Craft! This was fun!

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