Wednesday, March 30, 2016

And now, to teach!

(I've had this post on my mind for a week. I usually look back at the last post I wrote just to refresh my memory and to try not to repeat myself. Somehow it's amusing to me that my last entry was all about restless energy, and now I'm here to say that I've DONE something with it! Several somethings actually, but I'll get into that later.)

First, a brief history. I was scrolling through Instagram last week, and I saw a post from the new local yarn store (LYS, for the knitters) where the owner mentioned that she also teaches at some local colleges. I made a comment, as I'm making an effort to comment TO people and not just as part of the one sided conversation in my mind, something like wow, you keep busy! Then I thought it myself....maybe she IS busy! Maybe she needs help at the shop! Wouldn't that be fun, to sit around and knit and pet the yarn and help people with their projects? So, completely on a whim, I sent her a message to that effect. And then, to my surprise, she responded saying that she was thinking of bringing shop help on in the future, but in the meantime was looking for someone to teach a Knitting 101 class, and would I be interested in that? My heart sort of leaped, and I knew that I was interested, so I leaped too! (Just as a note, while I didn't necessarily know the owner, Kate, very well, I'd been into the shop a few times and we have at least one mutual contact. I love this knitting community!)

So now that it is officially up there on the website, I'd like to announce that I'm teaching the Wednesday, April 13 session of Knitting 101 from 6-8pm at Wild Haven Fiber Co in Milwaukee, WI! (There are also some weekend classes offered - I just happen to be teaching the weeknight session.)

(Photos above are credited to

Details about the class:
This class is a 2 hour session, and is limited to 5 people in order to provide plenty of one on one instruction. I will be reviewing a few basic cast on's, how to knit and purl, a few basic cast off's, definitions of basic terms you'll come across like garter stitch and stockinette, as well as a review of yarn weights and common materials that beginning knitters should be familiar with.

To demonstrate these skills and give students a chance to practice AND get a functional object, we will be working on a cowl like this:

It is knit in the round on size 8 needles in worsted weight, and could easily work for an adult or child depending on how long the student chooses to knit it.

The cost of the class is $40, and includes needles and yarn in your choice of color.
If you are interested, give Kate a call at 414-744-0009 or stop into the shop!

(There's nothing scheduled at the moment, but there is also a 2 session knitting 102 class offered at the shop which builds on these introductory skills, resulting in a cute basic beanie style hat!)

I'm so excited to teach this class! If it all goes well, I may end up teaching this class monthly, and potentially developing new ones. Beyond that, I'm really excited to get involved with this new shop. I'm lucky in that there are a couple of pretty good yarn shops within 20 or 30 minutes drive from me, but this one is both SUPER close to me as well as exactly the aesthetic I love in a shop.

It's located in a very cute part of the city, and just has such a fresh and welcoming vibe. It's small, but the yarn selection is really great in my opinion. There's a really good balance between the fancy, luxury yarns as well as more standard, workhorse wools for mittens and socks. It probably helps that Kate's color palette and design sense are right in line with mine - a lot of natural or rich colors, simple shapes, interesting textures, beautiful but useful objects. I'm so looking forward to making Wild Haven my knit night home now that she has opened her shop up for open knitting a few times a week, and to work with her on who knows what in the future! I'm also so grateful to her for giving me a chance to stretch my skills at just the right moment when I was looking for a new opportunity! Thanks Kate!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


I am just closing out a hellishly busy travel period for work, and I am feeling restless.

One of the things that has been hardest for me, and somehow different during this project, is that I've literally been without rest. I've been a pretty good sleeper for most of my life. I typically fall asleep easily, and was definitely the stereotypical teenager who would sleep away most of the day if left to my own devices. On occasions where I have trouble falling asleep, I feel like I have no coping skills! Lately I have no trouble falling asleep....the first time. It's the 2 or 3 am wakeup that just kills me. I don't have to be awake that long, but it seems that it's JUST long enough to start my brain turning and I can't turn it off long enough to fall back asleep for another few blissful hours! I just start thinking about my to do list for the upcoming day or week, or start rehashing the work of the previous day and things left undone or did I remember to add that one thing to the plan and did I create a security issue by doing that other thing and I know I can add a wall back there and that will solve the security issue but then is that a dead end corridor? I hope I can remember to measure that in the morning and OH MY GOD GO BACK TO SLEEP ALREADY!!

I actually feel a little anxiety typing that out. And I did remember to measure that and we are golden.

So...I've been finding it a little hard to relax. Why is this project different than all the others I've worked on? I can't put my finger on exactly one thing or the other. I suspect it's an accumulation of a lot of factors...responsibility for a lot of program space, confusion over exact division of some responsibilities, growing pains in learning how to delegate work, stress and sadness about leaving home so often, length and frequency of trips, lack of consistent deep sleep and just the pace of the meetings and travel weeks. I'm definitely not one to glorify busy-ness, but I certainly have been busy lately. I'm left without either the time or the energy to recharge and reflect, and it's manifesting in this feeling of restlessness.

I'm just flying through each task and I don't feel like I have the luxury of time to stand back and get out of the weeds long enough to breathe and take in all the parts and pieces as a whole. I've finished knitting and sewing projects, but they've been thrown into immediate use with no more than a quick log of start and completion dates in ravelry. I've drawn floor plans and always find things I want to change just about as soon as the ink is dry. I think to myself how relaxing spinning some fiber could be but I need to change out the bobbin and that feels like a lot of work. That leaves me thinking that it would sure be nice to upgrade to a modern wheel. I have the money, but it feels like a wasted investment as I can't seem to find the time to spin at all. Maybe I should use that money to upgrade my wardrobe, as I constantly want to purge just about everything I own. Then I feel like I don't want to make "fast fashion" purchases, and maybe I should try to make more of my own clothes. Like wouldn't it be fantastic to have a greater selection of cute skirts with pockets? But then again, time, and the lack of it. I'm still mulling the idea of podcasting, but I worry that I would just be more noise in a sea of other podcasters, and then what's the point? I know this wall of text isn't that interesting for anyone else, but I'm hopeful it will be cathartic for me and I can stop turning it all over and over in my mind in the wee hours of the morning. If not, maybe I'll just start getting up and writing all this nonsense down here!