One and Not Done, and Lofty Thoughts on Fiber and the Environment

img_1392

First off, sleeve one is done. It took much longer than expected, and I knit like a woman obsessed while watching one after the other of Christmas horror movies (A Christmas Horror Story, Krampus, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – not a Christmas horror movie, but horrific in its own way, and you can only tolerate so much schlock in one sitting, after all. Although I would consider all of these movies dark comedies.)

I want to credit Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for helping me through the armhole shapings. I should really know how to do this by now, as I have sewn clothing and drafted my own patterns, but it has been a while, and this is for my son and not myself, and I felt nervous about it, and this is why next year my word for the year is going to be “exercise.” This includes physical exercise, but also exercising my design muscles with monthly challenges. I look forward to blogging about it.

Talking to Henry about the environment has me thinking about how sheep farming and the wool trade effects the climate. While I am not vegan – I am not even vegetarian – I believe factory farming is unethical – so bad for animals, people, and the environment – and I think small, family farming is the way of the future, and we should eat much less meat than we do. I would be happy giving up all animal food products, but I will never give up my knitting wool. There, I said it. I do try to source my yarn ethically, although the supply chain can be deep, so sometimes you don’t really know. I am looking at you, Berroco Chunky Alpaca. My guess is that alpaca farming is pretty ethical, though. In general, I find small yarn companies to be very transparent, which makes it much easier. Knitters have always cared about the sheep, and I think yarn companies know that and make sustainability part of their ethos.

How sustainable is wool? As a fiber, it is very sustainable – long wearing, biodegradable. And as far as land use, wool animals (sheep, goats, alpacas) can graze on land that is not suitable for farming, so that’s okay too. Yay, wool!

Of course, we have so much plastic that now it is being recycled into fiber for clothing. Think about that. Plastic clothing that will never get dirty and never wear out, like The Man in the White Suit. Would that be better for the climate? I guess it depends on how it is processed. And what happens to the animals, who now rely on humans for their survival? So, no thank you to plastic for my part. Plus, I like my clothing to breathe.

If you are still with me, thank you for reading. I needed to get these thoughts out of my head before I start my very busy work week.

Here’s my question for you, dear reader. Do you see those stripes on Harald’s sweater? Those lovely stripes that say, “Hi. I am a handknit garment of fair trade wool yarn that is hand kettle dyed by women in Uruguay, which is why I went a little stripey here. Don’t mind me.” Should I vat dye this sweater and try to mottle those stripes out a little bit? This is totally within my power. Let me know what you think. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Say Yes

carbeth shoes

Although November ended on a sad note, I have to say I’ve had a really great year, and December has been the cherry on top.

  • I went back to the gym.
  • I secured a studio space near my house.
  • I sold two of my art pieces.
  • I signed up for two 2019 knitting clubs.
  • Not only did I finish the work budget, but I also pulled together our household budget and got it all entered into Quicken. Yay, financial literacy!

As mentioned, the Blendon Woods I pair of photo and felt painting were sold today. It made me very happy, and I can use the funds to purchase a work table and pair of comfy chairs for my studio space.

At the beginning of 2018, I chose my words for the year. They were, “doing it all.” I worked hard to be promoted to Executive Director at work. I started knitting in earnest again, and even managed a successful design. I made art and participated in an art show. I started a cooperatively owned business with two other women. On top of taking care of kids and being in a relationship with my spouse, that was a lot, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.

I chose to take the same path that I had been taking with my work over the last few years, which led to the success of our new store. That path is, “say yes whenever possible.”

I know saying yes too much and too often can get you into trouble. It’s important to know and respect your limits. I’m not going to pretend this approach didn’t take a bit of a toll. I worked my ass off, and it’s not something that can be sustained forever. But this year, whenever possible, I said yes and reached out and grabbed with both hands whatever opportunities came my way, and it really paid off in a multitude of ways.

candles and knitting at preserve

Here I am at my side hustle, knitting and selling my aromatherapy candles for Haven Herbs! Look how happy I am! I look a little dorky, and I am a little dorky. I can own that and still be happy. Also, check out my great earring game.

My Christmas Cactus is blooming with gratitude as well.

img_1320