Monday, June 01, 2009

on my pod

In no particular order, here's some fantastic music that's getting a lot of air time. Well...on my speakers anyway. The radio sucks.

The new Decemberists album, Hazards of Love. I just acquired this one, but I am already completely enamored. It has all these peaks and valleys and is enjoyable throughout.
The only other album of theirs I have is Picaresque, but with even that limited exposure I can say that they manage to be exquisite story tellers while simultaneously making fantastic music. Both albums play like a spectacular book that you just can't put down.
I also love when an artist/group manages to evolve in their music while still retaining their own unique sound (this is why I still listen to Ani Difranco even after a bajillion albums). And the Decemberists have absolutely done just that in Hazards of Love. There's nothing more tragic than when an artist has a successful album and then just continues to put out reincarnations of the same damn thing.

Abdulla sent me The Last Internationale as a belated birthday gift, and it was a pleasant surprise in more than one way. Half of the self proclaimed 'radical folk duo' is a good friend of ours from college, Edgey.
I think I was mostly expecting some politically conscious hip-hop because that's more in line with my musical association with Edgey. Instead I found myself listening to a well produced album of bluesy, protest music, that is remnicient of the 60's but with a distinguishable contemporary edge. I don't know Delilah (the other half of the duo) personally, but she's got a great voice with a Joni Mitchell vibe to it.
I listened to the whole thing twice on repeat during my rather long commute to my fourth job. And yes, I recognize the irony of listening to protest songs on my way to my fourth part-time job. It was a paradox that I couldn't reconcile, but I would imagine that's exactly the kind of response that Edgey would be happy with.
And last, but not least, Bon Iver. ::Le sigh::
Holy hell, I am loving this music. Wise old wikipedia is telling me that the album For Emma, Forever Ago was self released almost two years ago so I guess in some ways I'm late to this party. But when I tell you that it's been on near-constant repeat since I got it last week, it's no exaggeration. My favorite songs are "Skinny Love" and "Re:Stacks", but really just the whole album is excellent.
The front man, Justin Vernon (shown above), is exactly a year younger than me & while he's off recording incredible music in secluded cabins in the woods of Wisconsin to work through his depression, I am doing....well..far less cool things with any of my bouts of sadness. But I would happily embrace life's downfalls if they all yielded creativity like this.

Really, just stop reading my rants and go listen to these albums. And....go!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Knitter Returns

About two weeks ago I received the news that I would be getting laid off from my counseling job at the end of June. I have been less than thrilled with the job & had been trying to bring myself to leave it for quite a few months. It struck me that perhaps the universe was doing for me what I hadn't been able to do for myself.

That sounds rather Zen and all, but don't congratulate me just yet for this stroke of fortune. It also quickly struck me (oh, about 10 minutes later) that it was also my major source of income, that this isn't the best economy to be looking for a job in, and that having to sell myself to prospective employers is a loathsome task that brings up all those icky self confidence issues. Needless to say, I was stressin'.

It was then that it hit me. The sudden, irresistible urge to knit. All this tension came tumbling down my shoulders and needed to spill out by creating something with my hands. Something that allowed me to thrum out my stress through relatively mindless repetition.

I picked up some socks that rock yarn from Rhinebeck's past & got going on some socks. And boom! My knitting mojo was back!
It seemed fitting that I should come across the "Go With the Flow" socks from Favorite Socks in my "to-be-knit" binder. I mean, I was going to lose my job regardless of how stressed I was going to be about it.

I could freak out and worry about it (which I still do at times) or I can just go with it. It, being the flow. Take it as a positive opportunity to leave guilt-free in search of better opportunities. And be thankful I'd be taking my knitting mojo with me when I go. I told myself that I would make the best of it, and when I got a fantastic new job, I would knit the "9 to 5" socks to complete the knitting metaphor.

And here I am two weeks later with a sock & a half completed, the urge to knit more, my resume sent in to be considered for quite a few great positions, and a back up counseling position that just landed into place which I have already begun.

Of course, that doesn't mean everything is perfect. Having started another counseling position while finishing up my former one means I am theoretically working four jobs at the moment. And changes like this always wear on my over-planning, stability-loving personality. But I'm still looking at the brighter side of things, and knitting away all the rest. The rest will just have to fall into place on it's own.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I realize that this is old news, because there's arguably already a cult following just considering the sheer amount of blogs I've seen this posted on. However, I had to post just to gush about how much I love this freaking preview.

Like, seriously, it makes my heart hurt a little bit-that's how much. I hope the movie lives up to the preview.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Start

Hello internet world!

You probably assumed I had abandoned this blog. Well..I kind of did. More out of neglect than a conscious quitting though. You may have even thought in your wildest dreams, that I had stopped being crafty all together. Well...I kind of did that too. Before about two weeks ago, I hadn't knit in months! I can't tell you how long it's been since I picked up a paintbrush. And sadly, the only reason my sewing machine isn't covered in a thick layer of dust is because I've been lending it out to other people.

I don't know why I'm always so surprised when I recognize (once again), how closely my creative process is connected to my mental health. The word "duh" seems appropriate here. But here I was in a hating my job, hating where I'm living, winter (carried over into spring) rut that I just couldn't shake. I knew doing some art work would probably help me through some of this, but at the same time I just couldn't muster up enough motivation to pick up knitting sticks, let alone think about creating something.

And then there's this blog. I created this blog thinking it would be a nice little compartmentalized showing of all the things I created, with some lofty diatribes about the creative process, which would simultaneously omit 80% of any information about my real life. My real, messy, not always feeling immensely creative or inspired life. You see, I've been burned by you before, internet world. Or rather by people who would misuse my relationship with you, and I just wasn't ready to go down that road again. I still may not be. But I know this-if this blog is going to be at all helpful or relevant to me, or to anyone else for that matter, I need it to be real.

I need it to include shit I make, but then hate. Pictures of my messy craft room, which often resembles more of a junk room. It needs to include the books I read, my writing, the music that inspires me, my new ventures into gardening, sustainable living and cooking. I need it to include my feelings, insecurities, loves, and all the other things that actually drive my creativity (and occasionally hinder it). Otherwise, it's just fluff. And let's face it-I'm too old, too busy and too wise to invest my time in fakin' it.

So, here's to a new start, internet world. Let's see what we can learn from one another.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


2008, originally uploaded by mslj88.

So, 2008. It came. It went. I knit a lot of stuff- mostly socks & hats. I hope 2009 is the year of the cardigans. There are a lot of kick-ass cardigans that I want to make, three of which I have the yarn already for.

1. Amelia, which I have already begun in a lovely varigated green yarn that I aquired two Rhinebeck's ago.

2. Brompton, which I have a gorgeous blue yarn to do.

3. The Garter Yoke Cardigan, which I have been coveting for quite some time. I'm thinking of doing it in this mustard-yellow yarn that I have.

And of course, it would be nice to finish off that tangled yoke cardigan I started, oh..a year ago. And there is about a bazillion other things I would like to knit.

And then there were my "creative ambitions" for 2008..

1. Creating a cohesive art show in March (done!)
2. Experiment with spinning on a wheel
3. Play with color work more in my knitting
4. Do more paintings and drawings again (did a little bit, particularly for the show)
5. Get "finished" sprays of my stencils (done!)
6. Experiment with quilting
7. Make a shirt using a sewing pattern
8. Finish old projects that have been lingering (*I think I am officially changing this goal to feeling comfortable frogging some of my old abandoned, or unused projects, to make something different with the yarn)
9. Print some of my photographs (done!)
10. Incorporate more of my creations into my everyday life and wardrobe (started)
11. Learn more about different yarns

..but, this year I also did things I didn't dream I would have been able to...

1. Graduated with my Master's Degree

2. Traveled to 4 different countries

3. Went back to do work in New Orleans

4.Painted a mural

5. Had a joint art show

6. Fell in love

7. Organized a Craft Fair

8. Sold a bunch of things at said Craft Fair

9. Got my own tags & started an Etsy shop (though I haven't stocked it with anything yet).

10. Taught English & learned Spanish.

All & all, not too shabby. So I don't feel the least bit bad that I didn't do all that was on my list or blog more. 2009? Bring it on..


So, uhh..long time, no blog- again. What can I say? I'm not a very committed blogger. And I make no pretenses that that's going to change. Fortunately, I am a committed crafter, however, so I have lots of finished knits to show to wrap up 2008.

Name: Hailey's Stripey Hat
Pattern: Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap
Yarn: Red Heart Designer Sport
Thoughts: Adorable & fast knit. Hopefully it fits Hailey's recently enlarged noggin' (I'm sure she'll grow into that head). Believe it or now, this project was the first occasion I've had to do an i-cord, which was fun.
Name: Striped Mits
Pattern: Thumbless Mitties from Our Yellow House
Yarn: Red Heart Designer Sport
Thoughts: Fun & quick! Made to match the hat; added an i-cord attachment so they don't lose one another. Leah, who designed the pattern, was one of the fantastic creators I had the occasion to get to know better during the course of GSCA's Give Handmade! events.
This set was one of few things that I was able to knit for the holidays. I completed it in time for christmas, but have I actually mailed it? No.Name: Tres for Karen
Pattern: Yup, that's right. Another Koolhas (ravelry link)
Yarn: Some left over Karabella Aurora Yarn. Hooray for stashbusting!
Thoughts: What can I say? I love this hat & it's so gratifying to make. I'll be making another one in the near future for Karen's partner as soon as the yarn arrives in the mail.
Who knows? Maybe I'll make one for myself one of these days. It does look kinda good on me ;)Name: Kednel's Noggin
Pattern: Thorpe
Yarn: Some leftover Elsebeth Lavold yarn from my Ms. Darcy cardigan & a smidgen of navy blue yarn that I got as a freebie at the ravelry party.
Thoughts: Kednel specifically requested this hat. This is a terrible picture of it, but it looks adorable on him.
Name: Jenny's Gray Foliage
Pattern: Foliage
Yarn: Some leftover Montera, Classic Elites yarn that I've had in my bin for ages.
Thoughts: Yup, third time making this one too. But Jenny requested it after seeing the one I made for Rachel. I did one less repeat than the pattern called for in order to size it to her specifications. I didn't love it in this yarn initially, because there is less stitch definition, but all & all I think it looks pretty good.
And lest you think that I'm only knitting hat these days, I also finished a pair of socks..
Name: Purple Express
Pattern: Express Lane
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks that Rock-light weight. It's some mill end yarn I scored at Rhinebeck.
Thoughts: I like them. I don't love them. But I insist on buying multi-colored yarn, which I later fret over the pooling and pattern definition of. Meh.
I have intentions of blogging again soon with a 2008 project mosaic. Plus I already have a finished knit for this year, some stuff in the works, and other craft stuff to blab about. We'll see how that goes.