Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog launch and first finish

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore but I do make a list of goals. My theme for this year is the Year of Living Differently and an important aspect of that is changing how I spend my time. One of my goals is to make creative endeavors part of my everyday life again. For about 20 years, from the time I learned embroidery from my next-door neighbor’s babysitter when I was 10 until I had kids, making things was part of my everyday life. Even when I was in grad school, busy with classes and papers and research, I spent an hour sewing or quilting every day and I knitted, crocheted, or did needlework while I watched TV. Creating was like therapy to me—it’s how I relaxed, it gave me time to think, and every time I finished a project or learned a new skill, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Then I had kids and something had to give. I was smack in the middle of a degree and working as a teaching assistant when Child One was born. We were new homeowners and new parents. The time I had spent crafting was now more likely to be spent working in the yard, marking papers, washing diapers, or at the new moms’ group at the recreation center. Not that I stopped making things altogether—I have a box of handmade clothes packed away and pictures of me knitting with Child Two sound asleep on my lap. But no longer could I leave the sewing machine out and the ironing board up, and any thought of stitching on fine fabrics was tempered by the reality of sticky little fingers. As my kids grew, my creative focus switched from yarn, thread, and fabric to fingerpaints, crayons, and washable markers.

My kids have been past the sticking-a-pin-in-my-eye-to-see-what-happens stage for several years now, but I have let other things—work, chauffeuring duties, volunteering, the hundreds of little tasks that pop up each week—take over most of my time. I still knit when I’m watching TV, but poor Child One has been waiting for new curtains for his room for four years now and too often my boxes of craft supplies remain untouched for weeks. When I think about it, I spend more time shopping for craft stuff than doing the crafts.

My work is creative (don’t believe Blogger’s claim that I’m in accounting; I’m an editor), but the ideas are not mine. In this Year of Living Differently, I want to make time for the creative things I love to do and I want to stretch myself by learning new things. As part of that, I’ve started two blogs, one that’s mainly for writing and this one, which I’ve called “Making Do” because I want to shift my focus from thinking (and shopping) to making and doing, and, as much as possible, I want to make do with the rather large (okay, huge) stash of supplies I already have.

So now that this blog is officially launched, I will post my first finish of the year, a roll-brim hat (pattern from Knitting for Peace) knitted from Lion Brand Wool. As I suspected, even though it’s an adult large size it’s too small for my humungous head, so I will donate it to Afghans for Afghans. Since this pattern is pretty easy, I didn’t learn any new knitting techniques, but I did learn that it’s just about impossible to take a picture of a hat on your own head, especially if you don’t want your face to show (since the too-smallness of this hat makes my hair look even goofier than usual). I also learned that while my cats do want to be involved in the photography process, they do not make willing hat models. They will walk through the picture,
sniff the hat before knocking it down, fight over it ("I don't know what it is, but it's mine!"), and sit prettily next to it,
but they will definitely not wear it.


Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire! said...

Not that the afghans wouldn't appreciate it, but did you know that your sister-in-law has quite possibly the smallest head ever? Shirley has to wear a child size helmet, whenever she does whatever she does that involves wearing a helmet (sometimes it's best not to ask).

BTW, it's a fabulous hat, and I too, would be fighting your cats for it.

pastel.maiden said...

Hello Susan, and congratulations on completing your first charity project this year (even though slightly unintentionally!). I love the colours of the hat, and Afghans for Afghans is such a worthy cause. Keep us posted!
I can certainly relate to your "Year-of-Living-Differently" philosophy. I have little spare time, and what spare time I have I want to use more wisely. I am also optimizing various ways of doing things to get the most out of every day. Good luck! I'll certainly go back to your blog again.
Warmest wishes,