Conquering Shyness

Picture of fiber from Happy Fuzzy Yarn

I was terribly shy as a child.  When we moved into a new school district in second grade, I was nearly friendless for two years because I was too frightened to approach other children and ask to join their play.

In fact, I first learned to knit from my second grade teacher because she would allow us to stay inside at recess if we wanted to knit with her.  Knitting was better than being cold and lonely!

Somewhere out there in the world — in a thrift store or garbage dump or maybe even lost in my parents’ house — is an unfinished garter stitch burgundy acrylic scarf.

The shyness persisted throughout school, including college.  That was about the time I began to purposefully push through.  It helped to realize that other people have the same fears and it wasn’t just me.  I also remind myself that talking to people I don’t know isn’t dangerous.  Sounds weird, but if you are shy also then you know what I mean.

Here I am, in my thirties, and I don’t think people would describe me as shy.  Sometimes reserved perhaps, but I no longer hesitate to go up and talk to someone when I want to.  It’s very freeing!  I still have my moments, but what a difference it has made in my life to not be ruled by those fears.

Which brings me to the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo this past weekend.  I was working the Happy Fuzzy Yarn booth, but I also made a point to circuit the barns and talk to many vendors.  I had to consciously approach people, but it wasn’t as hard as it used to be because the interactions are often rewarding, amusing, informative, and community-building.  Only one or two people blew me off, and I left those booths quickly.  I don’t even remember who they were.

I really love talking to farmers and shepherds in particular and am starting to see familiar faces after working at shows around the region for the past year.  Now that I think about it, it’s going to be months–long, cold, snowy months!–before there’s another show around here.  Good thing I stocked up on pretty things to get me through the quiet season.

I totally have a palette.  There is no shame in my game!

Top row: Fiberstory FAVE sock in “Milo”; BFL/Silk from Cross Wind Farm; Superwash Sport “Aquatic” from Happy Fuzzy Yarn.

Middle row: DK Merino in “Verdigris,” “Shadow,” and “Granny Smith” from Happy Fuzzy Yarn; Polwarth “Nessie” (darker braid) and Superfine Merino “Blue Lagoon” from Happy Fuzzy Yarn; 3ply worsted black alpaca from Amiable Alpacas.

Bottom row: Silky Meri in “Deep Blue Green” from Studio June Yarn; Arial Evolution in “Dusk” from Twisted Fiber Art; and Boyne (BFL) in “Castiel” from CJKoho Designs — plus a spinner’s merit badge!

I have specific plans for four of these purchases.  The others I bought as part of my effort to try out the products of local fiber artists.  So I just went with something that called to me and I’ll figure out what to do with it eventually.  Dangerous words, I know.

The only question is: where to start?


Fourth time’s a charm

This post could also be called “Love is a pair of fingerless gloves” because knitting tiny tubes to spec is kind of a pain in the ass.  My husband Matthew and I were laying in bed last night, having that last half hour of reading before drifting off to sleep and I was not reading but measuring my husband’s fingers in preparation of this afternoon’s knitting when his fingers would not be available.

It’s not enough that I am making these to fit (and at least now they do fit) but also going off pattern to make the finger tubes a specific length which is uniform across his hand rather than staggered to fit to each knuckle as the pattern suggests.

But then, what’s the point of handknit gloves if they do not, well, fit like a glove?  Albeit fingerless?  Which is not actually fingerless but more fingertip-less.

I started these in early December with the idea that they would be a holiday gift or perhaps a birthday gift (mid-January) for Matthew.  Things did not go well.  The first attempt was plagued by gauge issues and wonky cables.  Rip.  The second attempt, using Ann Budd’s Handy Book, was way too big.  I’m not sure why but perhaps I mis-measured his hand.  Rip. The third attempt, which I am unabashedly blaming on illness, was alarmingly similar to the second attempt.  I meant to go with a smaller size and it seems like I went with… the exact same (too big) size.  Doh.

Matthew gamely tried to claim that they fit well enough but I, who am not terribly picky about fit, let’s be honest, was having none of ill-fitting fingerless glove #3. That was early January and the fingerless gloves went into time out.

I restarted these last Friday, after a pathetic appeal concerning cold hands.  Yarn is from Oak Meadow Alpaca Farm in Walkerton, IN.  I bought it at the Michigan Fiber Festival a few years ago.  It is a bit scratchy because some coarse guard hairs were left in the fiber.  Matthew assures me he wants to wear this on his hands.  Perhaps.  Hopefully.

Meanwhile, speaking of hands, I am completely bewitched by the mawata mittens seen here and here.  I have some blank mawatas a friend left with me this weekend and I have dye….  I should go put those mawatas on to soak.