Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Last night, I went to give a talk to the West Coast Knitters Guild. There are a number of fiber related guilds in town: The WCKG mentioned above, the Greater Vancouver Weavers and Spinners (a chapter of the Northwest Weavers Guild), the Coquitlam Weavers and Spinners Guild, something in Maple Ridge, something in Langley. This area is lousy with fiber artists! In my travels, I've met a lot of them, and I've been invited to check out many of the local guilds and groups.

My family life is such that evening activities aren't practical right now, so I have to keep saying "thanks, but no" to the invitations. But I did thoroughly enjoy checking out the Guild last night. I met some local fiber artists as well as knitting enthusiasts. I got to talk dye technique, and say "why thank you!" to people who complimented my colour choices.

I was sorry that I had to hightail it out of there before the meeting was over, but with a 7:30 meeting and a 40 minute drive eachh way, that was the price for going at all. And it was fair. My motto these days, for getting through this busy time when my child is young, is this: "You can have it all, but just not much of it, and not all at once." It makes me sanguine about taking a hors d'oeuvres approach to my life.

I drove home watching the sunset light bounce around the haze that always seems to cover this city, making the North Shore mountains look like glowing shadows. I was blissfully alone and listening to my iPod, which was somehow feeding me a lot of my favourite songs all at once despite being on random play.

If there has been a theme of the last year, a principle I have learned, it's this: jump in bravely and do what you like, and good things will come from it.

I don't remember what I did that led to it, but in the spring, I was invited to demonstrate Freeform Knitting for the Port Moody Arts Centre's Arts 4U day, a day of demonstrating various arts and crafts to locals as part of the PoMo Arts Festival. I had never heard of freeform knitting before this point, but I jumped in. The day was fun, the demo was a success, and at the end of the day, one of the people at the Centre asked me if I'd be interested in teaching knitting there in the Fall. Paid work, teaching something I love and am an expert at, two blocks from my house on a schedule that I determine? Why yes, thank you. I would be interested.

Putting in a table at the farmer's market led to be being noticed by a writer for the local paper, Sarah Payne, a tremendous supporter of local artists and artisans. The article was open on the table the day Helen, of the soon-to-open Black Sheep Yarns, told her husband she thought she might like to open a yarn store, and what did he think? He turned the paper towards her and said, "I think there might be a local market for that, yeah." And the store is going to be my new teaching home in a couple months. That little cause-and-effect loop kind of gives me chills, the kind you get when the pieces are just so perfect you can practically hear the "click."

And last night, I had another little moment. As I said, getting to the Guild meeting was a bit of a labour, and definitely not something I can do regularly. But I was flattered to have been invited by Linda, who works at Three Bags Full, who sell my yarn and fiber and have been tremendously important to me for both the personal encouragement the owners and staff have given me, and for my local marketing. As I was setting up, I was approached by a notable local fiber artist who is working on setting up a fiber arts studio on Granville Island (for non-locals, pretend I just said "Soho"). She wanted to talk to me about being involved somehow, as a supplier at least. I kept my cool, but it tripped off all kinds of dreams of being artistic and fabulous in a Granville Island studio.

There have been a lot of little things, too. The friends, well-wishers, students, and business tips I have picked up by being at the Farmer's Market have been invaluable. The spinning class I just finished netted me some new friends, new customers, one student, and a drum carder, not to mention an acquaintance with Irene Weisner, a formidable force for craft about whose support and practical help I cannot say enough.

I have dyed the colours I liked without regard for what I thought other people wanted, and it turned out other people liked those colours too. And strangest of all, when I started dyeing wool in Whoverse-themed colours, I found all these people who were obsessive fans of both fiber *and* the Whoverse. Talk about a niche market, but I wouldn't have found it if I hadn't been just mostly making myself happy.

I don't believe that The Universe is taking care of me; I don't believe in The Secret. It's not my bent to believe in mysterious forces that do right by us if we're virtuous enough. I'm feeling awfully fortunate right now though, and just at the moment I'm rather taken by the picture that has presented itself. I took a real leap about a year ago when I decided to throw myself into something that had no guarantee whatsoever of being a viable job. I jumped in with both feet though, said yes to all kinds of things just because it pleased me to do so, and what I have in front of me at the moment is a wealth of something we all dream of: work that I love. And I couldn't be happier -- unless someone has figured out a way for me to do everything I want to, and still get 8 hours sleep? No?

Friday, July 4, 2008

My desk clutter has changed

My desk clutter used to be like most people's desk clutter. Bills that need to be paid, papers that need to be filed, a book in progress, pens that may or may not work, and a half-drunk cup of coffee from earlier in the week. But it's different now. Now I have a baby bottle full of olive oil that I was using to oil my wheel because I couldn't be bothered to go buy the proper kind, 13 batts of burgundy-based fiber blend destined to become tweed yarn, a spare bobbin, some thrift store yarn that will be used to attach labels to my stuff, some exciting sparkly eyelash yarn destined to be the binder in a wild boucle, a bag full of assorted fiber gifted to me by a friend, my case of knitting accessories -- and that half-drunk cup of coffee. Today's anyway.

Does the Fly Lady have anything to say about fiber kipple?