Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Not Perfect

I was talking about making errors in a class I was teaching and one of the students was so surprised to know that I make mistakes also in my knitting and crochet. I wish I could say I don't, but not true I do. As I explained, no matter how long you do anything in life there will be that 'oh no' moment. There is no perfection.

As you work on more and more projects you will come across instructions that you think should go one way but then you find out they go another way and oops you have an error. Or you should have purled where you knitted. And there is always the decreases where you make an extra so that you have less stitches or you are doing increases and you have more stitches. And I could go on and on.

I tell my students to embrace their errors because if you don't make errors then you will never know how to work through them and you won't learn what could go wrong. You could also help someone else that is in a bind because they are stuck on an error.

There is such an excitement when a student learns how to fix their errors. That moment comes when after the basics are absorbed in the mind they got it. And when at that moment they are home and they can actually fix their error. They come back into class and they are so elated that they actually did it on their own. It's that WOW moment in learning. You feel like you can accomplish anything or almost anything.

So don't be scared to make errors. Be open to say, hey I made an error so what and fix it right there and feel proud that you can fix your errors with ease. And if you don't know how to fix errors then sit and play. Make a sample of knitting or crochet and include some errors and try to fix them. Practice makes improvement.

Enjoy the learning and growing process.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Knitting Events Defined

From time to time I hear something that is disturbing to me. Knitting and crochet are dying out. Say what? Where do people get these ideas from? Knitting and crochet are booming. As we go forward each year there are more and more events that include the needlearts. There are new and returned knitters and crocheters all the time. I meet them through my classes I teach, when I am out and about I get into conversations with the 'I wish I could do that' person or a person that is knitting or crocheting and loves to talk about what they are doing.

Our wonderful world of the Internet has opened wide the scope of what is going on in the needlearts with conversations live, Ravelry, free pattern sites, and much more. I think what happens is that people either are not into using the computer or they don't know how to do the right search on the Internet.

To open the conversation about events that I have been to (and I have posted a few on my blog with pictures) and other events going on just around my side of the world what do we have? What can they think of next to do with the needlearts. Have you ever heard of yarn bombing? Well, it is the latest that is going on by using knitting and crochet for more artistic expression.

Yarn Bombing (knit graffiti or street art) - This is done worldwide. No there is no bombs involved but pure fun. Have you ever saw something like a chair or statue that could use a spark of color or pizzazz? That is what happens at a yarn bombing. An item is chosen to knit or crochet a covering for so that it stands out more and so that people know knitting and crochet is still much alive and growing in interest and creativity. Check out this exmaple Yarn Bombing.

Yarn Crawl - Have you wanted to visit yarn shops just to get a feel of what they carry and if you have any questions about a certain type of fiber? Then going on a yarn crawl would be for you and for any other needleartist wanting to expand and explore. It is like a little adventure. So what happens is several yarn shops in different areas will open their doors for people just to come and browse, see what they have, test some of the yarns. Some yarn shops have give-a-ways, raffles, prizes and other specials going on.

And there is more going on.

What is...

Ravelry - Have you wanted to find a pattern for a particular project and can't find one? Have you made an item and wish you could see what other people did with that same pattern? Would you like to connect with more needleartists and don't know where to go? Would you like to post your projects somewhere to show them off or keep more organized? Then Ravelry would be the place. You can do these things and more. It is a free community site to connect with other needleartists. You sign up to join and the rest is history. You can join groups, connect with your friends that knit or crochet and meet new people and then meet up at a festival or event. It is fun but very addictive so I would suggest not spending all your time on this site because you need time to knit and crochet too.

World Wide Knit In Public (WWKIP) - This is just what the name implies knitting or crocheting in public. It's a way to make it known that knitting and crochet is not going anywhere but growing. And it shows how portable it can be. It is also a stress reliever for all those involved with it as you can see when going to one of these events how happy everyone is and troubles are put aside for that day. It is also a way to meet new needleartist and get with old friends. Read the history of this wonderful event WWKIP.

Knitting and Crochet Conventions - These feature great classes, wonderful choice of vendors, fashion shows and more. The two main ones that I have attended are Stitches Convention and Vogue Knitting Live Event. If you do a search on knitting conventions or crochet conventions you might just see one coming your way.

Knit and Crochet Outs - a day out with other knitters and crocheters is always fun and you get to learn from another fellow knitter and crocheters. And guess what? They have started back with the one in Manhattan as well as in Washington, DC -Yeah! But for the past four years (I can't believe it has been four years already) I've been going to the Harlem Crochet Out and Knit2 event in NY. I've been helping out with teaching those that come by and want to learn either how to knit or crochet. It has been fun every year. Supplies are donated from yarn companies so that the ones wanting to learn can get a kit of yarn and needles or hook to get them started and on their way to join the rest of us in the world of the needlearts. (see post September 23, 2010)

Knitting and Crochet Groups - You might remember the time when you didn't know who out there was knitting or crocheting so you stayed in your own house and did your crafts by yourself. No need to do that anymore because groups are forming all over. It is fun to meet other crafter's and see what they are doing, get ideas, tips, and enjoy not sitting home alone but enjoying a group setting. To start with you can either call your local library to see if there is a group that meets there, look under or And depending upon where you live you could find other sites that connect you with groups that have your same interests. You can also put in the search engine 'knitting groups' or 'crochet groups' and put in your town or state and see what comes up in your area.

Sheep and Wool Festivals - Have you been curious as to where yarn made of wool comes from or have you seen yarn spun into a hank of yarn? Well then a sheep and wool festival would be the place you would want to visit to get the answer to those questions and more. I have posted pictures from Maryland's Sheep and Wool Festival as well as NYS Sheep and Wool Festival held in Rhinebeck, New York State. But then this year I added a couple more that I went to. (see posts for pictures October 17, 2010; May 2 and 3, 2010; September 15, 2011)

Craft Cruises - Look up Craft Cruises to find one that suites your budget and the place you would like to go.

Those that have explored the world of knitting and crochet know and see how huge this arena is. You have to tap into the source. If you don't know then it is time to know so that you can also join us in more fun, creativity, and relaxation. I hope by posting this about the different events, if you are a person that did not know about these events, that stayed home to knit and crochet, that thought you were alone only because no one in your immediate area that you knew of is involved with it, that this will open the world of knitting and crochet more for you and you will be able to enjoy planning to get involved in some of the activities during the year.

But don't forget about taking a class here and there to expand your skills. Knitting and crochet groups are fun but people there want to work on their own projects or for charity and to be able to have time to socialize.

You can do a search on the Internet to find an event nearest you or again tap into sites listed above for the community of knitters and crocheters to find out more information. I've posted the Knitters Review before but this is a great site to get the list of events happening all around the world. You can also do a search on the Internet to find knit-out's, craft cruises and other events nearest you or add one or more to your vacation. It is all about tapping into the community of knitters and crocheters to find out more information.

Would you like to know what to do with all that stash of yarn you own? Look at this video clip below and get some ideas. Now please don't think I am by any means encouraging this.

Crochet it all.

Have fun planning for next year's events.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Love The Theatre

I was at one of my knitting groups that I attend and a couple of the ladies started talking about Broadway plays. In my mind I started reminiscing about my years of going to the theatre either for a play or some other performance. As you might know by now, one of my favorite words is variety and that is what I seek out when I would go to different shows. Since the economical situation hit me I haven't been to a show in over two years. I tell people that I am on a sabbatical with travel and shows. But these are things that I enjoy besides my needlearts and I will return to them as my situation levels.

The theatre is such an exciting place to be. My aunt exposed me to the theatre as I was growing up. I love the theatre and I have seen many different performances locally as well as when I traveled. The top of the list is seeing a great performance on Broadway in NY City. But where did these actors and actresses start out? Small local theatres. I'm sure you might even remember seeing someone acting at a local theatre and then you find out that WOW they made it to Broadway in a show. Local theatres can put on some wonderful productions of some of your favorite plays and shows. And the local theatres have other shows that are not found on Broadway. Below is a picture of just a portion of shows I've seen.

My favorite place in NY is TKTS. To read about the TKTS organization click on link TKTS Discount Booth. If you have ever been walking around Time Square at Broadway and 47th Street and saw this long line of people that would be the half price ticket line. There are a couple of other locations and the link above can help you with finding out where they are.

Today we are trying to pinch those pennies, dimes and quarters - OK money itself as a whole. But I can't remember the last time I paid full price for a Broadway play. If it wasn't the half price ticket line it was standing room. Yes, some theaters have a section in the back where that you can stand through the performance and see it dirt cheap. Then when I was a student I would get student discounts and they were phenomenal prices. Some local theatres have discounts or days you pay more and other days you will pay less. And then there are the specials that have popped up more these days with the economy the way it is.

But going back to the half price ticket line, I've met so many people during the years of standing on that line from all over visiting New York City. We were all waiting until they put up the list for that day of plays you can get a discount on. Not all performances are 50% off but there is a discount. For me it had to be 50% off and that was easy since I would pick out at least three plays to make sure one of those choices would be on the board.

Why do I like the theatre so much? It's another world of creativity. The actors and actresses must recreate themselves while on stage. The character that they are portraying might call for a serious person and that might not be how they are out of character. They might have to laugh when they have a reason to cry. And I appreciate the array of talents especially of singing and dancing, creativity of the stage sets and the costumes which all bring the theatre and shows alive. Again, it is all about enjoying what you love and love what you enjoy. And if you could get paid for it how sweet is that.

So if you haven't seen a play or a show of some sort, I would recommend a trip to New York City to the half-price ticket line or visiting on-line your local theatre's website and look at the list of performances that are being presented. You will be surprised how hooked you could get as you see the different forms of talent through the theatre. Just save a seat for me because I will be returning.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Free Events - Yeah!

Well even though this year brought on its challenges, I was able to at least get to several events that were local. I attended and volunteered at the Annual Harlem Crochet Out and Knit 2 in Harlem, New York. It was really nice. No stopping them over there, even if it has to be on a street corner it worked. I've been going to the event for the last three years. I don't want to miss it. You can see every year it gets better and better. Hurray to the Crochet Out Lady, as she is known. I didn't take any pictures but you can keep up with their web blog by hitting the link above.

Another event that I enjoyed was at Bayonet Farms in Holmdel, NJ. It was my first time going to this event and I enjoyed myself - as usual. The focus there was on artist painting in Plain air (outside). So you could see all of the artists sitting in different spots trying to get different angles. Some of them entered the contest and others were there for pure fun and relaxation.

What I also loved about this festival is that there were a couple of local restaurants that supplied the food that you could buy. No festival truck vendors (not that we don't enjoy the funnel cake because we do but once in a while you need real food) and it was delicious. A place I want to go to for a meal in the future.

There was also the scenery that surrounded us like this beautiful tree. And of course I love my animals and there was a lake that had all of these cute frogs hopping around.

Onto the next festival on the same day was at the Historic Longstreet Farm. Here they dressed up in colonial times and also had demonstrations of a variety of things. They have farm animals there so you could milk a cow (which I did do in the past there), go on a hey ride and I even picked Green Mountain potatoes and you could keep them for free. Now that is a bargain and one I enjoyed. There was music at both festivals which is always nice. And I entered a couple of knit and crochet items in their competition. I won first place for my bracelet and won a couple other ribbons. All in fun.

And my friend entered one of her beautiful needle point pieces and won first place. Hurray!

There were also demonstrations on spinning, weaving, rug hooking, knitting and crochet. Such a variety to see and appreciate the array of talents and creativeness.

The summer is filled with wonderful events to attend. If you haven't had a chance as of yet to experience one, then think of next year as to what you would like to try and go to. It really is enjoyable. And if you did have a chance to go to some events this year, I hope you had as much fun as I did and you learned about something new.