Thursday, July 23, 2009

The First Sweater Begins

I've got enough stuff on Etsy to satisfy myself for a while, so I'm devoting my knitting time now to MY FIRST ADULT-SIZED SWEATER. It's kind of hard to believe that I've been knitting for over a year and a half now and haven't yet made a grown-up sweater, just a bunch of shrugs and one baby cardigan for Afghans for Afghans. I think it's been the cost of good yarn more than anything that's kept me from sweaters. But now, I've gotten lucky - my parents have requested I knit them sweaters like the kinds they saw in Austria, and they've bought me the yarn to do it with. I've started Dad's first, an oatmeal-colored one that will eventually have dark green I-cord borders but so far looks predictably bland:
It'll eventually be a garter-stitch cardigan that (I sincerely hope) resembles this one, minus the collar:
I found that pattern in a book by the great Elizabeth Zimmermann, aptly titled Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop...

... which happens to be my absolute favorite knitting book, at least for now. I spent a good hour while cat-sitting reading about what EZ has to say about shoulder shapings, which I'll need to figure out, since I'm not following the pattern given in the book. There's a reason why I'm not - I want to work it bottom-up rather than top-down, following EZ's excellent formulas for sweater-making. In other words, I'm making up the pattern basically from scratch. It's a leap of faith.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sensitive Issues

I've been browsing about the Etsy forums tonight, as I do most nights, and I came upon a seller asking if anyone knew of a way to determine how many African-American sellers there were on Etsy. They had no underlying reason for asking; they were just curious. I was kind of surprised to see how many of the responses were snippy at best and at worst, rather hostile. So I added a comment expressing my own feelings:

"On a site like Etsy - and the arts and crafts world in general - I'd say, the more diversity, the better. So I think an honest curiosity about Etsy's diversity shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.

I respect the intentions of people who say they are colorblind, but I've often found that the word can mean that they are blind to any influence race might have on any given thing - good or bad. Race does not matter on a resume; it does not matter when it comes to being an Etsy seller. It is often, however, a factor in an individual's self-expression, and thus can have an influence on the art that that individual creates. And the diversity of self-expression that comes from racial diversity is not a bad thing."

As you can see from the photos on this blog, I am white. Besides that, I live in the South, where race is an even more sensitive subject than it is anywhere else the US. So I understand where the strong feelings are coming from. For a lot of people, it seems like race is something you just can't talk about - a "don't go there" subject, as if not talking about it will make all the problems go away. But isn't it just the opposite? If we don't allow open and honest conversation on tough issues like race, how are we ever going to find a resolution to the problems that plague our cultures and societies? Our world?

And does anything associated with race have to be negative? Does acceptance of all people mean we all have to be "colorblind"? Is it wrong to be simply curious how many African-Americans there are on Etsy? Can't we treat all human beings equally, show them tolerance and acceptance, while appreciating the beauty of their diversity of experience and, yes, race?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Working? Kind of

I've been home alone for the past couple of days, and the solitude hasn't energized me as much as I'd hoped. True, yesterday I entered my store into several craft databases, including Indiepublic and Plumdrop, and I've received good responses from both, but... I'm still not feeling terribly motivated. I need to finish the ruffled neckwarmer that's taking me forever; I need to do the ironing; I need to clean some more; I need to write out a new resume; I need to round up Peggy and get her to pose in some more little sweaters. I haven't done any of these things.

Instead, I've been reading Phil Rickman's Prayer of the Night Shepherd pretty much ALL day - I finished it, btw, before my late lunch - and now I want to start on the next book in the series that has become my new addiction. But I also want to knit, and for the most part, I can't knit and read simultaneously. The exception is when the book is large enough to lie open by itself and the knitting is easy enough to do without looking. Yes, I've tried it.

Truth is, I want a new knitting project. I've been checking the Afghans for Afghans site daily hoping to see they've posted a new campaign, but so far they haven't. I'm getting worried - is the war in Afghanistan getting so bad that they'll have to put their work there on hold? I really hope not.

At any rate, it's Sunday, by far the quietest, laziest day of the week in this part of Tennessee. Maybe I'll just go read for the rest of the afternoon. As they say, never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Shrug Posted At Last

Here at last is my pink shrug completed, up for sale on Etsy at

My new thing store-wise is Stuff for Dogs; I'll soon (that is, within the next week, I hope!) have posted no fewer than eight sweater vests designed to fit small-to-medium sized dogs. The idea came to me when an aunt of mine asked if I could make fun costumes for her two dachshunds. As I was browsing through online patterns of cute dog outfits, suddenly I realized that one of my three dogs would be docile enough to let me dress her up - Peggy! Plus, because of her thin fur, she often gets cold in the winter, even here in Tennessee. So I set about designing her a sweater in dark green, navy blue, and burgundy acrylic:

It worked up so fast and I enjoyed it so much that I made up a bunch more, some in rather more adventurous colors, to put on Etsy. And here is my lovely Peggy modeling one:

She's about 13 years old now and quite deaf, but she's still very sweet! She didn't seem to mind being dressed up (that's her normal expression you see in the photo), and a knit sweater will make her winters more pleasant.