I am knitting away with my white cotton ribbon. It is not soft and silky. It actually has quite a bit of body, which is why I thought a jacket or cardigan would be a good idea. The lace pattern is very simple -- though saying that might have been the curse of death for this project. But so far so good.
You know how the tag line above my blog name says "I'm busy!"? I have a compulsive need to be busy. I used to spend hours/days/weeks of my life reading. I love to read. I still do read. I am, in fact, a librarian. But... I read something interesting in a book I simply could not bear the first time I tried to read it, and that is Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. I couldn't read it the first time because I was uncomfortable with all the talk of "the Creator" being the source of creativity, and I found a lot of it to be a sort of sappy New Age psychobabble.
Wait, really, there is a reason I am talking about a book I apparently hated.
I went back to the book -- several times I think -- and found one idea that stayed with me for a very long time. She talks about how we seem to have inner critics (or the Inner Critic, in her typography) that immediately tells us that our work is lame, not creative, derivitive, choose-your-own way of devaluing the art work we are trying to do. That really resonated with me. Her attempts to psychoanalyze whose voice that is didn't impress me or resonate with me (not my mother, who encouraged my creativity, not my art teachers -- I think it's me.) But I did manage to get that one point out of the book. I am now conscious when that voice in my head denigrates my designs, and I am learning to tell it to shut up.
Upon rereading the book again, more recently, I noticed two things. First, she says right at the beginning that if you are uncomfortable with her divine Creator, substitute whatever you are comfortable with: for me, I decided, a creative urge. Less woo-woo, less pseudo-New Age, and I like the fact that it is more visceral. I do have an urge to be making things.
I also took note of something she said about reading (I was talking about reading, remember?). In her workshops on creativity, she tells her participants at some point that for the next week? (two weeks? month? I don't remember) that they should stop reading.
She said she gets more anger and vehement rejection to that notion than any other. But her point is that while you are reading someone else's work, you are not writing your own.
I have only the time after work and on weekends to do other than my full-time job. At this stage of my life I find myself aware that if I spend a lot of that time reading, I do not get other things done. No designs for my tapestries. No weaving. No sewing. No getting out of the house. So of course I still read (just finished Buried in the Sky which one of those narratives about disastrous climbs on K2 but guess what -- this time the focus is on the Sherpas). I also now listen to a lot of the books I used to read: I listen while knitting, while sewing, while weaving. I can't listen while designing, because my head is elsewhere.
After being relieved the rush of conferences, obligations, classes and visits that ate almost every weekend this spring had ended, I am in recreating that rush for June. Because of some new obsessions. While visiting a friend in Austin, I am going to stop in at the conerence being held there by the Latin American Jewish Studies Association meeting, to do a bit of indexer marketing. I will be attending a THATcamp on publishing 10 days later. Since THAT stands for The Humanities and Technology, the camps on publishing tend to be, of course, about e-books. They are sort of un-conferences. No one comes to lecture at you, or show you how things are done. They are really brainstorming sessions, I think. Anyway, they backed this one up against the annual conference of the American Association of University Presses. From their program, it is easy to see that it is, of course, about e-books. So I am going to attend at least one day of that conference. My goal: to get involved with editors, publishers, and ebooks; to market myself as an indexer who is comfortable with ebook processes; and to stay interested. I always need new things of interest.
Oh yeah, my annual library conference in is Chicago at the end of June-beginning of July.
And to help build the business, and the interest, I just signed up for Lynda.com, where, for about 30 bucks a month, I can take hundreds of online/video-based courses about all aspects of Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, basic business practices for freelancers, ebook production workflows, the new Adobe Creative Cloud, etc etc etc. I do not expect to take hundreds. I do expect to learn a lot about Adobe Indesign, and perhaps Illustrator.
So, I'm busy. The knitting will have to be portable. The books will have to be recorded (though actually airplanes are a great place to read.) And since this year's Tour de Fleece starts while I will be in Chicago, the spinning will have to be portable too. I will either travel with a supported spindle and an ongoing project, like this one:
This is alpaca-silk-bamboo roving being spun on a Turkish-style support spindle. For the non-spinners, a support spindle rests on a table or in a bowl and is not dropped into the air. The 4 arms on this spindle make it a Turkish spindle (though this one was made in Texas). On this style spindle, you wrap the yarn you are making above and below the arms, pull the shaft up out of the arms when you are done, pull the arms out of the ball, and the result is a ball of yarn right off the spindle. Here it is with a silk-tencel fiber, which was seriously like spinning air.
Since the yarn does not have to support the weight of the spindle dangling in air, you can spin a very very fine thread on support spindles. Known to some as "frog hair." Spinners have a weird sense of humor.
Or, I will take a drop spindle, and spin some slightly heavier yarn. I certainly have a large stash of fiber these days, but most was purchased to spin on the wheel or very slippery stuff to spin on support spindles. I will have to see what I might have to spin on my herd of drop spindles. You see that pretty white one on the right? That's made of holly. I think it might be time to spin on that one.