Pollyanna Finds a New Obsession … er, Hobby

Hey, Anna-Liza here.

I won’t be reporting much on Lyda’s progress, because she knows what’s up with her better than I do (and also what she cares to put out on the blog), but I’m sure you are all with me in wishing her the very best possible outcome with her medical … stuff. I will say that the most recent report is that the operation went well.

As a diversion, here is my report on my visit to the Handweavers Guild of Boulder Show and Sale, and on my newfound … hobby. Yes, let’s just call it that.

First, the HGB Show and Sale is held at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, which is all of ten minutes from my house. So you can see, there was absolutely no bar to temptation as far as going to the show. (I will just say that I managed to restrain myself admirably, only buying one small bag of fiber … but it was a very, very close thing).

There was a remarkable range of work there, from the beautifully made Christmas ornaments, notecards, and other small items, to the handwoven scarves, blankets, and rugs, hand knit clothing and accessories, etc, to the juried exhibition, which contained the one-of-a-kind, high-skills, realizing-a-vision kind of art. Wall hangings were the most common form, but there were sculpture pieces as well. They were all fiber-based, but they were knitted, woven, dyed, sewn, whatever you can think of to do with fiber.

Even though I restricted myself to buying one inexpensive item, going to this show was very satisfying. Looking at all the beautiful work, knowing the hours of work and perspiration and inspiration that went into making even the smallest item, seeing the ways all these people made their imagination manifest, these were all soul-feeding for me. I came away refreshed and inspired, with dozens of ideas for ways to combine texture, color, and shape in my own work.

I also got some coaching on another hobby, spinning with a drop spindle. I’m not a novice, because “novice” is actually too advanced a word for what I am, but I am getting a tiny bit better at it. I’m still at the “park & draft” stage, but my drafting is beginning to become more smooth, and maybe someday I’ll actually learn to draft while spinning. It’s not really a new hobby, though, because it’s been about a year since I started learning trying to learn how to do it.

Oh, and the new hobby? Needle felting!! Actually, I have a very strong suspicion that it will become all kinds of felting, as I have formulated plans for combination wet-felted and needle-felted Christmas ornaments which may or may not come to fruition this year, depending on time and how much mess I can tolerate.

I got a needle felting kit at a charity auction a week or so ago, and started playing with it as soon as I got home.

As I sat there at the kitchen table, stabbing away with my very sharp felting needle on some wool supported by a block of foam, Darlin’ K watched me for a while and said, “I’m sorry, that just looks really boring.” So I held out the needle to him and suggested he try it for a while. He sat down and started stabbing the felt I was working on and, after a while, smiled and said “Oh!!” So you see, you can’t judge the fascination of the hobby without actually trying it yourself.

So far, I’ve made one cat toy (apparently under the entertainment center at the moment) and started a flat piece that I intend to be a picture of a tree with autumn foliage. We’ll see. I’ll get pictures for you when I fish the toy out from under the furniture and have the picture at least close to done. I’ve also started one small Christmas tree ornament, and have a few ideas in my head for more.

Not that I don’t have more to do. I made a simple 2 x 2 ribbed hat for Darlin’ K, but it’s too short and I’m out of that yarn, so I’m going to find a contrast yarn and add an edging to it. It’s actually long enough to cover his ears, but not if he turns up the brim, and he’d like to have a double layer over his ears. So I’ll be rummaging through the stash for a good contrast color. Nothing is leaping to mind at the moment, unfortunately.

Then I have one knitted Christmas gift still to make. I actually planned on making no knitted gifts this year, but I have one particular person who needs something relatively small, so I’m going to do that.

Speaking of Christmas and other winter holidays which involve gifts (I don’t have a bunch of pagan friends for nothing), how are you doing with that? I have acquired some of my planned gifts, but by no means all. Since the kidlets don’t read this blog, I will mention that, now that they have new bunk beds, I want to get them each some superhero sheets and pillowcases. Thus combining the fun with the utilitarian.

Darlin’ K mentioned giving them socks as Christmas gifts. Now, they do need socks and I can’t knit fast enough to supply them with the numbers they need, but I am opposed to that kind of thing for gifts. I think gifts may be utilitarian, but only if they are also fun. So superhero sheets are okay, plain sheets are not (unless they are hand-embellished or else particularly luxurious ones–high-thread-count Pima cotton for a king-sized bed would be an excellent gift … for me. Darlin’ K’s grandmother gave us some very pretty hand-embroidered pillowcases, and I love those). Clothes given as gifts should be fun, luxurious, or at least beautiful. Store-bought socks? Cashmere or silk blend or specialty socks, like microfiber “special wicking action” superwarm hiking socks for a winter hiker would work. Not so much the regular “6 pairs in a package” kind.

But what’s your take on that? I know that plenty of people have received and/or given such things as gifts. Are you one of them?


5 thoughts on “Pollyanna Finds a New Obsession … er, Hobby

  1. KarenM.

    Funny you should mention that… my family KNOW that every year under the tree they will find their sock and underwear stash replenished, nothing fancy just good cheap regular sock and undies. The thing is you have to be creative with the wrapping, I disguise these packagas any way I can, bells, shaped boxes, you name it. Ont he eve of the big day, the kids are allowed to open one package, DH and I consider it a supreme victory when we talk them into opening socks or underwear (I know we are SO MEAN) anyway, for family it is totally OK to be utilitarian. (Like they aren’t going to be drowning in excitement anyway 🙂

  2. annaliza Post author

    I’ll tell her you are thinking of her when I call her tonight! Also, have your kids not figured out the fancy packages are more likely to be the socks and undies, or do you make all of your packages really fancy?

  3. KarenM.

    The mean part is that it isn’t just fanciness, one year I took DD’s most requested toy out of its obviously shaped box, wrapped the toy in a square box and wrapped all the socks and undies in the box shaped like the toy she wanted 🙂 We are still not forgiven for that particular evil, but it sure was funny to see her dump socks and underwear out of a box for the toy she REALLY wanted…. Makes me wonder how this girl is going to explain her family traditions to her future family 🙂

  4. Nancy G

    I will NEVER give DH “utilitarian” clothing items, most especially socks & undies. When he was in an orphanage as a little boy, that’s all they ever received for Christmas. Not a memory I wish to drudge up for him…

    But special handknits? You bet!


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