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In the (Knitting) Zone

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on May 20, 2009 ,
Lucas, knitting and music make me whole

Lucas, knitting and music make me whole on the commute

This weekend I got my hands on my very first real MP3 player. We’re talking a decent amount of space, not one you spend $10 on that will hold 30-40 songs and run through a pair of AA batteries 5 minutes after you turn it on; no, I purchased a real 8gb Zune that will allow me to listen to all of my favorite music, podcasts, and even watch videos. (Knitting technique video clips on me wherever I go? Priceless.) While I’m not thrilled that it’s a Microsoft product considering 90% of the computers in the house are currently Linux, (That was an arbitrary percentage to indicate that most computers are Linux, with one or two that can dual boot into either Windows or Linux, OR run a virtual Win box within Linux) it does fit my needs without breaking the bank. Score. (EDIT: Or so I thought. I had some major issues with the Microsoft proprietary software that I was forced to use with this thing, [big surprise! It’s Microsoft; I should’ve known better] and after my 5th day having it, I’d had enough. It shouldn’t have been this fiddly or stressful! I returned the Zune to get the same 8gb Sony Walkman brand my husband uses, with the same features! Hurrah! Unfortunately it’s not pink, but oh well. The brand of 8gb music/video player doesn’t matter to the rest of the post, however, so keep on reading!)

The morning and afternoon commute consists of my husband and I sharing a seat on the Calgary CTrain, aka public transit. We’re on the train for around a half hour each way to get into downtown for work. I always carry some knitting and he usually reads the free morning paper on the way in. I enjoy using public transit; there are lots of interesting people on the train and I don’t have to deal with traffic. Unfortunately, that also means I (along with everyone else) am usually subjected to random idiocy, such as Loud-Talking-People who simply MUST have that private conversation about their recent medical exam or issue with “that horrible girl from accounting” as loudly as possible on their cell phones. They do realize that they are on public transit, right? Their conversations are aired out to the world and most of the time they don’t even realize they are forcing everyone else on the train to listen in on their private lives. It’s annoying. I don’t care that you split your pants at work, nor do I want to hear how you just can’t stand so-n-so or “Like, omg you should’ve heard what she said to me!” drama.  No thanks.

Suddenly with an MP3 player, my issues seem to be solved. I get on the train, snuggle next to Lucas as he reads his paper, and get lost in my knitting zone.  It’s zen: my favorite music is playing — quietly enough to not disturb those around me or kill my ear drum, but also at a level where most everyone else is tuned out — and I knit. And I knit. And before you know it, I hear the signal that I’m a stop or two away from where we get off for work and I put my things away and smile happily; a happy sigh that can only be achieved by pure bliss. Sure I still have to smell some of the other passengers, but not being forced to listen to the ones that talk so loudly about things no one wants to hear while still getting to enjoy hubby and my knitting for a full half hour (twice a day!) is fantastic. I have found my knitting zen.

Now I just gotta be sure to not turn into one of *those* mp3 listeners — it’s been hard to keep myself from breaking into song occasionally (music will do that to you), and I do find myself gently tapping my foot or getting my knitting into the rhythm of whatever song is playing.  As long as I can keep it confined to my hands and my knitting instead of singing aloud, it’ll be all good. Because trust me… no one wants to hear that.


Purls of Wisdom

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on May 12, 2009 ,

The Boston Globe published a very interesting article that will cause knitters all over the world to smile: Purls of Wisdom. The author, Irene Sege, explains how she took up knitting for the good of her brain. It’s one of the activities recommended by doctors to potentially help keep your brain healthy, active and sharp in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Knitting, as Irene’s doctor pointed out, could “open new neural pathways that Sudoku and crossword puzzles couldn’t” and the article delves into the ways that knitting helps to strengthen your focus and concentration skills. As one commenter on the article pointed out, learning *new* things and using *new* skills is what counts to open new pathways in your brain to keep it healthy, though I truly feel knitting still fits the bill as you learn and grow with it because there is SO much to learn in the realm of knitting and other fiber arts. I know it will be a very long time before I learn everything there is to know about knitting and it will take years to learn all the techniques. Each new technique and skill that I learn over time is a chance to open those pathways. And as I work to design my own patterns down the road, I am creating more growth, too. It’s a really great read!


Score!

Posted in Knit & Crochet , on September 29, 2008 ,
My new knitting tote

My new knitting tote

Last week I received an email from Michaels with a make-your-own-50%-off-sale coupon (as did everyone else on their mailing list) and Lucas treated me to a shopping spree on Saturday.  Wow am I a lucky girl!  I used the 50% off coupon on something I’ve needed for a long time … a knitting bag.  I’ve been pining for one of the Ravelry totes but it’s on my Christmas list.  The fact that I needed something useful for carrying my WIPs around became very apparent this past Thursday when the first official meeting of the SE Calgary Knit & Crochet group took place.  We organized on Ravelry.  It started with me looking on the Calgary discussion board for any groups that were already meeting way down in the SE.  It turned out that there weren’t any, so once it became apparent that there were several showing real interest in the idea, we just decided to make our own.  We met at a local Starbucks and it was really great!  There were four of us total with one other confirmed to be there next month along with a possible sixth member, too.  It was a great way to meet and get to know

luscious yarn!

luscious yarn!

each other. As I was getting ready for my first knit-and-crochet-in-public social event, I realized I was carrying my current WIP (a baby blanket for the Ckalieys) around in a Safeway bag.  Sad.  I managed to scrounge up something for Thursday but I was elated to pick up a real knitting travel bag at Michaels with my coupon and it’s so handy!  Just look how pretty!

And that’s not all I got at Michaels.  I’ve been carrying around a tattered yarn wish (read: need) list in my purse for all the yarn required to make the Christmas gift items on my to do list this season.  Most of it was on sale and so I picked up more yarn in that one trip than I’ve bought over the last several months combined. Needless to say, it was an exciting day :)  Just look at all of that luscious yarn!

screenie of My Memories Suite in action

screenie of My Memories Suite in action

I’ve got several digital scrapping freebies ready to give away (I’m glad everyone liked the CU paper edgers from yesterday!) but also on the horizon are some tutorials for working with the My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software I use.  I’ve gotten a few emails lately from users asking about its features after they read my review, and now that I’ve had the software for nearly a year and have been using it extensively, I think some tutorials would be a great idea.  Inspired by an email I got today, I’m already working on a basic features intro and a tips and tricks for layering paper tutorial.  I know it won’t be of much use to those of you who don’t use My Memories Suite, but perhaps the free videos will inspire you and get you excited enough about the software that you’ll want to pick it up for yourself! :)  I really can’t rave enough about it.

So that’s what’s new on the crafting front.  See you back here soon for more freebies later in the week and some software tutorials.  And with all of that great yarn I just got, you can be sure there will be some more WIPs to share in the very near future :)  Have a great week! :heart: