Sunday, August 31, 2008

Binge Stitching...

So, I'm a refugee. I have escaped Southeast Louisiana and I'm now at my parents' house in Northwest Florida. Unfortunately, Hubby is not with me. We have a family-owned business and he needs to be there to keep everything under control during the storm and to get things up and running as quickly as he can after the weather passes.

What am I doing now? Worrying, waiting, obsessively watching the news and Weather channel, and knitting. I call it therapy knitting, but I've found myself becoming a bit fixated on it. I actually packed my supplies in my evacuation kit! So far I've been working on baby burp cloths (thanks Mason Dixon Knitting), but I've also got a sweater that is a work in progress that I will try and finish in the next day or so. Of course, when given the opportunity, I made a bee-line to the local yarn shop and enough yarn for several more projects. Oh my! Some people turn to alcohol, others comfort eat; I hoard yarn.
There is something completely soothing for me working with yarn in times of stress. The repetitive motions and need to focus on maintaining a pattern help distract me from whatever is on my mind causing me worry. After I lost my grandmother to liver cancer, I completed a king sized afghan based on one of her patterns in about a week and a half! After Katrina, I turned to cross stitching and completed a portrait of Mickey Mouse in front of the American flag almost entirely before the power even came back on. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it, it's a pretty impressive piece of work if I do say so myself! So, we'll see how much I get accomplished this week while watching my home take a beating again. Please say some prayers for New Orleans, whether you're a religious person or not, we need all the help we can get tonight.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The beginnings of a fiber addiction....

Okay, so here's my dilemma, there are only so many hours in a day, and the majority of them are dedicated to one very small, yet demanding little girl. The hours that are left, must be divided between Hubby, knitting and whatever else I feel like doing (blogging, reading, etc.). So, tonight I will forgo knitting my sweater for a little while and look back to where it all began for me. A yarn stash born, an addiction begun....

My grandmother, Nanny, was a crafter through and through. She quilted and crocheted beautifully, but she was also one of those ladies who could look at something and figure out how to make one herself. She was brilliant, but never thought so herself. When I was five, we moved to Charlottesville, VA which was not terribly far from Nanny and PaPa's house in Norfolk, only a couple of hours. So we went down to see them often.

I was a very loud and active child (big shocker, I know), so my grandmother was often trying to find ways to hold my interest. When I was around six, she put a crochet hook in my hand for the first time along with a ball of pink variegated yarn. Thinking back, it was hideous yarn, but I love the stuff to this day for the memories it evokes. I had some in my yarn drawer for years and when Nanny died, I found some of it still in her stash. She taught me to make a chain and it kept me busy for hours! I would chain the whole ball, then re-wind the ball and start again. I could wrap that chain around the entire house. On subsequent trips she taught me different stitches and how to turn rows. I made blankets galore for my stuffed animals!

Nanny (and my mom as well) also taught me how to sew on plastic canvas, cross stitch and various other crafts; I will confess a love for making just about any kind of handicraft, but crochet is what stuck with me throughout my life. This is my "I was country, when country wasn't cool" moment. I crocheted long before knitting and crochet began to get popular. I was closeted for certain, not even my closest friends knew, but I did it nonetheless. I didn't come out until college, during a bad breakup, I stayed in my suite at the dorm and made an entire afghan in one week as my own weird form of therapy. My suite-mates looked at me rather strangely, but darned if they didn't all want blankets of their own!

After college, I was still crocheting and terrified of the prospect of two needles. I just couldn't grasp the concept of how it was done and the risk of dropping stitches. Crochet is an instant gratification kind of a hobby, things work up fairly quickly and if you mess up, well, you jut rip it out and start over. Knitting is a whole different beast. But after I discovered my best friend from high school was also a yarn girl and knitting, I was intrigued. Plus she had made a really cool sweater that I wanted, so, I had to learn. That was about six years ago. I still crochet from time to time, but I am obsessed with knitting and all the pretty patterns you can create. Plus, it uses less yarn that crochet, so I can afford to use much higher quality stuff. I have become addicted to expensive yarn. It's kind of crazy, if I went into a store and saw a sweater for the price that I've paid for some of my yarn, I would think it was way over-priced, yet I spend it and then have to do the work to assemble it too. Hmmm....

Hubby teases me about yarn being my heroin, how sad and true that statement is. I get the shakes walking out of a yarn store with empty hands. I crave new yarn like and alcoholic craves his next drink. I justify my addiction by telling myself that I am creating things for other people and really that's a fairly generous thing to do, but in reality, I am a yarn-oholic and I just NEED it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bow-Fishing Adventure

Okay, so I guess today is as good a day as any to begin my blogging experience. Despite my blog's title, today's entry has nothing to do with knitting or crafts whatsoever. Sorry for false-advertising.

Last night was definitely a new experience for me. Generally, I tend to be an indoor type, especially when heat and insects are involved, but when Hubby and I were invited to go bow-fishing with Hubby's attorney, how could I turn down such an intriguing new adventure? Here's the basic premise, you get on an air-boat at night and head out into the marshes to literally hunt for fish. No wimpy waiting for fish to come to you and bite a hook for us, no sir! So, ignoring the fact that I haven't shot an arrow since camp in junior high (and I pretty much stunk at it back then, too), off we went down to the little town in Southest Louisiana called Jean Lafitte. Yes, it's named after the pirate because it's where his hide-out used to be and supposedly his treasure and ghost still reside there today.

We headed down to Lafitte after Hubby got off work on Friday. I thought we were heading for a camp down there, but we were, in fact, staying at the marina where our air-boat would be leaving from. Here's a picture of our bunk-house. It really wasn't that bad inside, but when I saw the outside, the spoiled little girl in me whined, "We're staying there?" The marina was filled with small, run-down boats, shrimp boats, trailers and equipment. And one very interesting , and out of place addition. Nicholas Cage's yacht was moored down there. He and his family have been down there for about two weeks! All the amazing places they could choose to go for vacation and they were down in Jean Lafitte, LA. Interesting choice, guess they truly wanted to get away from it all. The marina owner even told us they had taken the 130' yacht into the bayous earlier in the week to catch catfish from. I found that really amusing, fishing from that huge boat in a tiny bayou.

Attorney had dinner waiting for us when we arrived. Steak and mashed potatoes with plenty of cabernet. Yummy! I am a girl who loves her red meat (and wine)! Afterwords, we made our way over to the dock to wait for our guide and his boat. And wait, and wait... The guide was about an hour late, not really his fault, there was a wreck on the one road leading to Lafitte, but still...I'm waiting an hour at a dock with MANY flying insects and beetles. Let's focus here, people, it's all about me! Okay, not really, but the fact that he was late gave Attorney plenty of time to regale me with a story of not one, but two incidents on prior bow-fishing trips. In one, the boat sank with them out in the middle of the marsh, in the second, he ended up stranded on a bit of land out in the marsh surrounded by alligators. I don't know about you, but this is definitely not a story I really wanted to hear prior to embarking on my great adventure. Still, I didn't let it get to me too much and psyched myself up for a good time, shooting fish and being in nature.

Once the guides arrived they got the boat loaded into the water fairly quickly, and we set off! The boat was the standard air-boat like you see in any movie set in Louisiana with the addition of a platform attached to the front for us to shoot from. The platform had lights attached underneath so we could see the fish in the water. I will say that it was pretty cool riding through the intercoastal waterway and marshes at high speed with only the lights under the platform and one hand-held spotlight to guide us. It was kind of like that swamp chase scene from that James Bond movie....okay, so not really that cool, but still a lot of fun! Oh, except for the fact that if you smiled, you ran the risk of getting bugs in your teeth. I was amazed at the guide's ability to know where we were going without the usual visual references the rest of us would rely on.

When we got to our first "fishing" spot, the guides showed us how to use the bows and we got started looking for and shooting fish. The mass of bugs surrounding us was amazing! I'm really shocked that I didn't get absolutely skeezed out because I am truly one who HATES the insect world. The marshes are teeming with life, not just bugs, but little fish were jumping out of the water everywhere you looked, there were stingrays, shrimp and alligators (which I was quickly instructed that I was NOT to shoot!). We were looking primarily for redfish, but also for sheepshead and drums. They are not as easy to spot as one might hope. The guides kept pointing for us and I would look where they were pointing and see NOTHING! I think they quickly decided that I would be hopeless and concentrated their spotting efforts primarily to Attorney and Hubby. I did figure it out after a while though and started to see the fish that we were after. I shot and shot and shot and hit nothing. Darn that refraction. Well, I say I hit nothing, I actually hit a couple of fish, but I was so bad at drawing the bowstring that the arrow kinda bounced off the fish. Hubby and Attorney got several and I think Hubby was starting to feel like Robin Hood! I was so proud of him! After many tries I did manage to hit one small redfish. I was SO excited. This was by far more success than I was expecting and made the trip worth it for me. Of course, that didn't mean we could head back so we proceeded to hunt for fish for HOURS. After a bit, I pretty much determined that my one hit was a fluke and I retired to the captain's seat high above the water and became an observer. It turned into a beautiful night with a cool breeze and stars everywhere. Hubby came back and joined me after a while. We were definitely becoming bored with the fishing, but enjoyed the evening. Until about 1:30am, then we just wanted to go back to the dock! We finally got back to the marina around 2:30am. Boy, did I ever have to pee! All-in-all, though, a very fun experience. I'm really glad we went and even happier we didn't run into any spectral pirates!

Now, we're waiting on our turn at Tropical Storm Fay, so I'm going to sign off and bring in some plants before the winds pick up!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

About me...

Hmmm....this leads to a very interesting question. Who am I? And to top that off, what can I say here that will hook people and get them reading and caring about my blog. Okay, so I'm not really so worried about that, but c'mon, we all care what other people think just a little bit, whether we admit it or not.

To start off with, I'm a yarn addict. I have a problem, but I've accepted that and I'm trying to find a way to deal with my addiction and incorporate it into my life and still be able to function normally. Okay, so maybe not "normally", but in a way so that I can still get the other things in my life that need doing, done. I have some serious responsibility. Namely, I'm trying to raise a good human being. I think of all the jobs we do in life, that's the most important. For the most part, no one really remembers what you did for a job when your gone (unless you're famous, and I'm not), the only lasting legacy that you leave is your children. So, I want mine to be really good. So far I only have one, but I want her to have all the options in the world, but I also want her do be a good person who looks out for others and is kind.

I'm also a wife. I love that job. I like having Hubby come home and tell me that Baby Girl and I are the highlight of his day. So, right now, that's me: wife, mommy, crafting fiend. The description probably will change as I grow up (I know, technically an adult, but never fully grown), so I'll keep this updated as need be.