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Spruce Knits Stash Project.

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Spruce Knits Stash Project.

Apparently I have a lot of yarn. 

Apparently I have so much that I could probably knit an entire year's worth of garments without looking up and buying anything. 

Apparently I should use this as an opportunity to do good in the world. 

So I am launching my Stash Project, apparently. 

Here are my rules: 
*Knit Stash Only yarn from June 17th 2018 to June 17th 2019
*Write about my struggles (because they're going to be real) 
*Write up stash busting patterns for those of you who also want to quell your stash. 
*Donate my yarn budget to charity- especially since the world needs me to spend more doing good than it does me acquiring more yarn. 
*Read more books that help me check my privilege. 

I would love it if you could join me. The last few days/ weeks/ months/ years, I've been feeling incredibly useless to change the current wrong that's happening in the world. I write to help, but I often feel like a non-contributor. I am angry. Something has to be done. This is one small way I can make myself feel like I am doing SOMETHING. Jesus, anything. So I am sitting here, reading good books that allow me to check my privilege, and understanding that I have so much I can do. I can write, I can read, I can knit, I can give. I have a voice. I have talent. 

Right now I don't have the lifestyle that allows me to give the way I want and acquire yarn the way I want. If you do have the freedom in your life, please please do both- and buy from independent dyers. My patterns are both yarn buying enabling and stash busting. 

Now you might wonder why reading is a part of this project. Well, it wouldn't be worth it to me if I didn't learn something else in the process. Simply, I love reading, but it's more than that. I want to make sure that I am learning how to be a better human to other humans. The only way to do that is to study the voices in the margins. My book choices will be from diverse voices in order for me to understand a perspective that is not mine. This is the whole point of the project; to move out of my comfort zone in order to give others some comfort. We do these things to learn how to be human. 

If you're interested, follow me by using the hashtag #SpruceKnitsStashProject. 

The rules for you: 
*Use your stash (all yarn you buy is your stash, so the parameters are pretty large) 
*Knit for yourself or others
*Give something of yourself. Whether you donate, volunteer or just generally be a decent human being to those around you. Be a good neighbor. 
*Show me what you're reading. Show me you're learning. 

I hope that you join me. 

Lets do better. 

 

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Craftivist in Your Life

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Craftivist in Your Life

The tradition of gift giving is probably my favorite part of the holiday season. I love browsing the stores thinking about the people I love and sending them something that I think they might like. I try to add meaning by making them something-it's a great time to think about them and send them positive thoughts and prayers. It's one of the ways I love to show my love. 

This year, the idea of the craftivist has come into focus with the Pussy Hat movement, and the Women's March on Washington. As a knitting activist, I especially love the challenge of giving something with meaning to my fellow freedom fighters. Here are some gift ideas for the craftivist in your life. 

1.) A donation in their name to a cause they care about: 
You probably know what they support if you follow them on social media. They've been advocating for this particular cause all year. They work hard to get the word out about what's important to them (doesn't everybody?). By giving to an organization that they love, it shows them that you're paying attention. Bonus points: if they tend to be minimalist and don't need anything, and the cause is something that you wouldn't normally send money to (actually extra bonus points to that since it really shows that you truly love them). A little tip for donating to a cause you can't stand: Ask yourself how this cause will hurt other people? What good is it doing for others? Focus on the good. Research it, and if you find it has more pros than cons, (objective pros... not your opinion) then donate. 

2.) Items from independent distributors:
We L-O-V-E small businesses. We have a love-hate relationship with Amazon (I mean, they donate money to our causes, but big business!!!). A great gift to the craftivist in your life could be a craft item from a local craft store. In my case, a skein of independently dyed yarn from a Local Yarn Store would be the best thing. If you buy me a sweater quantity in that yarn, you have my pure devotion forever and have officially become knit worthy. Whatever the craft is be it, carpentry, quilting, crochet, or basket weaving a little internet search should bring you to a small shop that works hard and is a jewel in the community. Local independent bookstores are also a huge yes for us. 

3.) Support businesses run by minorities: 
Much in the same way we love indie stores, we really love and fully support stores run by minorities. The Black vote in Alabama just saved us from another horrible person in the Senate, the least we could do is support them with our patronage. I mean, thats the bottom of the barrel least we can do. 

4.) Buy us a year of Audible: 
Again with that love-hate of Amazon, Audible is a great way for us to get our reading time in--but it can be any audiobook app or feature you can find. Craftivists are readers. We read everything we can get our hands on. A lot of us have an Audible subscription so we can listen while we work. By taking that financial burden off of us for a year, you're allowing us to continue our work and continue our learning. In a way, its an investment in our ability to put our money where our mouths are. 

5.) Support other Activists: 
A lot of us have something for sale on our websites to help us live our lives. We love to share what we have with the world and would love to offer our goods for free, but we also know we are worth our hard work. IF you're really on the fence about what to get your outspoken-pussy hat wearing-cat lady-sister, you're probably not paying close enough attention. A pattern from an independent designer, with the right amount of supplies for the pattern, and a small donation to a cause she loves will go a long way with her. 

It's not important if you agree with your craftivist or not. Just the fact that you're listening to them and supporting them goes a long way. It allows for honest dialogue and heart to heart conversation. We really need more of that this year. 

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Holiday Self Care

When I was a child, my mother did everything to make the holidays a magical time. She put the tree up, and let it stay up well into January. She would dance to Christmas music in the car on the way to school. She would let us stay up late and watch the Christmas specials on tv. My favorite was the Christmas Eve tradition of driving around and looking at the lights on the houses, visit my Grandma and rush home to be in bed before Santa came. Christmas was my favorite tiof year, thanks to my mom. She worked hard to make the holidays perfect. 

I think a lot of us feel that similar pressure to make the holidays the better than the last year. It can be stressful, especially with the nostalgia from our childhood memories. Feeling the pressure to be "on" all season, to find perfect gifts for your in laws and extended family, not to mention gifts for the close family. I get it. Add hosting duties and it's over. It doesn't matter what religious background you come from, December can be a tough month. 

I am writing to you today to tell you that it's okay to take care of yourself. Your family won't remember the perfect christmases, especially since perfect doesn't exist. My list sounds a lot like mindfulness, and it is. Being present during the holidays has helped me get through some of the rough ones. It's okay to want to take care of yourself.

1. Step Back

It's so easy to get caught up in the need to make everything magical and perfect. So easy that we tend to forget what it is that we are actually spending time to celebrate. When this happens to me, I try to step back and practice a little mindfulness. Think about what you need to do in this moment. Think about your problems within the larger scope of the world. Think about all you have, rather than what you don't have. (Trust me this one is hard for me, everyone knows how much I love shopping) We really do have so much, even if all we can be thankful for is the breath in our lungs. 

2. Find Your Tradition. 

We all have the tradition that we love. What is the one thing that can make you really enjoy the holidays? For me it's walking around my neighborhood at night, slowly taking in my neighbors light displays. For someone else, it might be attending an Advent church service. Hell, I even love having a fire in the fireplace with my knitting and a big glass of wine. (But that's everyday, so I don't know if it counts) Either way, find something that you can do that makes you enjoy your time. 

3. Set Boundaries

You can't do everything, and really, who wants to? If you're knitting or making hand made gifts, allow yourself some time to make them, and make them for people who will appreciate it. (We have the term Knit Worthy for a reason ha ha) If you're going to be stressed out by that one racist uncle at your holiday party, remove yourself from the conversation. Christmas is my happy space. I don't mind making things for people and I definitely don't mind engaging when someone is being rude, but if that person is in my happy space either physically or mentally and they're draining my joy, they can leave. It's that simple. If they want to engage in controversial topics, they can take it outside. If I wonder if I am wasting my time on a gift that wont be appreciated, I buy them something easy instead. My sacred space is for me and the joy of my family, and I welcome people to join me there. It doesn't mean that I have to let people take advantage of my love. 

4. Give Back

The holidays are a time to remember that we aren't alone in this world, and that there are people who are having a more difficult time than we are. The whole basis of this design company is to give back to people who work hard all year to make the world a better place to live in. Find some way to give back this holiday season. Seek out a charity or program that could use you. Volunteer at a food bank. Give money to those in need. It might not seem like it, but giving back is the single most important thing you can do during the holidays that will bring you joy. I know what it's like to be poor and unsure of where my next meal is going to come from. I know what it's like to work hard for almost nothing. These people deserve our love and respect. We are in this life together, help each other. Love each other. 

These are some of the things that help me bring back my Holiday Joy. What are some of yours? Do you have any special traditions that you absolutely love? What makes this time of year special to you? Add yours in the comments below. 

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