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When Life’s a Drag, Find Your Drag

Quarantine’s got me watching a lot of TV and, of course, knitting while I do. (Confession: I know most characters by voices and have no idea what they look like.) Knitting has been one of the few things keeping me sane. I don’t know about you, but I’m a wreck half the time. If I was better at feelings and verbalising, I’d explain why. Alas, I am not, so just like me, you get the ambiguity of only knowing I feel bad a lot. It’s easiest to classify it in black and white words such as those, even if it’s not a complete description.

One of the shows I’ve been enjoying is RuPaul’s Drag Race. Aside from the guilty pleasure of watching the drama (hello Untucked!) and reality TV, I love watching them grow. Seeing people find a family, connect through common interests, and letting themselves truly shine (literally at times), makes me appreciate when it’s happened to me. Hearing their stories and seeing them release a side of themselves that’s strong and beautiful, without judgement or shame is empowering. I always admire that. I think in all of us, there is some glitter, even as a hard core jeans and t-shirt gal (who actually hates glitter).

It was through this I realized: knitting is my Drag. Knitting lets me be bright and glittery and ridiculous and free. It lets me tap into those parts of me that I’ve reduced to illogical and therefore irrelevant. It helps me with my emotions. There’s something about the rhythmic clicking of the needles, the slow creation from nothing to something, that helps me make sense of the world. Watching a tangled mess of yarn become a item of warmth and security…. Yeah, I’ll make it through, clothed in pandemknits.

So I ask you, what’s your drag? What lets you be fully and completely you, lost in beauty and emotion and confidence? If your having a hard time with this pandemic stuff, I challenge you to find it. Find that thing that transports you beyond this world into a fantasy where you are queen (or king or quing or keen or whatever your best self is), and allow yourself to live there for awhile. Take a break from the news. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. We will make it together.

And if you need some knits, I got you. I’ll take a piece of your drag in return.

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It’s not all about the Benjamins

Shows always leave me super reflective. It’s so much to process when it’s happening that my brain needs a few days to catch up. Tonight, I can’t stop thinking about my venture into “The Barter Bin”. I had some old designs and inventory I’ve carried around too long, so offered items for trade, not cash. I had SO. MUCH. FUN. bartering with attendees at NerdFaire. Some people took suggestions off my sign, like assigning me to Hufflepuff and giving their first impressions of me. Some people gave me stickers and buttons and wrote me poems. I have several pictures of cats and dogs to awwwww over when I need a good awwwww. A three year old traded me a box of raisins, which is pretty high currency for that age. I got homemade muffins, a sleeve of Ritz, a game, and am expecting an original art piece featuring one of my cats.

Amongst all this, the most valuable thing I walked away with is that it’s not all about the money. Some barterers had to, to be able to take a toy home, yet some just wanted to have fun, were inspired to create, or see if they could get away with it. In the end, each one did it for various reasons, but all of them needed a chance to be heard. People need to share and if we give them an opportunity, they might surprise us. I know this was the highlight of my day, listening to what someone else found value in. I may not have walked away with more money, but I certainly walked away richer.*

Being at conventions like this one are my favorite shows. It’s an environment of acceptance and openness without fear of judgement. People are just themselves, showing off their fandoms and connecting with other people who “get it”. I wish we could live more of our lives in a space like that: full of acceptance and laughter and friendship. Removed from the fear of other’s thoughts about us, and sometimes our own thoughts about ourselves, we can just live for a few minutes and truly be the pun-slinging, geek, nerd, smart ass, awkward piece of human wonder that we are.

Or maybe that’s just me.

*I really really wanted to say “RITZer” but didn’t want the sentiment to be lost on a terrible pun.

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Ironic – like the Alanis Morissette kind

It’s kind of funny my last post was about one year. I inadvertently scheduled more than I could handle, as well as a continued struggle with (what I now know) is anxiety and depression. So I’ve been “off” for several months.

I got burnt out. Self doubt makes me wonder about things I make. Is it good enough? (It is!) Will people like them? (They do!) I honestly just like to make people smile. Sometimes life just really sucks, but if someone sees my stuff and laughs, it’s not so bad. Sometimes one moment of joy can turn it around. Random people laughing at my geek because they “get it” make me smile. I like when people feel included, even if it’s only in my silly jokes. (And trust me, they can get pretty silly.)

Art is a funny line of work. You want enough people to understand that you sell stuff and can pay bills, but not enough that your work becomes irrelevant or the dreaded “commercial”.

It’s also hard to convince people that yarn is an “art”. I can’t photocopy my work. Literally everything I make is by hand. Much of what I make takes a few hours, but an innumerable amount of hours analyzing and worrying about the best techniques or designs. There are both physical and mental complications. My hands hurt; my brain gets tired.

Ultimately, what I keep coming back to is: I have to do me. (You do you, boo.) I have to make what I feel like. I have to make what makes me laugh. I have to make what speaks to me. When I’ve made things “to sell”, it hasn’t gone well. When I’ve tried to make “what others want”, I am left with a clearance rack.

I’m so appreciative of those that continue to support me: through encouragement, through purchases, or even an occasional like here and there. You propel me to continue.

As I find my proper meds and a show schedule that works, I will keep knitting, crocheting, and designing. It will always be a process, and I’m starting to like that part of the journey.

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Mill Creek – 1 year Anniversary!

Wow! I cannot believe I have already been at this a year. Last year, Mill Creek was my first show. (Well technically, I’ve been working at this a year and a half because I needed a few production months. I make it….all by myyyseeelf, everything.)

Success means so many things to different people, but I would say it’s been a successful year. I have had SO. MUCH. FUN. I found out I love designing just as much as making. My skills have improved and continue to do so. I made several custom orders for some fantastic people. Meeting new people and interaction with other vendors is the best.

I’m not sure what this next year will bring, but all I can say, is BRING IT ON. I will have bigger and better designs, more pun-centric softees animals, and more knitted items.

Are you ready?

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Holiday Markets-Lake Forest Park

I have been furiously working away, getting more inventory and new items for the Lake Forest Park Holiday Craft fairs November 18 and December 16, from 10-3. On the list: holiday themed sea creatures, ornaments, and food items. Hopefully, I will be able to debut my “Obligatory Holiday Blanket”, as well as my Oregon Trail dysentery blanket. So many ideas in my brain! I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there.

There are also some more shows coming up, in addition to Oddmall in June and The Make Sale in April. More details to come……😀

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2019 bookings – THE FUTURE

Soon, it will be the future, and I already have a couple shows booked for next year!  In April, I will be at The Make Sale: Spring Edition and in June, I will be appearing at Oddmall: Emporium of the Weird.  How exciting! I’m planning some new creatures and blankets for both, so if you like rainbows, introverting, sea creatures, and snark, you know where to find me in April and June. IMG_5624

In the meantime, here is a picture of my cat because he’s a pretty boy. We can all take some cues from him. Love, be loved, enjoy food, and don’t forget to cross your paws.

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The Make Sale: Success!

My VERY FIRST SECOND show is over! I cannot wait for my VERY FIRST THIRD show to happen. I set up at The Make Sale in Monroe, WA on Friday and Saturday. It was the first year for this particular event, and I was very happy with the results! The organizers put in a lot of time, found high quality vendors, and advertised out the wazoo. For my booth, I wanted to knit in a rocking chair by the fireplace, so I did. Blankets, shawls, colorful hats, and, of course, manatees decorated the booth space. The response to my little stuffed animals was outstanding. I love that you love the thing I love to make the most. (That’s a lot of love!)

I have to say, I am so excited about all of this.  Starting something that includes so much of your personality on display is always scary. Will people like me? Will they think I’m funny? Will I just embarrass myself? Am I even good enough to be here? Those insecurities that ran through my mind as a child still rear their ugly head as an adult. As I get older (dare I say AGE?), the answers to those questions become less and less important. What is important? Happiness. It’s all about that happy, and knitting by the fireplace surrounded by beautiful creations from myself and others, being recognized by you, laughing, getting to know new friends… That is my happy place. Thank you for joining me , and I look forward to next time.

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Candy Corn Octopus says Stay Happy, my friends.

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You know what else makes me happy? Custom orders! For pricing, please email me at explodingstitches@gmail.com and I will respond with a quote and time frame for the piece.

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Well that went well

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Thank you all for coming out and supporting me at my very first show ever! I had an absolute blast and enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I knew I would enjoy the making of all the things for a show, but I wasn’t sure I’d like the show itself. Sure, they were long days, but I had help from a couple very special people (who I appreciate and love so much) and was situated next to two very nice and helpful vendors. One of my favorite things was MacGyvering the display so signs stayed up and looked nice. On a whim, I brought T-pins and I used them ALL OVER the booth. I learned so much over the weekend: about myself, business, and people!

My main take away is: You like me. You really like me. My top sellers were manatees and miniatures. I was blown away by their popularity. They are my favorite things to make, so that works out REALLY well. I’d made some things simply because I thought that’s what people would expect to find at a fair booth, but they didn’t do so well. What sold was MY IDEAS and MY DESIGNS. I think I’ll just keep doing whatever the hell I want, because that’s who I am. I started doing this to be me, make all the things and make people laugh. (My business cards even say I’m a humorist.) I’m just not a very good “corporate” employee, nor am I good at conforming. So now I have bins of inventory I thought were my guaranteed sellers staring at me, reminding me that people want genuine-ness and made up words. I’m already applying to my next shows and I hope to see you at one of those!IMG_5442

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Yarn for LIFE

I’m super excited to be at my first show this coming Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15!  (Find out more information here: Mill Creek Festival) For many years, I have contemplated that adage about finding your passion so work never feels like work. I’ve taken many professional and scholastic routes in search of this elusive “passion” in which people speak. Through all of that, the one thing on my mind has always been yarn. Could it be that YARN is my passion? Can yarn even be a passion? Well, I’m finally going to find out. All day, e’ry day, I’m thinking about yarn and patterns and knitting and crocheting and techniques and…. you know, stuff. So I’m finally doing that thing I have obsessed over for years. I have more supplies than I care to admit. When I bought that 20 pounds of poly-fil, I knew I was going all in, or at least have enough that some would be sold at the estate sale after my death. Dreams can be a scary place that take you in strange directions. Somehow it works out, even if it works out by not working out. Here’s to finding out which road I’m on…

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