Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Tuesday, March 04, 2003  

I was kinda joking about the zodiac post yesterday, trying to put my own grumpiness into perspective, diminishing its importance, but by gum, so many people had such uncannily similar weekends -

The truth is I'm a little embarassed about reading horoscopes and playing with Tarot cards because I feel like I'm still playing fairy tale, Aladin's cave, Three wishes type games - or rather I suspect it makes me appear juvenile. In the end I subscribe to the philosophy of personal responsibility and figure if I feel crummy it's up to me to change till I don't feel crummy. Or I can always choose to wallow in the slough of despond. It's a choice thing. But now and then it's nice to lay the burden on someone else. And with Jahara feeling like fiber shows can be ... a let down (more about that later) and Jen getting a headache ( I never get headaches, but I got one on Sunday!) And my friend K, who drove L and me to the Williamsburg Quilt Show and Fiber Festival, dropped by and said she developed the worst headache coming home Sunday too.... well. Maybe there is something to this planet thing after all.

LONG - Not Required Reading

As for fiber shows letting me down... hmm.. Jahara really touched a chord in me with her dismay over the hype, overblown, too much of the same thing aura that can surround a show. I'm not a quilter, though I have made a quilt, and though I can appreciate fine needlework in any format. I'd been to this particular show, which includes a display of Hoffman Challenge winners, twice before. I had never minded the many booths of quilt fabrics for sale. They didn't interest me, either, but I could imagine a quilter being delighted to see fortylevendyhundredthousand different fabrics to sew with. The displays of fabulous quilts have always been so interesting and inspiring and the addition of the little fiber arts part of the show meant there would be at least some yarn shops. In fact, I knew Carodan Farms was going to be there and had requests from friends to pick up some of their house brand yarn. I ought to have had a grand time - with friends around fiber.

Only I didn't. an old buggaboo caught up with me at that show and it has really unsettled me. Or, rather, it pricked me, reminding me of some truths I know about myself and showing me another view of Bess that brought interesting insight. Well, there. Learning usually comes with a bit of a struggle. right?

First the good stuff - Not only was Carodan Farms there, with the wool I was looking for, but Suzanne's Kniting Shoppee Inc, from Lynchburg, VA had a great display of Prism yarns and a sweater in entrelac done in Prisim's stuff that I absolutely drooled over. The price was fair, since I know how much Prisim Stuff costs, but I just don't have the chutzpa to spend $300+ when I have so much yarn in the house right now. There was also Pastora The Color Lady (click and scroll down the page a bit) with beautiful handpainted yarns and silk strips. She had a wonderful plum that was almost brown that faded into a rich pink that would have looked beautiful on me (and this is all about me, right?) only there wasn't enough for more than a vest and I don't wear vests much. But she had a green that made my girlfriend's eyes turn emerald when draped around her shoulders - almost as if she had on colored contacts. It was transforming. We gathered a crowd with our excitement and complete strangers stopped to admire. This is hand dyed yarn and we were there the last afternoon of the show - so it's no surprise she didn't have a lot of yarn left. K was a little reluctant, even after all our admiration, to buy 400 yds, though she is quite dainty and small and could make a vest out of 400 yds. But Pastora - like a mother who knows her children inside and out - jumped up, plucked a skein of yarn off the wall and laid the two skeins side by side. Wow - this was a skein that had been dyed in pinks and then overdyed in green. L and I were as happy as if this yarn had been for us - I swear, when something is really really right, you just have to be glad to witness it. There was also a nice booth with knitted beaded purses in kits for $10 and instruction books with those little 0000 piano wire knitting needles in cases for $20. And a good bead supplier who also had a happy attitude (very important at a show).

Okay that was the happy fun stuff.

And I did enjoy the Hoffman challenge winners as much as I thought I would. I'm just glad we went into that room first, when we got to the hotel that had the quilts in it. If we had turned right instead of left I don't think we would have stayed long enough to go look at the HC winners. It was here that the creeping return of depression began pricking me. So many many tables filled with little squares of cotton fabric. Mountains and heaps and piles of them. Okay - well, this was a quilt show, what did I expect. It was while looking at a booth with button jewelry that the horrible sadness slid, first into my heart, then my whole chest, and then it took over my brain. God, how could anybody put together THAT many button bracelets. And besides, I would so much rather have had the opportunity to buy them as buttons. I would have bought some if they had been buttons. But as jewelery - with so much of it - they looked trinkety - insipid - and sad. And a long ago experience of mine swam into my conciousness. A few years ago I made rather pretty pottery that was sold at a painted furniture shop in Old Town Alexandria. It was just enough of an outlet to allow me to keep making things I liked to make, but not have to have them clutter up the house. But when she moved to another state I had to sort of look around for another outlet. While doing so I attended several craft shows, one of them quite upscale. Maybe it was a bad year, maybe my core self was trying to tell my upperconciousness something - but the thought of making enough of the same thing to sell at a craft show just utterly depressed me - it almost made me resentful of people who were filling the world with SoMuchStuffToCleanAndTakeCareOf!!!. I suffered a 100% rejection of all artistic effort on my part. I never wanted to make anything again as long as I lived and I sure as heck never wanted to look at other people's trays and trays and trays of stuff.

It was the beginning of a bleak time for me, though I ended up filling it with other neat things, like creating a rose garden and bringing Internet Access to a rural community and building a new library. But that dormant artistic urge was a sore in my heart. Interestingly, it was some sort of accidental delivery of a Patternworks catalog in 1999 that awakened the sleeping beauty. I am so happy with knitting - so fulfilled by fiber arts - so delighted with all the wonderful fiber adventures lying up ahead. And knitting takes longer to complete than clay things so I am slightly less likely to overwhelm my house with homeless orphans of my creativity. But more importantly - I began to teach. That is when I really settled into a happy stride. I simply love the gleam and excitement I see in the eyes of a new knitter as she realizes she can make a cable or knit ribbing or do color stranded work after knitting for 1 week. Their energy pumps me up. And when they take off and fly, when they leap ahead of me, I have such fun scampering after them. The lady who came back after the 2nd class with a scarf knitted up with a strand of yarn and a strand of embroidery floss she'd strung pearls on. Wow!

So standing in that hotel room looking at those trays of button bracelets I suddenly realized why I have taken my own creativity into teaching. And I also realized that I don't really want to see a display of "stuff made" nearly as much as I want to see a display of supplies for making my own stuff. In the future I will choose the kind of fiber show that meets my needs. My ON-switch is operated by possibilities not by end products. This is more ENFP stuff, I am sure. I never have had much sense of accomplishment over completed products. I get depressed when all the work is done. It's why I always have several projects going at the same time. It's why I want to teach - to see even more projects in process. It's who I am. The journey lady. Not the destination dame.
Gosh it feels good to get this off my chest. So good, in fact, that I don't need to go into how absolutely ugly the display quilts were. Lawsee. Just because you can do a life sized photo transfer of your grandchildren onto cloth and quilt around it, doesn't mean you should.

posted by Bess | 7:24 AM