A Mystery and a Favor

IMG_0794I received some yarn in the mail the other day and was amazed at how cool this stuff was. I love it. LOVE it. Probably my new favorite. Four small skeins in four different colors. Enough to do maybe 2 or 3 different bears with different hats and sweaters.

There’s only one tiny little problem…..I have no idea who sent it or what kind of yarn it is. It truly feels like a mix of wool and cotton. An extraordinarily durable, but soft yarn that was pliant in my hands, but whose fibers held close together… I love this stuff so much that I would definitely consider making this my go-to yarn for bears from now on. An exclusive yarn I work with. So! I need your help! Who sent me this???? I am so anxious to thank you!!! What kind of yarn is it???? It’s definitely a natural fiber, you can feel it, but who makes it???? PLEASE contact me and let me know. The return address was a little messed up by the time it got here, but there is one clue on there that I can use to identify you, so PLEASE be in touch with me and let me know who you are so I can thank you so much for this AMAZING yarn.

The bear I was able to make with this mystery yarn measures 12″ from head to toe, has a mock sweater and a removable cap. He’s ready to ship tomorrow morning with a signed card by me. He’s the only one……but, I sure would like to know what this yarn is so I can make more. If you would like to adopt him, just click the picture.

If you’d like the pattern so you can make this bear, click here.

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For Safekeeping

I’m doing a lot of knitting today while my cabbage stew is quietly brewing on the stove top. It’ll be ready soon, but in the meantime, I was working up a bear and watching Rick Steves’ Europe on Hulu. Just because I have problems traveling short distances, doesn’t mean I can’t travel in my mind, right? I was watching one of his pieces on Istanbul. I’ve always wanted to visit Istanbul. I want to see whirling dervishes. Real ones. Not dervishes on tour. I want to see them there in Istanbul. Swirling in prayer. And as I was watching the program he made a mention of one thing that called back so many memories I had to stop what I was doing to laugh a little bit. Rick Steves mentioned Donner Kebabs and I had instantly went into a trance of memory.

As some of you know, I lived in Berlin when I was a young man. I lived in Dahlem, in the south western part of the city. And on many occasion I would rush into the center, to the Ku’Damm with friends, to slosh around a Gothic club or two. Yes, you may not know this about me, but I was a very prized dancer in my day. :) We would hit the Linientreu, spend all evening listening to what we all know as classics. Alien Sex Fiend. The Sisters of Mercy. Dance or Die. Depeche. Siouxsie. My friends and I would spill out of the Linientreu, or the Madhouse in Kreuzburg late in the evening, heading for the last U-Bahn (subway) that would take us home. Without fail, there was always a kiosk with Donner Kebabs on the way home. Oh, mercy. Drunk and stoned off hashish (come on, I was 18), nothing gave more comfort into sobriety before heading home than a Donner Kebab. That richly spiced lamb cut thinly, smothered in a lovely, spicy sauce and gingerly placed inside a coven of folded flat bread was the highlight of the evening. I could go home (hopeful) that my parents had no clue I was a little screwed up :) When people find out I lived in Berlin for 5 years they ask me how the German food was, and I can honestly say, “I have no idea. If I wasn’t eating Turkish food, I was eating Burger King, McDonald’s. Pizza Hut.”

And the waft of my cabbage stew slowly snaked its way back into my mind, bringing me back to today. To here. To now. No memories of past. I was standing in my 2 foot kitchen with a wooden spoon stirring it slowly and I smiled. I thought of the memories good food remind us of.

Someday, I’m going to look back and think about a day when I was broke, no money, but so happy with a pot of cabbage stew. I’m going to look back and recall fondly a day where it rained, and all I had to my name was ambition, where my long fingers spent their days working up teddy bears to life….and I loved every minute of it. Great things will happen someday, and I just can’t wait for the day a memory brings me back here…..where life felt good having but a few things.

…..the good moments that happen now should always be kept for safekeeping…..They’re always a much needed smile in later days.

The lesson? Whatever you do, have a great NOW. There is nothing better for the spirit than enjoying what you have NOW.

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An Awesome Blue

IMG_0780Very drizzly weekend. Love watching autumn creep its way in slowly. I received an awesome stash of spare yarns and included was this great super wash merino wool from Malabrigo Yarn. An awesome blue, electric and striking, caught my eye and I got work on putting him together with a mock sweater and removable hat. The brown and creme is made from Lionbrand’s Fisherman’s wool. He measures 12″ from head to toe and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. Just click on the picture to adopt him.

I’m thinking a nice rainy weather stew of cabbage and sausage is in order today……

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Like Playing Dress Up

IMG_0775I’m having the best time playing around with these new bears with sweaters, hats and scarves. Yeah, I guess it is a little like playing dress up. Ok, ya’ll know me. Jeans, t-shirt, ballcap, boots. Done. Fun to dress these bears up in a fashionable way that I am in NO way familiar with. Looking scruffy is my thing. Looking dapper is for these bears. And I really can’t stress how much I like them. It’s great being able to look at small bits of yarn left around and getting creative, at putting colors together to see how they match up, and finally, at being able to see these bears all dressed up and ready to go out into the world, fully ready for winter. The brown and creme on this bear are made from Lionbrand’s Fisherman’s Wool. The pink and grey are Wool Ease.  The bear measures 12″ from toe to head and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to adopt this little one, just click on the picture. And if you’d like the pattern to this bear, just click here.

Ok, gonna work up a few more of my back ordered bears, then rummage through my stash to see what other bears with sweaters, hats and scarves I can come up with.

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Give That Bear His Own Pattern

IMG_0768People seemed to like my Teddy Bear with Mock Sweater, Hat and Scarf so much…..(man, that seems like an awfully long title……) anyway, people like the bear so much, I thought I’d whip up a pattern for him. And, as always, with it being the middle of the month and my looking ahead towards next month’s rent, I thought I’d go ahead and and publish the pattern, promote it, and hopefully bring in a few bucks. I’m currently working on another version of the bear to hopefully post tomorrow, this one is a touch more feminine with pink being used instead of the Jade Heather. Actually, the pink, brown, creme and grey all look so really nice together. Like a classic Parisian box of confections. Dang, that was a nice description…..Anyhow, grab the pattern! Make up some teddy bears for the winter! Share the pattern with your friends, your knitting friends, and convince them to make up a teddy bear for you! If you’d like the pattern for the bear, just click on the picture.

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Give That Bear a Hat and Scarf

IMG_0768The bear with the mock sweater was such a hit, and I received so many comments about him, that with some of the leftover jade and grey I insisted I give it another shot, except someone mentioned I ought to give the little guy a hat and scarf. Sure! Why not???? A few years ago I did a Christmas bear with a hat and scarf (see my pattern links below) so a hat and scarf would be simple.

I stayed up REALLY late last night working on him. Ok ok ok, I got caught up watching “The United States of Tara” and couldn’t pull myself away, and finally finished the little bear this morning. I adore him. I really do. He has a mock grey sweater with a “hem” around the waist and cuffs, and a matching jade hat with grey accents, to go with with his jade scarf. Yes, both the hat and scarf are removable. He measures 12″ tall from toe to head, is made of wool and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. I hope whomever shall adopt this bear takes exceptionally good care of him because this is one of those little bears that made me really proud. I plan to do quite a few more in this style because its an awesome way to get rid of leftover yarn and I just love the way this little bear looks. Alright then, if you’d like to adopt him, just click on the picture.

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Some Bears are Grey

IMG_0762This is the bear I worked on last night. A nice little traditional grey bear with a subtle smile and made from Lionbrand’s Wool Ease, which is a wool, acrylic blend. He is a touch smaller than my usual bears, measuring just a little more than 10″ from tippy toe to top of head. He’s ready to ship with a signed card from me. Hope he gets adopted today. It’s Sunday. I think I’d like to treat myself to a nice big pot of beef stew for Sunday dinner. Cheers! Click on the pic to adopt him.

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You Take Me There

So, as I mentioned in one of my last posts that I have an issue with traveling from my own home, that a sense of agoraphobia keeps me from actually getting on the highway, or heading past a certain street. I am inclined to venture no more than where I can walk safely back home. And at this point, its roughly 2 miles, give or take. But the mind and its imagination are an amazing tool, and it doesn’t keep me from “traveling” to different parts of the world.

For instance, I spend most of my Saturdays in Britain. I don’t know why. But, I’m fond of the place. Perhaps it’s ancestral voices calling. I spend the majority of my day knitting and watching the classics. Absolutely Fabulous. Keeping Up Appearances. Are You Being Served? The Inbetweeners. The Vicar of Dibley. And then I softly set myself into the evening, where I slip into some Kate Bush and some Portishead and keep on working until the giddy, flirty laughter of Graham Norton gets me laughing just before bedtime.

And I have friends all across the globe that inspire that, as well. My friend Giovanni, an Italian man who ironically lives in the Netherlands, during our last call inspired me to have panzanella for lunch. Whenever we speak, I am inclined to have a cannelloni, or pick a photo off instagram of a slowly moving blue sea, and dream of mothers that shower you with delicate, rich dinners, of wine made on property, and of landscapes that tell tales of lands wrought with passions.

And a fondness for an email I once received from someone in Spain, which had me for the rest of the evening watching Pedro Almodovar films and eating tapas. Of laying on my back in a park gazing in wonder up at Gaudy, of broad squares where people mingle and linger at the end of the day with wine in one hand, their lover’s grasp in the other.

And emails I get from Germany that remind me of being a young man in Berlin, where I lived for five years, smelling brotchen being baked, where the tempting of the cold spirit is smashed by the impressiveness of the their determination to live boldly, where  big men with steins brought me to my knees in sexual admiration, and tender women who batted lashes so well that I was inspired to write a book about it in my early 20’s.

So, just because I cannot physical go more than 2 miles without a panic attack doesn’t mean I don’t “travel” extensively. And each of you take me there. I love hearing from all of you, and your own genuine uniqueness and cultures. In a way, you invite me to share and enjoy them with you.

My bears have been all over the world at this point, and hearing of their journeys and where they arrive allow me some sort of ambassadorship.

There is a touch of hope and joy in my bears that has landed itself in so many countries and cultures. And in a way, I am afforded the same sort of travel and enjoy every minute of being there with you.

I spend time in my mind being with you wherever you are. And if I can’t? Then I’ll send a bear along in my place.

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More Jade

IMG_0745So, despite my previous post, I still had to get some work done. I had a great talk with my friend in the Netherlands after my post and that actually made me feel tons better. I’m hoping my friend in Wyoming will be available later, as well. Waiting for the rain to pass. Once it does I’d like to go for a walk around the neighborhood. It would be great if I could get Mario to go on a leash. (Yes, we HAVE tried and I nearly lost an eye in the battle). I think maybe later this evening I’ll watch something feel-good. You know? Like a marathon of “That 70’s Show” or something.

Anyhow, the last Jade bear I had was adopted in NO time flat, but since I had the leftover yarn, why not make another? He’s made of 100% wool, measures 12″ tall, and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. Click on the picture to bring him home.

The bear with the mock sweater was a real hit, and the compliments on him were really encouraging. So, I think I’ll start playing with more of those in different colors. Anyway, hope ya’ll have a great night.

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Feeling “Glitchy”

I was feeling a little “glitchy” earlier today when I woke up. That’s what I call it. It’s pretty much a mixture of anxiety and sadness. I don’t know where it comes from, but I often don’t discuss it. Of course, Kara knows. And I’ll call her up just to have her around. When I start to feel “glitchy” my body begins to feel strange. Shaky, painful, like a drug addict in detox. Fast heart. Shallow breath. Unable to focus. These are the kinds of days I find it incredibly hard to knit. If you don’t have a knitting circle, then knitting can be an insanely isolated thing. You’re only alone physically, for the thoughts you have while knitting keep you company. And if you knit alone ALOT, then you can get in the bad habit of being stuck in your head far too much. As a matter of fact, you can get LOCKED in your own head. I notice my glitchy days happen when I’ve had too long a stretch of being alone. For instance, I haven’t seen or spoken to anyone in five days. Five days. Not a soul. Then I’ll notice when I wake up after such a lengthy spell that I feel sad, anxious, a touch nervous.

I’ve been doing my best to head up to Starbucks to knit more. But, than can be expensive. Even if all you have is a tall black coffee, you end up spending a lot of money up there. And when I think of what I’ve just paid for a coffee I remind myself that I could buy a bag of beans and rice for the same amount and eat very nicely for a few days. So, I don’t go as often as I wish.

I have an issue with some agoraphobia, so sometimes my choices are limited. I’m not so terrible that I can’t leave the house. But, I can’t go more than about 2 miles from home before I get “glitchy” again. Same symptoms arise. Panicky, white faced, shallow breath. I feel like I am having a heart attack. So, everyone around me knows that we don’t go too far from home. We don’t go past the boundaries. I think its a fear that my home won’t be there when I come back. Do you know I have been in this apartment for nearly 2 years and that is the longest I have lived in any dwelling for more than 5 years? So, I’m attached to it, beholden to it, afraid when I leave and close the door behind me and go too far, that I won’t have it when I get back. I worked so VERY hard to get out of homeless and into a little place that I am always terrified that it’ll be gone again.

I do feel a lot of strange PTSD issues since the homeless days. Things that are off, things that are odd. Like my boots and how I have to always be wearing them all the time for fear we’ll have to leave. It’s all so very strange. I’m sure in time I’ll find a way to work through all of it, move through it and break it up, shatter it, and find some freedom. I’m a survivor, of course. I always have been. But, for now, at least I feel I’m on the right track by being able to see my perplexing issues, recognize them, and figure out what to do about them. I’ll break it someday. I will. I’m a fighter.

I just thought I’d share, if that’s ok. I feel better now that I’ve actually said something about it. I really do.

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