Close To Me

It’s about 10pm in the evening. It’s been a long day and I’m quite tired. But I feel wonderful. I’ve spent the day sending out copies of the new book, knitting up a storm, writing some here, writing some there, and all the while sipping on lentil soup to keep my energy going. Awesome day.

I woke this morning knowing that I had the world with me, not against me, as you can sometimes feel when you place your life online. You run the risk of hearing, seeing, reading horrible and negative things about you, or watching your number of followers drop quickly when you say something.

But, not today. Nope, today I woke up knowing that the people that follow this blog truly care about me, they care about you, and they care about each other. For this is a community of people that are close to me. I care about all of you. I hear you, feel your own stories, and keep all of that close to my heart so that at one point, and hopefully very soon, I can turn and give back to the rest of you all that you have given me.

I am so close to my goal of selling enough pdf copies of my new book that I’m itchy. :) Seriously, only a few left to go to get rent paid. And to all of you that have already received yours, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me get to this amazing point in my life where I get to peek into the next chapter and see a possibility. And! I hope to go to on kindle next week and in print on lulu and I’m hoping that all of you that have a copy already will be able to tell me what you think, if something needs cleaning, if something needs changing, if it’s missing something, or if it’s flat out pretty damned ready to go as is. This truly is a joint effort. You are all a part of the story, so I want your input.

So, with only a few, so very few left to go to reach my goal and finish up rent, I’ll ask any of you that have not snagged a copy yet to go ahead and get one, click below and snag one, and help out our story, help me give to the world a great tale of how we became a community.

Gonna hit my soup again. It’s a great way to crash into bed. Belly full of comfort, heart full of love, smile full of joy. :)

Thanks everyone!

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

Why Are You Doing That???

I am so grateful to so many of you for your reaction to not only my book, but my recent videos. I’m really enjoying the videos and I’m certain that the more of them I do, the more comfortable I’ll feel being in front of the camera. But, it really is a lot of fun. The whole point is to eventually do the instructional videos I had mentioned in previous posts, so, we’re loosening me up in the meantime :)

Now, on to some important business. I am about three days away from paying rent, which I haven’t gathered yet. And considering I have not signed my lease for the next year yet, being late probably won’t be considered a good sign by my landlord and she just might not allow me to sign for another year. I’m not going to allow that. I just won’t. So, that’s why I’ve been pushing my book so hard. I need to get at least 100 copies sold in the next couple of days, so that’s why I’ve been all over social media basically screaming, “buy my book!” Because its vitally important that I get 100 copies sold over the next few days.

I was asked when it will be on kindle or in print and it’s a very simple answer: after the first of the month, after rent is cleared. See, if the book is downloaded off Craftsy, I get paid instantly, but with Kindle I won’t receive the royalties for at least 2 more months. And I just don’t have that much time right now. But, once rent is paid, the book will be uploaded to Kindle. In the meantime, I urge you to grab a copy of my new book so we can get rent gathered. It’s terribly inexpensive, and some of the best writing I’ve ever done is in there waiting for you to read and to be hopefully inspired by, and if you don’t already have my patterns, those are included in the new book, as well.

So, wish me luck, grab a copy of my book and pray we get 1o0 copies sold in the next few days. Pray! Thanks everyone!

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

The “Slip, Slip, Knit” Interview

Phillip Champlain came over, ordered a pizza and said, let’s talk about your new book, “Slip, Slip, Knit.” I said, “Sure!” So, here is a very unpolished interview about my new book. Camera rolling, no hindrances. Didn’t realize the camera was on mirror so you can’t see my very cool Siouxsie T-shirt, but wait until the last moment of the video for a very cool outtake. I’d REALLY love for you to snag a copy of my book. Click below and enjoy the video!

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

The Advice of Dragons

I’ve been truly busy pushing out orders and promoting my books for a couple of years now. And if it’s one lesson I’ve learned? The older you get you must do two things. One, you must take time off. You have to take at least one day to rest yourself, your mind, your body, your emotions, your intensity level. Otherwise, you will collapse under a weight of stress and physical problems. The other lesson I learned a few days ago, quite to my own surprise; an epiphany learned from a youthful face peering out from under a dragon.

I live in a section of Orlando quite infamous for its Asian population. We call it “Little Saigon.” For the blocks surrounding Mills Avenue and Colonial Drive the stores restaurants and culture are all distinctly Vietnamese, with a few other Asian cultures mixed in as an ironic minority. They have their own video stores with films only in Vietnamese, grocery stores specializing in ingredients they prefer to cook with, and even the Publix nicely in the middle of all it has signs that read “Parking for Publix Customers only” written in Vietnamese characters.

IMG_1280This last weekend was the Chinese Lunar New Year, and yesterday there was a huge parade in the neighborhood complete with all kinds of foods, information, and interesting wares to be peddled. So, I decided I was going to take a few hours and enjoy the whole event. I put my needles down, put the laptop away and went to see the parade.

IMG_1278The whole event was so enjoyable. Truly enjoyable. I broke down and had some kimchi. :) That stuff hurts! But, was crazy tasty and spicy. Then the dragon parade started, and as the dragons swooned and wooshed and undulated through the crowds, I saw that the performers, the dragon puppeteers, you could say, were actually young children. I saw their faces, ablaze with enjoyment and wonder; hopeful, surprised. Their eyes were bright with fun. They took what they did with such enjoyment and fascination that one could not help but learn a valuable lesson: never ever lose that wonder. Never lose that hopeful surprise in life. Never lose enjoyment in what you do.

I am so learning that lesson right now. I mean, I LOVE what I do. I truly do. And I’m such a blessed man that I get to wake up everyday and bust headlong into something you love. Hell, I start working before the coffee is even ready. Some days, you have to love something else and rest. :)

I’m very excited about my new book, “Slip, Slip, Knit.” I think I’ve done some really good work in that book, some really good writing that I doubt I’ll ever get to repeat ever again. It was a different time, a different place. And as we evolve as individuals, so does your craft. So, thanks for the support of my new book. The support of that book really does help me find new directions, new paths, new ways to explore the craft of knitting.

I’m hoping to get at least 100 copies under my belt by the week’s end. That would be a good indication that people really are as excited about this project as I am. And would help pay the rent! So, if you’d like to snag a copy of my new book, click below.

Here’s to taking a moment to breathe for a minute…..and never ever losing the wonder in what you do. Cheers!

Photos by Philip Champlain.

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

 

Do You Remember Me? (Repost)

Winn-Dixie

Trying to sell at least 5 or 10 copies of my new book today. Thought I’d give you an excerpt.

Do you recall in my last post how I had said I was so anxious for some fresh vegetables? I had a bear listed and mentioned that I had hoped to sell him that day so I could rush up to the store and indulge in fresh vegetables. Especially tomatoes. I love tomatoes. Well, the bear did sell rather quickly and I was off to the grocery store.
Now, I live in an interesting area. I’m on the cusp of a real tony neighborhood and a”not as good” neighborhood. Its not bad, its just “not as good.” So, I live smack dab in between Publix and Winn Dixie. I usually hit Publix, because if you’re not in the southeast, you just don’t know the genius in Publix. Its very affordable, bright, friendly, and EXCEPTIONALLY clean. They take that seriously. But, Winn Dixie had the better sale on tomatoes so I went there.
Now, this particular Winn Dixie is shamed in my neighborhood. And why? For one of the strangest reasons you could ever think of. No matter how good the sale might be at Winn Dixie that week, you won’t catch the people who live two blocks over to ever, EVER, go there. And why? Well, next door to Winn Dixie is a weekly hotel where many homeless people live, with the majority being men. A lot of them will band together, pan handle, collect recyclables, or do whatever they can to pitch in to share a room. So, you’ll have 5 guys living in one room. Its pretty much a place to sleep and be off the streets. And believe it or not, this is a step up. This is a hopeful way forward. They sleep on the floor of a crowded room, hope not to get into fights, hope no one gets drunk, and cook their meals on the barbeque pit in the weedy courtyard downstairs.
Now, Winn Dixie is where they shop, or sometimes to get away from the crowded room, or the fights, or just to be left alone. They wander around Winn Dixie, or just hang out in front of the store where they have a free water dispenser. Because of this, many, no let’s say MOST of the people in the neighborhood won’t go there. They don’t like the sight of it. They don’t want to be bothered with it. I, of course, don’t care because of my history. So, I go up there if they have something on sale.
That particular evening was interesting. I walked up there, grabbed my tomatoes and some other vegetables and as I was coming out of the storm, the usual afternoon monsoon in Central Florida started. The bottom of the clouds opened up and began drenching with a deluge everything below. So, I hung out under the awning of the store waiting for the rain to pass, standing not to far from two homeless men. A few seconds later, a few more fellas came out of the store, and a few more from out in front of the building. So, there I stood amongst probably ten homeless men, all of us with our belongings in tattered bags, all of us with clothes found or picked up in at a church thrift store, all of us sharing at one point or another in our lives the same moment of hopelessness. I looked around at them, watched them, their faces, many blank and without spirit, broken, discarded. Forgotten.
Yes, its true. Some of them have substance abuse problems. Others have mental health issues. And some, like myself, just hit a financial oil patch and skidded towards ruin very quickly. I had that same look on my face for a long while, too.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was one of them. And another miscalculation in the near future could put me amongst them again. So, what was different between us now? I have a very tiny place to live, but its mine. I don’t go a day without eating anymore. It may not be the BEST thing for you, but at least I don’t fall into bed hungry. So, what was different? How did I escape? Was I lucky? Did I work harder than them? Was I more of a survivor? A fighter? The only answer I can truly claim, is that I never gave up hope. Yes, at that point in my life back then, I definitely was convinced that the world had not only trampled me, but that it had forgotten me. I could see that in their faces under that awning the other day. They felt forgotten, invaluable. Dismissed. Unnecessary to the world at large. Unwanted. And why wouldn’t they? They’re reminded of it often. People don’t look them in the eye. People turn their heads when these men approach. Hell, people won’t even shop in the same grocery store with them.
And maybe that’s the difference. I made damn sure that the world would not forget about me. I made damn sure that I reminded people that I was valuable. I wasn’t going to just go away. I opened my heart so that I could feel wanted. I was HOPEFUL that the world was filled with compassion, care, kindness. And with heartfelt joy, I am able to say I’m right. ALL OF YOU reading this have been on this journey with me. With my hopeful writing and my sad eyed teddy bears, you helped nourish that hope. You never forgot me, you lifted me. You remembered me.
The rain disbursed, and slowly the sun began to creak through the cracks in the clouds. I gathered my bag of produce and started to leave. I turned back around as I was halfway through the parking lot and saw them standing there, faces still uncaring, too beaten inside to have any hope left. And I whispered under my breath, “Don’t give up hope, guys. I’ll always remember you. I won’t ever let you be forgotten.”
Those men you see on the side of the road, or passing by with their shopping carts, or bound up in parkas even though its 90 degrees outside……they’re always in my thoughts. Yes, fellas. I remember you.

sskcoverFrom the book, “MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

If you appreciate my writing and you’d like for this blog to continue, please support! This blog survives because of you!

All About New

sskcoverI’m sooooo glad everyone enjoyed the video…. I really felt good about doing that. It was actually quite fun to do something new and yeah, I’ll be doing more, but I’ll need someone here with me to chit chat with me to keep this dorky brain of mine on track when I start rambling and going astray. I have to say, the moment I gave my bears an end date I felt so much better. I felt….relieved. And love clutching on to something new and exciting.

I decided to change the cover of the new book before it goes to print. I felt this picture really did convey so much more about what this “Slip, Slip, Knit” project was all about. Me standing against the empty world, teddy bear firmly outstretched, with my proclamation, “I am here. I am valid. I survive.” Been really busy today with all manner of things getting done. Bears, knitting, editing, thinking, pushing…..

Hope you’re all well.

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

Bear With Me…

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

Patty’s Bear

IMG_1240Last week, Patty Olsen sent me a huge box of Ornaghi Filati Club from Italy. Exceptionally cool stuff. A really nice and thick wool and acrylic blend that worked up beautifully in a teddy bear. So, to say thank you, I told Patty I’d make a bear in her honor and this is the little guy that was born. Isn’t he adorable? I mean, come on. That is old school teddy bear honor right that. That is a proper teddy bear. A righteous bear. A really good bear. He’s a touch larger than my normal bear, a bit plumper, actually, and ready to ship with a signed card by me. There’s only one, so if you’d like to adopt him, click here.

SSK6x9cover

 

“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

 

The Final Season

IMG_5671So my confidants and I have been speaking for a bit now, actually for a good couple of weeks, but the best of them are with me here tonight. We’ve talked, we’ve pondered, we’ve explored options. We’re sitting around eating chili, we’ve been playing cribbage, laughing, but when it comes to serious tones we’ve all turned to the same decision.

It’s time to go.

This month marks my four year anniversary from the first day I sold my first bear. Will never forget it. And some nearly 2,000 bears later (wanna check Guinness to see if I have a record), my body just can’t take it for much longer, and to be honest, not sure if my stamina can either.

There have been some physical problems that I just can’t shake, my left arm won’t work like it once did, no matter what therapy I take, but even more so….I’m getting tired. Tired of many things that we don’t need to get into now. But, if I could comment real quick…burned out?

I love looking into their faces as they are born. My bears, that is. Sweet, pouty, hopeful faces eager to be held. And held they have been. They’ve been clutched and squeezed and loved and given. They’ve been the best part of me in this 42 years that I can recall.

But, I’ve decided, with my friends at my side, that this will be my “Final Season” of MadManKnitting. This will be my last year knitting teddy bears. It’s time to let the needles down, to admit to a time of leaving. However, I’m in no particular position to immediately stand down. So, I have to give myself time to finish this and move on. What bears you’ve ordered, and what bears I have left to sell will be the end of it. What yarn is on my shelf will be the end of my little bears.

But, I keep thinking, I have so much more to say on the craft, so much more to explore. This won’t be the end of Gregory Patrick, but will be the end of MadManKnitting.

To be frank, I’m counting on that writing, that distinctive ideology that when I put pen to paper that I am able to catalog myself as one who can, and has said what is vital and important to himself as an artist, that I said something. I shared my soul, I have given of my heart and my talent. I have been with you. I have shared this path with you.

So, as we breach now into a new world, I’m sad to leave this one behind. But, I think it for the best. It’s time to move into something new. So, this is my final season.

I’m going to spend the rest of this late evening watching “Howard’s End” with my friends. Those of you that have followed my blog with me since the beginning know how much that book and film mean to me. It speaks to me in volumes that I could never truly explain. But, much of my life’s lessons have been learned from that book. (we’ll probably listen to some Siouxsie, too. I get like that when I’m decisive.)

We enjoy a chapter. We move on to the next, unknowing of what perils, or what beauties await us in the story.

…but, in spite of what fears we may have, we move on.

Gregory

sskcover“MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit.” The book also contains patterns for the teddy bear, the tiger, the bunny, and the bear with hat and scarf. For an immediate PDF copy, you can download it from Craftsy.  Or you can buy the PDF directly from me by clicking here. Just be sure your email address is correct. Will be available on Kindle and in paperback soon.