We’re Just Not That Interested

And when you come down to it, we know we’re not the best crocheters, not the best knitters. But, we’re not really interested in that. We are more interested in connecting with people. We’re interested in finding people that feel they’re not good enough in any fiber craft. We want to help you strip away your doubts, help you find confidence in your life by picking up something as simple as yarn. Because, we’re not at all interested in how well you can do it. We don’t categorize your worth by how complicated your patterns are. We’re more interested in the idea that you came to this craft of fiber arts because you wanted to simply do something that helped your spirit, your soul; something that gave you inspiration and enjoyment; something that caused a sudden addiction to hands bringing something to purpose. Or you needed to make some money. I’m all in favor of that….

So, we’re not at all interested in being the best in this field, and Lord knows, we’ve had quite a few of the big wigs of yarn remind us that what we do is second hand, a little “interesting” and “fun,” but not of any real value in the fiber arts community. We weren’t aware this was a competition, and I certainly wasn’t aware there was a prize if you won. It’s the process that counts, it’s the actual attempt at it that matters, it’s the hands on sticks and hooks and challenging yarn that brings us all here. It’s the desire to walk away from a mad life, and use our needles and hooks as the Buddhists may use their mandalas: to breathe, to find calm, to find peace, or to some, to find prosperity in our talents.

So, to the big wigs we are something of a threat, because we don’t promote the competitive desire to be the best possible knitter or crocheter out there. We do something a touch differently. We applaud you for working up your projects, for the fact that you actually held the notions in your hands, for trying to do a scarf for the first time. For trying socks from the toe up. For loving your weekend working up an afghan. For taking the time to feel good about your work when it’s done. Yes, that’s it. We want you to feel GOOD about the work you’ve done.

All of our work (I mean yours and mine) shows an insight into the lives that we’re dealing with. My knitting started with panic and homelessness. Yours may be different…..it may be the same. But, each of us has work that we do that catalogs the moments in our lives where we want to find someone to acknowledge our work, to find some praise. We yearn for that while we’re busy casting on. We want someone else to appreciate what we’ve done. And this weird world of people who claim themselves artists and experts have lost all concept of why YOU are HERE KNITTING and CROCHETING. You just want someone to be proud of your work, to acknowledge that you spent the time DOING it. Not to dismiss you because your work isn’t good enough.

(Ahem….Yes, someone said I only had a career in knitting because people felt sorry for me. I could only respond in the sardonic way in which I often do, “And you’re here interviewing me about my knit pity bear. It isn’t about the bear I knit…it’s about what that bear represents….You call it marketing? I call it fighting for my life….”)

Sorry I’m not as eloquent as I tend to be. Feeling a little weird that his world of knitting and crocheting has become as nasty as Tonya Harding’s boyfriend taking a crowbar to Nancy Kerrigan. Break a leg!

If anyone should dismiss your work, then you come here. Your work is welcome here. Because we promote the idea that it isn’t what you knit or crocheted, but the nod  that you did it in the first place.  Because we’re just not interested in who does it best. We’re more interested in WHY you do it. We’re more interested in the communication of what these knit and crocheted things mean. We speak to the ones we love when we gift our work. We make a declaration of independence when we begin to sell our things. We offer the world our hopes, our enthusiasm when we hand from these to another something we have crafted…..and we’re just not interested in having people tell you it’s not good enough because it’s not complex.

Now, go cast on! (or) chain!



“KNITTER BE DAMNED” Ep5. “Movin’ On Up”

We love you all so much. You have no idea. In this week’s episode we touched on how we are now out of debt and able to start saving money; how we cannot thank you enough for loving our new show, and of course, you’re always welcome here, in our fold, in our hearts. Enjoy the show 🙂 And as always, ladies are welcome, but fellas are encouraged….

Holding on to the Best Moments Ever

I know that the new adventure Phillip and I have embarked on may not be suited for many of my followers. I understand that 🙂 It’s quite ok. But, I have to say that doing the episodes of our show with Phillip have been some of the best moments ever. We may be a little crass, and we may be a touch controversial, but we appreciate what one of our friends said. “You’re like the bad boys of knitting….” And we rather like that.

I’ve always had a tendency to switch things up, move in new directions, or rather, as my father once said, “Don’t do one thing and do them better than everyone else. Do them differently.” I understand what that means. But, I’ve loved these moments with my husband. It’s not only a show for the rest of you to view, but a catalog of sorts for the two of us. We don’t mean to offend, but much of the world gets triggered now. Anything and everything will be used against you in the court of public opinion. But, why should we stop here? Do what you love….and I love doing this project with my husband.

Of course, I don’t spend as much time writing my blog as I used to, but that’s ok, too. I love writing more than I can ever dare to confess, because here, with words, I’m allowed to tap into a certain part of my soul that is not easily approached. It’s an interesting place where I feel the value of who I am can be readily seen and heard, for silence is required when I write. I shall hear no other voice than my own. Because, I get to listen to the whisper of that REAL voice that intrudes with a softness, demands a little patience, and asks only for payment that I actually listen. So, my blog, my writing, is a moment where those shiny moments of life outside are culled into a quiet form of meditation, a blanketing comfort in true reality, where the strength of what I may say rest only on the hands of what the interior, quiet part of who I am may be afforded some truth, for me to hear….for you to read.

Our show, on the other hand, is a completely different matter 🙂  I enjoy my life in simple terms. There are no grandiose moments on this end. Nothing wildly gilded in opulence.  We find pleasure in the most overlooked things. And for us, at this time, the best moments ever are looking forward to doing our show, spending a day to let off steam, drink a beer, smoke cigarettes, be outrageous, and let it all go. I work constantly. Some may say, too much. But, it’s the vision and the dream that take me to an overindulgence in securing some kind of future for myself that I don’t allow myself too much playtime. Hence, why these episodes mean so much to me. I get a day to break out, let loose, and laugh at the madness of knitting with my husband.

We’re slowly building an audience for our show, and people do seem to really like our “authenticity” and “freshness.” We’re not stale people talking about our knitting projects. We’re vibrant, loud men talking about this life in the world of knitting, swilling beer and being profane. We’re the end of the day for those who find their projects stressful. We’re the commanders of those who feel disenchanted with the craft. We’re shepards of those who feel booted from knitting groups. We’re the callers of the lonely in this art form, the rebellious voice for those who don’t want to feel obligated to knit on behalf of a project they don’t believe in. We’re becoming knitting cult heroes 🙂

So, to the supporters I’ve had for so long, I hope you’ll find some forgiveness if  I decide for a short while to let loose and enjoy. I know (from messages) that some of you are a little shocked at our videos and I understand. But, if guilty pleasures can be found for a fleeting moment, take them, hold on to them, for when the reality of life takes such a hold of you, you’re going to day dream about those moments.

I was the homeless knitter who was rescued by the world. But, I’m not that man anymore. It took me seven years to get to this point. Yes, seven long years that included homelessness, fear, hunger and controversies that nearly sent me back to the streets. Seven years to get to the point where I could hold my life as my own. I’m flying free, one hand held to my husband, the other reaching for the stars. I have to be allowed to explore and try new things, accomplish something other than the memories of the past. And while looking for what may come in the future, I have to enjoy what is happening right here and now.

And right now? I’m enjoying some of the best moments ever….. 🙂

By the way…..have you seen my pig? Or my new mouse? See? That’s me having fun again….Not a teddy bear, but a pig 🙂

Take a look around at our shop….Phillip’s Strange Friends are looking….well, stranger than ever.

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Strange LOVE is in the AIR!

Good morning! Seems most of the country is in a chill right now, including us! So, I’ve made some pasta fagoli, simmering away on the stove, got my thermal on, and Phillip and I are going to go ahead and film our episode for tomorrow night this afternoon. We’ve been filming on Wednesday or Thursday so we have plenty of time to edit before Friday night. And THAT can take FOR-EV-ER.

After checking this morning, our loan balance is now down to $130. Once that is paid off, we’ll be doing so much better. So, why wait for it to be trimmed away $5 at a time? I’m going to have it paid off TODAY. That’s my goal, that’s my mission for the morning. So, if you see me online pushing and promoting Phillip’s Strange Friends and my tiny little mouse, don’t be turned off. 🙂 I’m dead set on having our debt paid off today. Goals are important, goals are paramount. You have to have something to accomplish and for myself, that would be mine for today.

So, take a peek at Phillip’s newest Strange Friends. You know he’s been doing 2 a day now, so if you think you’ve seen them all, you haven’t! I just uploaded another to our shop a few minutes ago.

Everyone have a wonderful day! We’ll see you tomorrow night for Episode 4 (yes, 4!) of our our show Knitter Be Damned when we do a St. Patrick’s day special!

Now, watch out world, here I come! I’m gonna pay off my loan today. WOO HOOOO!!!!!!!

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Mad Man Mountain

Long day, but good here. You know, I do have to confess that when I write these blogs later in the evening, they are something akin to watching “The Waltons.”

“Ma and pa toiled away, while grandma bailed the hey….”

…and all of us knit away on Mad Man Mountain. (Can you imagine if we actually HAD a place on a hill and called it that?)

It was a good day, and we knit and crocheted our hands away, but there in our hearts was always burning a comforting desire to have a bowl of chili when it was all finished, kiss each other on the cheek, and head towards slumber. And in this cycle we never forget that we are purposely moving ourselves towards an important goal. He and I don’t want more than we can handle. We don’t care for red carpets and limousines. We don’t care for mansions and sports cars. We yearn for simpler things. Purpose. Giving. Honest compassion. Yes, we do this for something in our hearts. We pay the bills with it, we feed ourselves with it, we lay in bed and night and dream not of grand things, but of a quiet place to dwell where my spring flowers blossom quickly, where his tomatoes multiply quickly, where the tone of the day is not set by the news, but on how loud the birds chirp; where we race not to get ahead, but to just simply break even. Those are the things that light tender nights aflame with card games with just card games, and not nights out for dinner; where we break for a while and dance for some exercise; where the view of his smile heals my aching hands, or where the foolishness of something he’s done has caused me to finally crack, to where he honestly admits, “You know that was the first time you’ve laughed today…..”

We have what some may call “paupers” lives, but the riches we own is nothing you can hold, but only see. Yes, in our videos you finally get to see just what our relationship is like. Full of laughter, full of conversation, full of respect. You can see how we compliment each other. All my deficiencies, he surpluses, and likewise, the same goes for him.

We’re not moved by a fight to survive. That was once my ambition. To only survive. And God, how miraculous life can be. I have been given through these days and years and hours of fret the reminder that survival isn’t just eating, and having some place to live….but, that you must also have someone to love. (Which is so different than having someone love YOU….huge difference. One requires a lot of work and patience on your part, the other allows you to relish….)

You must also have a dream in order to survive. You must have something to look forward to, for what all the spinning, turning of the green earth day after day results in, all the years you spend toiling must be FOR something, all you emotions burnt and spent, broadened and built must all come to SOMETHING. Something attained in the heart, in the soul, and in the material world.

It’s now about 10pm and I’m finally settling down to gear myself towards bed. The chili was awesome. Phillip is in his space working on his third “Strange Friend” of the day. My needles are resting, my eyes crossing 🙂 I’m off to bed as soon as this episode of “Murder, She Wrote” is finished.

Not all of our days are good. Sometimes we push and push and push and nothing happens and we stress. Then we have good days where we feel like we’re kings of some unusual cottage industry. But, when the good days happen, don’t think for a moment that we don’t rest our heads on our pillows and think of all of you.

Phillip has some new Strange Friends that need new homes. You can find them in our shop.

Well, I’m about ready to turn out the light. The crickets are chirping on Mad Man Mountain. Ma and Pa are snuggled into bed, while Grandma begins to rest her sleepy head.

(And Phillip and I whisper to each other, “Only $200 to go before we’re debt free…..”

Good night, John Boy…..

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On Location, Electric, and Almost There

We just had the best suggestion from Lucie on what to do with our next show. (this is the drum rollllll) We should do our next episode yarn shopping. We have been wanting to do more on location stuff, and Joann’s is a great idea. So, I imagine one day this week we’ll be heading out on the bus to visit the big box and grab some yarn. (oh yes! And we have some “unboxing” to do in our next episode. Furthermore, I’ve put together a collection of all of my knitting patterns in one volume. It has the lion, the tiger, the bear, the rabbit, and the elephant, as well as other ways to modify the patterns to get even MORE critters with just a little creativity. And with Easter around the corner, the rabbit pattern will be really useful. You can find that here.

Phillip has a new Strange Friend in the shop and I’m highly caffeinated right now 🙂 Yes, we have been in hardcore overdrive the last few weeks. We are serious about getting out of debt this month. And we are almost there. A mere couple of hundred dollars and the only expenses we’ll have to worry about will be the usual rent and utilities. We got rid of his phone, and just use the one now. And it’s hardly a fancy  phone, but a simple cell phone that costs $25 a month. It rings and sends texts and that’s all we need, saving a HUGE amount of money every month.

Our utility bill is due now (which is why you see me pushing so hard to sell at the moment-we have until midnight tonight to finish paying it off) and once that has been chunked out of the way (and the lights stay on), we’ll be working off that last couple of hundred dollars of our debt…..and then we can rest. We can sigh, breath deep, and rest. So! Check out the shop, see what we have is new and enjoy! oh! And don’t forget that anyone who donates gets the hidden link to the bonus video of bloopers and outtakes from our show. I hope you all have a wonderful day. I need to go for a walk and burn off this coffee buzz 🙂

If you like the episodes we’ve done so far, help us keep it going! We have a lot of plans for future episodes. Yarn bombing knitting groups. Remote, on location yarn shopping. Guests from all across the world. And more importantly, a keen push to get more men knitting. 🙂

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