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.

Mile by Mile

IMG_5521I guess I’ve been pushing my book so hard because I’m hopeful that my merits as a writer will help push me in a new direction. Of course, knitting has been the bread and butter that has kept me alive for the past 4 years, but in some respects, I won’t be able to knit for a living for another 4 years. That’s pretty much certain. Hell, I’ve been very lucky. Quite lucky. But, even the most well seasoned knitter has to put the needles down at some point. So, as we attempt to find a way to move forward, we first have to deal with the past, how I got here, what it took for me to knit my little heart out until I finally had enough money to get an apartment and shed the homeless life for good. And I do mean that. For good. So, I encourage you to try out my new book on pdf before its released. It truly shows step by step, day by day, mile by mile how I turned one little teddy bear, not only into a method of survival, but of a hopeful empire one day. So, give my new book, “Slip, Slip, Knit” a shot. Tell me what you think, tell me what happens next. Continue sharing this path with me.

With much love,

Gregory

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“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.

Another Heartfelt Bear

IMG_1237Kara and I had decided to make another one of these little guys because they are pretty damned cute. This time he’s worked up in Fisherman’s Wool in Natural from Lionbrand. He measures 12″ from head to toe and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to snag him, click here.

Oh! And don’t forget my new book is ready. :)

 

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“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.

OUR Story

IMG_5495It’s wild the feedback I get about my bears, the stories I learn about the people these little darlings are destined for. I received an email from one of my customers (I hate calling them that), about why she had bought her bear. She lost her first baby before it was born, and now she’s exuberant and hopeful now that she’s pregnant again, optimistic that this time she’ll finally have a darling daughter, and that the bear is a gift for her unborn precious, hoping to have it waiting in her nursery when she finally arrives screaming with life.

 
I sank in my chair, wilted a little, and thought about the other stories I’ve heard.
The teddy that was sent to the little girl whose been in the hospital for months with intestinal issues. A chronic problem since she was born. The teddy that keeps a lonely woman company. The one that watches out over an ailing mother as she drives herself around town-the little bear tucked in the back window. Or, the teddy going off to England soon to a grandmother, eyesight ailing, as a gesture of a hug when needed. And then simpler, equally adorable moments. The bear that was sent to the Japanese woman in Texas whose love for Ryuichi Sakamato mirrors my own. The bear sent to Virginia to a little boy whose adventures remind me of Calvin and Hobbes (perhaps he’ll get a tiger for Christmas, just to keep the tradition of Calvin running for generations to come). The bear, whose buyer said specifically, “I don’t care what color it is, just as long as it has a pink mohawk.” He’s been a good friend to me. The stories are now at 72. At first thought, it seems like 72 bears sold, but its more than that. It’s 72 stories, 72 possibilities, 72 hearts seeking a friend, a gesture, a moment of companionship, a gift, a hug, a laugh…..a moment.

 
My first and still most popular teddy bear is “The Teddy That Saved Me,” because its true. That little bear helped me first feed myself, then kept me from being homeless, then afforded me a possibility for my own future. That was MY story. But upon reading these 2 months worth of emails this morning, I can’t help but think of all the faces, all the smiles, and all the glimmering eyes that have their own stories to tell.

 
So, in light of that I’d like to say, I hear your story, as you’ve read my own, and realize with absolute clarity, this whole teddy bear connection has made it OUR story: genuine, heartfelt tale of how a little guy with a hopeful smile is bringing the world closer together one bear at a time.
Thanks everyone. Thank you all for being part of the story.

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From the book, “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.

Come to My Table

SSK6x9cover“I’m awfully fond of Sunday evening.

Little rituals let life move in ways that remind us that with simple gestures, grand moments are thought about, considered. Our souls become greater with small things we do with our little moments and actions.

I’ve always had this idea in my head that I would love to have a large family, or collection of friends to have Sunday dinner with. There’s something about communion and fellowship that comes with that. That a large table, filled with smile, laughter, discussion and companionship yields itself to pushing away pain, loneliness, or troubles. That here at this table, bountiful home cooked food at the plenty, reminds each of us with a simple action that the human community is closer than we think, that family is more a question of commitment, rather than genealogy. So, I’ve always wanted that big Sunday dinner with friends, whom I call family, sitting about in great celebration of remembrance and joy, of passing a plate to another in offering, in compliments of laughter broken out randomly. (When was the last time you complimented someone on their laugh???)

And then, as we all sit with full belly, full hearts, we remember we came to this table out of appreciation, not out of obligation. That those we become close to are for reasons we’ll never understand, but that our closeness is never out of force. That we hold each other in our own hearts and thoughts because we care, because we feel something, not because its expected. That a simple dinner becomes something greater: an act of love.

So, my little Sunday ritual is a touch different. For instance, tonight? Tonight I sat down with a grand bowl of black beans and rice. And my fellowship was in thought. I thought about all of you. I’m often thinking of you. But, on Sunday nights when I have my biggest meal of the week, I think about us. And that little, simple bowl of black beans and rice becomes a moment of love, for I wouldn’t have it without you. And though I may not be at a table sharing it with you, in my heart we’re all sitting together, being together, sharing this strange world and our lives in it together. So, I wanted to thank you for being a part of this simple man’s journey. Simple things lead to greater moments…..They do. I promise you, they do.

The OTHER ritual I have on Sunday is a peek at a few episodes of “The Vicar of Dibley.” I don’t have a television, but I do get to watch some stuff online, but generally, its things I’m looking for. I like watching “The Vicar of Dibley” on Sunday, not necessarily for the obvious reason, but the show does make me feel safe, thoughtful of kindness, and to never forget that a certain grand brilliance is moving through every slight gesture we do. Its a nice way to close the week, to further soften any quiet Sunday, and find a sense of peace before the malaise of Monday shows itself. Not to mention, I find it an incredibly funny show

So! If you’re up for it, and wanna hang out for the night with me, watch an episode with me. I’ll be sitting here knitting while watching, chuckling here and there, and finding a certain calm….and spending time with you in my own little way.

Tonight I’ll go to bed with a full belly, full heart….and hopeful.”

From the book, “MADMANKNITTING -or- Slip, Slip, Knit” For an immediate PDF copy, click here. Available on Kindle and in paperback soon.

“Slip, Slip, Knit”

SSK6x9cover I haven’t been blogging as much as I have in the past. I’ve been so focused on finishing my next book, knitting up orders and settling the past so we can move forward into the future, that I’ll sit down to blog and suddenly my head goes blank. Zap! Woosh! Vacant….. “I can’t think of anything to say.”

So, I decided to go back through my blog and hopefully refresh my spark. As I was reading some of my older posts (and I mean from two to three years ago) it dawned on me how really good some of that writing was. There was a genuineness in it, that I rarely think I have ever come close to in my work. I was natural, raw, uninhibited, and emotionally unbound. And the more I thought about it, I thought that my blog was something of a mix of meditations on knitting, diary of a man yearning for something more, and the connection of the world through the stray way the web works. So, I decided it needed to be published, from its first post, through three years of hardship, up until just before I went “viral,” leaving it with the line, “….tonight I’ll go to bed with a full belly, full heart….and hopeful.” Because that has been the nature of this whole path since the beginning. Just remain hopeful.

I think to some it would seem strange to read a book that is actually a collection of blog posts, but I think when you start at the beginning and proceed through it, you do see so much more of the story of a homeless man living in the woods who knit teddy bears to make a better life for himself. It works better from start to finish, rather than a posts you might catch intermittently. And it’s a great book from someone who hasn’t been with this blog from the beginning. The hurt, the pain….but, the joy! The joy of meeting you and the hope of a greater life to come, that all translates so much better when you read from the beginning to nearly now.

I decided to call it “Slip, Slip, Knit” as a play on the knitting term. For my life has been a pattern of slips and slips, but always back to knitting to keep me alive. I chose this particular photo for the cover because I did want to convey that this was a project based not on the knitting itself, but on the writing of the craft, the thoughts that burn you while you’re knitting, a depiction of what written words moved me once I put the knitting needles down.

It will be available on kindle and in paperback next week, but for now, I thought I’d offer it to you first. This would be my fifth book, and the first one I wrote with all of you involved. Quite a few of you are named in there. (Yes, you, Judy Smith!)

To get the PDF, click here. Just make sure your email address is correct, because that’s where I’ll send it to. It runs about 240 pages and again, would love to have your feedback.

Just doing this much alone makes me feel more inspired.

A Heartfelt Bear

IMG_1234So, Kara and I have just been experimenting with different ideas, getting a little playful with some whimsy, and looking to see how creative we could get with some of these bears of mine. Kara got to work toying with how to get a heart on the bear, which didn’t really work the way I wanted it to. But, then she came up with the idea of him holding the heart instead. I really like what we came up with. Maybe he’ll be the first of many, but right now he’s the only one. Tucking him up against your favorite pillow in bed is exactly where this bear should be. He’s a nice little heartfelt bear. He’s made of Fisherman’s Wool, measures 12″ from head to toe and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to adopt him, click here.

 

A Saddled Up Bear

Ingrid1Its always nice opening up your emails and seeing kindness. Julianne sent me this awesome pic of one of my little bears accompanying her on horseback. Isn’t that a delight? I like seeing pics of my bears in their new homes. I’ve had pics of my bears from as far away as Berlin, or Ireland and it fills me with such great pride to see how adored my little bears are the world over. That’s a humbling feeling. And so kind of all of you! So, send me your pics of my bears! I love to see them!

IMG_1227If you’d like one of your own, this little guy is still waiting to be adopted. He’s made of Fisherman’s Wool, measures 12″ tall from head to toe, and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. There’s only one at the moment, so snag him fast. To adopt him, just click here.

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

 

Natural and Oatmeal

IMG_1227So continuing  my month of February anniversary, I’ve been focusing a lot on Fisherman’s Wool. That was the yarn I started with, the company that has always been good to me, and a pleasantly easy yarn to work with. (And a head’s up! If you can find a Joann’s, they’ll take your Michael’s or Hobby Lobby coupons for %50 off and you can get a skein of Fisherman’s Wool for nearly $6 and make at LEAST three bears with my pattern). So, here is a bear made with Natural, Oatmeal, and Nature’s Brown. He comes complete with a removable hat and scarf, measures 12″ from head to toe, and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to adopt him, click here.

And on to other things. Lots of work going on here this weekend. A great army of people are helping with some new ideas, some new direction, some help with publicity, some help with knitting and some help with branding. Lots going on over here. Good things to help continue. Very good things. It has become time to begin enlisting the aid of people and their talents. This can no longer be a one man gig, for that is starting to crush me. So, consider today the very first day of think-tanks in my little war room. :)

Hope you are all well. More to come. LOTS more to come.