Crocheting Our Way Through the Electric Bill

Whoosh! He screams, “Done!” I reply wide eyed and fervid, “Quick! Take a picture!” We race through the house, gather camera, set up shot, click! I scurry to the laptop to upload it, list it, take a deep breath……then rush back to knitting. Phillip dashes back to his work space and quickly begins work on another Strange Friend. We’ve been in hyper drive lately, holding on dearly to what we have. And it’s a lot of work, but if it wasn’t something we loved, we wouldn’t bother. Every artist has their hiccups, every business has their slow period. But, when you’re an artist that sells their work, a hiccuping slow period can be a disaster if you think too long as a businessman, or too long as an artist. You have to find that solid place in the middle where you find a peace and enjoyment in what you do and remind yourself, “This is all for a purpose, for a greater idea, it’s only temporary, one day our ship will come in and it will all have been worth it. So, let’s push forth!”

So we’ve been crocheting our way through the bills, knitting our way through a game of catch up. The electric is due….or OVER due rather. So, we’re moving into triple time. Desperate to get that paid before it’s too late. They usually send you a notice. Last time we were late, they didn’t. We just sat here one day working and POOF!….off went the fans.

So, if we can sell Phillip’s latest Strange Friends in the shop, and sell 10 pattern books on Craftsy, we should be close enough to the balance due on the electric bill that hopefully they will show us some favor and keep it on for a while. Then we push forth and worry about rent some other day. Good things are coming our way. I know they are. I feel it. We just have to hold on for just a minute or two longer in order for us to see all of this hard work come to fruition.

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Laugh With Your Craft

Good morning, everyone. It’s a soft and cool Monday morning, time to get back to work. I took to bed yesterday, knitting in hand, Mario curled up beside me, a “Murder, She Wrote” marathon running. I usually work from my desk, but I felt like easing my hands by relaxing my mind and body. I felt if I wasn’t tense in my desk chair, I could knit without hurting too bad. I felt if I wasn’t stressed out by news programming, I could rest the mind and find some distraction. The whole set up worked. I felt better, my hands didn’t ache as bad, and I was enjoying myself. Smiling with delight.

However, I kept hearing Phillip giggle from his work space. A little titter of laughter would float through the air on occasion. He popped his head in, “What do you think of this color?” “Looks good,” I replied. It was this MASSIVELY thick yarn, blue in tone, variegated here and there. Off he went back to his space, back to tittering. Finally, he popped back in holding his latest Strange Friend, this big blue Rasta dude with the cheesiest, toothiest grin, sporting dreadlocks made from that massively thick blue yarn. (You can find him in the shop here).

Now, this might be a simple story, but it lends to a greater lesson. If you’re not enjoying yourself and having a good time with your craft, it’s time to find another craft. His laughter was proof of that, my thoroughly mindless day of knitting with JB Fletcher, proved that. So, take a moment today to laugh with your craft 🙂

Have a great day everyone! oh! My pattern book is now on craftsy for immediate download with a link to the tutorial video included in the pdf. Enjoy your day!

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When Knit Beasts Save the Day

Good morning everyone. It’s about 7:30am, haven’t quite gone to bed. I slept for a few hours, but I kept tossing and turning and rethinking options. While my knitting has slowed down (yes, I’m still knitting, just not as fast because of my hands), I hope to think my ambition has not stalled, that my creativity can still be tapped. Yes, I’m having days where I worry. But, I’ve always hoped to remain an optimist, and tenacious person that pushes himself, no matter how bad things hurt, and no matter how horribly high things are stacked against you. So, I’ve been up since about 3am, reworking my book of patterns, cleaning it up, adding an introduction, and working on a link that you can click on in the pattern (only accessible through the pattern) that has a video tutorial on how to embroider the eyes and nose using one strand of yarn, and how to attach the limbs in the possible strongest way so that there is NO WAY the arms and legs could ever fall off.

So, it’s a pretty nice deal. With 42 pages, you get patterns for the bear, the panda, the tiger, the lion, the elephant, the rabbit and a video tutorial for a very affordable price. Since we’re relying so much on Phillip’s Strange Friends, and I’m working on older orders, I figured this was a great way to to keep the knitting juices flowing, keep a little money coming in, and hopefully have the patterns be so enjoyed that people will share the link with their friends. At some point, I’d like to have it reformatted so it’s available on kindle. But, that takes a moment, and for now we have to set ourselves on one day at a time. I figure if I can sell 10 copies today, we can get some bills paid and I won’t be so admittedly nervous about everything.

If you’d like the pattern book “BEASTIES,” click here! I hope you all have a wonderful day. Click here to see a clip from the video.

UPDATE! We’ve sold 7 copies! Thank you! Only 3 more to go to meet my goal!!!

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At the Mercy of Knitting Irony

I’ve never seen Phillip this dedicated.

Many have asked why I haven’t been putting up more of my teddy bears in the shop, why we focus so much on Phillip’s Strange Friends.

In practical terms, my hands are working up older orders, and I’m just not able to move them as fast as I used to. So, where once I was able to do 3 bears a day, I’m only able to complete one. My hands feel like lead. They feel heavy, almost as if they are swollen from within, as if the bones in my hands are inflamed. We’ve been dealing with these issues for an awfully long time. We think we keep it managed, but at some point you realize that it’s not getting better untreated. So, we’re going to try some acupuncture to see if that works. But, in the meantime, Phillip does take special notice of my behavior. He mentions that I shouldn’t over do it, that I shouldn’t hold things a certain way. He notices my pick up the coffee cup and y hands shake badly. But, what is worse is when I catch him watching me while knitting and he says, “Your hands aren’t working are they?” It doesn’t feel like carpel tunnel, it feels more arthritic.

But, I have to confess that his dedication has become wonderful. He doesn’t stop for a moment. He takes no time off for himself, no moment away from his crochet hook. And while I painfully attempt to purl, he’s busy whipping up his Strange Friends faster than I have ever seen anyone do amigurami.

I do get a little emotional about it. I watch my husband busting his butt to save the day. And where once I was the one who was ambitiously out of control, I’m at the mercy of irony: that the one talent I had that brought me out of homelessness is failing me. A bit like the singer who notices they can no longer approach certain notes. Or the athlete who realizes he can’t run as far as he used to. We all come to the realization that we get older, and our bodies don’t cooperate with our determination like they used to. You get to that point where you begin to think in modes that reflect an obvious panic, you begin to dream of yesterday, rather than the future. And you begin to question what you’re going to do next. It’s even hard to type, to write, to keep the pen in my hand, as I think of my other talent. And you realize…..

You’re not the machine you once were.

So, we rely on Phillip for now, while we consider what to do next. But, this life of mine as a knitter is now hindered. This life of mine as a writer is now hindered. We rest on his Strange Friends.

To be truthful, I’m worried about our future because I always thought I could rely on these hands. We started doing this show because I felt it coming, I knew I needed to start moving down a new avenue, because my hands were beginning to fail. I’m generally an intensely optimistic person. But, I can’t help but admit that it does way heavy on me, and some depression sets in.

I dunno. Sometimes I come here to my blog to just….think. To get things off  my chest. So, you’ll forgive me if I just “talk” sometimes and work things out. I’ve been staring out of this window before me quite a lot lately. And I keep thinking, out there, out this window, is not where the answer is, but here (tapping at the heart), is where I need to disappear for a minute and think. I do stare out that window and I have a tendency to get teary eyed. Then I hear Phillip approaching and I pull myself together and brush it all off. Because I’m worried. I truly am worried……

Thanks for listening.

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“KNITTER BE DAMNED” Ep.10 “It’s Fan Appreciate, You Vile, Sorry Little Bitch!”

Find Phillip’s “Strange Friends” and my knit animal patterns in our shop!


Trisha’s Shop!

Neil’s Patterns!

Our facebook group!

Bette Davis thinks you’re a bitch:

One Simple, Strange Thing

The more Phillip works up his Strange Friends, the more he shows how creative he wants to be. (He’s taking a bath now, and may not read this for a while 🙂 ). I do enjoy how madly happy he gets when he works them up. He pushes himself to finish one as fast as he can, only to work through one so he can begin another. I love my husband for that. As if he’s been tasked with building a bridge, goes through it, completes it and says, “Thank you, sir, I’d like to build another.”

He sways when he crochets, he whispers to himself. He shouts back at whatever he’s watching. He shows an exact attempt at not being distracted, locked in his head, hands clutching the crochet hook. He’ll rest for only a moment to make sure I’m ok, popping his head into the bedroom to ask if there is anything I need. He knows that right now his Strange Friends are what we have to offer. They’re whom we rely on. This band of mad looking lovelies that spill from the yarn, through his fingers, and into your lives. They’re beautiful and helpful, brought forth from his desire to make life better for us while I recover and recoup.

It really is the sort of thing that makes you cry as a spouse, because there was a time where he felt he had no interest in yarn, no care for it. And what’s even worse is that he said he lacked the confidence to even learn. Then one simple, strange thing happened. He realized he had to find some way to keep this family together, fed, and alive while he hunted for work. And as the notion goes, if no one would hire him, he would hire himself. And one simple, strange thing happened when he realized he COULD learn to crochet and make things, and even sell them to keep the lights on: he found that he was a rescuer. A hero.

And one simple, strange thing happened when he realized that he was solidly supporting us: he stood taller than his usual 6’4. His chest was broader than before, his eyes were keener. He became PROUD of himself in a way that he had never experienced before. No one had ever asked him to do it. He took it upon himself. He endeared himself to the craft as a means to make sure we could survive. And I LOVE him for that.

I love you, sweetheart. Thank you for all that you’re doing for us.

To adopt one of his Strange Friends, click here.