Those of you who don't know might not understand why an invalid would choose to dye. It's true, I can't walk, some days at all, other days just across the house. My list is half a page long, single spaced, I don't want to do there. I'm pretty much chair/bed/house bound due to my ailments. I don't like to talk about that though as I like to focus on the positive things in my life. So when you write and I don't dwell, or even tell, you have to understand. Talking and thinking about these things gets you no where but depressed. I have good days and bad days. On the good days I choose to dye and design, they are a passion of mine. I don't really like making the same thing over again and again but don't mind if someone asks for something we haven't dyed in 6 months, it's fun to go back.
So why dye? Why choose to use up my strength on something that will put me in bed for a week instead of using it to leave the house for a day once a month? This is sort of convoluted so I hope you can follow and that my rabbit holes not too deep. I have always loved art and when I couldn't walk any more I had to learn new crafts and pick up old ones. Knitting was a rebirth of something I learned as a child. I started to knit after a long road of crocheted doily's and afghans... many many round ripple afghans that went round the world. Insane but true, I was selling them for 40 bucks! Just over what the yarn cost.
It's true we need the money but I'm so not in it for that. I try to stay below market value consistently and get the best product for the cheapest prices, making very little on many items and giving it away where I can. Look at the Blue Flower needles. I just want everyone to be able to have a set. How bad a business person am I?
Then there's the design. Designing takes me out of my head into a different plane, a different place where there's no pain only hope, fun and excitement to see that, anything I can draw can turn into knit wear. While I would love to just design and then turn the item over to a design house I can't just let my babies go. That said I did just design something for Knit Picks to put into a book if they want it. That item is a garment and I'm so NOT looking forward to writing that pattern. MATH UGH not my strong suit. There's this thrill taking a drawing and making it into a pattern. Sending it out to the test knitters and getting their feedback and hearing their excitement about the design. Then the thrill when the public gets it and see's what we did. This group of knitters who love the craft and just want to play. Hearing the feedback from the world at large is another great thrill for me. What with my world being these four walls it's my way of "getting out" and being around people. See? It's so much more for me.
Dyeing is the same thing. I have always loved to draw, color and paint so it was natural for me to paint the yarn. I think I was 5 years old when I won my first coloring contest, a box of crayons, how perfect! Dyeing is very much like coloring and painting. I need it to get colors and bases that were needed to go with the patterns. The need to match the yarn perfectly to the pattern was so intense that it was natural for us to take up dyeing. Granted the larger we get the more Pixies are needed... DD and I just can not cut it when we need to dye 100 skeins in a day. We're working on it and PixieBell has been chosen. There's this huge creative rush that comes when I hold up a skein and DD's jaws drop and she says "I want it!" Really good thing we can't keep all this stuff and that we ship it out or we'd be over run by yarn. We ask each other, "how's this" and will be stunned time after time throughout the day. That's on a good day... there are bad days where we just have to step away from the pots. LOL, at least we know our limits. Once, when we did that, I put a bunch of different dyes into a cup, came back later and it was congealed! It's fun, you never know what's going to happen when you start to paint as all bases take dye differently and all dyes work differently on the yarns. We have started to branch out to other manufacturers to get new colors. Some of these dyes are reactive and they can really go nuts on you. There's these two colors,,, tan and pink you put them into the same kettle and out comes LIME GREEN! WHAT! LOL yeah, fun! I bought the colors to do this months ago and still haven't played due to the work load... soon.
Why do I push myself? Why do I bother? Everyone tells me, "you are the boss make your own hours". They tell me I don't have to have insane self imposed deadlines. They are right BUT I have to keep it up for so many reasons. Another of which is we have the BEST customers in the world. So many of you have become good friends through the years. Exchanging care boxes during the year and surprising me with hand knit goodness. I'm surrounded by the love in here. My elbow is resting on Bun Bun who came here in the Spring. While his co-hort is residing in the pen cup on my nightstand. There's a fairy looking at me from the tea cart as well as a new Mer-Fae. On the wall is a raven, yeah WOW the background is a black tree on a hill, my boy stuffed, with several black boa's surrounding it. That masterpiece was an act/labor of love that I adore. This same person and I write in books and send the books back and forth to be filled. I could go on and on but you get the jist. Friends.
Lastly, the depression, I hope I can express this. People like me who suffer from chronic pain also have a great deal of depression that comes along with it. I never know why I'm sad, when it's going to hit, how long it will reside but I do know it's always there, waiting for me. This massive black cauldron with greased insides which I can be tossed into at any time. My boy (Raven) can be merciless as he does his fly by, picks me up with his claw raking my skin and tosses me high up into the air. Only to land with a thud at the bottom of the cauldron. It's been many months since the last long bout thank GOD! For some crazy, insane reason having you guys waiting for an order keeps me from going over board. Momma taught me that you get up, get dressed and go to work, no matter what. She taught me that by doing it all her life. This is my job. Knowing that someone is waiting for me to ship them yarn keeps me here. It keeps me sane, just having even ONE order on the books will keep me going and striving to through Gods grace and mercy to continue, one more day. The yarn club has made it possible that I will ALWAYS have an order in there. I LOVE the yarn club... being able to make all those care packages every month feels so good. Making all those goodies, deciding on the bases and colors,,, designing the items that go into the parcels. Wrapping them up to be "presents". It's all so me, just everything that I love to do. How great is that? I LOVE my work! How many people can actually say that? Who do you know who says such things? For me they have been few and far between. Who know's, maybe the yarn club has kept the depression at bay?
Ok, so did I explain that well enough? If you are ailing like me, find something you love and do that thing. Everyone can sit down and knit, crochet, paint, cross stitch, embroider, sew, wood craft, work with your hands. Art therapy, it's possibly one of the best ways of both expressing yourself and keep you from running mad. Don't focus on your problems, instead find someone else who's got it worse then you and be grateful for life, if not health. Better hush before I get too preachy, I think I covered it all. If not Chatty Patty will come back and have another go at it.