Sunday, January 15, 2017

It Is Again Another New Year

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of
"  Q
uoted in Let the Trumpet Sound : A Life of Martin Luther
King, Jr
 (1982) by Stephen B. Oates
The beginning of every year is usually a time of contemplation for me, so it doesn't feel all that late that my first post of 2017 comes two weeks into January. This is also a holiday weekend in the United States, when we mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. What does amaze me is that I have only managed to previously mark this date only once here on the blog. I have been a U.S. VISTA member (twice), and for all CNCS members (Corporation for National and Community Service, which incorporates all of the various U.S. service programs, including Americorps) this weekend is a fairly big deal. During my last VISTA year I participated in a community service project on the actual holiday that was different from the site at which I was stationed. I remember it being not only personally fulfilling, but generally a lot of fun, as I was alongside all of my VISTA mates as well as other active members of the CNCS community in my area. Many past presidents, as well as policy wonks and other pundits, have each advocated for some sort of term of public service for all Americans, whether volunteer or mandatory (gasp!), as a way to create a common cultural experience. As someone who has voluntarily given up almost two years of my adult life in just such pursuit, I can wholeheartedly speak to the cultural learning curve involved and the cultural understanding gained since, in many instances, volunteers serve in communities removed from where they grew up or lived at time of enrollment. It is a difficult financial challenge (especially for someone of modest means), but the rewards are many. 

Of course, I came to MLK, Jr. initially through his writings and speeches. No student of literature and liberal arts can escape reading the "I Have a Dream" speech. During my instructor stint in the classroom, I taught the speech both from the page as well as the screen. (NB: For an absolutely amazing treatment of the speech, check out Ho Che Anderson's graphic rendition, written about rather extensively here, which includes some of the comic graphics). King's Letter From Birmingham Jail is a primer on non-violent protest (as well as a slice of political history). I can hear King's voice and cadence when I read many of his writings; he was that powerful an orator. 

I cannot help but be inspired by MLK, Jr.'s ultimate message of hope. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Little Holiday Update

This Lush Looped Scarf was
gifted earlier in the week.
Hello holiday makers - it is the day before Christmas Eve, and I hope that everything that needs to be made by Sunday is done (or at least drying!). 

It has been a busy 2016 Independent Designer Gift-a-long for me. I have made a few things: one of which I have already gifted, another that, while I have "broken it in," I expect I will gift it as well in a package I am getting ready to send out next week. I have three other projects in various stages that will be complete in a few days, only one of which I am making for me. My pile o' works-in-progress reveals my current blue and brown preoccupation.  I suppose I should be
I have broken in this Cowl a Go Go,
but I expect it will find its way into
the gift package I send out next week. 
more specific - it's more an earthy vibe, since I am also still in a green phase, and I am loving all neutrals a lot.

That above is the beginnings of a
cowl, about 1/3 of the way through
a shawl, and a second shawl that is
done and ready for blocking.
In addition to all of this gifting stuff, I also completed a special shop sample which I have sent off and it has been received - in England!
There's my Etched Ice
sample at Baa Ram Ewe
I am so thrilled that a sample of my Etched Ice Cowl is now sitting on display at Baa Ram Ewe headquarters. Back in October, they sent me two skeins of the awesome Titus in the wonderful bishopthorpe colorway and I worked up large version of the cowl and shipped it back to them. Jess at the store was kind enough to snap a quick photo, so below is what it looks like in the shop right this very moment. I wish I could pop on over for a quick visit to see it, as well as the rest of the wonderful yarny goodness at Baa Ram Ewe. Feel free to check out my Ravelry project page for an additional photo, as well as yardage and other project information, in clase you might want to whip up an Etched Ice of your very own.

I leave you with the sparkle and green of the season.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Gifting Games Have Begun!

It has been a whirlwind around Chez Voie de Vie in the last week. The whirlwind included all the behind-the-scenes prep work for the Ravelry Indie Designer GAL kick-off, which occurred on Tuesday, 11/22, at exactly 8:00 pm eastern standard time. Of course, the Ravelry website then preceded to go down not once, but twice, between then and mid-day on Wednesday. It's all the gift-making - we fried Ravelry. Yeah, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Of course, all of us in the U.S. then took off Thursday for that great yearly food fest, Thanksgiving. And now, we have a slew of days to catch up on designs we love and plot gift-making strategies: today, Black Friday, tomorrow, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday on 11/28 and, finally, Giving Tuesday the following day. 

As you can see to the right, a whole bunch - 20 to be exact - of my designs are currently 25% off. Head on over to my Ravelry design page to see which ones are discounted, as well as all the rest of my designs. 

Of course, I am not the only designer in on the Indie Designer GAL - 334 of my fellow designers have joined in! Pretty much everywhere you go on Ravelry, you'll bump into a designer who has provided a bundle of select discounted designs and/or are making gifts of other designers' patterns for holiday giving. I am no different - I'll be working up a Tranquille for a family member, one of my own designs, the Lush Looped Scarf as a secret surprise gift, and a customized Swirling Leaves Cowl for moi, moi, moi. To show you just how much we all love making holiday gifts, it took the GAL group's more than 7,750 members less than 50 hours to make the first 50 gifts of the season - our resident stats guru Kimberly of 80 Skeins informed us it took less than 45 hours. It is rather thrilling and just a little humbling that this DIY gift-making can bring together so many from all over the world. Participating designers can be found in 32 countries, and makers from, I expect, more than that. 

To cap all this goodness, I additionally was interviewed by the editor of Crochet World Magazine, and that interview was published on Wednesday. Jackie Daugherty is the newly installed editor of both Crochet World and several special Crochet! Magazine and other Annie's publications with the retirement of Carol Alexander. We have gotten to know each other, as she was managing editor just prior to her assuming the editor position, and it is a real treat for me to see her thriving in her new role. 

So, absolutely busy, busy, busy here at Chez Voie de Vie.

Definitely happily so.