Losing Myself to Find Myself

From 2009 to 2019, I allowed myself to be pulled in multiple directions: college student (AA, BS, MLIS), aspiring writer, crafter, blogger, Youtuber, ETSY shop owner, reseller on Amazon and eBay, craft show vendor, gardener/homesteader, knitting pattern designer, book blogger/reviewer, full time librarian, and other titles I’ve possibly forgotten.

I rotated through the list of side hustles as I desired or was inspired to do. Some things were seasonal or only needed to be tended to when something sold on Amazon or eBay. Craft shows had definite dates and times, so I could schedule around them as necessary.

However, the strain I felt from the constant jumping to the next thing and self-imposed deadlines for blog posts and YouTube videos was wearing on me. In 2019, I scaled back most of my side hustles due to some medical issues that descended on me in March. The previous Fall, my husband and I had a serious discussion on kids and if we were ready to go that route as well.

It took deciding to start a family and getting pregnant to force me to really think about my priorities and top 3 hobbies. Once my son was part of this world, there would be no way I could juggle all of that anymore. Something was going to have to give…well, many somethings were going to have to give.

My top three hobbies ended up being: reading, writing, and knitting. Reading and Writing go back to when I was a kid. They’re the activities I remember enjoying most as a child. Bookworm was a title I wore with pride (and still do). I always had a notebook with me to jot down scenes or random bits of dialog.

I’d learned to knit when i was 10, but stopped shortly after. I rediscovered knitting when I was in college. It was a wonderful creative outlet for me that didn’t involve writing. I had stopped writing for a few years during college because I was writing so much for my classes I had nothing left in me for my own work.

Reading

I’ve always been a reader. For most of my life, I devoured fiction. As I’ve matured, I’ve been reading more nonfiction. I enjoy a good thriller or cozy corner murder mystery to escape with. My nonfiction tastes depend on what’s grabbed my interest at the moment. Lately it’s been learning everything I can about Dr. Montessori, her method, and how it’s used today as well as books on minimalism. I’ve been alternating books on these subjects. (I have an upcoming post about why, how, and what I did to declutter my house.)

Writing

Fiction was my go to. Many a notebook were filled with pieces of dialogue, rewriting endings and scenes I didn’t agree with. I also wrote nonfiction “articles” as an adolescent where I’d more or less copy something out of a book and cite it.

In 2017, I began to take my writing seriously. Between 2017 to 2019 I’d researched and sent in submission packets to various publishers. All were rejected. In the midst of all that, I’d decided that self-publishing was going to be the way to go for me. After NaNoWriMo 2019, I set about finishing my first self-published work. December 29, 2019, Bobbin Lace: a Modern Take on an Old-World Craft was published and released into the world.

Since then I’ve become more confident and plan to self-publish something every year. In the year of 2020, despite Covid turning the world on its head and having a newborn, I reworked my first book and re-released it. By the end of 2021, I plan on publishing Knitting Alphabet Soup. It is currently in round 3 edits, heading to the editor next, then I’ll finalize the formatting and cover art.

Taking my writing career into my own hands has been one of the rewarding things I’ve done.

Knitting

I first learned to knit when I was 10. My interest didn’t last long because I didn’t grasp the concept that 10-inch needles wouldn’t hold enough stitches to make a decent size blanket. After a decade long gap, I picked my needles back up and began making dishcloths to sell for some pocket money at craft shows.

A few years of craft shows led to my thinking of making this whole thing a legit business. Four years later it was apparent being a legit business was more hassle than it was worth, so I shut the business down. I continued to do craft shows and report the hobby income. When Covid-19 showed up in 2020, all craft shows were cancelled. I would have been 4 month postpartum if the year had been normal, but I still wasn’t sure if I’d actually participate. I spent 2020 and 2021 working on personal projects and tackling a design project I’d wanted to try. Spending time working on personal projects instead of craft show inventory has allowed me to write two knitting patterns and list them for sale on Ravelry.

I still dable in some of the other hobbies, but they are continuously on the backburner. My blog has become a place I share random stuff with the internet. I occasionally make a YouTube video for my TalesFromAPolkCountyGirl channel. My KnittingAllTheBlankets YouTube channel is on hiatus. My ETSY shop is in Vacation Mode for now. Not sure what I want to do with that just yet. Nothings been listed on Amazon or eBay, but that’s okay. Craft shows were shelved because of COVID last year. No word on it they’re going to have the main show I participate in this year.

Gardening in general fell off the radar in my 3rd trimester. No energy and it was comin’ on summer in Florida. I didn’t want to be out there weeding pineapples and under citrus trees. Pretty much everything survived my near year-long neglect, and I’ve been out there a couple of times since my son was born to weed.

I’m still designing knitting patterns. My 2nd pattern is in testing, and will hopefully be up and ready for sale by the fall.

KATB ep. 37 May 2019

 

 

If you’re not a subscriber to my Knitting All the Blankets YouTube Channel, then you’ve missed out on the saga that was Eric’s Blanket.

Last March (2017), my little brother bought a house, and I had this overwhelming desire to make him a blanket.

My goal was to give it to him as a Christmas present. I can tell you right now, that didn’t happen.

Eric chose the colors: green, black, red, blue, orange, and silver. Well, all the silver yarn we looked at were too grey for him, so grey became white.

I did the calculations, and figured to cover his queen size been, I’d need to knit 324 squares measuring 5 inches square.

6 colors of year, 54 squares of each color, 324 total.

I used all Red Heart acrylic yarn, so my brother wouldn’t have to worry about special washing instructions.

The pattern I used was a modified Grandma’s Favorite washcloth pattern. I increased to 25 stitches instead of the 45 stitches the pattern calls for.

Me holding up the final knitted square, with a celebratory drink in my hand.

I started knitting the squares March 2017, and finished the final square January 26, 2018. That’s just knitting the squares! I still had to put the thing together!!!

Here are the pictures of the piles of knitted squares in their respective piles:

It was a long process to get all these squares knitted. My projects page on Ravelry has all the information, if you’re interested.

This is the end of this post. Stay tuned for Part 2 where I finish the blanket and present it to him.

Link

As promised in a previous video, here are the updated numbers for my brother’s blanket.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gwf1dOYec2Y%5B/embedyt%5D

#of colors = 6

# of each color = 54

Total squares needed = 324

Total squares knitted = 102

Green = 19

Black = 20

Royal Blue = 8

Cherry Red = 41

White = 14

Orange = 0

Link

To recap, I first wrote about the Frankie Brown Camouflage 10 Stitch Blanket in this blog post. If you haven’t read that post, I suggest you stop and go read it before continuing. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Done? Okay, I put the FB camo blanket down for the first-time June 2015 to focus on creating craft show inventory at the time. I did pick it back up briefly in September 2016, only to put it down again after a few rows to go back to creating craft show inventory.

Only once the 2016 craft show season was over, did this blanket become my sole focus and main project (11/11/2016). I was in the middle of Magic Yarn Ball #8-B.

Magic Yarn Ball #8-B

Ball Completed: 11/11/2016.

Measurements: 41 inches long x 45 inches wide.

Magic Yarn Ball #9

King Size Bed for reference

Ball Started: 11/12/2016.

Ball Completed:11/24/2016.

Measurements: 42 inches long x 46 inches wide.

Magic Yarn Ball #10

Queen Size Bed for reference.

Ball Started: 11/24/2016.

Ball Completed: 12/8/2016.

Measurements: 43 ½ inches long x 47 inches wide.

Magic Yarn Ball #11

King Size Bed for reference.

Ball Started: 12/8/2016.

Ball Completed: 12/14/2016.

Measurements: 45 ½ inches long x 48 inches wide.

Magic Yarn Ball #12

Queen Size bed for reference.

Ball Started: 12/14/2016.

Ball Completed: 12/25/2016.

Measurements: 47 ½ inches long x 51 ½ inches wide.

Now, I should tell you that I had a self-determined goal to finish this blanket by Christmas Day. Alas, I did not. Magic Yarn Ball #13 was tied on Christmas Day, but it wasn’t until the next day that I finished this blanket. Being a day late in finishing wasn’t such a big deal.

Magic Yarn Ball #13

My husband is holding the blanket, and he’s 6’4″.

Ball Started: 12/25/2016.

Ball Completed: 12/26/2016.

Measurements: 52 inches long x 52 inches wide!!!

I literally knit all day December 26, in order to finish that blanket. This blanket was a great learning experience in terms of learning mitered corners and using progress keepers. I’m giving my hands and wrists a rest before the New Year starts and I’m off creating craft show inventory once again.

If you’d like to knit this blanket, the pattern can be found on Ravelry.com.

© Cori Large 11/11-12/26/2016

Link

Here’s what I’ve been knitting on this month! I also completed the gift for my grandma, which I’m not going to share because she hasn’t received it yet. Also!!! I decided to film a video for this post. Please let me know what you think. I don’t want to waste people’s time with video if they’re not wanted. I’ve also created a Pinterest board for all these items.

2016-6 (1)

2016-6 (2)

Baby Blankets: 1

Bernat Plum Chutney

BB Bernat Plum Chutney

Cotton Dishcloths: 11

Bernat Port or Red Licorice

DC Bernat Port or Red Licorice

Cotton Scrubbies: 3

Bernat Port or Red Licorice

Scrubbie Bernat Port or Red Licorice

Luxury Facecloths: 5

Bernat Pipsqueak Sunny Days

Lux FC Bernat Pipsqueak Sunny Days

After ALL of this, I’m back to working on my camo Frankie Brown 10 stitch blanket!!! I haven’t worked on this thing in a year. I’ll be doing an update post on it once it is completed. Check out the link, if you’d like to see what this afghan looks like.

YouTube video link

Pinterest Board link

© Cori Large 26 June 2016

Link

I’ve been wanting to knit a blanket where I start in the middle, and knit ‘round and ‘round until I’m ready to end it. I’m not an advanced knitter, nor do I crochet, and making my own patterns up is hit and miss. I was on Ravelry.com, browsing afghan patterns, and found the Frankie Brown 10 Stitch patterns. They were EXACTLY what I wanted! I chose the rectangle pattern, but there are others: zig zag, twist, triangle, a double 10 stitch, and corner.

She offers the patterns for free, just asking for donations to a children’s liver charity if you enjoy them.

This is a personal project for me that I work on as a pallet cleanser when I’m tired of making craft show inventory.

Here is my progress so far:

1st little bit of yarn:

I was using some old, nasty feeling Peaches and Cream cotton yarn in the color Camel. Admittedly, I messed up the first couple of corners because I didn’t know what I was doing. Hate the feeling of the yarn SOOOOO MUCH I couldn’t bring myself to frog it and redo it.

FB Camo 1

2nd little bit of yarn:

Once I had moved on to standard acrylic, I got better at the mittered corners.

FB Camo 2

3rd bit of yarn:

I didn’t calculate how much yarn I was using at the time. At this point, I took what yarns I was going to use in this blanket and start making smaller balls out of the colors.

FB Camo 3

4th yarn ball:

I then tied all the small balls together in a random order, hoping to make up random stripes for this blanket. So I really have no idea what this thing is going to look like when it’s done.

FB Camo 4

5th yarn ball:

As you can see, sometimes the random yarn balls still ended up giving me camo on camo stripes.

FB Camo 5

6th yarn ball:

This picture was taken after I had finished knitting the 6th random yarn ball. It’s only now I could start to see how it was coming out.

FB Camo 6

7th ball of yarn:

I’m really impressed on how it’s coming out. For a size comparison, that’s a Nokia Lumia cell phone. It’s about 6 inches long.

FB Camo 7

8th ball of yarn:

I haven’t done much with this blanket since this picture was taken. For a size comparison, it’s on a queen size bed in our guest room. (We leave the guest bed unmade, so the sheets don’t get dusty.)

FB Camo 8a

FB Camo 8b

I hope that I can make it big enough to cover a queen size bed, but I may have to settle for something a bit smaller.

© Cori Large 4/8/2016

Link