Category Archives: Power Tools

In which the “artist” questions himself

I blame my mother.

But then, don’t we all?

Growing up, there was one thing I learned more than any other from my mom: you can do anything.  I saw her sewing, doing cross stitch and needlepoint and latch work.  My father would take us boys on a trip and we’d return to find she’d re-wallpapered/painted the rooms.  She owned a scroll saw and would make toys for us down in the basement.

Frequently she involved us boys in these varied tasks, like when we all colored pictures on transfer paper and she made bed spreads for us with the pictures.  I remember the smell and feel of wallpaper after dunking it in the trough of water.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up a love for crafts and making art as well.

So I blame my mother for my desire to try as much as possible 🙂  To date I can say I have worked in all the following areas: crochet, knitting, water color, book binding, paper making, tie dye, clothes design/making, machine sewing, hand sewing, photography, graphic art, font creation, drawing, altered books, embroidery, jewelry making, embossing, pastels, picture framing, glass plate decoration, stuffed animal design/creation, glass etching, calligraphy… there’s  much, much more that I’m just not thinking of.  And that’s just in the broad field of Arts & Crafts.  I’ve also written plays, short stories, poetry, songs.  I played trombone for 7 years.  I have acted professionally for over 10 years.

But here’s the point I am heading towards: in all these endeavors, I have frequently risen from “not bad” to “pretty good.”  But never beyond.  I’m a good actor.  Maybe a pretty good actor.  But pretty good doesn’t set me above many others when it comes time for casting.  7 years of trombone and I still wasn’t very good at all.  My eye for photography has never been that interesting.  My drawing has always been labored and looks labored.  After years of crocheting, I’d say I could be rated at Advanced Novice.

There is nothing that I feel I do exceedingly well.

While that may not be a terrible thing, it still bothers me.  Even when it comes to my ideas for creating, I feel second-rate.  I see things and think, “Ooo!  I wanna try that!” and then I do THAT.  Exactly that.  Rarely does something I see/experience act as a springboard for something new.  Rarely do I come up with my own concepts.  Sometimes I can’t even put my own spin on concepts.  I might think, “I am going to write a story that takes place after an apocalypse (because I read World War Z) and the lead character is going to live in a casino (because I play too much Fallout: New Vegas).  Never mind, he’ll live on an aircraft carrier (wait, that was Fallout 3).”  I know there’s nothing new in the world (Dime Store Prophets quote) and that all the stories have been told.  The key is putting ones self into something old and making it new.  I just can’t seem to find the Me to put into something, though.  I’ve never been sure how to make it my own.

I guess I spent too much time when I was younger trying to copy exactly what my mom was doing, trying so hard to do it “right.”  I never bothered to color outside the lines and see where it took me.  As an adult, I have a lot of things I can do, but nothing I can do very well.

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Power Tools and Yarn. That’s My Life.

Power tools and yarn.  Somehow these things describe me well.  Finally, my powers combined because I needed a yarn winder.  That’s right, the Power Winder!

 

That is a knitting needle inserted into the chuck of a cordless driver.  I then taped the yarn tail to the end farthest away from the driver and taped again close to the driver.

 

Then away I drived.  Drove.  Droved. Then I used the driver to wind the yarn, working it front to back with my free hand.

 

I didn’t have a lot of this yarn to wind, so here is the finished “ball.”

 

And again:

Kerrs, you should recognize that ottoman.

 

It worked like a charm!  ………the second time.  Remember how Picture 3 had a little hand saying, ‘Remember this’?  Well, that’s because as I wound the yarn, I went OVER the bottom taped end.  Do NOT wind over the tape! is the lesson I learned from my first attempt.  What happens is, when you try to remove the new skein by sliding it off the needle (which you have removed from the cordless driver), you get a yarn corn dog.

and it WON’T come off the needle.  I had to unwind it by hand, and start again.  This time I made sure to stay away from the taped ends.

 

Another word of caution: the driver’s chuck left indentions on my knitting needle.  I have not knitted since I started crocheting in 2007, so I didn’t really care.  Hey, might as well put my needles to some use somehow, right?  However, a dowel rod would work just as well.  Or a chopstick, or a pencil… anything round that fits into the chuck, really.  Here’s what happened:

There are 3 of those indentions.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this and maybe it will save you from spending $40 on a yarn winder like it did me.  Feel free to leave comments or questions.


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