not enough time for knitting

One work obligation that I look forward to each year is teaching transitional ministry ideas and skills to potential and new temporary/interim pastors. It’s fun to teach, I teach with amazing colleagues who have become friends over the years, and it’s in a stunning location – Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center – right on the lake on the south shore of Lake Tahoe.

My first evening it looked like this:

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Yeah, hardship location.

This year we had a couple of bumps in our planning. One  of our team had to drop out, and we had new staff from the center’s site who were  on a learning curve. But by the time we gathered for our final planning session it was looking really good – calm waters ahead. I, as the team leader, felt calm, so calm, in fact, that I remarked on this to the team and center staff. I said something to the effect of, “Gee, this is too easy, I’m getting a little worried that something will happen.” We laughed.

Then came Sunday evening. We had a few hiccups in registering folks, but then, WHAM! a storm broke over the camp, with pounding rain. Folks coming to our event from Nevada told us they battled hail on the road. And then, because, all the lights went out. Not just in our building, not just in our conference center, no, the whole of South Lake Tahoe was experiencing a power outage.

It was a scramble, as many folks were trying to get into their rooms, bringing in luggage when the elevator was out. One woman was trapped in the elevator; she was plucked out by folks who heard her pounding and calling.

But you know what? This is a bunch of pastors and their spouses, and trust me, our definition of a crisis looks a lot different from some people. A crisis is when someone beloved has died, or someone has received a bad medical diagnosis, or someone has broken off a relationship in the family, or someone who you care about is in jail for something you could never imagine they would do. Crises come in a lot of colors, but a power outage (even when the emergency lights go out but it’s still light) is not one of them, at least not in the early hours.

That’s not to say we didn’t feel pressure – we had over 100 of us to feed, start something in our program, and get back safely to their rooms before it got dark. These folks needed us to step up as the leaders.

Our team was phenomenal. They strategized and brainstormed how to keep going that evening when we had planned to have power for the meal and the program. We had a “two-course” dinner – with a first course salad bar in the dining hall to a brilliant sunset (clouds are GREAT for sunsets), and after our revised evening session, the second course pizza from over the hill as it got dark. It felt like college in a way, eating pizza with strangers now friends helping one another through darkened hallways to rooms and sleep.

And truly, as we rode the wave of coping with an entry not of our own choosing, we perhaps taught more to our participants than anything we said during the week. Because it is how we act under pressure in the “not as planned” moments that folks will understand we mean what we say when remaining calm can help a situation. Hopefully, by how we acted, what we said will have mattered a little bit more.

The rest of the week was a cinch compared to that first night. Here you can see our relieved faces at the end of a good week together, with the perfect Lake Tahoe weather shining in back.

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But I will say, there was not enough time for knitting!

 

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Less

I’m a little more than one month out from The Great Clear Out (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3,   and the final piece) and I’ve been struck by  the flow-out from this move in my life.

  1. The clearing out continues. This was always the plan, since I didn’t finish things, just got over the hump, but I have downsized twice in the size of storage unit that I need. The current one is a petite 4’x5′ (a mere 20 percent of the big one), and if all goes to plan, I may not even need  this one by the end of the year. That would be SO nice! Also, I find that random drawers that were not part of the clear-out get organized because it feels better. I got my car cleaned and sorted out the trunk of my car.
  2. Room for other things in my life. That old saw about less is more? Totally true. With less visual clutter at home, and it now being easy to get to things that I own, there is more time in my life. No longer am I digging through crap to get to what I want.
  3. New goals. Among the room created is the mental space for new goals – get fitter and lighter.  I took a sample class for a new exercise program that my Y may bring in for us to teach, and it was really, really hard, to the point that I realized if I want to teach it, I have to get in better shape. So I’m adding on more workout times, different classes (cardio dance, zumba, yoga) which are fun and I feel better, and fit into more clothes. I’m going to see how far I can get this body!
  4. Saving money. Yep, it’s cheaper now too, with the smaller storage unit, and being able to see everything I own and use that instead of buying things. Between the savings on internet and phone that I worked on in the spring, paying for things like insurance all at once to save interest and fee payments, I am now looking to save for some goals – a big trip, retirement, etc.
  5. Stash busting. I didn’t really intend this, but since the Mendonoma trip, I’ve been knitting from stash – using up a lot of little bits with the yarn in a bowl hats, socks from bits of handspun, all for Afghans for Afghans. Will I make it to Labor Day without buying yarn for me to knit? Stay tuned!

Fiber stuff

The “baby shower” for Afghans for Afghans has me a little obsessed. These hats were the result of my yarn in a bowl experiment, and some of the socks are from samples of or leftover handspun.

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Although I haven’t officially participated in Tour de Fleece this year, I must be feeling the vibes, because I finished plying some really old fiber in the stash, which I think will become a large felted bowl for Wildcare.

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Then I plied the Into the Whirled BFL. I think I had split this to fractal spin, but then the tags fell off each of the removable spindle shafts, so in fact the plying was completely random, and the skeins are different from each other. Oh well, now I know to make sure the tags stay on!

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The Fiber Communities

One thing I love about our county fair (which is the best county fair in the Western US – I’m not kidding about that – the trade association for county fairs voted this) is that the crafters and artists get to show off their work every year.  The Artists showcase is killer, and probably really tough to get into, the crafting categories are gentler and allow all folks to participate.

And the plus is that we get to see each others’ best work all together. This year, these are some of the things that I enjoyed. My clergy acquaintance Chris made this quilt which won Best of Show for Art Quilts:

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My friend Judy did her usual clean-up of Fiber spinning awards – for her lovely yarn and a great hat knit from Handspun:

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and she started new world domination in the weaving category:

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Gale K. had an amazing beaded shawl which sadly did not translate into a photo very well. Trust me, it’s spectacular:

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Then there is Linda. Linda is not a proud look-at-me kind of knitter. Indeed, in person, she is rather modest. But then, she pulls out FOUR amazing items for the fair, any of one of which a knitter would look at and be pleased as punch to have knitted. I took photos of three of them and see if you don’t agree:

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And my friend Melissa submitted this all too adorable crocheted hippo:

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and that wasn’t the only lovely crochet that was shining, this shawl was also lovely:

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Colorwork this year was lovely, as in these two sweaters – I love the color combinations and sophisticated palettes:

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And me? This was not a “big submission” year for me, mostly because last year sucked in most ways, and it frankly affected the knitting. As usual, the things that I thought would do well, didn’t so much, and a last-minute item did.  First, my fingerless mittens that went viral of Ravelry for a couple of days took 3rd in original design, which is not a bad thing when you consider how little knitting there is to the project:

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On the other hand, my Leftie shawl that I adore, only got an honorable mention. Perhaps its lack of a prize might have been due to the fact that it was displayed on the wrong side out on the mannequin (I mean really???). I’ll take it as a nod to my super-good finishing on this item so that they didn’t see the ends on the color changes.

The Wrong Side - oh well!

The Wrong Side – oh well!

And finally, my handspun took 2nd place in its category, and considering I was up against Judy and another spinner that robbed Judy of won a couple of firsts, I was pretty happy.

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Some people might think the Marin fair is a hoity-toity kind of deal, which it is not. I give you these two final photos to demonstrate that yes, Marin can get real:

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A demonstration that really makes me smile!

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I think it’s great that my credit union is so on board with the bacon!

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Fill Bowl with Yarn, knit. Repeat.

This baby knitting for Afghans for Afghans has gripped me. I did a bunch of socks (each pair took about an hour while watching TV):

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and now I’m organizing my worsted wool scraps as follows for baby hats.

First, fill bowl with coordinating yarn scraps. I used a combination of Noro and my own handspun for this bowl.
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Second, knit a hat.

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Third, repeat as needed. So much fun! and the yarn bowl is beautiful enough to keep out among the keepsakes.

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