Hooray! The last knitting for money ended today! I feel a little like I'm selling my soul or something when I say it that way, but I'll have a couple of weeks now for my own knitting. I got a last minute order for another pair of mohair slippers and had to spin up two bobbins of mohair to make it work. I read accounts of people who spin as an art form and for the relaxation of it, but that's a pipe dream for me. It seems to me that I spin mostly out of necessity--in short, I need the yarn!
How wonderful to sit and enjoy the colors playing against each other and feel the texture of the fiber as it slips between my fingers. NOT! Lately, when I spin, it's because I have an order for yarn or a project that needs a certain fiber. When the yarn is for felting, I don't even bother to ply or finish the yarn. I just knit it straight off the bobbin and slog on. I'd like to be creative and all that, but business is business, even when it frustrates the creative spirit. My mother once told me that if necessity is the mother of invention, frustration must be the father of progress! Amen to that, sister!
It's wicked cold here. I slept in until 8:00 this morning and it was -3 degrees Fahrenheit when I got up. It only got up to a whopping high of 12 degrees at around 2:00 this afternoon. Wasn't it in the 70's only a few weeks ago when we were trying to sell sweaters and mittens at the show?
I was called crafty at the library a few days ago. I've been called that before and it sets my teeth just slightly on edge. Visions of lunch buckets made out of bleach bottles with crocheted drawstring tops and rugs made out of plastic grocery sacks float before my eyes and I feel a little nauseous. The lady at the library said that she was certainly NOT crafty, but described herself as intellectually creative. I smiled benignly and moved on.
I think I know what she was trying to say, but it made me think about what the term "crafty" really means. To me the word "crafty" conjures images of school children making log cabins out of pop sickle sticks and glue. I think back to making reindeer out of empty thread spools at Christmas time and turkeys out of pine cones and colored paper. Perhaps I need to think differently.
So I looked up the word "craft". My old dictionary from the 70's says that a craft is a "skill or ability in something, especially in handwork or the arts; proficiency; expertise. " I like that. A craftsman is "an artist as considered with regard to technique." I like that, too, but I like the word artisan better for some reason, although the definition is quite the same as all the others. It seems to speak of creating beauty and purpose at the same time, rather than favoring one over the other. It also seems to suggest something greater than a hobbyist mindset.
The biggest problem I have with the word "crafty" is that there's an awful lot of hard work that I have to do before I actually get to be creative. I don't think people realize that when they use a word like "crafty". Daily chores, cleaning pens, hauling hay, shearing, skirting and sorting fiber, running it all through the picker, carding, combing and a host of other tasks take up a lot of time and really make the word craft seem silly and meaningless. If you ask me, it's really more a lifestyle than a craft. It never ends. It's not a hobby and I don't just pop down to the local Hobby Lobby and pick up something to knit with.
OK, so I don't see myself as an artist and I sometimes think that people who elevate their activities to the level of art are a little stuffy and fussy. I don't want to be like that. I guess I just want others to realize that what we do is not just a flash in the pan or a pastime. We're serious about what we do. Maybe too serious. Maybe that's the problem I have with the word "crafty". I probably need to take my own advice, so liberally handed out to my children---"Get over yourself!"