In Which I Am Suddenly Afflicted With Craftiness

I have always been more than a bit of a magpie, forever jabbering and bouncing around from one shiny new thing to the next. Not an especially trend-conscious magpie, to be sure — if I’m going after a shiny new thing, it had darn well better be a relatively strange or unpopular new thing to catch my attention.

When I first moved to rural Iowa, I discovered a place where people made the things that I was in the habit of buying — home-grown food, homemade furniture, handicrafts of any and all kinds, and above all: this is A Land of Many Fabric Crafts, at least compared to my experience of growing up in suburbia. My mother could (and still can) sew; she did 4H as a lass, farm kid that she was. Contrary child that I was, I took — and pretty much sucked at — Industrial Arts (AKA Shop) instead of Home Economics when given the chance, because at the time I resented any and all attempts to force me to do “girly” things, as many a tomboy does at that age.* The craftiest thing I ever produced was a sort of pathetic latch-hooked mini rug. I think I managed not to bungle the sad plastic ashtray that we made in IA, too. The rest was…well, it wasn’t pretty.

Because I remain contrary (although my attitudes toward gendered and gendering activities have changed substantially), I vowed that I would resist the craftiness. No quilter, me! No knitting! No applique sweatshirts! No potholders! I would remain a proud home skills philistine! Haha! Ha!



Mark your calendar, Mom. As of today, January 13 2015, I have Crafted a Large Thing.**

The heaviest, most incredibly dense afghan EVER, and the 38" knitting board on which it was made.

The heaviest, most incredibly dense afghan EVER, and the 38″ knitting board on which it was made.

Still a contrary magpie, I did not take up proper knitting or crocheting, which requires a person to learn to use needles and count stitches and whatnot. No, I had a vision, and it led me to the Knitting Board or loom — not just a wee plastic one with the fat posts that little kids learn to knit on (I also have one of those), but a big ol’ adjustable wooden one. 17 skeins of #6 yarn later, I have a smallish throw/afghan that is a) very warm, b) only partially fringed, because I ran short and didn’t feel like going to buy more yarn, and c) probably heavier than at least one of my dogs. God help us if it ever gets wet — it’ll be like moving the lead vest they make you wear when the dentist x-rays your teeth.

Now it’s just a short, terrifying distance to inflicting misshapen sweaters on all and sundry as holiday gifts. Woohoo! Between this and the cooking, I’m coming over all domestic. It feels pretty darn funny, I don’t mind saying.

At least I have a blanket to keep me warm…

*I took that class with a man who had one of the most unfortunate possible names for someone teaching the lot of Beavises and/or Buttheads that we all were as teenagers: Mr. Shipman, bless him.

Say it quickly. Do not enunciate correctly.

Petty scatological insult ACCOMPLISHED!


**I made a friend/colleague a nice, warm scarf a couple of weeks ago. That was a smaller thing. This is a BIG Thing.


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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2 Responses to In Which I Am Suddenly Afflicted With Craftiness

  1. bob f says:

    Laura, be warned. If your experience is anything like what happened at our house when Judy started weaving, there are hundreds of skeins of yarn already plotting to take over your house. They will soon be taking over every possible storage location and, trust me, their assault will not be denied. Even the most assertive of 2- or 4-legged creatures will be defeated.


    • Bob — I’ve already noticed. *sigh* Right now, the only thing protecting me from going yarn-crazy and starting my next project is the slate of work and school projects that now consume my time. Otherwise, I’d be knee-deep in yarn (as opposed to hosting only two remaining skeins that will probably end up in a scarf if I suddenly need to procrastinate and don’t feel like playing a musical instrument instead). DANGER!


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