Craft people are the best people.

Yesterday I asked my twitter feed if any of my yarn friends had extra roving/spinning fiber they were looking to unload. I got rid of my stash when we left Alaska last year because I didn’t want to try to haul it across country in the back of my Honda along with all the rest of my worldly possessions. I thought I wasn’t ever going to really pick spinning back up. 

But now, I’m desperate to spin and am out of fiber. I’m also broke and spinning is an expensive hobby. Braids of roving typically cost between $18-30 depending on the dyer and fiber content. 

I don’t have that kind of cash just laying around at the moment. 

So anyway, I asked Twitter if anyone was looking to destash some fiber on the cheap. I was willing to pay for whatever remnants they had and didn’t plan on using up. 

And suddenly I was reminded why in my darkest moments the knitting community has routinely saved me: several of my friends offered to send me stuff they had for free or just for the cost of shipping. Because yarn people are the best people. They are kind and giving and understanding of a crafter who can’t afford her preferred craft. 

Ten years ago when my anxiety had overtaken me, when I couldn’t leave the house and would literally hyperventilate at the thought of being in public, I picked up knitting as a way to calm myself. I taught myself from YouTube videos and KnittingHelp.com

I used knitting as a way to get back out into the world. I took sock projects with me wherever I went and when I felt overwhelmed and thought I was going to panic in line at the post office or at a friends birthday party, I’d take out my sock and knit a few rounds. I’d see that I had control over something, even if it wasn’t my life or current environment, and I felt better. Even a few rows of plain stockinette was progress. 

Later I taught knitting in a small yarn shop and started a knitting group to meet friends. I met two of my very favorite human beings because of that knitting group. 

Later still, in the midst of a terrible break up, I traveled all over the East Coast of the United States talking to knit nights and yarn shops. I stayed with famous knitters and met dozens of crafters from all over. I was fed and housed for four weeks by the generosity of strangers. Some of those people only had knitting in common with me. But they let me in. They picked me up from train stations at four a.m. and let me cry on their couches and fondle their cashmere stashes and baby talk their pets. 

They sent me back to Alaska with a heart full of new friendships and at least one suitcase full of an entire alpaca fleece, raw and unwashed and smelling like dingleberries and Ohio dirt. 

I stopped crafting for a while, for the most part. I got busy with my career and falling in love and planning a wedding and moving and adopting dogs. I put it aside. I’d knit a quick baby sweater here or there when someone turned up pregnant. Or a hat to keep my husbands head warm one winter. But for the most part it was just this thing I used to do. 

I am so incredibly blessed to have found my tribe. These are my people. These crafters, these warriors of sticks and string, these are my congregation and my church. They are my therapists and brothers and sisters. They are my inspiration and my cheerleaders. 

And right now, they are throwing super wash merino at me to let me know that they have my back. That if I am a crafter with no craft supplies, they got me. 

I’m so lucky to know these people.

crafting spinning hand spinning wheel spinning knitters knitting hand crafts roving fiber anxiety fear friendship

In my life other people’s words have often brought me to tears. Never have those tears been the result of something I read being about me. 

Today that changed. 

I need you to do something for me. I need you to look in the mirror. I need you to see yourself how I see you. I need you to see the cute, powerful amazing woman that you are. Adorable hair, with bangs fit for the gods. Eyeliner game that is so on point you could use it to sew. Lips so red roses blush to be kissed by them. Behind all of that? A mind sharp with knowledge and wit, knowing how to stitch together concept and word into a quilt of story and language that is evocative and grammatically precise. That wounded heart that beats in your chest that has recovered after so much pain, each beat the applause you deserve. In whatever cute outfit you’ve selected that day, in whatever style of heel on your shoe you chose to accent it, I know they shine in the sun with the viscera of the arrogant assholes you’ve stomped the stupid out of. You are a warrior, an artist and a goddamned woman of distinction. NEVER cede an INCH to any motherfucker trying to tell you different.

These words will be read at my funeral and I will etch them into my memory for the rest of my life. Because I needed these words today and also because I don’t believe all of them (yet) but I am so grateful for a world where this person exists and that his faith in me is this strong. 
For you, I will do great things. If only to live up to how you see me. 
xo

friendship fucking seriously guys I got teary and Shannon had to finish reading it to me

lovecake.

For some reason my friend SJ and I decided, at some point in the last four years since I’ve been back in Alaska, that August 13th is our Love-aversary. She had it in her work calendar and everything. 

She’s an engineer who designs state parks and does REALLY IMPORTANT MATH TYPE WORK that I do not understand and she is currently working in Denali National Park on a project. Denali is about five hours away from where we live in Anchorage. It’s Tuesday, August 13. It’s our love-aversary. 

Quick detour: I love Costco sheetcake. I love it more than any other cake or dessert ever. I especially love the vanilla filling and big, fluffy icing flowers of cheap, butter heavy frosting. These cakes are $20 and HUGE so I rarely have cause or need for an entire freaking sheet cake. 

But today, when I showed up to the dive bar where Sj was playing a short set (oh yeah, she’s also an amazing musician) after driving into town there sat this beautiful, flower covered love cake. 

I held my shit together while I was at the bar. I did okay. I hugged her like eight times and we rarely hug, but other than that I played it pretty cool. I won’t see her again before we leave state and the next time I’ll probably see her is when she comes to visit our other friend who’s baby is due in January. 

I did start crying about the cake in the car on the way home. Because it’s just a stupid $20 cake but my friend drove five hours to get it, walk it around downtown Anchorage and then sit in a bar with it while she waited for me to show up. 

I am so lucky. I have so many amazing people in my life. I have so many here in Alaska and so many more that I’m headed back to in Vegas. I have them in Seattle and Portland and Kansas and Georgia and England and New Jersey and Texas and California and Florida and everywhere in between. 

I am just so lucky. 

friendship love cake sj is the best sarah jo loveaversary

mostlycatsmostly:

Smile For the Camera - Young Pallas Cat - Wildlife Heritage Foundation Cat Sanctuary, Ashford, Kent (that face!) (by www.smilezoomclick.co.uk)

this is totes adorbz and all but the thing that made me giggle was my friend Laura’s tags on it. 

Guys, she is this cat and this face is what I refer to affectionately as “Laura face” or “pie happy hour face.” I also now make this face when presented with a camera. 
Do you guys have a friend that just makes you SO FREAKING HAPPY just by looking at them that it makes you a little dizzy? Laura is that friend. She is enthusiastic to a point of ridiculousness and that enthusiasm is infectious. 
So, if you don’t have one of those friends you can either find a zoo with one of these pallas cats or find yourself a Laura. I’m betting Laura’s bite less. 

mostlycatsmostly:

Smile For the Camera - Young Pallas Cat - Wildlife Heritage Foundation Cat Sanctuary, Ashford, Kent (that face!) (by www.smilezoomclick.co.uk)

this is totes adorbz and all but the thing that made me giggle was my friend Laura’s tags on it. 

Guys, she is this cat and this face is what I refer to affectionately as “Laura face” or “pie happy hour face.” I also now make this face when presented with a camera. 

Do you guys have a friend that just makes you SO FREAKING HAPPY just by looking at them that it makes you a little dizzy? Laura is that friend. She is enthusiastic to a point of ridiculousness and that enthusiasm is infectious. 

So, if you don’t have one of those friends you can either find a zoo with one of these pallas cats or find yourself a Laura. I’m betting Laura’s bite less. 

(via newandhorrible)

friendship adorbz she is exactly like that cat

ohitsjustkim:

friendship’s really weird. Like, you just pick some humans you’ve met and you’re like “yup. i like these ones” and you just do stuff with them

I feel like there’s a little more to my process. Like a battery of tests and some obstacle course shit. Plus I need to know where you rate on the Kinsey scale. Science. 

(via mustbemad)

friendship

From the archives: Epic battle

I wrote this July 3, 2011 after a long, lovely but trying day at the Girdwood Forest Fair. This was a weird weekend. This was right around the time I met my now husband, I was living in a friends basement and was conquering fears all over the place. I spent this entire summer in a pair of leggings and a black lycra mini skirt. I wore a neon teal feather in my hair and went to a lot of dance parties. If I had to pick a moment in my 20’s where everything was super fucking cool with little to no downsides, these few weeks in June and July 2011 are it. 

Also, for the record, my fear of spiders is very real and I have to take medication at night to not have nightmares about bugs being all over me. So there’s a little context for this story. Enjoy.

Epic Battle

Alternately Titled: Conquering Fears and Injuring Bitches. 

Yesterday was a most epic ladydate day and so many things happened that I feel an almost moral obligation to share its contents with the internet at large. 

Let me start with this: I don’t camp. I don’t camp not because I don’t like camping, or because I’m afraid of bears. I don’t camp because I hate bugs. I would seriously sleep in the dirt on the ground with nothing more than a blanket to keep me warm and guarded against the elements if I could guarantee that no bugs could touch me. I have a serious, no joke, full on freak out response phobia of spiders in particular. I am a mostly rational human being who understands that I am approximately a billion times the size of a spider and that there is not much a spider can do to me to harm me. Alaska is not home to many poisonous species of spiders (save the Brown Recluse which I have seen a few of in my years in Alaska but its rare.) so really I’m fully aware that my pathological aversion to spiders is ridiculous. 

However that does not stop me from having a nervous breakdown in the backseat of a moving vehicle after a long afternoon at the Girdwood Forest Fair where I appear to have brought home a small brown companion that is now scaling my arm. NO! Holy shit now it’s on my leg! FUCK! NOW I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS OH MY GOD I CAN FEEL IT EVERYWHERE ON ME THERE ARE A MILLION OF THEM STOP THE CAR STOP THE CAR STOP THE CAR. 

I see the spider first on my left arm, I swing wildly and knock it off somewhere into the recesses of the car. We are headed back to Anchorage from the Girdwood Forest Fair so we are on the Seward Highway traveling roughly 5,000 mph on a two lane road that is couched between sheer mountain face and steep inlet bluffs. The spider is loose in the vehicle and I have nowhere to run. Instant paralyzing fear grips me. I continue to brush my arm fruitlessly still feeling the phantom footsteps of my tiny assailant. 

Moments later its making its furious ascent up my leg. I bat wildly again and knock him to the floor boards, still pretty much freaking out but not yet wailing or crying. I continue to run my hands over my arms and legs knowing that my tiniest attacker is still on the prowl and has not yet been subdued. The car continues to careen towards town and I soldier silently on in the backseat, suffering this continued affront to my humanity with dignity and poise. 

Until that little fucker appears again, a third time from between my legging clad thighs. And this, dear readers, is when I lose my shit. I scream and claw madly at my legs this time taking note of where this eight legged terrorist has fallen to the floor boards and then I begin the unbridled dance of spider death and stomp the shit out of him while screaming and crying. Three times, friends, three times is too many for me. At this point I ask quietly if my dear friend and driver can please pull the car over at the next available turn out so we can do a spider check. I fear my fragile emotional state will not be able to handle any more encounters with the denizens of nature and that if this happens again in an enclosed vehicle I will be forced to throw myself from a moving car on a busy highway just to escape the wrath of these horrible creatures Satan has clearly cast created to haunt mere mortals on Earth. 

We do our spider check, I come away clean. My ladyfriends do not mock or joke about the serious emotional turmoil I have just suffered. Nor do they make fun of the fact that all the excitement has now sent me into an asthmatic fit and I’m reduced to hyperventilating and puffing on my inhaler. No, they pander to my crazy and pat me down for spiders. We continue on our way towards town. 

But then….

We decide to take a detour and climb a fucking mountain. What?!? Yeah. A fucking mountain. Which normally would be a huge deal for me because I am also scared of heights and sharp pointy things like rocks. However after having just survived the Epic Battle of Spidery Terror I am remarkably calm about scaling a rock face in my Toms canvas shoes and lightweight hoodie. 

Which is good because I got to see this:

photo (1)

And that was my Epic Ladydate Day. (There was also fried foods, feathers in my hair, fake tattoos and the invention of a fake biker gang, lots of photos and a house party but those are all totally secondary to how epic the first part of the day was.) 

girdwood forest fair alaska doing battle spiders arachnaphobia friendship seward highway rock climbing hipster shit living live Long Reads