a sun star, a sweater, and saturn

I have no clever essay brewing in my mind, and only a few heavy thoughts weighing in my gut. I don’t have too much to say, over all. Right now, mostly, I’m working on things. I’m doing work that I create for myself, which is slowly changing me, activating me, giving me something to plan and hope for, some way forward in the world. I’m making things, I’m practicing creation. And it’s really kind of the best. Truly. I may never stop.

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First, the sweater, now finished and worn more than once in the world. It looks just like I hoped it would and it’s warm and wooly. I’m really proud of it, and I’m excited to keep on knitting. I love wearing my sweater, I love the way it feels, I love that I made it myself, I love how simple it is, how all the stitches go together into the shape of a sweater, how it’s really very simple, how I did it with my hands. Knitting, guys. It’s the coolest.

I have plans to knit this hat/mitten set next, just in time for the winter gales to set in around here. I’m finding it hard to justify investing in all the gear, like different sizes of needles for every project, wool spun in America in just the right colors ($$$), etcetera. These things really to cost money. But I’m trying to learn and practice spending less and making more, even though you still have to spend money to make things. I’m figuring it all out as I go. Really, truly, one tiny step, one little stitch, one youtube video or google search at a time.

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Now I’m whittling away at my next project, my first quilt. It’s the Sun Star pattern by Courtney Heimerl, a designer and quilt-maker I met at the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago and immediately wanted to talk with all day and ask a million questions. Her aesthetic is beautiful to me, and I was happy to buy a pattern and plan a quilt. It’s an extremely simple design which is what I wanted for my first try at quilting. Some practice, nothing too intense or scary, something I could feel successful at right away. A soft entrance into a new medium. A start. I’ve been sneaking in half-hours at my sewing machine and ironing board to piece the top, bit by bit. It has come together, quicker than I even thought it would, and now I’m onto the hand quilting. I like the tiny stitches, wearing my thimble, putting it all together.

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Bought the fabric at good old Jo-Ann, fine for now, but someday soon I’ll find my way to a better fabric source here in Chicago. I have some leads on a few, it’s just a matter of getting there.

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Now a little parade of pictures pertaining to the production of the quilt. I listened to various music while I worked on it. I had to rip out my stitches a few times. The seams don’t join perfectly like I hoped they would, and I’m a little disappointed in myself for that, but that’s what first quilts are for, I suppose. For wonky seams and trying your best. For trying.

It’s been wonderful to try.

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This is what my coffee table looks like right now, cluttered with ideas and things to read and things to write with and things to make things with and snacks. I like it this way, but I also like it clear and calm. Sort of how I also feel about my brain, about the world. I have a lot going on in my life and in my brain. I have plans and lists of things to make, supplies to find, things to write, plans to make, ways to go forward. I’m not spinning my wheels quite as much as I was before, I’m no longer quite so wrung out. But still, I’m trying to be tender with myself, to enjoy the hours of slow stitches between the project planning. The actual doing of the things, the letters accumulating, the leaves falling off the trees, the conversations, the stitches on stitches on stitches it takes to actually make something.

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I’m learning so much and I’m figuring out the things I don’t know, and the days are going fast. So many ideas, so little time, so much to feel and think and learn and try and gather. One more stitch. One more.

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In the middle of all the swirling, planning, making, thinking, feeling, doing, I saw a play last night. A really, really special play, maybe one of the best plays I’ve seen in a very long time. It was a play that was sort of about everything I’m thinking about right now (s0rt 0f, not really, but it felt like it) and presented in exactly the way I needed to experience it. It was performers grappling with things right in front of me, in the same room as me, with me, for me. It was coming at an idea from every angle, like the best essays I’ve read, like a song, like a dance. It was gorgeous really, and if you live in Chicago and you’re in your twenties and you like some of the same things as I like, I think you should see it.

Saturn Returns by Tif Harrison of the Neofutursts.

I won’t say too much about it, I’ll just tell you that it’s incredibly beautiful and raw and true and you should go if you can. It feels important that I went. It feels important to have gone in the midst of making and carrying a lot of things, on the cusp of change, in the middle of a climbing time, right now. It feels important that you could go do. So go. If you can.

And if you can’t go to a play, specifically this one, you could make something. Like a quilt or a sweater or a hat. It’s changing my life, this making things and writing things. It’s changing my life, this seeing things other people have made. We all have worlds in us. We all have so much to say.

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3 thoughts on “a sun star, a sweater, and saturn

  1. Vogue is the place to go though completely overwhelming to my tiny British sensibilities! There is a place on wabash in the loop too but I have only stared in from the outside so if you make it their please write a post about it!…Helen

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  2. I love that you’re making a quilt! I’ve always wanted to be a quilter but have been too nervous about all the steps and getting it just so. It’s inspiring to see that you’re starting with a simpler project and not worrying too much about precision and getting it perfect the first time around. It gives me hope that one day I can make one too.

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