16 June 2008

Completion of The Artist's Way, Textile Passions and Soccer Madness

The last couple of weeks have been really great; flying past me incomprehensibly, but none the less good. There has been a lot going on, but at the same time not really much at all. But I am going to tell you about it - that is why you visit this blog in the first place.

The End of an Era: Completing the Artist's Way and Textile Passions

After twelve weeks of journaling every morning and taking myself on a weekly 'artist's date', I have finally completed the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I can only recommend it for anyone who has creative inclinations but does not know where or have the courage to begin.  Not only did I work through some long-festering, deep-seated issues that I had no idea were affecting how fully I have been able to live my life, let alone stunting my creativity, I also surprisingly discovered other creative passions I had long forgotten.

Over the last several weeks, I have become acutely aware of an absolute passion for textiles and sewing. I guess that knitting was the spark to ignite the fire. I wrote in my morning journal about this; wondering how I would be able to combine it with my writing endeavors and how I would begin perusing this. Well, as the life would have it, the universe hit me in the middle of the forehead with an answer.

Matthias and I have been trying to sell his motorcycle in Canada (we weren't able to import it because North American bikes have lower emissions standards than European ones. We would have had to completely rebuild the bike). Two Saturdays ago, we were out looking for a replacement bike. I also had my list of local yarn shops and after unsuccessfully looking for one, I walked past a charity shop window and saw a dress form...in my size. The dress form cost 20 GBP (around $40). 

The whole thing was like a slow motion scene from a film.  I walked past the shop window twice after seeing it. On the third approach, Matthias told me I had to buy it. I had just been talking about wanting a dress form the night before. It was fate. We carried Lisl, the German equivalent of Lizzie, to the car in two pieces. At home we checked how much brand new dress forms cost. To our delight, we found that they cost almost three times as much as we paid. Now all I have to do is buy a sewing machine and learn how to sew...

To the left are a few pictures of Lisl: one in her birthday suit and one in which she sports the front panel of the sweater I am knitting at the moment and that is a never ending project.

Writing is going really well. I submitted my first story pitch to an online knitting magazine, Knitty.com, and am patiently awaiting a response. I am also celebrating my first paying writing gig for a small London marketing firm that specializes in search engine optimization. It isn't my aesthetic preference, but it is a resume/portfolio builder and a couple pounds in the old pocket. I also have a few other prospects on the horizon which I may have to do some pro bono work for, but you have to pay your dues, right?

Saturday was World Wide Knit In Public Day and a group of us chicks with sticks descended upon one of the main squares in Manchester city center. I made some carrot cake cupcakes to share, packed a blanket to sit on and a thermos with tea and took the train down to Piccadilly. To my surprise, around twenty of us showed up and it was a real opportunity to get to know other knitters, advertise our knitting groups and get the latest scoop on new yarns and shops. It sounds cheesy, but that is what knitters do when they get together. It was good fun and I even met two other American expat knitters!
Here are a few of the gals in action:

Maureen and her bear Alice. She and a friend are the 'traveling bear ladies' who seem to have a small cult following in rural England.

Charlie is getting an early start as a yarn goddess. Rachel is a freelance artist and fan of all things German. 
Polly (left) is due in one month and working on an afghan. Katie (far right) brought a friend who was visiting from Indiana.

Soccer Madness

Soccer has taken Casa Breu by storm. The European Championships, the second largest tournament next to the World Cup, started nearly two weeks ago. Night after night, Matthias and I have been watching three hours of soccer. Thank goodness the group rounds are almost over and the knockout quarterfinals are starting soon. Germany is playing its final group game this evening against cohost Austria in Vienna. The Germans were the tournament favorite, but have made an incredibly poor showing  in their first two games. If Deutschland loses tonight, we will be out. So, Auf geht's Deutschland! (Let's go, Germany).

I hope you are well and enjoying your summer no matter how miserable the weather and the economy seem to be. Remember, there is always another way to look at it.

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