Category Archives: The Mines

Knitting in the workplace…

See this pretty thing?

Danse macabre
The darkest dark, the reddest red, the sparkliest sparkly!!

It started it’s dark and sparkly life in a basement of a museum, surrounded by coffee and polyester sweaters and noise.  Lots and lots of noise…

Breaktime Knitting
Not pictured: a handheld radio, a cup of tea, gurgling pipes overhead and my frowny little face as I try to concentrate…

I usually bring knitting to my job, to help me unwind between breaks and to sneak a little time into my various projects. More often than not it’s something I spun up myself that demands to be made into something right this minute. Yarn can be pushy like that. So very pushy. This yarn was a dark black, red and white spiral-ply I spun up from one of the beautiful batts at Butterflygirl Designs on Etsy. I’ve bought from her for years, and her goods are always so good. One of the nice things about handspun yarn is that you can keep your stitches pretty simple and let the yarn do all the work of being pretty…

Workplace knitting has it’s own challenges. It’s noisier than home, of course. There’s lots of traffic, and the possibility of spills, crumbs, overcurious coworkers poking at your project, moving it or distracting you enough to drop a stitch or two. I’ve lost count of the times on a break where I answer a workplace question while my hands are moving, and when I look down…I messed up that yarn over. Again. Drat it all. And I mutter quietly to myself when I think nobody can hear me. (But of course my coworkers can totally hear me. I can tell by the snickering)

Then there are the usual jokes.  Requests to knit whole sweaters for 20 bucks, or nothing. Various eyerolls, “only grandmas knit” or “knitting nerd” comments. The occasional vampire-slayer remarks. (I actually like these remarks because I get to brandish a knitting needle in a mildly threatening fashion.) But sometimes there are the people who sidle over and gently pet the yarn, or ask if I have time to crank out some wristwarmers for them, or can I make a goofy gutmonster for a birthday or something. I love these people.They get extra guts in their knitted gutmonsters.

Mostly I just like the peace. After I get into the groove a little bit, I can float right off into a nice soft realm of stitches and fluffy textures and away from the workaday life for a little while. I feel a little more rested on a break where I’m working on something. And when I’m finished, I just glow with a little well-earned pride. A moment in a gloomy basement redolent with the smell of burned coffee and old pizza can be the brightest part of my day when I bind off that last stitch…

 

 

Hot and Cold…

The dog days of August are of course the very best days to knit up a winter hood…

Snowflake hood
A blue angora hood with little embroidered snowflakes…

I think all the extra winter knitting is just for comfort. When things get a bit stressed out with my work at the Jade Mines, I knit to redirect my mind to a cosy world full of colors and textures. Though there are days that have compensations. Like the conversation I had with someone over the phone the other day…

Caller:(Incoherent muttering)
Me: “Hello? You’ve reached the Mines of Glorious Jade. What can I do for you?”
Caller: “I wanna, like sign up for the Cordon Bleu classes. I saw your add on tv! Like, I’m good at cooking and I wanna do the Cordon Blue.”
Me: “I’m afraid that’s a different institution–we don’t offer cooking classes. This is a museum.”
Caller:”Well, howabout animation? You, know, (slurs) animation?I’m really interested in your Cordon Bleu classes, but I wanna be an animator too.”
Me. “I’m sorry, we don’t offer anything like that. We’re a museum.
Caller:”Whaaaat? Museum?”
Me:”Yes, that’s right. Museum.”
Caller: “Like, when are you open? I have a 2 year old and he really likes art!” (background yodels of small shrieking child)
Me:*silent facepalm* We’re not open today.
Caller. “Oh. Okay. Bye!!”

It was still not as funny as the guy who wanted to come and hold one of our samurai swords, just because reasons. The world is full of people who have, shall we say, interesting demands…

Knitting mercenary…

Usually summer is my downtime for knitting for other people. I usually don’t get the panicked notes about lost hats and single mittens from people until at least late September. But this summer? Seems a little different…

One reason is we have a series of changes at the Jade Mines, where I work. New branding, new logos, new furniture, and new uniforms for us doorshakers. Instead of our Matrix-y Mr. Smith outfit we normally wear, we will have a softer look in khakis, a denim shirt and a black cardigan. The cardigan–made of scratchy acrylic yarn I wouldn’t have bought on a bet–has teeny, tiny little pockets that are totally unsuitable for our Guardy McGuard needs. So I’m already getting requests to sneak in new pockets on the insides, to accommodate the things we need to carry. I was going to do it for my own, anyway, but I have a feeling I will be a very busy little thing on my breaks, stitching in new pieces that won’t be too obvious. It’s for Great Justice, my friends…

Also, a while back I made a few gutmonsters for friends, and here and there people ask for a few more fun, tentacled monstrosities they can take home and cuddle. It’s the baby Squidlings that seem to catch people’s eyes. I just love how much fun they are for me to knit, cackling away on the couch and deciding how many tentacles to add. Hehhehheh…

Squidling!
A little squidling, ready to be squished and cooed at. Juuuuust don’t let it get too close to your face…

A little fun at the Mines…

Last night my sweetie and I went to my workplace to go have a little fun. We stopped by the Staff art show to go visit my shawl, before they take it down from the wall…

My Flourish shawl
My circle shawl, made with handspun and milled yarns, sequins and sparkle

Label
Shawl didactic with artist’s statement

We also checked out the Mark Mothersbaugh show, which was amazing. At work, I’ve been running into Mr.Mothersbaugh quite a bit here and there as part of my job. I’d grin and try very hard to be cool, then hand him a badge or open a door or what have you. He was very kind generally; tipped me a salute yesterday which earned him a very un-guardlike giggle from me. He seemed to be having a pretty good time last night…

Mark Mothersbaugh and me
A happy, happy Maus with a stripey Mark Mothersbaugh in the background.

Soooo, yes, a pretty good time. It’s nice to have a little fun here and there…

In Between…

I’m in the awkward bit of the week. Most of my fibery exploits happen on Fridays and Saturdays, when I’m free. The rest of the week I have a day job to pay the bills and keep me in chocolate and creepy books.  I work at a museum as a guard, so for the most part I keep anything expensive from walking off with the teeming hordes of people who come in every day. I call it the Jade Mines–or the Mines for short. Sometimes it can be great fun, and sometimes we get celebrities–Mick Jagger was in just yesterday, being all Mick-Jaggery. Which was pretty cool, but I kinda wish it was Marianne Faithfull instead. She’s awesome. Just sayin’…

Often I make lists when I’m on the job. Lists like “How many priceless artifacts will someone try to pet like it’s a puppy?” or “Fashion Faux-pas of the day!” (which is rich coming from me, since I wear a polyester clip-on tie at work.) But on days like today, just far enough from the weekend, I think of whatever fibery project is waiting for me at home. My beautiful dyed wool is all dry now and stuffed into bags, waiting for me to card it up and spin it. The plum color is still my favorite, but the red makes me so happy. I think of new things to knit for whatever season I’m in. I think of weird little things I could make for friends.  Often I bring some knitting for my breaks. It helps me destress after wrangling a flood of schoolkids and their eagerness to climb pretty sculptures.  Oh gods, so much climbing…

So, I’m getting ready to trot off to the Mines and the bags of fluff are just sitting in the corner…taunting me with their pretty, pretty colors.  Seriously, I can hear the taunting from here. Maybe I’ll bust out Shreddica the carder tonight just to get some of the yearning out of my system…

Me at the Jade Mines, doing a spinning demo
Me at the Mines, doing a spinning demo for an evening event.