Why the Silence?
Long time no blog, hmm? I feel sheepish. I’m sorry. I’m a bad, bad blogger, these days.
But! I have good excuses!
First, I had a big push in June to get a large collection of handmade yarns ready for honest-to-god, brick-and-mortar retail sale. Queen City Emporium, an art shop in Springfield, Missouri, contacted me via my Etsy shop and asked to feature my yarns. I spun and dyed and dyed and spun until I was tired of both, and got together about 25 skeins of handspun and/or hand dyed yarns to send them. They’ll feature my yarns for four months, and anything that doesn’t sell will be sent back to me at the end of that time. Eventually, any leftovers will make it into my Etsy shop. I’m hoping for no leftovers, though! If I ever discover any pictures of my yarns on display at QCE, I’ll be sure to share them here.
Right around the QCE crunch time, I started feeling a bit of personal angst. My job wasn’t going as smoothly as usual, my boyfriend and I were feeling a need for space, and my feet were just getting generally itchy and wandery. So over the course of a few days, I joined WWOOF UK and contacted several organic farms I was interested in working on. If you’re not familiar with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), it’s an international organization that pairs willing volunteers with hosts on organic farms. In exchange for quite a bit of hard work, the volunteer learns new skills about sustainable farming and living, as well as receiving their room and board.
Long story short, I’m in the midst of dissolving my life in Lincoln, Nebraska, and heading across the pond. I’ll be working with G&S Organics, a family-run farm and box program in Northumberland, England. Northumberland is in the very far north of England, almost to Scotland, on the eastern coast. I’ll be close to the sea and the nearest major city is Edinburgh, Scotland. It sounds as though I’ll really muck in and work hard with the family, and in exchange they promise to feed me well and maybe show me some of the Northumberland sights along the way. They raise cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and lots of vegetables; Beth, the proprietress, is saving some fleeces for me to play with, although their sheep are for meat, not wool.
I’m planning to be gone from early August through December, or until my money runs out! I fly into Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 18. I’ll be in Edinburgh for several days at the beginning of my trip to see the Fringe Art Festival going on there–the biggest arts festival in the world, apparently. Then I’ll make my way by train to Morpeth, England, where I’ll be collected by my host family. I’ll work on the farm until at least the beginning of November, provided all goes as planned, and then spend November and December traveling or wwoofing some more with my good friend Angela, who is currently teaching English in Korea.
December 20 will find me headed back to the States to spend Christmas with my family, most likely, and then I’ll head back to Lincoln to resume real life. I’ll have to find a new job and apartment–but I’m trying not to think about that part. Everything before then is scary enough.
So there will be some changes around kt*did in the next weeks and months. First of all, I’m working on getting lots of knitting done before I leave to finish projects and work through some stashed yarns. Since I’ll have to close the shop while I’m gone, for the most part anyway, I’m just letting it languish for now, and giving spinning a bit of a rest. If the yarns already up slowly sell, great–if not, I’ll take them down just before I leave and just use ’em myself!
I’m planning to take one bag of necessities with me and one bag of yarn and needles. I figure country life will leave me lots of free time for knitting. I also bought a cute travel spindle and little spindle-and-wool-holding storage basket with a shoulder strap, but my hand-spindling is pretty sad, so I’m not sure how much handspun I’ll make while I’m traveling. If anything shows up in the shop, it’ll likely be handknit items; I’m hoping that I can earn supplementary beer money by knitting my way through Europe!
I also have ideas for a couple of regular blog features in the works. I knit myself a friend to take along: Meet Gnorman the Gnome!
Gnorman’s going to be in all my pictures, since it’s pretty hard to take photos of yourself by the pretty foreign scenery. On the more knitting-related subjects, Gnorman will show up here. Otherwise, I’ll also be updating my personal blog, ktcarlson.blogspot.com, and he’ll be there too. Having an Amelie-esque traveling gnome seemed like a good start to my trip.
Also, I’m mulling over ideas for fundraising. I have money saved up, but in order to make it stretch, I’m going to be very, very poor for the next six or more months. I’m thinking of offering hand knit projects here on the blog in exchange for a donation. I’ll also quite likely accept commissions for knit items while I’m gone. I can’t manage anything so large as a sweater or afghan while abroad, I don’t think, but if anyone’s interested in hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, baby gifts (sweaters, bootees, toys), etc., I’m sure we can arrange a deal. What are your thoughts? Would anyone be interested in that sort of thing?
I think that pretty much explains the silence! I do have an exciting new knitting item to share with you (an item for knitting, not one I’ve knit) within the next couple of days, and some FOs to show off too. In between packing and getting details worked out, I’m enjoying Lincoln summer life to the fullest: going on walks, laying in my hammock in the park with my love, eating lots of fresh farm veggies, going to concerts, riding my bike, and imbibing all sorts of delicious intoxicants. Summer in the star city is a beautiful thing indeed.
I would love any feedback you knitters and travelers and life-observers have. I’ve never done anything like this before; suddenly, it looks as though my only constant will be my needles and yarn, and the rest of my world will be upheaved. Other than knit, knit, knit, repeat, how should I prepare, cope, and thrive, friends?