Make a Thing

I’ve always been someone who likes to create.  I would not say I’m creative because I don’t necessarily make a lot of brand new designs, but I like to create things.  This is something I often bring up in job interviews when asked why I want to be a web developer for X company or work on Y product.  I love the idea of being able to show someone something, for example a website, and say “I made this,” or, as it usually goes on the job, “I had a part in making this.”

I love to fill my free time with creating.  In high school, that meant building websites.  Now, since I am a full-time web developer, I do less dev for fun and more crafty stuff.  I love to knit and crochet.  Two nights ago, I spent the bulk of my evening crocheting what I suppose will be a decoration somewhere at some point.  I just thought the pattern was very pretty and felt I had to make it.  So I did.

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I finished knitting my very first pair of socks last week and am now working on a hat for myself and a pair of slippers for my mom.

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Growing up, my grandma on my dad’s side was a huge supporter of crafting as a hobby.  Each year for Chanukah, she would send me a different craft kit.  One year I received a loom to make potholders (and boy did I make potholders), another year I got a needlepoint kit, which I remember finishing in the dressing room during ice show, and another year, she gave me an embroidery kit.  She used to knit sweaters and dresses for my Barbies, and she once knit a sweater vest for my brother when he was still a toddler. I learned how to knit from a friend’s mom when I was nine, but my first real completed knit item was a coaster my grandma showed me how to make in an afternoon when she visited.

Since August (right around when I stopped running due to the injury I’m just now mostly healed from), I have been rediscovering my love for crafting. Like I already said, I have been spending a huge amount of my time knitting. I also recently, as of last week, became nostalgic for that needlepoint kit I did when I was little, so I ordered a couple online and they both arrived yesterday. I got started on the smaller one last night (of a “cuddly cat”), and it is fun! I realize I may have a weird definition of the word, but I also run for fun, so that should come as no surprise to anyone.

So, I am grateful to my grandma for helping instill a love of crafting in me. Without hobbies like this, I would probably just watch TV all the time and feel like a lump. Which is profoundly NOT fun. Although, knitting is a great excuse to watch TV all day, which I do regularly. 😉

What about you? What is your hobby of choice?

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Lesson from the Gardens: Obsession

On Friday at lunchtime, one of my bosses took some of us at work to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens to see an 80-year-old agave in bloom.  It was great “professional development” time.  I’m a web developer.

They had a panel open and Mr. Agave was growing out of the ceiling!

They had a panel open and Mr. Agave was growing out of the ceiling!

The venerable Sausage Tree.

The venerable Sausage Tree.

A surprising number of people in our group (three or four of us) are into gardening and know quite a bit about different kinds of flowers and plants.  They would point out things they owned, things they wanted to own, things they tried to grow, etc.  On the way out, one of my coworkers asked my boss, “So, you are into gardening?”

“I used to be.  I tend to do things until they become MY JOB.  I’m taking a break now until it becomes fun again.”

I just yesterday wrote a post about how I am sick of training for races and how I might want a break from running until I can return to the primal fun-ness of it all.  Obviously running will never be my job, just like gardening is not my boss’s job, but the principle applies.  I’m aware I have an obsessive (addictive?) personality and I do tend to get very into things only to do them so much that I get sick of them.

Two years ago, I was incredibly into knitting and crochet.  I haven’t touched my knitting bag in a long time, except to move it.  Admittedly, the summer I was super into yarn crafts was the summer my apartment had bed bugs (they were there before I moved in and I wasn’t told…) and I did most of my work sitting on my bed, so I’m still a little freaked that there could be bugs surviving in there.  The other day, I was actually thinking about how it would be nice to knit something again, but how if I did, I would probably want to get all new things because of the bug potential, which is really too bad because I still have some good unused yarn.

Maybe I actually will hit the knitting shop this weekend and pick up some new yarn.  At least I can still use my old hooks and needles.  Anyway, I digress.

Lately, after working on a puzzle up north two weekends ago, I have been obsessed with puzzles.  I walked around to six different stores downtown last Monday but couldn’t find any, so I picked a few up when I went to the grocery store the next day.  I got a four-pack of 500-piece puzzles and a 1000-piece puzzle.  So far, I have finished one of the smaller ones and have the 1000-piecer about three-quarters of the way finished.  Like I said to Matt the other day, I’ve been doing puzzles so much this last week that soon I’m never going to want to do one again.

Finished about half of this one Tuesday night and the rest on Sunday.

Finished about half of this one Tuesday night and the rest on Sunday (500 pieces).

I took this progress picture on Saturday night. I finished a lot more of it last night. :)

I took this progress picture on Saturday night. I finished a lot more of it last night. 🙂 (1000 pieces)

And yes, in case you were wondering, I AM one of those people who will play a song over and over again until I hate it.  Luckily, that seems to take a very long time for most songs.  There is an album that came out almost a year ago–The Death of Me by Asking Alexandria–that I still listen to all the time and is still a staple in any playlist I make.

Sometimes, people talk about a line between dedication and obsession.  That line might not exist for me for some things, but I’m only obsessed with things as long as they are FUN.  Running by myself is NOT FUN right now, but I’m getting pretty psyched about all the social runs I have plans to go to in the future, and I’m probably going to do a local 5k this weekend FOR FUN.  No pressure for a time, no pressure to race, just having fun and contributing to a good cause.