Saturday, March 18, 2006

An OddBall Blogiversary

A Year in the Life of an OddBall

I don’t rightly recall what possessed me to start this Blog. Perhaps it was the success of my online bike journal at which turned out to be a hit in my life. There's been over 43 000 hits on that journal and I still get email about it. I started this blog mostly as a place to organize my thoughts and a year later, I’m still surprised to find I’ve got regular readers in Australia, Europe and all over the United States and Canada. I know I was immensely surprised to find out that someone other than family members read it. Not bad for a hick from the sticks in Maritime Canada.

It’s been an eventful year all in all. I’m still 40 something, another year older but none the wiser. I’m still lard-arsed and bucket-mouthed. Some things in the universe are a consistency -- me being overweight and mouthy are two things you can count on.

But a lot has changed in 12 short months as well. The biggest was the death of my mother, Eileen MacKay, in April. After a decade of suffering with the effects of Parkinson’s, her death was a relief at the time. A year later, I think as a family, we’re just starting to mourn. I miss her a lot.

Liz is still the Bestest Friend Ever but a lot has changed in her life as well. She’s left her job as the curator at the York Sunbury Museum, resigned as President of the New Brunswick Craft Council and gone back to university full time. We still hang out a lot but our respective schedules sometimes work against us.

Jackie's joined the Blogging ranks with her One Thread, Two Thread. It's lead to some moments of confusion. One day, I walked into Liz's kitchen and met a friend of her whom I'd heard a lot about over the past year but had never actually met in person. Liz made the introductions and Amy said "So are you One Thread Two Thread? "

"No, I'm Oddball". And the wierd part is that it seemed so utterly normal that I didn't even stutter at it until I got back in the car. The blogs have taken on a life of their own out there in the wild world of cyberspace.

The Blog forced me into going hi-tech here at the OddBall crib. A digital camera, new computer, new computer desk and scanner were all purchased to support this 'free' Blog. Why I hadn't bought them before, I have no idea. The camera? I use it all the time. I can't believe I resisted that one for so long. The OddBall IT and Technical Support Division believes he has survived the year relatively unscathed. His sweater that I started two years ago still isn't finished. If I actually finished it, he'd have no fodder for his complaints, now would he? I'm only looking out for his mental health.

What else has this year brought? I bought not one but two knitting machines, neither one of which I can use properly. I’m eventually going to get there although I still find the process very daunting and I find much of what is designed for machine knitting to be very poorly designed. I’ve got a magazine subscription (why I signed up is beyond me) that just showcases really bad designs that are ill fitted. Why is there this misconception that machine knitting HAS TO BE crappy knitting? There’s absolutely no need for it. Although, I find a lot of the British patterns are nicely executed. Maybe it's just my prejudices but just because you can do it quickly on a machine doesn't mean you have to do it poorly. If nothing else, the machine is an opportunity to do it better because you're not stuck with those hours and hours and hours of just making endless yardage.

Of late, my entire knitting universe has been about hand knitting. Let’s face it, machines are none too portable and I'm always going to need at least one handknitting project on the needles to preserve my sanity. Currently, I’m in the middle (but nearing the end) of my most ambitious design project yet, a silk shawl for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. Part of what’s kept me going on that never ending project is the fact I’ve publicly given notice that I’m doing it and somehow, that means I need to finish it or ‘fess up to failure.

What else has this year brought? I made my debut as a fibre artist at the Gagetown Village Fibre Festival where I demonstrated needle felting. I did the same at the New Brunswick Highland Games and the Rothesay Craft Festival. Somewhere along the line, I started taking myself seriously as an artist -- that’s a huge leap forward for me.

I beat my head around the concept of crochet, although I suspect I’ll never ‘like’ it. I’ve tackled felting/fulling with mixed results. I designed, although it needs some tweaking, a pig cloak and a couple of very snazzy pig scarves. I’ve taken up dying and think I’ll be getting into that a lot more intensely in the future.

This year has been about transforming myself from an avid hobbyist to something a little more commercially oriented. I’m still exploring but I have a few years to tweak the business plan. I retire from the City’s employ in about a dozen years at the ripe old age of 55 -- way, way too young to “retire” but with a 30 year pension to keep the wolf from the door. This blog has done a lot to keep me on track in that department. Needing to post on a regular basis to keep the Blog current has kept my nose to the proverbial grindstone for the past year. Some days, I knit so I have something to Blog. It keeps me honest and focussed.

There’s been some unforeseen benefits to this process. I’ve ‘met’ some incredibly cool women through the internet this year. I really hope someday we can find a place to gather for a drink or six.

In any event, from the bottom of my little OddBall heart, thanks for being here this past year. It’s been a lot of fun and here’s to Year 2 in the OddBall Universe.

Thanks for reading. No, really...THANKS for reading. You've all made it worthwhile and an awful lot of fun.


At 9:53 a.m., March 19, 2006, Blogger jackie said...

Congradulations on a full year! I've enjoyed most of it (I missed the beginning CAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT) But I know now so it's all good. I've enjoyed sharing your joy with the @&^$%&*% shawl. And your insanity with various knitting projects. Thank you so much for sharing over the past year and let us all know when you finish the shawl and have it packed off. We shall raise a glass and wish it well in its new life.

At 10:55 a.m., March 19, 2006, Blogger Kate, the Odd Ball Knitter said...

You're right Jackie...I think this shawl needs a proper launching. A send off. And the Rogue has such a lovely whiskey selection.

At 10:44 p.m., March 19, 2006, Blogger dancingbarefoot said...

Here's to another year of blogging madness!

I agree with you 100% about the patterns out there for machine knitting. They're largely shite. It's no wonder that machine knitting is declining. Can't attract new knitters with a steep learning curve and unattractive garments.

At 11:16 p.m., March 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy blogiversary! I have immensely enjoyed reading your blog. I hope one day I can meet you in person as I enjoy your attitude, sense of humor and opinions! And the IT Technical Support Team isn't bad either!

Here's to another year of whining, cursing, drinking and knitting! Carry-on and stay the course!

At 11:51 a.m., March 20, 2006, Blogger Annie said...

Congratulations, Kate. I have enjoyed peeking in to your world to see your shawl progress as well as your little piggie sweater. I have felt the way you feel about your scarf but was never able to put it into words so eloquently. Here's to another year of blogging. From Annie, another Frederictionian.

At 12:51 p.m., March 20, 2006, Anonymous Willie'somma said...

Congratulations on your first anniversary.

Now that I have exhausted all strength in my uper body by typing a dozen words, I will go for a nap. (How the hell did I figure I was going to be able to keep up with a bunch of 18 year olds anyway???. I take some comfort in the fact that the little bastards were as tired as I was at the end of the weekend but I still managed to carry my kit to the car by myself in one trip -- even though I thought I was going to have a stroke in the process!)

a bientot, escargot.

At 1:49 p.m., March 20, 2006, Blogger Katie said...

Happy Anniversary! From someone who's only just discovered you.

At 1:22 p.m., March 22, 2006, Blogger Sachi said...

Congrats to you! Keep on typing!


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