Good morning lovelies!
This week's guest blogger should have been last weeks guest blogger, but I dropped the ball so here we are back on track! I think you will love this guest blogger. Shannon is a fashion designer and brings some cool variety to Darn Good Yarn. Shannon, thank you so much for being a part of the Darn Good Yarn Guest Blogger Project!
Greetings! My name is Shannon N. Hunter and I am a local fashion designer in Seattle, WA. I draped my first evening gown in 5th grade, have been unofficially studying fashion since high school and am now attending school while designing clothing and accessories, writing and knitting on the side. I own and operate High Maintenance Productions http://www.highmaintenanceproductions where I freelance as a wardrobe stylist for film and individuals and plan events. I also sell vintage clothing and accessories on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/fancyterrible
10 Fun Facts About Me:
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dancer on Solid Gold. I took lessons and everything. It didn’t work out.
I was raised by my Army Colonel Grandfather (Hooah!). As an Officer’s Wife, my Grandmother was obligated to entertain her husband’s colleagues with lavish dinners and cocktail parties. It was through this that I learned the Art of Manners & Proper Etiquette when I was a wee one. We threw lots of elegant parties. I still throw grand parties to this day. Go big or go home, in my opinion.
I flew to France by myself when I was 12 and stayed with friends of the family for 3 weeks. My grandparents then joined me and we travelled Europe for two months. I have also travelled around the U.S. during three separate road trips, all before I was 14.
My Dad is a biker. Everyone in my family has owned a motorcycle (including my Grandparents) and I grew up riding on the back. I would love to have my own but I know myself enough to know I would have “too much fun” and wreck. I’ve decided I want race snowmobiles instead. It’s safer that way!
Even though I’ve been in Seattle for almost 20 years, I still consider myself from California and am barefoot as much as possible, even in the winter. (Inside always, of course, never outside. Ew.)
I love pugs! Someday, I want an army of white pugs with one black one named “Darth”.
I have a shoe problem. (I had over 50 pairs in high school alone...call me Imelda!) And a jewelry addiction. I’m a sucker for anything shiny and would rather have costume jewelry over diamonds any day (especially if it’s vintage). And too many fashion magazines. (As in several boxes worth...but in my defense I do sort through them to make tear sheets for reference material in my work).
The Vampire Writing Queen, Anne Rice, once told me she loved my sense of style! (I was wearing a white lace dress, black tights and black bra with my Great-Grandmother’s huge silver and amethyst iron cross pendant with Doc Martins in a sea of people wearing black. Oh, and I had platinum hair. I might have stood out a bit.)
I organized and produced my first fashion show by myself at the tender age of 19. I say “by myself” because I had zero assistants. No one showed up to help and I lost 5 models the day of the show. I never gave up (I couldn’t, the event had been airing on the biggest radio station in San Diego all week!), and only one person ended up in the hospital. True story.
At one time, I owned an Internet Cafe & Vintage Clothing Boutique where I sold clothing I had been collecting since high school as well as consignment items. It was featured in the local paper and I continue to sell items online to this day.
The Teach: Be Happy! Or, How To Knit With Intention
When I first considered knitting as a hobby, I knew absolutely nothing about it. I didn’t know a single thing about the various types of yarn, metal vs. wooden needles and their different gauges, or what a purl was besides a pretty bauble from the ocean. I bought the least expensive yarn I could find in a color I liked, grabbed some needles and then left them in a closet for three years.
A few months ago, I started learning to knit with a friend of mine, who has been knitting for over 5 years. I became enamored with her beautiful lace work and she took my (horrid) skein of burgundy acrylic yarn and taught me to cast on (rather awkwardly since I was all thumbs). I had finally begun to knit my first scarf. I was on my way! After a few inches and many holes later, I realized I loathed the feel of the yarn and that the scarf was looking more like a baby blanket than a scarf. (The yarn was too thick, I had cast on too many stitches and was using the wrong needle gauge!)
I kept knitting anyway because it was the same stitch over and over and I clearly needed the practice. As I knit, I found my mind wandering because I wasn’t having to think about what I was doing. Throughout the day, I would put the knitting down to go do something and return to it in a different mood. It was then that I realized I actually needed to pay attention when I knit. I kept dropping stitches because I wasn’t watching and checking my work.
As my day unfolded, my mind wandered through happy thoughts, and I knit well. When irritating thoughts intruded, I became sloppy. If I really let my mind go to a place of anger, I would get stabby with the needles and jab myself or unravel a few stitches accidentally. Who knew? What a waste of time!
I began to wonder about handmade items and what people thought while making them. It may sound silly, but I really didn’t like the idea of knitting a scarf that my husband would be wearing around his neck that was infused with negative thoughts or feelings. It seemed wrong, somehow, like my negativity would be strangling him! Not a good image to have when seeing him in the scarf each day. Now, I am not a person who believes in full on woo woo, but I was starting to understand the concept of knitting with intention. I realized that at least to me, it is a very important part of my process when working on any of my projects.
If you are creating something by hand and love what you do, good thoughts and juju will be infused into the item. Your positive energy will flow and it will show in your work. If you are in a negative frame of mind, you will inadvertently be putting negative energy into whatever it is you’re working on and your art may suffer for it. Try to keep your customer in mind and stay in a happy, zen-like state of mind while working. This will keep you focused and as you constantly check your work, you will see the profits of paying attention, of being present. You will then see the profits in your bank account because you are producing quality work which is ideal.
To end my story, I completed a square foot of fabric and tied it off to give to a pet shelter as a kitty blanket. I couldn’t even bring myself to donate it to the thrift store! I thought “Why would anyone pay money for that?” I could have easily completed the scarf anyway and given it to a person in need of something warm but it was so full of odd energy, awkward revelations and holes that I didn’t want to have it out there in the world for human eyes to see. I was mortified and humbled. And slightly amused.
The next day, I started over with a new skein of yarn-this time a blend of alpaca and acrylic as it was the best I could find nearest to my home. I cast on half as many stitches and used a smaller gauge. Things went much more smoothly after that and now my husband is the proud owner of my first real scarf. It’s color-blocked forest green and dark amethyst and we’ve dubbed it The Joker. (He’s a huge Batman fan, and, well, my first knitting project clearly started off as a joke. ;)
The moral of the story is simply this: Don’t knit while angry. There is a reason why there are knitting jokes about needles being stabby. ;) Be mindful of your thoughts and it will show in your work. Happy Crafting!