Why I Pre-ordered Make It Mighty Ugly

Kim Werker's latest book, Make It Mighty Ugly, comes out in August and will be widely available at bookstores. In it, Kim tackles things that may be holding you back from unleashing your creativity, giving you permission to fail and to learn from failure. Do I need this book? Probably not. My personal problem isn't unleashing my creativity, it's sorting out my creative priorities and seeing projects through to the end. Do I want this book? YES, and I'm so excited about this book that I may have scared a few people with my enthusiasm for it. After multiple workshops and events teaching people to knit and crochet, I have met many grownups who are so afraid of failure that yarn is scaring them before they even touch it, no matter how much they want to be able to make things out of it. Do I need to pre-order this book? No. I want to pre-order this book,  and not just because I'm excited about it. I've pre-ordered Make It Mighty Ugly because I respect the work that Kim is doing and I want to help the book do well. Pre-orders are an important part of the success of a published book, counting towards the first week of sales and helping build bookseller interest, which can then lead to more sales, and ultimately, helping to not just support Kim's book, but helping to support her career as an author and editor in general. Beyond that, Make It Mighty Ugly doing well also lets publishers and booksellers know that there's a good market demand for books about creativity that aren't all sunshine and positivity (seriously, Kim gets very, very real about the subject). It's a book that I may not need for myself, but it's a book that I think needed to be written and I'm so glad that I can point other people to it. By pre-ordering, I hope to help make this book readily available for the people who don't even know they need it yet. 

Read more about Make It Mighty Ugly at www.mightyugly.com (and don't miss the For Librarians page if you are interested in what a Mighty Ugly workshop or craft event could look like!). 

I pre-ordered Make It Mighty Ugly from Powell's Books in Portland, my personal favorite bookstore.

Botanically dyed yarns

For over a decade, I worked in natural food cooperatives. I like food, and I like feeding people, so it worked out quite well! Knowing how much goes into food production, I also like to cut down on food waste when possible. One of the things I like about botanical dyes is being able to use up plant material, or get one more use out of it before it goes to the compost heap. Some of my favorite materials for dyes are the inedible parts of fruits: pomegranate rinds, avocado rinds, and avocado pits. 

Rosemary

Rosemary

Left: Thai basil blossoms. Right: Dried pomegranate rind, kukui leaf, and avocado rind. 

Left: Thai basil blossoms. Right: Dried pomegranate rind, kukui leaf, and avocado rind. 

Botanical dyes are often unpredictable. The number of variables is staggering - when the plant was collected, the soil it was growing in, the ph of the water for the dyebath, etc. etc. etc. can shift the resulting color. It's easy to see why synthetic dyes quickly took over in textile industries. 

Left: rosemary. Right: dried pomegranate rind and kukui leaf.

Left: rosemary. Right: dried pomegranate rind and kukui leaf.

Dried pomegranate rind and kukui leaf

Dried pomegranate rind and kukui leaf

The unpredictability can yield beautiful, unique results. I find them difficult to photograph the colors accurately - in the yarns above, there is a shimmering, almost iridescent quality to the colors. They are really best seen in person (and this batch is being delivered to YarnStory in Honolulu on Thursday). All of the skeins shown are a wool/bamboo/nylon blend sock yarn, and this time around there's just one skein of each color. 

Thai basil blossoms

Thai basil blossoms

Textiles and technology: Aloha Knitters at HNL MakerFaire

The Aloha Knitters (and Crocheters and Spinners) have been meeting up and hanging out all over O'ahu for several years now, and has been gaining more local recognition along the way. Yesterday on Bytemarks Cafe (a program on Hawaii Public Radio), the hosts spoke to Alan Solidum and Ross Mukai, who helped organize the first Mini MakerFaire in Honolulu. Aloha Knitters was there, giving free knit and crochet lessons, and when Alan and Russ weren't sure how the knitters had found them, I called in and talked up the overlaps between textiles and technology. A recording of the program is now available online as a podcast. 

Episode 291: Mini MakerFaire Honolulu