Monday, December 16, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Snowy, Contemplative, and Sherlockian style!

Good Morning, friends!!!

It is a wonderfully romantic snowy morning this morning and silence reigns supreme over the slow Monday morning start. The kettle has yet to whistle, so whilst the water warms up its vocal cords to sing its alluring, enchanting song, I sit to write.

And what should I write today? I could write about how crazily Christmas preparations are buzzing about, review the latest movie I've watched, compose a piece on the state of my bedroom, author a work on the weather of Minnesota, talk about my latest knitting projects, discuss the dichotomy of my current life works/projects/ambitions and my ideal state of being, lecture you on the HUGE difference blocking a shawl can make to your finished object, or even tell you how superficial all of the above is.

I want to talk about me. After all, I am the best version of myself out there and I am pretty much the only one (wearing a tinfoil hat does help prevent Big Brother from accessing this head of mine, FYI) who can convey my thoughts, feelings, and mental state at this moment.

But at the same time I feel the oppressive egoism of that. I feel that no one would wish to hear me talk about me and rather than devoting my time to myself, I should talk about world crises, about love, and pretty much anything that doesn't have anything to do with me.

Yet, even if I accept that I am basically full of myself and can't escape it, I turn to my facade, choosing to talk about what I'm working on, writing, eating, sleeping, drinking, planning on, and pretty much anything but letting my guard down and being real with people. I have a fear of being truly open with people and I've become quite agile at donning a mask while wearing a full suit of armor. I hide behind the superficial and protect myself from the emotional, personal details of my life due to the fear of being invisible, irrelevant, and ignored.

Rather than talking about my fear of failure and conveying my deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings on the issues plaguing my brain, I would much rather discuss the latest trends and projects in the knitting world.


Because I don't have to tell you how I really feel. I don't have to share myself with you. I don't have to be open to a closed listener who may not care about how I feel. I don't have to be unprotected.

Deep down I am a deeply sensitive, emotional, and scared kid trying not to let the world know that even though he's twenty-one and officially an adult, that he still feels the age of 11 and very much afraid that others see him as immature. Even though he is a senior in college and projected to graduate in May or June, that he feels like a failure due to being unsuccessful in life. Even though he's working hard to not go into debt during college and succeeding at it, he still feels as though he's a waste of a person. Even though he VERY much enjoys designing knitwear and making creative things, he still feels unaccomplished and unknown and is very concerned about how the public views him.

All of this is in my heart at the moment. I have a fear of being seen as immature, due to the feeling of being judged for living at home with my parents and siblings. I have a fear of failure due to the fact I never receive validation for what I do. I don't get handed a compliment on what I do, nor do I feel that people tell me what they really think about my patterns, designs, projects, compositions, and inventions. But this is more than likely due to my paranoia about what others think of me, my work, or my creations. Rather than take the time to enjoy my artistic endeavors and creations and truly admire my work, I worry over the small failures in the piece or the public's reaction. I fret over whether people will like my things, whether I did enough to get them to even look at it. I rarely take the time to actually admire my creation due to the feeling of being an arrogant, vain prat who is full of himself.

So what does this boil down to? (oh, and in case you were wondering, the kettle has sung its siren's song and I have been steadily consuming hot liquids...)

I care WAAAY too much about how others view me. This is why I have a mask to hide behind. Why I fret and worry and fret some more over my latest creation. Why one slightly negative remark throws all the 100 compliments and positive reviews out the window. Why I stress over the stupid little details of life as though a vengeful higher being is watching the minutia of my life and noting the failures in the moment to moment things. Why I am full of fear.

But today I am taking the time to reflect on the good things in my life and why I have no need to fear what others think and how others feel about me.

First off, I am an artist. I love to take ordinary things in the world's eye and add color, life, vivacity, joy, and light into them. I also love to do the opposite, depending on my feelings toward the piece.

I am an avid tea drinker and lover who will tell you that the Sherlock Holmes tea blend (an enticing blend of lapsang souchong, assam medley, and oriental spice that invokes the ghost of the world's greatest detective) is a beautiful cup of tea for a snowy, contemplative morning. It has deep hues of smokey parlors, mind palaces, and is such a deep, thoughtful blend of tea that one feels lost in the depths of rich mahogany tones. (link to this fabulous blend)

I am a great lover of Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Verdi, Bach, and Handel.

Shakespeare and I have a "thing". So much so that I was recently asked to give an analysis of a sonnet by a coworker who was struggling with deciphering the complex nature of a sonnet by the Bard. (which is a LOVELY exclamation to use, when you need a new exclamatory remark. For example: "By the Bard! It is the twelfth winter's night and I am fairly certain that even two men from Verona would be partying in such sweet sorrow! (which is also a Shakespearean pun of epic and magnanimous proportions, the like of which the very stars dance and sing for thy radiant pleasure))

I am an avid reader and I dabble in the dark arts of poetry and writing occasionally.

I am a knitwear designer. I enjoy taking a concept from paper and converting it into a three-dimensional, functional (or not!) piece of fabric that makes or breaks an outfit, gathering, or even your personal living space. As a knitwear designer, I am truly OBSESSED with shawls and design them constantly. (For example: I was at a coffee shop with my fellow knitting friends recently and whilst talking about our lives and knitting and all of that, I designed a shawl in my mind, grabbed a piece of paper and pen and due to my random thoughts and processes that are going on in my head simultaneously, I was able to keep talking and figure out the maths for the shawl and the concept as well as the colors. This act, rather unfortunately made the conversation stop due to the other knitters' fascination with what I was doing with my paper and pen. Fear not, though, the conversation only paused a moment and continued on. That shawl is now on my needles and is currently 1/4 of the way done)

I am many, many more things than what I've listed above, but the list is good enough for now. It is a step in the right direction. A step taken with positive energy and not focused on the possibility of judgement or failure.

But no matter what I'm going through at the moment, I truly am grateful for a family that supports and cares for me, a group of friends to encourage my endeavors and life my spirits, and finally, a lovely cup of tea with which to take a break from the chaos of life and think on the things that make me and take a moment of relaxation and silence to watch the snow falling down and thinking deeply.

Thank you for drinking this spot of tea with me and may your cup be full of many, many good and positive things today!


Raising my cup of tea to ya!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Grapefruit Oolong Style!

Good morning, friends!!!

This morning is brought to you by the sedate calm of mornings in the summer and the cool upper 60s. It is fabulously cool here - albeit slightly chilly compared to our former temperatures - and I am warming up with a cup of tea!

Tea of choice this morning is Grapefruit Oolong! When I opened the envelope, a delightful grapefruit-y aroma wafted out and invigorated my senses this morning. The tea brewed up dark and contemplatively brown and the tea smells slightly of fresh citrus. It reminds me of cooking with a lemon or lime and being able to catch a hint of it an hour or two after. The flavor is relatively weak, but the tea leaves themselves come into play and tingle the senses with a bit of zest from the grapefruit. I personally can't taste the grapefruit, but I do detect the slight zing of the citrus.

So overall, not a bad cup, but nothing stunning.

It receives a 4/5 for aromatic quality, 4/5 for flavor, and a 4/5 for the Josh Factor.

Now on to life.

Today I plan on recording, studying, and knitting as well as cleaning. Unfortunately I have to limit my knitting time slightly to allow my hands to heal. They are feeling sore, but I have figured out why. I cast on a new lace shawl on Monday and I was tensing up over the small needles, beads, and lace weight yarn and not relaxing. I paid for it yesterday with a hand cramp that lasted all day and now I am taking things slowly and stretching and massaging my hands.

Moral of the story: be careful, don't stress out, and whatever you do, don't pout! :D

Cheers to you, friends, and a toast to you as I raise my cup of tea!

Much Love!


P.S. DON'T forget to vote for my essay!!! I'm in the lead now, thanks to all my lovely friends yesterday, and need you all to KEEP VOTING! Check out my ESSAY!!!! Thanks!!! :D

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Citron Green Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

This morning is brought to you by the smell of fresh rain, the breath of fresh are blowing through my window, and the beautiful, warm cup of tea I'm consuming at the moment!

Today's cup of tea is green... err... yellow, deep golden yellow. It is the Citron Green Tea and it brews up into a delightful, bright yellow and tastes as if it descended from the orchard this morning! The tea is a delightful blend of green tea, lemon, and lime. It is simply beautiful. I love the crisp, citrus flavor and the light touch of earthiness from the tea. The citrus note plays bold, brass, deep, wonderful, and light. It smells like Pinesol and reminds me of cleaning products, but the taste is delightful!

I give this cup a 4/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor!

These green teas are quickly becoming my favorite teas of choice and they make everything fresh, vibrant, and bright!

Now onto the thoughts of the morning.

I woke up to the delightful sound of tip-tapping rain as it gently fell upon the earth and it was such a sound and smell of beauty that I lay in the sweet rapture of bliss, filling my soul with the clean, fresh feeling of rain.

After enjoying this simple beauty, I got up and started to work on an idea I had worked through while sleeping. My friend Lisa and I are going to be doing a KAL together of Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl and I wanted to alter the pattern to be smaller. So I pounded numbers out while the rain covered the land with mist. I computed the numbers I needed, altered the stitch counts, and added beads into the picture.

Yes, all of this was worked through in my head while I was sleeping and I knew exactly how I wanted to alter it. I just had to do the physical number crunching and math when I woke up.

For the shawl, I will be using Malabrigo (My FAVORITE :D ) Lace in the color ways VAA and Cypress. I'm using two colors due to yardage requirements and because I LOVE colors! ;)

I have to find the beads to pair with the yarn, but I'm thinking something along the lines of emerald or hematite. Something equally striking and subtle at the same time. After doing all of this thinking on the project, I REALLY want to knit it, but I need to finish my sweater and some other things first. Plus I don't have my beads yet, which I need to start the shawl. So I will be knitting on my sweater and perhaps something else, but more then likely just my sweater...

Speaking of which, my sweater's body is ALMOST done! I have 10 rows left to do on the body, then the fun bits begin! I really am enjoying this sweater and I can't wait to show it off and wear it!

Finally, I leave you with this simple request: Please take a moment and VOTE for my essay! You can VOTE every day on every device, in every internet browser! So please VOTE! Thanks!! :D

Cheers to you, friends, and a huge toast to you! I raise my cup to you!

Much Love!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Peach Oolong Style!

Good Morning!!!

I am currently enjoying a FABULOUS cup of oolong tea! It is called Peach Oolong and it is smashing!

The brew is deep medium amber and is a scrumptious blend of tea that is amazing! It brews up a fragrant blend of peachy keenness and tastes as though one walked into one's private peach orchard early this morning and picked a couple of these lush, golden beauties...

Overall, a FANTABULOUS cup of tea and I give it a 5/5 for aromatic qualities, 5/5 for flavor, and 5/5 for Josh Factor!

I am going to ply my single this morning, followed by a recording session. I am looking forward to it and can't wait to see what the yarn looks like! :D

Yesterday I made quite a bit of progress on my sweater design and it is currently sitting at the halfway mark and I'm excited to get this far in one week! :D

So now to finish my cup and go spin! :D

Cheers and I raise my cup to you! :D

Josh :D

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: White Blueberry Style!

Good Morning!!

First off, you may notice that the blog looks different this morning. No, my friends, it is NOT a carry over from your dreams last night nor your groggy morning eyes that deceive you.

I changed my template due to the previous template giving you all problems leaving comments and the layout kept going HEY-HO CASABLANCA VOLCANO every once in awhile. So I chose a different layout and template and here is the new blog! :D

So now onto other things. Yesterday I finished my ounce of polworth/silk I've been spinning and it is going to be beautiful!!! I also got a 10 rows done on my sweater design (which is looking STUNNING, if I might say so myself! ;) )

I also had my essay for a scholarship contest I am in, approved and it is up on the website. If you would be so kind as to take a moment to vote for me, I'd appreciate it! :D You can vote here! :D

Onto the tea, which has just finished brewing! This morning is brought to you by the lovely White Blueberry, a delightful pale amber brew of white tea from the Fujian Provence in China and blueberries. She is a golden little lady with the fragrance of the summer. I am reminded of the delightful smell of blueberry pie in the dead of winter, which, while it cooks, takes you from the frozen, harsh, cold winter back to the sweet summer days of berry delight.

The taste of it is as the growth of a plant: you taste the rich, earthy quality of the tea, which the sprout pushes through, bringing sunshine to its leaves and grows up into a floral, fruity, fragrant flower of a fruit and the aroma wafts across the land with a sweet, simple symphony of ethereal, even, ecstatic exposition that gives one's heart a beautiful, blossoming, burgeoning bouquet of bliss.

I give it a 4/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor.

Cheers, friends! and Till the morrow breaks, I raise my cup to you and give you all much LOVE!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: StevenBe Glitter Time Tea Style!

Good Morning!

So I realize that I haven't had a cup of tea for the past three days and I haven't blogged in the same space of time, which leads me to believe there is a connection here somehow... ;)

Anyhow, this morning's cup of tea is brought to you by my favorite yarn store, StevenBe!!!

I visited their shop on Saturday past and had a fantastic afternoon of knitting, talking, and meeting people! I felt at ease, at home, and just in general, comfortable!

I was talking about what is new with me, one of which is my new obsession with tea and Jeremy (my friend of friends at StevenBe!) ran over to their coffee display. StevenBe carries an exclusive line of coffee blends in their shop that is specially made for them, of which I have tried none as I do not drink coffee. However, apparently I am not the only one and they have crafted a shop exclusive tea blend with Bingley's Teas. This is the tea that resides in my cup this morning.

The tea, unfortunately, had no instructions on how to brew the best cup possible, so I eyeballed it and it brewed up a light, golden yellow. This was probably not the best brewed cup of this tea, the more I think about it, but more on that later.

The tea is quite fragrant and fresh-smelling. It made me curious to taste it. But one thing held me back: the shiny glint of glitter in the cup.

For those of you that may not know, StevenBe is a magical place filled with yarns of all textures, fibers, colors, feathers, and glitters! They carry many, many texturally intriguing yarns (of which I avoid like the plague due to personal preference!) and their motto is Glitter it Up! So naturally, glitter is a central component of the tea.

The tea is a blend of Ginsing Oolong Tea mixed with Green Tea, candied mango pieces and cornflowers. Add the edible pastry glitter and you have StevenBe Glitter Time Tea.

Naturally, the cup is full of glitter and swirls around mesmerically, enchanting your eyes with the trail of golden glitter. This, however, presents a great difficulty to me as I am one of those people who gets freaked out by things in the bottom of the glass. I will admit, right now, to not swallowing the last bit of the tea. I quailed at the thought of ALL THAT GLITTER going down my throat and it made me queasy. Not because the tea was disgusting! Not at all! Just me and my slight case of OCD.

So now to finish this review before I head into work in the next 5 minutes!

The tea was weak, but I believe this to be my fault and not the tea's fault. I will have to re-brew a cup later on and try it again. The flavor was weak, so I can't really judge it yet due to me not brewing the cup properly. The tea itself was fragrant and beautifully colored. The glitter was a bit over the top for my taste, but it IS StevenBe in a cup! Trust me!

So overall, keeping in mind that I brewed the tea improperly, I give it a 4/5 for aromatic quality, non-scoring for the flavor of it as I have no idea what the TRUE flavor is, and at the moment, a non-quantifiable Josh Factor as by default I HAVE to brew another cup! (Once I recover from the mental picture of glitter floating in my beverage! ;) )

So cheers to you and I'm off to work!


Friday, July 12, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Yunnan Gold Style!

Good Morning, friends!!!

So in my cup this morning is a lovely blend of tea. It is not a flavored tea, it is simply tea. Yunnan Gold is a beautiful black tea with a rich, delicate, soft flavor. I am not going to lie; I was nervous about this one as it had no distinct smell while brewing. So I took a sip and am in love. It is so stunning a brew that it makes me smile. It is light and you can drink the whole cup without even realizing it.

It doesn't have a distinctive flavor, it just is a beautiful tea. It receives a 1/5 for aromatic quality, 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor. This is a tea I could literally drink all day. It is simply amazing.

So onto life things. Today I (hopefully!) get to go meet up with my friend Hayley at the Mall of America or StevenBe's! (or both!) I am SO excited and can't wait for it to happen! :D

However, apparently my plans may be for nought, as I have to go pick up a stupid trailer this afternoon at the repair shop. Here. In my hometown. NOT in the cities... ARGH!!! So while I'm hoping to go, I may not be able to. Which makes me sad. Makes me angry. Makes my frustration abound...

So I plan on going, but I may not be able to go. I am accepting this, but it is SO frustrating! I seem to make plans and get ready for them and then the phone rings and the schedule changes. But rather then end this post on a whiny, teenage-esque angst, I will end it with this:


Raising my glass to you all!!!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Mango Green Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

I am currently enjoying an AMAZING cup of tea and a red velvet cinnamon roll while typing this!

The cinnamon rolls turned out BEAUTIFULLY and while they aren't mind-blowing, they are really good!

So onto my cup of tea! I am LOVING this cup this morning! I am drinking Mango Green: a delightful green tea with beautiful, fresh, floral mango pieces. The cup brews a beautiful golden color and is simply STUNNING in the taste and smell! It makes me want a second cup right after drinking the first.

I give this amazing blend a 4/5 for aromatic quality, 5/5 for taste, and 5/5 for the Josh Factor!

So onto my morning cup of thoughts, life, and anything else.

I am currently getting ready to bind off a new design today and it is going to be FANTASTIC to have it off the needles. I made quite a bit of progress on another new shawl design and on my Megalodon shawl. I also got quite a bit spun up yesterday and it makes me giddy to think of all the things I can do today! This is day 2 of vacation and I'm LOVING it! :D

So, Cheers, my friends!

Have a great day and I raise my cup to you!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Ginger Peach Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

I hope your day starts off with a fantastic thing, whatever it is! :D

So in my cup this morning is Ginger Peach tea: a black tea flavored with bits of ginger and peach. It is unfortunately my least favorite of the box o' tea (so far!) and I am not in love with it... sad panda... The ginger is too overpowering to be able to taste the fruity undertones of the peach flavors. :( So my rating is 1/5 for aromatic quality, 1/5 for flavor, and 1/5 for the Josh factor.

So my cup of tea was bad this morning. BUT that doesn't mean my day started off bad! :D

I woke up and was in relaxed glee of NOT having to work for the next 5 days! It made my morning even sweeter! I rolled over, checked my phone, and answered my good morning texts with a big grin, albeit groggy and with much eye rubbing. Then I logged onto my social outlets and checked in with everyone. After checking all the sites, I played quite a few Nonograms - which happen to be one of my favorite number-based puzzles. I CONQUERED all, except one that was broken... I swear... ;)

But fast forward to breakfast. I made a quick breakfast nacho (which is a DIVINE way to start the morning! :D ) and began to make the dough for my red velvet cinnamon rolls (recipe here). The dough is still rising, but now begins the long wait of waiting for the dough to rise...

While I was beginning to down the last dregs of my tea, a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless, though she knows who she is! :D ) sent me a pattern as a gift! Slade, which is a knit sweater that I LITERALLY just saw yesterday, is now my newest pattern acquisition! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to my Random Pattern Giver! (RPG!!!) I LOVE it and THANK YOU!!! :D

So now to be to conquer my list for the day and to make some EPIC cinnamon rolls!!! :D

Cheers, Friends and I raise my cup of tea to you! :D


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Casablanca Twist Style!

Good Morning!

So no cup of tea yesterday due to me feeling down in the dumps yesterday. It had no apparent reason, no logical source, nothing. I just woke up on the sad side of life. But today, I woke up to a dark morning. Literally. It's cloudy and POURING rain and I LOVE it! :D

I've always had a fascination with thunderstorms and rain in general that has led to me wishing to be curled up with a cup of tea, casually reading a book while watching the orchestra of clouds, rain, thunder, and lightning as they compose a beautiful symphony of organic quality. It is simply wonderful to sit here curled up with a cup of tea, writing away while the storm plays on.

So back to yesterday. I felt down all day with no apparent reason why. It was odd as I just finished a new design the night before and should have been celebrating the completion of a project. However, I woke up in a sad state of mind. Maybe it was my inner knitter mourning the loss of working on a project, but I think it was something else entirely. My inner AND outer knitter was quite ecstatic to be free from that particular project and quite relieved to have it finished.

The project? A shawl design I've been working on for about a year off and on. I've designed QUITE a few things in between working on this project and I FINALLY finished it. It was dragging my knitting soul down with the feeling that it was quite alien to me, yet it wasn't. In essence, I pulled out a sketch from early Josh, sat down, cast it on, and found that it was dreadfully simple. But this was exactly what I needed for this design. A yarn store had given me a skein of their exclusive shop color way in the Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk +. The color way is STUNNING and grey and black and white and GLORIOUS! However the yarn has been stubborn and not cooperating with me, leading to many failed design/yarn combinations.

But I soldiered on and finished it (Thanks to Briar, Heather, Hayley, and Jenna), resulting in something that I'm actually proud to call my own! I had hated it for a long time due to it feeling like a third arm and completely unnatural to me. It didn't feel "Josh-like" to me, yet I was re-assured that it was. So I went on and BAM! I finally figured out how to add the "Josh" twist and the "Josh" factor I had been looking for in the entire shawl. So now that it is done, I have something I'm proud to call mine.

So as you can see, no logical reason for me being sad yesterday and yet I was. Why? One might ask that question and yet you would still get the same answer from me: I'm not sure and I don't know. It was just one of those days.

Now onto today. I woke up to the orchestral sounds of nature and wind and rain and thunder and lightning and clouds. It seemed fitting for my mood this morning, until I thought about it. Why be down? Why? And with those words, I became pro-active in changing my thought process this morning.

I began my journey with a cup of tea, a VERY good place to start, and set out to change this human's mind and feelings. My tea of choice this morning? I selected a green tea blend from my box o' tea and that blend was Casablanca Twist - a green Darjeeling tea from India, mixed with a potent peppermint tea blend. It brewed a golden amber and smelled of mint. The taste is simply divine and BURSTING with fresh minty flavor! I LOVE this and it makes everything fresh and refreshing!

My rating for this cup of tea? 3/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor! I LOVE this tea! :D

So now to go and begin to proactively change my day for good! Cheers friends and here's my cup of tea to you!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea - White Symphony Style!

Good Morning!

This morning there exists in my cup a blend of white tea that is simply scrumptious! Truly!

My blend of choice is the new-to-me flavor of White Symphony.

It brews up to a delightful pale amber and the flavor is subtle and light. At first taste, the flavor seemed to be very earthy and vegetal. However after the third sip, it becomes a light, almost surreal floral accent with a touch of fruity flavor comes through and is simply... a symphony of flavors. It starts with the tuning of the violins and ends with the beautiful, tear-producing note that makes you stand in awed wonder as you applaud the performers.

I give it a 1 out of 5 for aromatic quality. It has little to no scent while brewing. A 5 out of 5 for flavor and a 5 out of 5 for the Josh factor!

I am in love with it and it makes my tastebuds happy!

Now onto life things. Yesterday I had to go into work and it was not something I was looking forward to in the least. I said as much on Plurk and one of my dear friends gifted a pattern to me on Ravelry as a "something to look forward to coming home to" gift. I was stunned and truly appreciative of all my friends and how much they care for me, love me, and accept me. I really am one lucky guy and to have just even one friend like that would make me a blessed soul, but to have a whole huge group of them, makes me sit in wonder and thankfulness for all they do and that they are there for me.

I've been going through a lot lately and hit many a rough patch. My days turned into sad, dark, despairing days where nothing seemed to help pull me out of my funk and get me going. My friends have been there to comfort me and help me through it, but I still struggle sometimes to even cope with things. I believe it to be a sign of my repressed ideas, thoughts, emotions, and stresses.

Work has been stifling me and holding me back from school, knitting, designing, and life in general. In the past month, I've spent more time at work than at my textbooks. I've spent more time at work than with my family. I've spent more time at work than with my knitting friends. In general, I've spent so much time at work that I have no time to do "me" things.

My coworkers keep asking why I'm not "the normal 'Josh'". Why am I sad? Are you okay? How are you feeling? You scare me Josh by being so quiet. You can't be sad Josh or we all will be sad. Josh, you are dragging the team down. Josh, what's the matter? Can we help you? Josh, you are the emotional anchor of our team and we need you to be you. Josh... Josh... Josh...

This is the culmination of my mood recently. I'm stuck in the quicksand and slowly sinking. This is the feeling I've been feeling: helpless and trapped, stuck in a rut so deep, the very earth cracks beneath my feet. I have no idea who this "Josh" person actually is. I feel lost. I've lost my self-assuredness and just feel as though I wear a mask all the time to hide my pain and feelings from the world. When my coworkers ask why are you so quiet, I adjust the mask and put on a facade of fun and laughter, while cringing and writhing on the inside. At home I wear a mask to protect my family from me. When I talk with friends, I play the strong, lean-on-me character, while despairing over having no one to turn to in my turn. In all spheres, I wear the mask and play my part to keep the facade, the charade, the farse going.

However, there is light in this tale of despair. I can, will, and AM getting past this feeling and to combat it, I draw strength from my friends and instead of having to be the rock for everyone, I am attempting to be a rock for myself. When the therapist (one of my many roles in work and life) is broken, how can one give therapy to others problems? So instead of putting so much imaginary pressure upon myself, I have now come to the realization that I need to take care of me. If that means locking myself into my room and just letting the mask go and let all the things come out, then so be it. If that means thinking on paper and sharing it, then so be it. If that means I turn off all communications for an hour or two, then so be it.

I refuse to play the strong facade anymore and simply be more honest about me and my feelings, thoughts, and states.

This, my friends, is the junk that has been screaming to be let out and all it took was a simple cup of tea.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea - Earl Grey Bravo style

Good Morning! So I have a new fabulous habit that is now entrenched into my day: a cup of tea to start the day off with. That being said, I have been drinking tea regularly with a passion and as such, needed to order more last week.

I'm quite a bit of a tea snob in the sense that I find tea in bags (teabags) to be less flavorful as a loose leaf tea blend. One of my favorite tea shops in my area is the Tea Source. They carry amazing blends of tea and have a fantastic variety of tea blends and pure, straight tea. I LOVE this place and every time I go, I come home with some fantastic tea blend of some sort. Now they are a bit of a distance from my house and as such I go very infrequently, which in turn causes a problem when one is running out of tea slowly. Thankfully they have an online ordering option and will ship their teas to your house, saving you the trouble of having to find a window in your schedule to make it to the shop.

So I dutifully went online, shopped in their shop and was about to place an order when two of my friends told me of another magical tea shop that also shipped to your house and carries an amazing selection of tea as well. This magical place of wonderful teas is called Adagio Tea and as I shopped their beautiful website, I selected 21 flavors of tea to try. I may or may not have gone taste crazy and ordered many different types of blends and teas to try.

This magical box of tea arrived yesterday (they have FABULOUS shipping speed as well!) and I opened it with the joy of a four year old at Christmas! I now have 23 flavors of tea (they sent me two other samples!) to taste and enjoy everyday.

And now to the tea that is in my cup this morning: Earl Grey Bravo! This tea is a traditional Earl Grey with extra citrus-y flavor that creates an amazing aromatic cup. Seriously aromatic. I opened the pouch of tea and was hit with a fresh orange smell so potent it was almost too magical for one's nose to handle! It brewed up with a deep amber color and is simply delightful. Not my favorite tea I've tried, but it is a nice, light cup of tea that has a delicious orange aftertaste. So I give this blend a 5 out of 5 for aromatic qualities, a 4 out of 5 for flavor, and a 3 out of 5 for my personal taste.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Patterns!

So, friends of mine, I have released two new patterns over the past fortnight. The Rock Strata Mitts are an epic pair of fingerless gloves that are so fun, easy, and quick to make and give a FANTASTIC result (if I say so myself... ;) )
Then this week I released my newest shawl, Bumper Crop. This is one of my new favorite shawl patterns and this post is to tell the story behind the shawl.
So the idea for this shawl started with a picture of wheat stalks in a field of grain. I had a sketch that stylized the pictorial, ideal image quality of a stalk of wheat. This made the first motif in the shawl and I sketched it out, knowing how and when and where the lines would diverge and meet. I placed this motif at the bottom of the shawl, evoking the earth and having the growing stalks poke up through the earth, each showing a stage of birth to full maturity. The second motif, the wave motif, came about as a space filler motif. I needed something to give a line of demarcation betwixt the growing wheat and the harvested wheat bundles. Thinking on this, I decided to think organically and think about the process of growing wheat. You need earth, heat, and water to cause the seed to sprout and flourish. Insert the wave motif. The double wave signifies the wave of heat that allows the soil to warm the seed and cause the grain to ripen and become golden and the wave of water that moistens the soil and seed, allowing the plant to grow and reach to the heavens in all its verdant glory. I placed this motif above the wheat ears to remind one of the way the magical, natural spell of the elements playing around this little seed to nurture it to maturity. The third motif signifies the end of the growing season: harvest. The harvest is brought in with all its bounty and the sheaves of wheat in their iconic bundled look, fill the band between growing and the fruits of hard labor. This is to pay tribute to the equally important harvest period that requires much patience, dedication, and hard work from both man and beast. I placed in the center to serve as an anchoring focal point of the shawl. The last, textured bit of the shawl symbolizes the fruits of the harvest, the wheat berries. They have been thrashed out and dried out and now the harvest is over. The textured bits of slipped stitches and purl bumps add the needed textural relief from the travelling stitches and rounds out the shawl. This is about the way this shawl happened. My brain came up with the entire shawl as a way to distract my sick body during a horrible cold I had this past winter and I LOVE the end result.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I finished the body of a pair of mitts I've been designing. They hath no name, but virtue aplenty and thus the skies with their bless'd rhythm doth in their courses dance as the sprites upon a summer's night smiling with joy upon the masses of humanity. They are one of my most favorite and secret designs at the moment and they are EPIC! they are made in one piece, though they look as though they were pieced together and made in pieces, they are not. They are made out of worsted weight and knit on US size 7 (or 8) and will be perfect for that special gift you just might need. So today's post is a bit of a shameless self-promotion, but it's an update and as such, deserves to be told. Besides, if I bemoaned my mental state (currently better then yesterday, but tired) and complained about the weather (gloomy, cloudy, and ominous) then you would ignore my words and pass by. Besides all of that, what would I write about today?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Today is a blue funk day. It's one of those days where all you feel is pressure and your backbone gives out causing a slump to happen to you. This is my day today. I'm stressing over stupid stuff, clamming up, and the pressure is so high I feel depressed. It's just one of those days. I'm normally a happy-go-lucky person and as such I have passion for things fiber-y and non-fiber-y. But today is not one of those days. How to fix this? No clue. It just happens. It's as if one is on a roller coaster and going down the first hill, when BAM! Your day turns back up the next slope. So how am I dealing with this? Well, for one thing I'm writing this blog post (albeit a very down-in-the-mouth post) and working on my fiber stash re-boot. I have literally pulled all of my yarn and fiber (excluding my current WIPs and yarn for them) and piled it all into the massive mound of fiber-y goodness! It's almost a bit shameful to think how much I stashed where and when and why. Things from all corners of the room and things from all places. Yet with each skein there is a connection of some sort. Be it the acrylic worsted weight yarn that my grandmother gave me or the yarn bought with Stephen West from Steven Be's or the yarn I just picked up a week or so ago when I met Amy and Megan and Jeanette and Mandy and all sorts of friends at Yarnover. Whatever the yarn content, whatever the yarn color, weight, or yardage, it all has a story. Which, of course, makes one want to hold onto it all forever and that it WILL be perfect for something in the near future. (codeword for I'm probably not going to use it, but I could... meaning that I'm feeling hoarder-esque) But the reality is this: what do I enjoy doing with my sticks and string and will this yarn get me there? If the answer is no, then perhaps it should find a new home. If it is yes, but I can't at the moment, keep it and save it. I have stash that is specifically for designs and shawls and things like that, but I also have the fun stash for those spur-of-the-moment ideas and projects and gifts. I have stash that I honestly haven't touched for a year and will probably never use. It is this yarn that I wish to purge from my stash's life and move onto a more minimalistic stash (which is much more "stuff-driven" then it sounds.) that I LOVE and WILL use and will WANT to use. But be realistic here, do you think that I will actually get rid of some of this? Honestly, I will most likely get rid of a couple of things, but retain the stash. The other thing with stash diving is that you are touching all the things and they spur you to cast on something (Wow! I forgot I had this skein of random worsted weight! It is a hat. saves for later, which never actually comes...) So the thing with detoxing the stash and your life is to ignore the little voices. It will get better and life will still go on. However, don't get rid of the blanket's worth of yarn that you've had for three years waiting for the perfect project as it will come, trust me. I know these things! Now I'm going back to tackle this slump monster and vanquish all the gloom and pressure from my life! Cheers to you, my reader, and may your day simply be brighter and your life better and your needles bold!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Concept fail... lesson learned... life moves on...

Hello, everyone!!! Well, someone has been lax in blogging... hmm... So hello once more and let's just dive in today! Since my last post, I have done TONS of epic, fun, wild, crazy, mundane, interesting, boring, private, public, stressful, stressless, and AWESOME things! To recount them would take much too long and as such, let us gloss over the past and look to the future. My designing bug has KICKED in the door, SHOT all the other knitting projects, and is holding me HOSTAGE with the concepts, ideas, and fun of sketching and bringing that sketch into reality. I am working on 4 designs on the needles at the moment, with who knows how many on paper awaiting that fateful day when the sketch becomes reality and the reality becomes a pattern. It is truly a process of wonder, as my brain churns out a design onto paper, my hands wind the yarn into a cake or ball, my needles take over and a fabric forms in my hands. Not all things are a success story, but the key is to learn from the experiment and move on. Sometimes the experiment simply makes one try harder and sometimes it was simply an experiment in thought. But no matter the outcome, something comes from it. Take this example: I had had this sketch done for a long time. I picked it up, cast it on (after figuring out numbers, progression, shape, increase, etc.), and finished the first half. I was ecstatic and began the second half of the design. Think car hitting a brick wall at 60 miles an hour. It wasn't going to work. I knew it and could see it, but somehow my brain denied itself of the ability to accept the reality of this fact: It would not work. Wrestling with the beast, as I affectionately called it, for the next week, I finally accepted its fate as well as mine and ripped it out. I didn't give up, but rather like a stubborn mule, fought against the constraints of reality. I succumbed to the cold, hard fact and with my submission, I frogged the project. My friends who had seen the concept take shape implored me not to go that far and rip it out, but I, being the enlightened knitter who had listened to the shawl's final gasps and pleas for death, resolutely and without hesitation destroyed it. I still have the sketch and the concept, as well as the notes that I had written, but the shawl design is simply to be retired and rest. I have moved on past the whole experiment and learned from it to trust my gut. I knew once I started that second section that it would not work. I knew it. But I, being the optimist I am, stubbornly refused to believe that it just wouldn't work out in the end. I also learned from the ordeal, that while I should trust myself, I should also take a breather and look at anything before ripping the entirety out. So now I have a shawl concept that was attempted and failed to give the results, but I have learned from that little sketch to try. After all it is simply sticks and string and a bit of time mixed in, but at its focal point, knitting is changeable and as such, re-start-able. Will I attempt this concept again? Maybe, maybe not. But even if I don't, I still have the knowledge from the experience and now have that power in my hands to try something. Thanks for reading and I shall attempt to continue to write more frequently. May your needles stay sharp and your yarn be free from the curse of the tangle-zombies!