Monday, July 13, 2009

New Adventures

Well, I set up a separate blog for my patterns, called Réka Knits. That will be my patterns site, while I will keep this to just write.

I am a writer before I am a knitter... yes, I have even been published (in Hungarian though) a few times.

The new design site is lucky so far. I've posted a design there of ballet legwarmers, with a link to Ravelry, and lots of people love it! I didn't quite expect much, since they are just simple legwarmers, that I thought would only be of interest to dancers, but I was wrong.... they do look pretty good, thanks to my model.... I won't post a picture here, I already have a few on Ravelry and on EmeseReka Designs... anyway, next step will be to set up a store, where I can even sell some of my patterns. My knitting friend likes them, so I thought maybe others will, too. If I can set it up soon, I will have all proceeds go to sponsor my friends' team for Race for the Cure.... I didn't say it was my team, though it should be, but to be honest, I can't count on my family being in town that specific weekend, besides I have a problem with crowds. I do have something I call crowd-phobia, I definitely don't feel good with too many people around me... I know I'm not the only one; I know someone who has to leave a store if it is crowded - well, I've done that, too...

So I am renaming this blog, I think, to accommodate my writing... OK, I will try to keep it mostly about knitwear design, since that is what I'm doing most at the moment.

I do not knit much, though. I never was much of a knitter in the summer. Since I've lived in a hot zone, I can't even touch anything warm between May and October. Before that, when I lived in a temperate zone, I had other things to do in the summer, like taking trips, going places, just being outside.... In the winter I always enjoyed sitting down with a pair of needles and some yarn... just knitting, not really knowing where it would take me...

I have a wonderful friend who got me hooked on designing, or who made me realize that I am a designer. It first started when she got some of us, her friends, together, to form a knitting club. The first time I knitted with them - in public, of course - I realized that what I was doing was unique, at least around here. I learned that people followed patterns. They actually have written patterns and knitters follow them. That was quite a revelation for me, since growing up I didn't know many knitters who had ever followed one. We all just started knitting, and when a knitter would see another one doing something she (or he, but to be honest, I haven't seen a man knit in public, though I've known a few who did it in private) liked, she would ask how it was done, observe, then try it out. That was how knitting was done in the "old country", at least when I was a kid.

I consider the first real designed pattern I ever followed one that my brother drew out for me. He was an art student, I was studying languages, and knitting on the side. I decided one day that I wanted to make a black & white sweater with a very classy, but way different design on it. So I asked my artist brother to draw the design that would go on the front. He did indeed draw a very intricate design. Trouble was, I got the sweater long enough and only got to the middle of the design. I finished it the way it was, and I loved it. I still have the sweater, about 25 years later. My brother, on the other hand, was a bit disappointed, since it would have looked best if it had the whole design on it....

Since then I never thought of anything I made as designed by me or anyone for that matter. Everything I made was just a unique piece, made for someone specific, with love. Now, I am learning that I can write down these patterns I've used and others may enjoy them. I am becoming a teacher again, I think... and I like the feeling.

Monday, July 6, 2009


My family loves camping. We especially enjoy Sunset Crater, just outside of Flagstaff, in the shadow of Kachina Peaks (also known as San Francisco Peaks). The air is filled with the scent of pine, you walk around and set up your tent on black lavabed.... what more can you ask for? Oh, yes, cooler temperatures than Phoenix, right? You got that, too. We camped there this past 4th of July weekend. We enjoyed the cool temperatures, hiked a little, the kids rode their bikes, and the little scooter. The first afternoon we even got the rains. We enjoyed the clouds coming in, then sat in the tent and watched the storm, starting with heavy, male rain, which turned into softer, female rain (I did not make these names up, I learned them from a Dineh guide in Chinle). The rain cooled things down even more than we expected. We could actually wear long sleeved shirts and long pants! By nighttime the rain stopped just in time for the last rays of the setting sun to illuminate Sunset Crater so we could enjoy the colors that gave it its name.
We didn't go to see fireworks this 4th of July, instead, we gathered around a campfire that we made, enjoying the fresh, pine scented, cool air, and each other's company.
We stayed an extra day, but the rain didn't come again. In fact, even the clouds stayed away. Still, it was a wonderful, though sunny (if you don't live in Phoenix, ignore the "though") day, with temperatures just reaching the 80s.
I didn't hike as much as I usually do on camping trips. Instead, I got to read and knit a bit. I started two knitting projects, I hope I will finish them by the end of the summer, though one is a summer top that would be nice if I would get to wear before the fall...
We're back in the heat of the desert and the city. You know, even the desert would be way cooler if we didn't have all the concrete jungle around us. You guessed right, I don't necessarily like the city, but it's all right, as long as we can take trips away from here pretty often. We have possibilities in the city that we wouldn't have if we lived in a small town or in the middle of the woods; I know. My kids get more opportunities to try out different activities than I did, since I grew up in a small town. So, we deal with the city, the traffic, the noise, but the best part is that we live close enough to some wilderness, that we can just take weekend trips and be out of here. It is a pretty good deal, after all.