In Knitting Color

I’ve been trying to teach myself how to knit and it isn’t going well. Knitting is probably an unusual hobby for a thirty-something gentleman to pick up, but I’ve had a desire to learn a craft hobby. I want something to do aside from just sitting around and watching TV that’ll help me disconnect from the internet for a while. And arguably, in today’s age, is watching TV even really disconnecting when it’s streaming from the internet? I digress…I love the internet and being a tech-head. When you go to school with it and use it at work and even play with it in your free time, you can’t help but learn to love it. But sometimes being so connected is a real addiction and it’s a problem for me sometimes. It’s healthy to sometimes break away. And knitting is something that won’t really put any points against my nerd card, so it’s a good place to start. Plus, if I get really good at it, I figure that I’ll never really be short on gifts to give or maybe even sell! (By the way, if you’re so inclined, you can buy Almost Epic-branded merchandise now with more designs to come! Take a look, I’ll love you forever!)

"Learn to Knit Kit" by Carri Hammett.
“Learn to Knit Kit” by Carri Hammett.

With this thinking, I bought myself this relatively inexpensive “Learn to Knit” kit on Amazon last spring. I’ve flipped through the instruction booklet a few dozen times, gotten myself familiar with the bamboo knitting needles and the somewhat scratchy-feeling yarn (I’m told it’s probably cheap acrylic), and just can’t figure out what exactly it is that I’m supposed to be doing. I’m having trouble even doing a simple slip-knot to get my first project started and it’s so frustrating! I feel like I’m back in high school again, where the 15-year-old version of myself got too convinced that art mattered and that he needed to take like 100 art electives. Then he totally sucked at drawing, painting, ceramics, and photography. How it’s possible for someone to be terrible at practically every artistic medium is puzzling, but that’s just who I am! Now years later, that kid is trying to learn how to knit. Laughable as it is, it’s going to happen, okay? Maybe…just not that particular summer.

Summer is winding its way back my direction now. School is out for me again until the fall semester starts in August, so I’m ready to start shoring up some of those long-anticipated personal projects of mine. Knitting being at the tippy-top of the list as a holdover from last year. A friend of mine from work even gifted me a large sack of surplus yarn she had from her own home, so I feel like I really need to get it together and put it to good use.

So last weekend, my father and I decided to break out the old “Learn to Knit” kit and, instead of trying to rely on the vaguely illustrated instructional booklet, we came up with the smart decision to look up YouTube tutorials. I’m always telling Dad that you can learn how to do basically anything on YouTube. Anything you can conceive of, there is a professional on YouTube who is willing to record a video showing you how to do it. They should actually call it LearnTube. I eventually found the video below from Chandi at something called Expression Fiber Arts, who sells some legitimately gorgeous yarn. She slows down the process and shows you how to get started, how to handle the needles, how to cast on with your yarn, and finally how to really get started knitting! This is the perfect instructional video for someone who is interested in learning how to get started knitting.

Except…that it didn’t really work for me either! Chandi does a great job in this video and I feel like it could teach basically anyone but me how to knit. It even did a great job of showing DAD how to knit, who was only there as a casual observer and for moral support! Frankly, I feel a little bit stupid since Chandi’s video says that it can teach someone “even if [they’re] clueless,” and it did not achieve that with me. I’m still struggling to even get the basic slip-knot to secure onto the needle, much less the part where you actually cast on and get started knitting. I’m honestly beginning to feel just short of hopeless.

My next step is going to be attending a knitting class. I’m hoping that getting into the same room with someone who knows what they’re doing will the key to figuring this knitting puzzle out. Last year, an advisor at a nearby satellite location of my school did a knitting workshop for student beginners. Fingers crossed that he (yes, another male knitter, haters!) decides to do another one sometime soon. If not, I may even invest in the money to take a class at a nearby JoAnn Fabric store or maybe the more local Mass Ave Knit Shop. I have had a few friends who know how to both knit and crochet offer to try and teach me, but at this point I’m so embarrassed by my ineptitude that I’m almost afraid to take them up on it.

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Water for Elephants

I’ve been very busy this weekend.

You might notice this website has a little bit of a different look, a different comment system (which, by the way, some comments from the old system you may have left might have disappeared in transition due to a technical glitch — sorry!), and most importantly, a brand spankin’ new logo! Try to remember it. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of it soon! In addition to my regular web presence and a family website just for us to communicate internally, I’ve also been busy trying to prepare for finals and rounding out the school year. With work exhausting me at every given opportunity, I have to say that I’m relieved that I once again decided to abstain from summer classes. I’m really looking forward to a few months of getting to come home from work and not have to worry about any assignment deadlines. On top of everything, a good friend of mine that has been a regular presence in my life for well over a decade now recently got married and had her reception this weekend. It was a nice affair with food and beer and a lot of great people to catch up with.

The elephant photo in question. Photo credit unknown.
The elephant photo in question. Photo credit unknown.

I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend as well. It’s very likely that I have the magic of Facebook to blame, but I’ve caught myself thinking about former friends and estranged family members. As sad as it is, nothing really lasts forever in this life. People are going to come and go from your life all the time. And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s even for the better. A lot of the people in question, I have no real desire or immediate plan to cross paths with again. But as I’ve gotten older, it’s never gotten any easier or less disheartening when you start to grow distant from someone you thought was going to be around forever. I don’t know about everyone else, but once I actually start to think ill of someone that I held in such high regard, all the other little things that I’ve noticed about them in the past start flooding back to me as well. After we fell out, I realize that you probably didn’t leave me at that party or forget my birthday gift at home that year “by mistake.” But I can’t say that I’m perfect either. There’s at least one friend in particular that I’ve been freezing out as well. Understand that it’s for what I believe to be a pretty good reason, but it’s still petty nonetheless.

During one of my mind-wandering trips elsewhere late this evening, I found my way over to Pinterest. Without getting any kickbacks from the site whatsoever, let me just say that if you don’t have a Pinterest account, you really need to sign up. It is the ultimate rabbit hole of great ideas. If you want a million and one amazing ideas for practically anything, the Pinterest community has got you covered. But as I’m scrolling and pinning delicious-looking Instant Pot recipes and adorable baby animals to my boards, I was struck by this beautiful photograph. It looks to be of a mother and baby elephant in a tight embrace with one another. It made me think about how intelligent and gentle elephants are. It’s incredible and inspiring to see how tightly-knit their family units are as well. They travel together, they help one another, they take care of each other. They even ward off predators together. A mother and child’s bond are especially heartwarming. After pinning this photo, I continued on scrolling through my Pinterest feed to find even more photos of animal families together. Lions and their cubs. Dogs with litters of puppies. Baby foxes, polar bears, horses, and kangaroos. All of them filling my heart as well as my Pinterest boards. By the time I eventually paused for thought, I realized that I had only one question that I can’t find the immediate answer to.

Why can’t we love like the elephants?

Elephant family units don’t treat each other like garbage and buckle under the stress of a grandmother or uncle passing away. Elephants aren’t upset that their friends didn’t call them after they got married. They aren’t being haters about who they voted for in the last election or whether or not they got stood up at a party. They aren’t discriminating about each other’s skin color or system of beliefs or who they decide to love. The love an animal has for its pride actually is forever. They are “ride or die” as today’s kids might say. It’s an incredibly sweet and beautiful thing and I don’t understand why we, as human beings, as supposedly the most intelligent and sophisticated life forms on our planet, are incapable of truly replicating. It simply just doesn’t make sense to me.

I’ve always thought that we could learn a lot from the animal kingdom. I think this could be one of the lessons that I should start taking a cue from myself.

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Lounging with sweet Rufus!
Here I am lounging with my sweet Rufus!

My name’s Joseph, but everybody calls me Joe. I guess “Joseph” is more professional or whatever, but as my Dad always said, you can call me anything you want except “late for dinner!” I’m a thirtysomething that lives in the greater Indianapolis area and I’m super into technology, writing, and just generally being creative. That’s a lot of the reason why this personal website of mine exists! It’s a little bit of a place for me to dabble in all the things that I love. Here you can find me writing and blogging about my life, tinkering around with web development and the inner workings of WordPress, and probably a whole variety of other things. This space has been through several different iterations, and I’m sure this won’t be the last, so make sure you bookmark me and check back often!

I work full-time, go to school part-time, and play father to two adorable feline furballs. I also like to say that I “help out” my aging father by continuing to live with him, but he views it completely differently. 😉 What little free time I get is usually spent trying to hone my computer and technical skills even further, watching Netflix, playing video games, shopping on Amazon, or visiting friends and other family members. I also consider myself something of an amateur writer! I’ve written pieces for my school’s student newspaper and their blog. I also contributed a couple of articles on Medium. Over a decade ago, you may remember my really bad music and television reviews for BlogCritics! (Seriously, the article that got the most attention was a recap of R U the Girl with T-Boz and Chilli! They were bad!)

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