Posted by: jinniver | March 21, 2008

“Ok…I don’t get it.”

So, it’s not exactly the most self-explanatory blog title.

After reading various blogs dedicated to knitting and quilting, I was struck by an uncontrollable urge to get me one of those.  I loved talking about my fiber arts projects.  I just didn’t have anyone to talk to them about.  None of my friends knit or quilt; my mother, who taught me to knit, has moved on to crochet.  And she just doesn’t quite get as excited about yarn qualities or needle sizes as I do.  We both quilt, but we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum.  I love piecing; she despises it.  I machine quilt; she doesn’t think machine quilting is “real” quilting (and I don’t have the patience for the hand quilting she prefers).  But in reading other blogs I realized that on the internet there were other people who loved discussing the details of their work…and still others who loved reading it.

The hard part was deciding what to name my blog.  It needed to really capture my fiber arts persona.  It needed to be unique.  It needed to be intriguing.

 I guess 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.

What is my fiber arts persona?  Answering that required just a glance through my craft room–which is really just half of the office I share with my husband.  Well, half plus the part of his half I’ve stolen to store my stuff.  Plus the entire closet in the room.  Plus the hall closet.  So I’ve got a bit of stuff.  There’s a lot of fabric and yarn I bought with specific projects in mind that I never got to.  And there’s a lot of fabric and yarn I bought without having any idea what I was going to do with it.

Opening the closet gave me another part of the answer.  It’s crammed with works in progress (WIPs).  Out of curiosity, I started digging through to see if I could figure out which was my oldest WIP.  There were a number of them started about the same time, but I think it’s the Halloween table runner of haunted houses that I had intended to finish before Halloween…2001.  The largest WIP is the wedding quilt for my brother and his wife…who just celebrated their 3rd wedding anniversary.  I have three knitting projects that are literally on the needle, and several more on stitch holders because I only have so many needles in each size.  I’ve finally gotten started on the crib bedding for my 4 month old daughter, who’s been sleeping in her regular crib now for almost a month (don’t ask where her quilt is, though).  And I have at least 2 cross stitch projects in the works: a small tapestry of grapes of my own design, and another project in the design stage.  Looking at all of the WIPs, I muttered to myself that if unfinished business could keep me from dying, I would live forever.

 That’s when it hit me:  I was the Sarah Winchester of Fiber Arts.

Sarah Winchester was the heiress (through her husband) to the Winchester rifle fortune. After losing her only child at the age of one month and her husband not long thereafter, Sarah visited a medium who told her that the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles had cursed her. The only way to keep them appeased was to build a house for them–and that if she ever stopped construction on it, she would die. The result was the Winchester Mystery House, an architectural oddity that includes stairs that run into the ceiling, closets only a inch deep, and the infamous “Door to Nowhere”–a door on the second story that leads straight outside.  There are 160 rooms in the house, which, like my stashes, sprawled uncontrollably and was stuffed with…well, stuff.

Of course, the continuous building and renovation did not keep poor Sarah alive (and no word on whether the medium got kickbacks from the contractor). But like Sarah, I enjoy doing my own designing–and like Sarah, my projects don’t exactly work out the way I’d planned, or the way most people would expect, but I like them anyway. (There’s my daughter’s baby blanket: it was supposed to be a 2′ by 2′ square, but it turned out to be more of wrinkled trapezoid.  But it’s warm and fuzzy and soft with a smooth satin edge she already likes to chew on.)  Like Sarah, I’ll be leaving WIPs behind.  Unlike Sarah (hopefully), I’ll be leaving them to my children and their children–my son has already started asking to knit!  And in the meantime, I plan to finish as many of those crazy WIPs as possible…and I hope you come along for the ride.



  1. I am SO in love with the Winchester house. It’s a fascination that I’ve tried to keep away from, because I know that I’ll get sucked into it if I come much closer.

    You also have to TOTALLY forgive me if I know you from somewhere else but—curious; why’d you add me to your blogroll. I’m totally cool with it and everything, I’m just nosy!

  2. Nosy is ok! We’ve “met” just recently, on the KR forum (I’m jinniver there). I saw your blog link in your sig and couldn’t resist a title like that! That got me linking to other knitting blogs (as I mentioned in the post). I really enjoy your blog, so it was the first I added…there will be others when I get the chance!

    I’m with you on the Winchester house. My husband and I were stationed in Monterey, CA for 2 years, and every time someone came to visit we’d drag them to San Jose to see the house…as much for a chance to see it again ourselves as out of a desire to share the experience. There’s a lot there you have to see to believe, and a lot that I’ve seen and still don’t believe!

  3. Jen, I have been to the Winchester House and I totally agree with you on the WIP aspect of it. I laughed so much when I read that. I love your blog and enjoy your style of writing so much!!


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