Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Let it be said - I'm not a afraid of technology.  I just happen to be perfectly content in my house, reading a book or knitting.  I've always thought "quiet" in a house was to be prized and savored when possible.  In fact, until I started knitting, television wasn't a big part of my life when I was alone.  I've never been ignorant of technology though.  Starting at a young age, living with a dad who was a "computer guy" - I learned about word processing, how a computer works, and how to play all those fun games back on the Commodore 64 (you remember - the ones you hooked up to a TV and the hard drive was in the keyboard!).  My sister and I could spend hours of fun with Teddy Barrels of Fun (which looking back now, was a card printing software).  And through high school, we weren't the only kids with our own personal computers, but we were the first of our friends to get them. 

Living through technology for so long has made me a pro as trouble-shooting (especially via phone, long-distance, while I was at college - thanks Dad).  This has led me to be a pretty fast typist, and very comfortable working in a lot of the major software programs available today.  All great bonuses, and have helped me in many jobs, whether I was the only one who knew how to use the computer, or I was on the "tech" team to help with basic computer problems (never my 'real' job, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'd rather be teaching). 

But, up until recently I've firmly resisted social networking and all that implies.  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging.  Really?  Why would I need that?  And wasn't email a perfectly fine way to get ahold of someone?  Never let it be said that my sister is one to listen to the word "No."  Not when she could create a Facebook account for me, under a pseudonym invented by one of her friends, and find as many of my friends to invite to the page as possible.  Or, refuse to talk to me on email, saying - "Facebook messages is so much better"  It still seems like email to me, only I have to log on to Facebook to read it!  LOL.  Well, I have to give her props - Facebook is fun, and it is entertaining to read what my friends and coworkers are up to.  And yes, I did have the Farmville phase like so many other newbies.  That lasted until Farmville got too big for my old computer to load quickly, and I got bored waiting.

But now, it's time to move to the next phase.  Twitter & Blogging.  Yikes!   Scary thoughts.  However, to be a fully connected Etsy store (and maybe sell some of my knitting, since I still knit whether I sell anything or not, and it's piling up!), it seems that being connected is the thing to do.  I was already on Facebook, so it was nothing to start up a Facebook Fan page for my Etsy store.  For those of you who've missed it:  http://tinyurl.com/mirandagabrielle But, again and again, I'd see articles by other Etsy sellers talking about Twitter and Blogging.  Apparently I was really missing a big part of my potential audience.  I kept thinking - later, later - when I have more time.  Well, here it is - summer vacation.  Time is no longer a problem.  Time to tackle some of these technologies.

This morning, I've officially signed up for Twitter (3 tweets so far) and have created this Blog.  Twitter, I'm relieved to see, can be totally online and does not have to involve my phone.  Thank goodness, because I have one of those simple phones and actually don't like to text either.  And Blogging - so far, it's been fun to design the page and set it up.  My fear here is that it will be like having a pen pal - fun at first, but then tapering off.  Hopefully, by practicing this summer while I have time, it will be habit by the time school starts in the fall.  After all - I do love to talk, so blogging does seem like a good match.  I look forward to getting some followers that comment, and talking back and forth.  Tips & Comments welcome below.  :)

Well - hold on world - here I am on all sorts of social media.  I can be followed, liked, and commented on.  Oh boy!  : /

Should you want to, here are the websites again:
Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/mirandagabrielle
Etsy:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MirandaGabrielle
Twitter:  @MirandaBrielle

Now, time to go.  It's almost 7 pm, and here in the Central Time Zone, on a Tuesday evening....well, you know what that means.  Time for NCIS.  I have to admit, I'm a not-so-closet NCIS fan.  You know, the kind that will watch again tonight, even though we are past the season finale, so you know it's a rerun.  And, yes, I've already checked which one.  It's that one with the new agent from this season - EJ - yes, the one I didn't like.  But, a fan's a fan.  I'll be staked out with my knitting, watching my favorite characters interact with this interloper yet again.  So, happy watching.

First Blog! :)

Hi! My name is Miranda. I teach high school sciences - several electives in the life science areas. I've always loved to do crafts. My favorite hobby is knitting. I knit often and am very, very, very prolific!

Growing up, I've always been interested in arts and crafts. I've done just about any sort of craft that you can imagine: painting, beading, cross stitch - you name it, I've probably at least tried it. But while I would have fun for awhile, nothing just clicked as something I wanted to stay with.

Then along came knitting. For most of my life I've tended to stay away from yarn crafts - after my disastrous attempts to learn to crochet from my grandmother usually ended up in long chains that ended up as cat toys!

But knitting kept popping up in my life. Back in college, I had a friend who was knitting herself a sweater (which I'm not sure if she ever finished). It seemed odd, and old fashioned, but at the same time, kind of intriguing. Still, it wasn’t for me….yet.

Add to the mix that I’m a voracious reader of just about any subject. Did you know knitting pops up surprisingly often in books? Fiction books where the main character knits. Historical books: where knitting and other textiles were important parts of the economy. Farming books: where knitting is the end product of animals like alpacas (another personal favorite of mine!).

Once I started being aware, I also saw people knitting everywhere. Sitting in a restaurant or out at an event…..other teachers during teacher meetings….even some of my own students on the bus going to a field trip.

So through all this exposure, over the years, knitting began to take on a romantic glow. Here is knitting – something practiced almost since time began by shepherds with their flocks – for years a winter staple to knit up clothes and blankets, sitting by the fire while the bitter cold discourages outside activities – a social activity to give your hands something to do while gathering with friends and family. Over the years, this romantic glow started a fire in my heart. And quietly, to myself, I began to yearn – I want.

I want to be part of this age-old tradition. I want to know that I can be self-sufficient (if needed) and be able to make things. I want to be one of those people that can sit with friends and family and knit without watching my fingers. I want to have something productive to work on in the evenings when I watch TV or a movie. I want to knit in public and have other people come up to me with wonder – how can you make that and can I learn how too? I want to pass on this tradition I love to others. I want. I want. I want….to learn to knit!

Being a teacher, I got a book. And I read it and tried out stitches and patterns. Occasionally, if I was stuck, I’d go online and look at videos. But, mostly it was a solitary journey of self-exploration. I wanted to learn so I tried, and when it didn’t work, tried again. I practiced all the time. After the first 6 months, I was actually making things that didn’t have too many mistakes and looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. I won’t say that I knit the same way that everyone else does, but that in itself is part of what makes knitting wonderful. There are so many different types of stitches and patterns, that you can find what you like and run with it.

It’s fair to say that for awhile knitting took over my life. And perhaps my friends and family would say I’m still a bit obsessed. I am, after all, the one that carries my knitting bag with me just about everywhere we go (if you have to wait somewhere, that’s the perfect time to get in a few more stitches on the latest project). Most of my friends and loved ones have received knitted items as gifts, and will probably continue to do so as I find new patterns to make things I think they might like.

So, now, I knit. I proudly proclaim myself a knitter, joining in the age-old tradition. I knit several evenings as week, if there is anything interesting to watch on TV. I knit at family gatherings, and yes, I’m now one of the ones that can talk without watching my hands (well, if the pattern is basic and doesn’t involve too much counting). I still make mistakes, and either rip them out to try again, or roll with them and incorporate them into my work. I’ve knitted enough that I have a “feel” for knitting. I often start with a pattern, but along the way I’ll often change things to make it more what I actually want. I continue to learn new patterns and techniques – sometimes because it’s peaked my interest, but other times because circumstances in my friends’ lives or a request from someone leads to exploring something new.

Now this journey has led to Etsy. It makes sense, really. What else am I going to do with all of these hand knit items? My friends and family can only use so many scarves, hats, baby booties, blankets, and clothes. If I’m going to continue to knit (and that’s pretty much a given), then I’ll need to find other people who will treasure my hand knit items. And that’s where you come in. Now I’m knitting for you. I’m picking yarns that are super soft or have a fun texture or maybe the color stood out to grab me. (Oh, don’t get me started on the yarns! Now that I knit, yarn lust is one of my hidden vices.) I’m picking patterns that are useful, but fun at the same time. I’m knitting up unique items – full of love and wishes for health, happiness, and hope for the eventual wearer. I’m knitting for you.
Keep updated on all my latest creations in a variety of ways:
Etsy Store:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MirandaGabrielle
Facebook:  http://tinyurl.com/mirandagabrielle
Twitter:  @MirandaBrielle