Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How to Find the Right Hobby for You

Photo By: Pixabay

By Maria Cannon

How to Find the Right Hobby for You

You’ve likely heard it at least once in your life: “You need to find a hobby.”  Where exactly do you 
find a hobby? Use these quick tips to get you on your way to finding the hobby that suits you best.

Do I Even Need a Hobby?

Before you start your search, you may be wondering if you really even need a hobby. In today’s world, many have given up on personal time in favor of devoting all their time and energy to work or families. However, taking time for yourself is the key to maintaining your sanity and coping with the stress of leading a full and busy life. A hobby is something you want to do, not something you have to do. They offer many benefits such as reducing stress, increasing happiness, learning new skills, boosting your self-confidence, and meeting new people, and can be especially therapeutic for people in recovery or those with mental health disorders.

Finding the time for a hobby could be the biggest obstacle. In the beginning stages, create a routine that allots time to pursue a hobby. You may have to leave the office a little bit earlier or give up watching television every night, but it is important to make your hobby a priority just like work, school, or family. Once you’ve got the right mindset, you are ready to find your new passion.

Look for Inspiration

If your mind is drawing a blank, look to your past for inspiration. What hobbies did you enjoy when you were a kid? Maybe you loved playing the piano, drawing, biking, cooking, or hiking. As we get older, it is easy to forget all the fun times we had as a child as those memories are quickly replaced with thoughts of bills, work, and daily stresses. You should also pay attention to what you enjoy now. For example, if you enjoy reading you could start a book club, volunteer at the library, take a writing class, or write your own novel.

If an idea hasn’t struck, you could go shopping for a hobby. Unfortunately there isn’t a catalog for you to browse through and have a hobby idea delivered to your front door, but you can walk the aisles of your local hobby or craft store in search of inspiration. Most craft-store projects are 90 percent complete, and finishing up that 10 percent could give you a new idea.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to give knitting a try but you don’t think there is any possible way you could create something worthwhile. Remember, a hobby is a learning experience, making it part of the fun and giving you a sense of accomplishment. The key is to find a hobby that meets your needs. Knitting is a great stress-reliever, and an excellent way to socialize with others and collaborate on projects together. In addition, knitting can be done just about anywhere, making it a hobby that travels with you. You’ll know the right hobby for you when you find it -- it just takes stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.

Look to Friends

After asking around, you may be amazed by how many hobbies your friends are already engaged in during their free time. In addition, a new activity is an excellent way to get introduced to a new social group, leading you to discover a new passion and make new friends.

If your friends can’t offer any help, browse the topics on Meetup and join a group. By joining a group, you can connect with people who not only share your interests, but have regular meetings scheduled, which will give you extra incentive to make time for your hobby. When you share an interest with other people, you have your own built-in social support group, too, which offers benefits that go beyond a shared interest in a certain craft or activity.

If a certain hobby group doesn’t yet exist in your area, consider organizing one of your own. And have fun with it! Come up with a fun name, set a regular meeting time and place, design matching t-shirts for the group to wear at meetings, schedule outings or events together. Make it what you want it to be - guaranteed there will be others interested in meeting up!

The key piece in finding a hobby is to never stop trying. Keep trying different activities until you find something you are passionate about. There is no limit to the amount of hobbies you can try, so what are you waiting for?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

NLVK's Annual Retreat

One can never have enough pouches.
With the arrival of October, comes the 3rd Annual Retreat.  Each of our past retreats have been themed and have been enjoyed by all.  This year's theme is Caribbean Cruise.  The yarn will be specially dyed in bright colors and will coordinate with the exclusive bag.  Our menu has several Caribbean dishes and the Signature Cocktail will have rum!!!!
Markers & Tags!!!
For the details on the agenda, click here.  A favorite part of the weekend is the S.W.A.P.. What is a S.W.A.P.?  As a verb, swap is to take part in an exchange.  As a noun, swap is an act of exchanging one thing for another.  If you have participated in Scouts or Guides, SWAP is part of the scouting history. (Check out the explanation at GSUSA and this super awesome website that can make a leader's life easier!)  The idea is to make a set number of items in advance of a meeting or special event.  Participants then SWAP their item for another's item.  The creativity is awesome and I have ziplock bags full of Scout SWAPS!!!  For our purposes, the idea is the same yet targeted to fiber & knitting.  Ideas are endless, even keeping the costs low.
T-pin holder

Here are some super easy, 'I just need to have something to SWAP' ideas
Small post it notes (marking places in patterns, magazines, books, etc...)
Small packets of soak or Eucalan
Neat buttons
Plastic Sleeves for patterns (pick up a box at Costco & give everyone about 6-8)

The important thing to remember, don't break the bank and everyone has different talents and spare time.  I myself am leaning towards the super easy ideas this year. 

Your own flock of mini sheep

Monday, September 11, 2017

September Newsletter

A creative use of extra knitting needles!
Photo courtesy of R.M
With the Fair wrapped up and a chill in the air, we ready ourselves for the fall of winter. Short cold days and longer cold nights are on the way. Add to your yarn stash and plan out some projects to fill those hours.  The September meeting will be our second annual F.A.R.T.. We are planning to stop at several shops locally and in Anchorage.  Our tentative schedule is as follows:

9-10am MatSu Family Restaurant, No-Host Breakfast & Trunk Show by CarolynVenhaus
10:30-11:00am Forever Endeavor
11:30am-12:15pm Tangled Skein
12:45-1:30pm Southside Knitting Nook (facebook)
(Maybe a quick stop at the Spenard Saturday market)
1:45-2:30pm Yarn Branch / The Quilt Tree
2:45-3:30pm Far North Yarn Co. (facebook)
3:45-4:30pm Wooly Mammoth (facebook)
5:00pm No-Host Dinner at Glacier Brewhouse (facebook)

click here for the September Newsletter

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August Newsletter

My dear friends
Not sure about anyone else.  I am having a hard time believing we are in August.  Seems just yesterday I was planning out my summer days.  Days filled with hiking, gardening, family picnics, work, berry picking and so much more. Now, we are planning out school days, readying fair entries and buying winter jackets. Where did my summer go?  
The next guild meeting is on August 19th and will be at our usual place. We will be starting at 1. Our teaching will be about color and dyeing. We will also have a surprise topic!
Attached are the minutes from the May meeting.  See y'all soon!
Rebecca Marhenke

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Colony Days 2017

Artists Uncorked is a wonderful paint shop in downtown Palmer, Alaska.  Second Saturday Art Walk for June is the same weekend as Colony Days.  Colony Days is organized by the Palmer Chamber of Commerce.  The Art Walk is organized by Palmer Museum. Both organizations encourage sharing history and fostering community. 

This weekend the guild had the opportunity to provide a Make N'Take at Artists Uncorked.  The project chosen is a super easy hat which can be used as an ornament or a package tie on.  Even more awesome is the project uses paper tubing (paper towels rolls, toilet paper etc...) and scraps of yarn.  Great project for those ends of balls that always are stashed.

Petting Zoo & Guild info
Petting Zoo
As part of our mission, we educate people on fiber.  Many visitors new to the fiber world are unaware of how qiviut feels before being carded and spun.  Or what a yak looks like. Or how silk is created from the silk worm. 
Artwork: Painted & Knitted
More Knitted Artwork
So, for most of public events, we will have a petting zoo and knitted items to display as well as information about the guild.

Saturday, June 10th was also the 5th annual World Wide Knit in Public Day.  We happily celebrated the love of knitting by...KNITTING! (Suprise!!)  

Many many thanks to our Guild Members who arranged this event. Our next event is June 17th, we will be participating in a progressive knit in public, starting in Wasilla and ending in Palmer.

Remember, knitting is a portable project (except that king size blanket).  Take your knitting with you and enjoy the beautiful yet short Alaskan Summer.  Share your enjoyment of knitting.  

Finish this sentence in the comment:

I knit because....

Happy Summer!

Sunday, April 30, 2017



Noun - the point in time or space at which something starts.

Adjective - new or inexperienced.

Starting a project or task can be hard. Especially if you have the end goal pictured but are unsure how to get there. Where do you start? How do you begin? For myself, I use the list technique. I write the goal and make a list of what should be done. For knitting, I start out by drawing a picture of what I plan to make. Then, if a garment, measure who the finished object is going to. Map out the measurements and ease on the picture. 

Next...CAST ON!!!. 

Nope. Experience has taught me (and knowledgeable knitters have reminded me) that swatching is important. Once I have my gauge, then I can cast on. Casting on for a project is another beginning. Do I need a stretchy cast on? Knit cast on? Long tail? Cable cast on? Provisional cast on? Which one to use? 

Each cast on has unique feature and benefit.  Here is a link to the handout from our April meeting: Casting on.

What is your favorite cast on to use?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How Do You Hold Your Knitting Needles?

Do you ever get those painful cracks on your thumb?  You know, they just show up suddenly, at the tip of your thumb pad, and hurt like the dickens.  And, they take forever to heal. 

I got one about a week before I had to leave for fish camp.  This was seriously problematic for me for two reasons:  one, I couldn’t knit; and, two, I can’t pick fish if I have an open wound.

I couldn’t knit!!  This is a catastrophe.  I slathered the crack with Neosporin, put on a fingertip bandage, and grabbed by needles.  The yarn stuck to the edges of the bandage, and I couldn’t feel the stitches.  When it came time to purl, I was done – no way could I knit with a clunky, bandaged thumb.

This got me to thinking about how I hold my needles.  I’ve been knitting for 25 years, and I teach beginning knitters all the time, so I’m always talking about holding needles.  But, I really had never looked at how I hold my needles when I’m just knitting away.  So, I looked, and found some interesting things.

          I grab onto those needles as if, as my dad always says, I was killing snakes

          I lift my shoulders a bit and tense them up, and my neck, too

          And, I hold my right needle with the tip of my thumb!

I hold the right needle with my index finger along the needle pointing to the point of the needle, my middle and ring finger wrapped to the inside of my hand holding the needle, and my right thumb tip pushed hard against the needle, amazingly right where the crack is!

My first thought was, LIGHTEN UP!  I made a concerted effort to drop my shoulders and not grip the needles so hard.  Not easy.  I placed more of my thumb along the needle, rather than just pushing at it with the tip.  Felt weird, but it didn’t hurt, and it worked.  My rhythm was off, and my gauge a bit sloppy at first, but it’s coming along.  I imagine my neck and shoulders will feel better, too.

Oh, and fish camp.  My husband and I commercial fish in Bristol Bay each summer.  I’m one half of the crew, so I have to be at 100% the whole time.

You can get fish poisoning from an open wound.  That requires a trip on the 4-wheeler to the clinic, antibiotics, and you’re done picking for the season.  Can’t happen.

I suffer from those cracks a lot in the winter.  So, now, if I’ve actually figured out how I cause them, and can work to NOT cause them, I’ll be looking at a much nicer winter to come.

Kathy Meggitt