Archive for the 'Writing' Category

The Landlocked Sailor’s Celebration of Summer

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Yes, I know, Spring is just barely arriving in most of the US, but that means summer is right around the corner! (And besides, I grew up in Southern California, where it’s already 70+ degrees.)

With the sunshine comes renewed energy and enthusiasm, and I personally have been trying to eat better… that is, to actually cook and eat whole foods instead of prepackaged, overly processed, or “fast” foods. I’m also stocking my Etsy shop with Nautical Flag knits, starting out with Nautical Baby Bibs. So cute.

Summer always reminds me of sailing (I know, everything reminds me of sailing), but summer probably reminds you of the beach and ocean too. So, in celebration of all things nautical (and of cooking meals full of fresh ingredients), I’m introducing my second giveaway. It’s not from my Etsy store; it’s another book… a cookbook this time. The Williams-Sonoma Beach House Cooking. It’s full of wonderful things like Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Chives, Ancho Chile-Rubbed Flank Steaks, and classic spicy dishes like Jambalaya and Jerked Chicken Grilled Under a Brick. I think my favorite part is the introduction, which is all about setting up the environment and creating the Beach Vibe.

Here are the rules: Stop by my Etsy shop, have a look around, then come back and comment on this blog post about what your favorite item is and why. Leave your Twitter @name or email address in the comment so I can contact you. One winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, 11 April 2010. Winner will be announced via Twitter and . If prize is not claimed within 48 hours, another name will be drawn. Happy cooking!

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Expand Your Knitting Horizons (My First Giveaway!)

Okay, so you’ve picked up your Knitting Stitches Dictionary and you’ve mastered the basics: You can cast on, you can knit, and you can purl. You can even combine knit stitches and purl stitches in different ways and get really cool results. What now?

Well, it’s time to practice some more. Do you want to try some color work? Some cabling? How about knitting on four needles? I have just the book you need: Learn to Knit by Sue Whiting.

Learn to Knit on Amazon.comThis is a great book for the Intermediate or Advanced knitter. The introduction is full of reminders of the basics, from fixing common mistakes to shaping and finishing your work. The book has clear diagrams and photographs throughout, including 20 “simple” projects. Just a note: the first project, a pot holder rated at one star (least difficult) is worked in three colors with slip stitching. Other projects include sweaters, gloves, and even a pair of boot socks.

I’m giving away one copy of this little book on Sunday, April 4th 2010. There are three ways to enter:

1. Subscribe to this blog by clicking on “Subscribe in a Reader” on the right-hand side. (Or Subscribe to The Landlocked Sailor by Email)
2. Follow @landlockedsailr (note spelling) on Twitter–you can use the Twitter button on the right, too.
3. Fan The Landlocked Sailor on Facebook
The next step is very important: Comment on this blog post and tell me how you entered. Each person can enter up to three times, once per method (subscribe, follow, or fan). Also leave contact info (Your Twitter @name at least) so I can notify you if you win!

One winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, 4 April 2010. Winner will be announced via Twitter and on Monday, the 5th. If prize is not claimed within 48 hours, another name will be drawn. Happy knitting!

Sarita Li
aka The Landlocked Sailor

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Knitting Without Patterns

So… you knit. It’s fun, right? It’s relaxing, it’s rewarding… and sometimes it’s frustrating.

When I first started knitting, I just knit a row, purl a row, knit a row, purl a row. It’s called the Stockinette Stitch, and it makes a smooth side (covered in V’s) and a bumpy side. It also curls up on the edges, so I had a lot of scarves that wanted to twist themselves into tubes. I liked them.

Red Baby Bibs in Two Different Styles

Red Baby Bibs in Two Different Styles

After getting a lot of practice with the basic stitches, making scarves and potholders and wash cloths, you’ll probably want to branch out into something new. You head to the yarn store, and start browsing their shelves for wonderful, beautiful, complex knitting patterns. This can be overwhelming and, in the end, discouraging. I propose an intermediate step, which will not only lessen your frustration level, but also make you a stronger knitter in the long run.

Instead of a pattern book, find yourself a Stitch Dictionary. There’s even a Field Guide to Knitting, which helps you identify stitches you find out in nature (I mean.. uh… all around you).

Now, instead of jumping into some complex project that you’re never going to finish, try your old standards: a washcloth, a scarf, a baby blanket, in different stitches that you find in your Stitch Dictionary. You’ll learn that a knit done in garter stitch is reversible and doesn’t curl up on the edges, but maybe you won’t like the way it looks (both sides are the “bumpy” side). Find another reversible stitch, and try it. Keep going until you find some that your really like. Mark the pages. Take notes. Practice increases and decreases. Practice casting on at the beginning and at the end of a row.

As you work through different stitch methods, you’ll learn the texture and behavior of each one. Later, when you go to make your first pair of arm/wrist warmers, you might run across a simple pattern that has a stretchy ribbing at the cuff. Not only will you understand why ribbing is used, you’ll be able to modify the pattern if you want to, knowing that you’ll have to substitute a different rib stitch instead of a non-elastic decorative stitch. If you want to make the item longer, you’ll know how to adapt the increases and decreases to fit your own arm.

Once you understand and have a feel for the different textures and behaviors of different knit stitches, you’ll be on your way designing your own knits!

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Quitting My Day Job, Opening New Doors

I’ve been working as a preschool teacher for the past year, and I love it so much that I decided to back to school and get some credentials. So lately, my job description has been “full time student.” My major is Early Childhood Education. I’ve been able to explore different aspects of the field, and I’ve learned more than I thought possible in just a year’s time.

Then, a few months ago, I had the opportunity to work full time as a co-teacher for three months. I learned even more during that time, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been given the opportunity. However, one of the most important things that I learned from that experience is that I do not want to be a full time preschool teacher. My interests are in anti-bias education, teacher training, and family-teacher partnerships. Still, I’ve known for years, perhaps decades, that a 40-hour workweek on someone else’s schedule is just not for me.

All of this brings up the question: What am I still doing in school? I already have the education and experience to become a CDA (Child Development Associate), which is more than enough for me, and I am running a little Etsy shop that I am very excited about. If I am going to pursue my “own thing” in earnest, forcing myself to wade through these classes with no goal in sight is just a complete waste of my time.

I realize that the Etsy thing might be a long shot, and there is, of course, a chance that it won’t amount to much. But either way, a degree in Early Childhood Education is simply not pointing me in the way of my dreams.

So there you have it. Bye-bye, College!
Grab it! Open it!

The Landlocked Sailor is ALIVE!!!

I finally got up the nerve to open up my Etsy store:

I’ve been putting it off for so many (imagined) reasons: I’m not that skilled; I don’t know much about business/sales; Nobody makes money doing what they love; I have to build up a HUGE inventory first; What if no one likes my designs? What if I don’t sell anything? What if I DO sell stuff, and I get overwhelmed?

I realize that I am as afraid of success as I am of failure, if not more so. I’m SO TIRED of being afraid!

Three years ago, I was accepted to the Art Institute of Seattle, in the Media Arts and Animation program. I had terrible credit and no cosigner for student loans, and it’s not an inexpensive school! I had no idea how I could make it go. I didn’t believe in my portfolio enough to even apply for a merit-based scholarship. I quickly became overwhelmed, gave up on myself, and ran away to sea.

Now here I am in the middle of Indiana, still dreaming daily of Seattle and the sea, and going to school locally (now an Ed major). My creative urges have not gone away just because I have tried to starve them to death. I still have a million ideas every day and I believe that they deserve a chance to live and breath in the real world. So, sketchbook in hand and eyes wide open, here I go!

Whadd’ya think?

Pirates at Play

My Etsy Shop