Stash.

you know what I mean.

I was listening to the latest episode of Cast On the yesterday (ok, so I’m a little behind. It was put out more than a month ago), and Brenda mentioned her annual airing of the stash. I like that. For a couple of years I did the “Flash Your Stash”, an April 1 tradition in the knitting community. (Ok, I’m not sure if it’s still a tradition as I haven’t participated for a while, but it was popular a couple of years ago.) Essentially, you take pictures of your whole stash, and then you share them. In 2006, knit and tonic had an excellent photo of herself luxuriating with favorite stash in a bathtub. Fantastic.

I haven’t flashed my stash for a few years, and I think it’s time to do so. I have very few photographs of the yarn that’s stashed on Ravelry, and I really have no excuse for that other than laziness. I don’t think I have all of my stash catalogued, either – some of the newer yarns I’ve gotten (like from last weekend’s Heartland Fiberpalooza) aren’t in my Ravelry stash, and neither are some random selections for one reason or another. So I think I might shoot for that in April: air and flash the stash, and update my Ravelry catalogue. It’s a good opportunity to organize my yarn, at the very least. Since I have it squirreled away in various places in the house (the closet, a trunk, the entertainment center, an old-school suitcase … ), this would probably be a very good idea.

To get nice photos, I may try to make a lightbox with items from around the house. I might use this tutorial, or perhaps this one. I don’t have the fancy camera flashes the author of the first tutorial has, so I’ll have to adapt that, but I think I can do it. I’ll just have to keep the cats out of the box – a harder task than you might think.

Burgy

Burgy, Queen of Yarn

Burgy likes to nest in pretty much any container she fancies. I’ve seen her in the yarn bucket, a laundry basket and a small letter-size basket. She’s a nut.

I will probably have to upgrade my Flickr account to pro status again, if I’ll be uploading a bunch of photos. I’m thinking a close-up of the fiber and then a whole-skein shot, so two per each stashed item … this will take a while.

Irony.

… or how I lost my religion.

But first, a brief note. Yes, I know it’s been a very long time since I posted. I lost my blogging mojo – last year was a year of many things, both joys and trials. I would like to hop back on the blogging bandwagon now, and hopefully it will stick. I make no guarantees.

Now, back to the irony story at hand. I want to tell you about the time I lost my Christian beliefs.

Here’s the ironic part: the decline and fall of my Christianity started the day I was baptized. As I reflect on my religiosity, or lack thereof in recent years, I’ve pretty much pinpointed that event as the key point in the shift of my spiritual beliefs. I’ve debated blogging about this, but frankly I need to get it out of my head.

I’m not sure what it was about that day, but something changed. In my family’s church (Disciples of Christ), baptism is through immersion. There’s a funky little baptismal tank in the sanctuary; it has a big window that’s covered by curtains most of the time. Baptism pretty much goes like this: put on clothes that can get wet, go in the dunk tank with the pastor, the pastor asks you if you believe in Jesus and you say yes, then the pastor leans you back (or was it forward?) to get you completely immersed, family takes pictures, then you get out and change back into your normal clothes. My problem came at the immersion part; I suppose I just didn’t trust the pastor enough or something, but I now refer to my baptism as “the time I almost drowned”. It was a very strange thing, and it seemed pretty insignificant at the time; mostly I felt dumb for choking on water.

Time went by. I attended church camp for five summers at the local affiliated conference center. I made some pretty great friends there, and we had fun and fellowshipped together and got emotional and all that. But then one year – either my second or third year in high school camp – I found out that one of my friends was Wiccan, or at least he knew things about Wicca. (I know, strange place to be finding pagan folk, but it was high school after all. Everyone is weird in high school in some way.) I had just been fiddling around with some popsicle sticks during free time, and had doodled some random elemental things on each one. (I don’t quite remember which elements I chose, but I want to say it was similar to traditional Chinese elements. I remember having metal in there, at any rate.) My friend made some sort of comment about them, and then said to keep it a secret.

Later that summer, after we’d been home for a few weeks, I got a letter from the friend detailing Wicca a little more. At the end, he instructed me to burn the letter – lest it “fall into the wrong hands” or something, I suppose. Needless to say, I got curious. I started doing what any other teen in the late 90s would do: looking information up on the internet. I found correspondence charts, explanations of the elements, cool poetry … myriad items began to pile up. I started to print out some of my favorite things and collect it in a broken binder, which I must have hidden in my room somewhere. I remember one time my mom saw the notebook; looking at the picture of the pentagram with the elements labeled, she asked me where god was, and I mumbled something about spirit being like god. She didn’t ask anything else, and I found a better hiding place. I never really committed myself to Wicca, or even to some generic pagan path, but it was always at the back of my mind, waiting and brewing its own thoughts.

Let’s fast-forward. Attending a Lutheran college didn’t change my leanings at all; I stayed pretty much non-religious in college. (You should read the fourth paragraph on my About page for a little anecdote about that, which is also a lesson in thinking before you open your mouth.) Now, however, is where more irony comes into play: I’m a church choir director. At the same church where I “almost drowned”. Actually, I choose all of the music now, effective since January. And this is the third year I’ve been singing with their praise band. (That was a struggle. I really didn’t want to do it, but frankly, they need my help. Not to be mean or pompous or anything, just truthful.)

Life is strange, and also oddly circuitous. I have so much control and input over a significant part of each service – and I don’t even practice the religion. Not inwardly, anyway. Outwardly I put on the mask of Christianity and play along, while inwardly I’m reflecting on things religious, though decidedly non-Christian. Sometimes I get incredibly frustrated, because I feel as though I’m in stasis – even though I’m trying, even struggling at some points to shift my position, my beliefs. Over the last year or so, I’ve begun putting form to those pagan thoughts that started brewing so long ago, and I think I’m starting to find my spiritual home.

I suppose I’ll leave it at that for now. Next post I’ll have more knitting content, even though I’ve felt a bit drained of that over the last couple of months. It’s good to be back, and I hope to post a bit more.