Freshening up…

As I go about my day-to-day life, I’m often asked “How’s the book coming?” Since my last post on this book blog was almost 18 months ago, it is a fair question. I continue to research and write most every morning (striving to get up by 5am, so I can write for a couple of hours before work) , and progress is definitely happening, but not necessarily in the direction that would make an estimated completion date predictable.

My knitting/beer book project hit a speed bump in the last couple of years when my body started complaining when I drank beer or wine too regularly…typically in the form of aggravated Rosacea symptoms, increased challenges with dry eyes, and excessive nighttime thirst. I do better when I limit my consumption to once or twice a week at the most. And yet, when I talk to people about my book project, it’s natural to want to do so while sharing a pint.

As I began looking at what would be needed to promote my book once it was finally finished, I determined it would be really hard to talk about and promote my book without a glass of beer in hand. And so, a quandary. Ignore my body for the sake of the book, or adjust the book for the sake of my body. Since my body and I are stuck with each other for a good while longer (hopefully!), I decided to opt for the latter course of action and have adjusted the focus of the book.

By keeping beer in the picture, but also adding the subjects of medicine and bare feet, it calms the beer-focus and hopefully will allow me to promote the book without feeling compelled to drink more than my body cares for. The medicine angle will be a discussion of things that aide and promote wellness and healing, which mostly rules out pharmaceuticals. The bare feet focus will introduce readers to the rebel act of kicking off one’s shoes, and the health benefits of doing so.

Another factor that slowed my progress was the health decline and eventual passing of our family dog, Booboo. He died in June 2013, just a couple months shy of his 15th birthday. That experience impacted my life far more than I had ever expected it to, in both good ways and challenging ones. It sparked an idea for a second book project…currently titled, “Lessons From Booboo About Life & Death.”

A third topic that has been bubbling up on my priority list is the need for schooling to be non-compulsory. Radical idea, I know, and yet quite important. I’m planning to dabble in that subject here and there, and hopefully get some writing done for that as well.

So…with renewed focus on my original book and two more book ideas that are demanding some attention, I decided it was time to refresh my web presence. I’ve established a website…jennehiigel.com…that has links to my book project blogs. As I get some writing done on one of the three topics, I will post some or all of it on the relevant blog. I would thoroughly appreciate any and all feedback…what you like, what you don’t like, what interests you, what doesn’t, and so on.

I have my website mostly up and running, although there are a few pages that just have the comment “Coming Soon…” My first priority will be to get those webpages completed, and then I’ll get back to the book projects themselves. Progress is definitely happening, but not necessarily in the direction originally envisioned. And yet, isn’t that the way life tends to work?

-Jenne Hiigel

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Concept Statement #6…

My last attempt at a concept statement for my book was two years ago (Concept Statement #5). Amazing how fast time can go by! Well, quite a bit of progress has been made in my research and learning since then. It’s time to take another crack at it. Here is Concept Statement #6…

A Knitter’s Guide to Beer is a look at the craft of beer from a knitter’s perspective. Both beer and knitting are fundamental in their usefulness, their essential simplicity, and their ability to improve our understanding of the natural world. In our efforts to solve the many challenges our world is facing, it will be our attitude, our self-control, the crafts we embrace, and the skills we acquire that end up making the most difference.

Beer and brewing run deep in human history. Beer connects the genders, builds community, improves health, enhances respect for nature, and wakes up the senses. Author Jenne Hiigel will show how beer can help us see the world differently.

This concept statement is quite a change from #5. “Yikes, Jenne, ” I can hear you thinking, “maybe you’re taking this all a bit too seriously! Time to take a research break and have a beer. Are you saying that beer and knitting can save the world?” Well…yes, I am. And my goal with the book is to make you believe it, too.

Progress on the book is happening. I’m actually getting up at 5am-ish every morning to write for an hour or two before I begin my day’s activities. Who would have ever thought I would actually enjoy getting up while it’s still dark outside. Not me! But I’ve learned that it’s the absolute best time for me to write.

I taught a Beer & Knitting class a couple of weeks ago and told everyone it was the last class I would teach until my book is done. Everyone was very supportive and told me to hurry up and finish it.

So… back to work!

-Jenne Hiigel

Beer & Knitting Night…

Wow! It’s looking like Beer & Knitting Night is starting to catch on. Tonight we all met at The Clubhouse at This Old House in San Luis Obispo.

I was expecting the usual 6-10 knitters to show up for some knitting, beer, snacks, and conversation. My son Lewis and his girlfriend Sara came with me and we arrived about a half hour late. We walked into a room with a very large table of knitters, as the staff was adding yet another table to the end. At final count I think we had 23 attendees. Several people looked at me and said, “Jenne, look what you’ve created!” It was pretty cool. Everyone was having a great time.

There were many familiar faces from previous Beer & Knitting nights, but a lot of new attendees – most of whom I knew from other knit groups and knitting activities, and some new faces as well. Conversation was not a problem, yarn was plentiful, projects were admired, beer was flowing and the food kept coming. We even got a bit of knitting done!

My reason for starting Beer & Knitting Night was two-fold. First was to research the qualities of a pub, bar or restaurant that complimented the knitting process and made it comfortable for knitters to go there for beer & knitting. The second reason was to see how many knitters were also interested in beer.

Tonight I clearly got the answer to my second question. Many knitters definitely like beer. Even though not everyone was drinking beer (some were drinking wine, mixed drinks, or soda), they all found the celebratory atmosphere of beer drinking appealing.

As far as my first question goes, I’m getting more and more clues about what makes a good beer joint also a good knit joint. The management’s ability to be flexible and enjoy the festive nature of the gathering makes a huge difference. Good lighting and a reasonable noise level (of music or other distractions) are critical. I’m finding that knitters can be pretty flexible with seating arrangements, although tables with chairs are still better than booths or bar stools.

It was a great night and a pleasure to behold such enthusiasm for both crafts. Our research is still not done (hopefully it won’t ever be), so there will be more Beer & Knitting nights in the future. Anne Gough, owner of the knit shop Yarns at the Adobe, suggested we have a beer potluck on her patio behind her yarn shop sometime soon. We’ll definitely have to work that into the schedule.

For anyone thinking of starting a Beer & Knitting group in their own neighborhood, I would definitely recommend it.

-Jenne Hiigel