March 26, 2014
In some of my author bios I mention that I “collect hobbies.” It’s partly a joke, and partly the easiest way to sum up all the things I like to do in my spare time. I recently had someone ask me to list my hobbies, and I thought, why not? Let’s give it a go, in no particular order of importance:
Knitting: The one I’ve been doing a lot of lately. It’s repetitive and satisfying and lets my brain rest at the end of the day. (Just this week, CNN posted an article on how crafting is good for your brain!)
Spinning: As in yarn. I learned in the SCA, I usually do it at SCA events when I’m hanging out (I seem to be incapable of just hanging out without doing something productive). I learned to knit because I was ending up with all this yarn from spinning.
Other fiber crafts: I’ve done quite a bit of counted cross stitch. I also know how to make lucet cord, but that’s pretty much just something I do at SCA events.
Costuming/dressmaking: I used to make my Halloween costumes as a kid. Graduated to Ren Faire, then more Halloween, then SCA, and now I’m branching off into steampunk and other historical periods. I like making my own stuff because it always looks entirely original. Especially for historical events, handmade stuff just seems to look better than factory made. I also occasionally do crazy things like the Bosch bird. My next big costume is going to be a bit crazy, too. Six yards of black linen are washed and waiting for the first cut.
Birdwatching: I was a really avid birdwatcher when I was a kid. My grandfather was a biology professor, we went camping all the time, and we’d get up early in the morning to go look for birds. I’ve been getting back into it the last few years, because it gets me outside, it’s zen and soothing, and there’s something really satisfying about adding species to the life list. My grandfather recently gave me his spotting scope, and I may never go back to binoculars.
RPGs: Yeah, I’ve got the sourcebooks and multi-sided dice, and can regale you with tales of West End Games Star Wars campaigns from the days of yore. Alas, it’s been years since I’ve gamed regularly. My crazy schedule makes it hard to keep up with ongoing campaigns.
Horses: I just like spending time with them. For the last couple of years I’ve gotten back into weekly lessons. It’s exercise, and the horses always make me smile.
Fencing: I haven’t been fencing regularly in several years, but I still have the gear and I still know how.
Beading/jewelry: I’m just a dabbler, but it’s nice to play with pretty sparklies. And it turns out to go hand in hand with the costuming, when I need to make something for a specific outfit. I think my interest in geology and minerals and rocks is part of my general interest in sparklies that make pretty things.
Bookbinding and calligraphy: Another thing I learned to do in the SCA. I’ve kind of put these activities aside. But as with the other hobbies, I know how, and I have all the stuff.
Music: I had something like 8 years of piano lessons as a kid. I really want to start playing music again, in my copious spare time. I own a small Yamaha keyboard, an accordion, a guitar, and a recorder. I just had my first recorder lesson (again, at an SCA event) last weekend.
Cooking: This is something I’m not sure about listing as a hobby. I don’t really obsess over it, I don’t spend hours in spice shops or cooking stores coveting expensive gadgets. But a few years ago I got sick of eating mac and cheese out of boxes and started on a concerted effort to learn to cook for real. I suppose the amount of time I spent on it makes it a hobby.
Obviously, the SCA is to blame for a lot of my hobbies. (Hint: the SCA is a great place for dabbling and trying out lots of obscure arts and crafts before committing to them with lots of money and supplies and equipment.) But I also have one of those personalities where I can’t seem to sit still. I want to be productive pretty much all the time. All the movies and TV I watch? I’m usually doing something else at the same time.
Also: every craft I learn or skill I develop is another thing I can write authoritatively about, and gives me another way of looking at the world. I never want to stop collecting hobbies.