Posted on

Life Dispatch, Vol 2.

December!

How are we here already?

December is such a big month for us. Reed turns five in a week! The holidays! It’s all here.

I’m almost done with Reed’s little sweater. I just need part of a sleeve and a hood. And buttons. The buttons will probably result in a one year delay. I just can’t picture what kind of buttons will work. You’ll have to help me figure that out. (I’m counting on you, Knitter-net!)

My lace top has been languishing as a result, which at least means there has been less swearing in the household of yet. Good news there.

I need to test knit my latest shawl design to make sure I didn’t totally flub it. I wrote it up (Holy guacamole! Always harder than I hope!) I need to give it a run through to make sure it works. If I can’t knit my own pattern…well, that’s a problem. (It did come out so beautifully though! Eep!)

Mostly I have been distracting myself with my new-found hobby: dying yarn. Yep. I’ve dyed some UGLY yarn, but I have actually had a few batches turn out quite nice. I am SLOWLY starting to get a hold of the learning curve. I figured since I don’t use my kitchen for much cooking these days, I might as take advantage of my stove top and further expand my crafty obsession. I try to brew up a batch of yarn most evenings and let it cool overnight. Operation Make My Own Stash.

Some people brew beer.  I brew yarn.

That should be a bumper sticker. Or something.

I am making my way through Knitlandia by Clara Parkes. I don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner. Have you read it? The first short story in the collection was basically reflecting on the old-school knitting days and the original uber-cool natural yarn dyers… And how they were all (in part) put out of business by the indie designers and indie dyers. At one point, there’s a reference to the indie dyers with their acid dyed yarn that was “affectionately referred to as a ‘clown barf’.”  It gave me pause, and I felt bad for a minute. I thought: hey, she’s talking about me. And not in a good way. 

But then I changed my mind. I am not going to feel bad about what I love. I like the beautifully colored yarn that fills my Instagram feed. It is so SUPER COOL and the ladies who have crafted it are AMAZINGLY talented.

So screw you, clown barf. Screw you.

There’s a storm brewing outside. I took puppy Finn to the beach early this morning so we both could get some fresh air before the anticipated deluge. The waves were angry and frothy. Attacking the beach. A winter swell. The water was a steel grey, almost the same color as the sky. The days are so short now. I have to really tackle each one to take advantage of the day light. It doesn’t last long.

But, more time for candles. More time for cozy knitting. More time to dye fabulously bright yarn.

Sometimes we have to make our own sunshine.

Posted on

My Story, Part 2

Sometime last year, I published My Story and shared a little bit about how I landed here in This Knitted Life.

Welcome to My Story, Part 2, where I tell you a little bit about ME and who I am as a person (who happens to knit a lot).

Through our lives, we are shaped by many people and places–our homes and schools…our families, friends, and teachers who leave a mark on who we are in this world. I grew up in rural southern Oregon and still have dreams about the creek that was in my back yard as a child. In fact, I just had one the other night.

I remember spending childhood summers in that creek, catching crawdads and polliwogs, turning over rock after rock all afternoon long, on the hunt for whatever critter might be lurking underneath. Looking back, even at age ten, I was my own little geomorphic force.

Somehow I emerged from my childhood and set off to college, determined to study the environment and basically major in Saving the World. When we’re young, it’s easier for big ideas like that to seem more tangible. We’re not jaded yet and haven’t hit enough walls to pause and even contemplate the  feasibility of our dreams.

We just jump in and go for it.

My entire ethos as a human being was to participate in the world and try to make it better. I was seventeen. Decades later, I am still that person. Although admittedly slightly more bitter on occasion (and I have lots of grey hair).

I truly believe changing the world around us is possible, although I have come to feel that making a difference works better at a local level and in our own, immediate lives.

(Although, with the power of the internet, I do believe big changes at a large scale now have much more potential to shape the landscape of our common humanity. There is power in numbers. Think big.)

My abbreviated, unprioritized list of things I believe are important: Plant a garden. Be a good neighbor. Vote. Participate in your community. Think about your choices, what you buy, and what that means for the world. Teach your children to engage in civic society. Use your voice and make it count. Practice fairness.

All of that.

As Reed gets older, we have more and more discussions about the world we live in. He knows mom goes to work to restore rivers for fish, and he goes to school so he can grow up to help animals. Or be a fireman. Or a fireman who rescues animals. Or a lawyer so he can make lots of money. (Depends on the day.)

Like many of you, so much of my time is spent just scrambling to make it through each day. Wake up sleep deprived, breakfast, pack lunches, out the door. School/work. Home. Unload car. Dinner. Clean. Bath time. Bed time. Think about exercising but decide that’s a horrible idea. Knitflix. Repeat.

And so it goes.

There’s not a lot of room in that to make the world better, or even make ourselves better. For me, there’s value in just having a sense of scale of the universe. Even though we become hyper-focused in living our daily lives as they fly by and we try to catch on to the seconds and hold their memories–lest we forget the look of joy on our children’s faces or the sound of their young voices when they say something profound that makes us pause and think: wow– we retain our sense of right and wrong and know what inequity looks like in our own lives as well as the Great Big Planet.

Each night, I tell Reed tomorrow is a new day. There are worlds to explore. Anything is possible. I don’t say that to teach him hope, per se, but because I truly believe it.

Sometimes the world shapes us. Other times, we shape the world. Both are significant.

Yesterday I spent two hours upending my veggie garden and replacing part of it with a collection of peony bulbs. Because I think the peonies will make me happier than chard and green beans. (Even though this morning–AFTER planting the peonies–I recollected that it can take new peony plants up to three years for their first blooms. My peony gratification might thus be slightly delayed, should they survive the inevitable slug onslaught and puppy digging.)

Life is short. Do what you love. Treat others with kindness. Hold your children tight and them send them off into the world to chase their own dreams before anyone tells them it’s not possible.

That’s me, in a nutshell.

Posted on

The Simple Solution to Too Many Scarves and Shawls You Won’t Want to Miss

I am fairly certain that I live under a rock.

Honestly, it’s a miracle I know how to use a smart phone. I think Reed is better with Siri than I am. (He’s not quite five…).

I mean, the things they’ve invented these days. I just can’t keep up.

Anyway.

If you’re like me and you’ve been knitting for a while, you accumulate a lot of wrappy things like scarves and shawls. Or cowls. It’s a hazard of the hobby/art/passion, and I’ve long since accepted the fact that my life if overflowing with woolly things.*

It’s pretty standard to walk into my house and see a shawl thrown over a chair here or lumped into a pile on a table there. I have cowls shoved into my purse and drawers filled with hats and sweaters. It’s a little chaotic, and I doubt Martha Stewart would be impressed.

This is nothing new. I’ve been grappling with knitwear organization for a while now. I’ve also been trying to work out: how to overcome my addiction to high-quality chocolate, how to exercise while I am sleeping, and how to knit while I am sleeping. (Basically I want to figure out how to do everything while I am sleeping…)

So. One day earlier this year, I am in Target** on a mission to purchase REGULAR hangers to accommodate my Big Move when something catches my eye in that Holy Crap kind of way.

Kind of like when you are in a yarn store and see a flashing sign indicating your favorite yarn is free that day.

I see a Scarf Hanger.

Who knew there was such a thing!?!!? (Yes, I am sure you already knew, but I didn’t know…so please don’t rub it in…)

For $10, my scarf-shawl-cowl drama got a little less dramatic.

I love this thing!

Seriously, it has made my scarf-shawl-cowl organization SO much better. There’s a whole variety of them on Amazon here. Ten bucks will get a long ways toward containing your bursting knitwear collection.

I’m just saying…make a little wiggle room in your budget for one (or four) of these little guys.

I love it because:

  1. You can see all your accessories at once.
  2. You can pull out just one shawl and the others stay put.
  3. It’s a space saver.
  4. It makes me feel like Martha Stewart might not judge me so harshly after all.
  5. It now seems only logical to CONTINUE knitting scarves-shawls-cowls even though I already own too many.

My scarf hanger has nine holes, although some of the Amazon variety have EVEN MORE holes. I can actually put a couple scarves in each hole without losing too much function.

Now, tell me what else they’ve invented that I don’t know about yet!

*And I know I am not alone, as a very nice woman at knit night recently shared the entire space under her bed is filled with worsted weight sweaters she knit when she lived in a colder region.

**Is it un-P.C. to admit that Target is one of my favorite places on Earth even though I know everything is made in China using slave labor and ecosystem pillage to make zillions of dollars at the expense of everyone else on the planet?

If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Posted on

Dispatch: Welcome Fall

These early fall days are always such a treat—still warm with rays of golden light yet cool enough to wear tunics with leggings. We enjoyed four (dirty, stinky, fun) camping trips this past summer, the last of which resulted in a record number of fish hooked in a picturesque Sonoma pond. The pond was brimming with water lilies and looked so cool and fresh, yet I was dripping with sweat from a record heat. Even the fish were hot. The sleeping bags and other miscellaneous gear now reside quietly in the garage, awaiting next summer’s itinerary into the wilds.

Meanwhile, at home, the last-minute garden actually resembles a garden and not just a patch of dirt with tiny starts. I lament, however, that slugs and other insect varieties have easily achieved the upper hand, leaving me with rows of holey kale and depressed snap peas. Apparently, I garden solely to allow the local bug population to flourish and not to feed myself or Reed, who seems keen to survive on lollipops anyway. I have been toying with the idea of foregoing the seemingly requisite victory garden, instead upending my chard and green beans to replace them with dahlias and peonies. A perennial cut flower garden may not be edible, but—seeing how no one’s eating it anyway—it will at least be beautiful in a way that requires a little gasp of joy and astonishment with each glance.

Because broccoli is overrated.
The other big news around these parts is of course Reed’s new puppy. We needed a little joy, and golly gee did we get some. Her name is Finn (Reed’s choice). Already they play together in his fort. He directs while she either ignores him my sleeping through his commands or ignores him by eating the fort. (Mom, Finny ruined my fort again. Come fix it!) Both distress him slightly, although her adorability quickly wins out and he forgives her without a grudge.

As for me, well, I’ve been in a bit of a fog this past week, still in that newborn shock of waking up every two or three hours to let the puppy out to pee. On the bright side, I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with the stars.

See: the glass is always half full.

After a month of unsuccessful starts and consolation sock knitting, I’ve finally hit a stride on a Real Project (or two). I’m trying to be better about putting down my knitting sooner in order to instead crawl into bed with a book (finally found a decent one) and prioritize sleep.

As always, my to-do list always exceeds the amount of available time. I think I’ll save the entire world each weekend yet only manage to cross a few things off the list. This must be why The Tortoise and the Hair is such a relatable story.

Slowly but surely.I do have a couple of shawl patterns ready to release soon, so keep your eyes out for them. I am particularly proud of the results, and the photography was a lot of fun too.

I’m trying to work more on nesting—unpacking the last of the boxes that clutter places they really shouldn’t. Accepting. Finding places for things. Lighting candles when Reed isn’t awake to knock them over and burn the house down.

I need to walk more (ideally with my knitting), especially before the fall weather turns permanently drippy and it’s too cold for my hands to comfortably knit. It’s hard to find the time. Puppy’s still a bit too young to be out in the world for beach walks and such, so I still have to go it alone.

Soon enough, she’ll be at my side, provided she quits nipping at my hand knit socks.

Harrumph.

While we’ve been keeping busy (too busy, perhaps) with trips and potlucks, it’s nice just to be home. In the yard. Soaking up sun. Pulling weeds. Embracing the litany of home repairs calling my name with an appreciative enthusiasm.

Now that the sun is setting at a decent hour, I look forward to putting Reed in his jammies and driving out to the beach to watch those last rays dip beyond the horizon, on their way to tomorrow.

If I’m lucky, he’ll fall asleep on the way home.

P.S. In the mood for fall knitting? Check out my Fall Bucket List here, or try knitting my new Bayland Cowl–perfect for fall. 

P.P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Posted on

Dispatch: Summer

Given it’s mid-August yet I have spent many a day wearing socks and a sweatshirt, it’s a bit difficult for me to identify with ‘summer’ at the moment. Here on the edge of the Pacific, it’s the season that isn’t (although we have had some PHENOMENALLY GORGEOUS days). I honestly haven’t seen the sun in a week. My neighbors call this Fog-Ust.

It hurts.

But, in true Me fashion, all is not lost. The sun is always shining. Somewhere. I’ve taken my weekly gallivant into the sun, to simmer in the heat, and knit by the river or similar body of water. Reed and I have gone camping twice now, with a third trip planned later this week. I don’t know if he’ll always remember these adventures from his young years, but I do hope our excursions to the wild side shape his sense of adventure for his life to come.

I try to make the most of my free time with Reed. We’ve been blueberry picking, discovered a new love for sushi (as long as we leave off the avocado), practiced our reading and writing, and spent endless hours simply snuggling. Our living room is cluttered with no less than thirty library books at the moment, as Reed is the proud owner of his first library card. I let him pick out his own books, so our selection is pretty random. This week, it’s all non-fiction jungle animals. (I never knew lemurs ONLY live on Madagascar!)

As for my new (old) home, I’ve made slow and steady progress. But mostly slow, to be honest. I still have a few boxes to unpack and many pictures to hang. Settling in isn’t easy, and the house has yet to feel like home. Dirt seems to accumulate faster than I can keep up. My filing needs, well, to be filed. The windows are still filthy.

Ah, life.

I have made a wee bit of progress on the garden. I even just planted another batch of peas and lettuce this past weekend. The pumpkins, planted late in mid-July, finally seem to be gaining ground and may even produce a pumpkin or two before the end of October. Even if they are still green, I will be happy. I have found gardening on the coast to be so much easier without the unforgiving heat requiring hours of daily watering. I now remember why I was such an avid gardener when I lived her last: it’s just so much easier. Aside from the daily war with slugs and snails.

My seasonal inspiration to Reflect is often synchronized with wrapping up large projects, and this is no exception. After more than a month of hard knitting, I have two shawls off the needles and my sweater is not far behind. For some reason, my projects seem to start and stop in waves. All at once.

I think I need a better work flow.

I always seem to get a little jumbled up when projects end. I have ideas for new projects. But no yarn.

Time to go shopping ASAP!

I’ve been making these little to-do lists every month. Kind of like a bucket list but more Down to Business. As I look back on my lists from the last few months, they all look pretty similar. So many tasks have been rolled over and over, still incomplete (um, window washing!). There’s just not enough time! I try not to drown in the overwhelming feeling that I am Getting Nowhere, that life is Passing Me By, or that these summer days are not unfolding as I had hoped.

Instead, I’ve come to realize I’ll get there. Eventually. Perhaps not all at once. Or on the path that I had envisioned. Everything doesn’t need to happen all at once. Or maybe even at all.

The important thing is to remember it is summer and, hot or cold, savor the light. The long days. The blooming flowers. My child.

It’s all there.

Posted on

New Revolutionary Knitting Development–Brace Yourself! This is Big!!!

This one is a game changer.

Knitting will NEVER be the same again.

The entire rule set of the knit-universe has been completely rewritten.

We can now COMBINE multiple forms of relaxation and pleasantry.

I KNOW!!!

Like I said, this one is BIG.

I don’t typically post photographs of myself on the Internet wearing a bathing suit for the entire world to see, but this is so REVOLUTIONARY that I felt compelled to provide VISUAL EVIDENCE of how truly earth-shattering this new knitting technique truly is.

As you may recall, floatying is my favorite sport. Yes, I maintain that floatying is indeed a sport. If you know me in Real Life, you have surely heard me espouse–on Multiple Occasions–that the winner of floatying is the person with the lowest pulse and blood pressure, short of death.

Now, that is what I call relaxation and athleticism nicely wrapped up into one happy activity.

Up until this revolutionary knitting breakthrough, I have always had a bit of conflict when it comes to how I spend my free time in the summer. Do I knit BESIDE the body of water, or do I float ATOP the body of water?

It’s been taring me apart.

Big decisions. Painful tradeoffs.

Have I daydreamed about floatying and knitting at the same time? Yes!

For years now, I have wondered how I could do both concurrently. Seriously, I really have spent an inordinate amount of time pondering this Great Conundrum of Leisure. I kid you not. This is why I am so surprised at myself that I did not resolve this great inequity SOONER, as the solution was truly so simple.

Previously, I was impeded by two barriers:

  1. An overwhelming fear of my knitting project (the skein, in particular) rolling off of the floaty and into the body of water upon which I was floating. Instant disaster. Even just knitting NEXT to a river, I have previously (on more than one occasion, actually), had my sock skein roll DOWN the beach and INTO the river). It happens, people. It happens.
  2. In my previous life, my floaties were the fancy, foamy FLAT variety. This required one to LAY DOWN at 180 degrees–a challenging ergonomic position for any knitter. We kept our floaties in our pool (which I no longer have, SAD!!!), and they just never seemed like they would work for knitting.

It just wasn’t happening for me.

Until now.

When, in preparation for our big camping trip, I snagged a new, inflatable, CHEAP pool floaty (I bought this one on Amazon for just over $10 USD). It was the best money I ever spent.

This baby reclines! With arm rests! It’s got everything you need to knit. I can’t believe I didn’t buy one of these sooner. Back in my pre-knitting/pre-motherhood days, I used to buy the exact same model, hike into wilderness lakes, blow it up, and read a book all day long, surrounded by Rocky Mountain glacial peaks. True story. It was a thing of mine for a while. What can I say, I am a sucker for a good floaty, an absorbing book, and killer scenery.

Anyway.

If you are clever enough to have a floaty that keeps you UPRIGHT at a comfortable angle (with armrests, no less!), you are in business. Knit away! I recommend working on a smaller project (socks, hat, mittens, or a small cowl) and using a knitting bag with a strap that stays around your wrist to prevent knit-drowning, which would be tragic. I was floaty knitting with my socks, which I always keep in my trusty, durable sock bag. I love this bag, and it has a wrist strap that I use for socking and walking (walking while knitting my socks).

The other great thing about my cheap floaty: it has a drink holder! Seriously. It does. In case you want to fix yourself up a watermelon margarita for the ultimate knitting experience.

I cannot wait for my next floaty knitting session. I am already plotting.

I REALLY hope you have a chance to try floaty knitting, too. Especially now that summer is here. Find a suitable floaty and your nearest body of water (safety first!), be that a pool, lake, or stream. And then, just knit. *

P.S. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

*I can already tell you are going to love this. I posted this photo on Instagram earlier this week, and the comments were profound.

Posted on

New Essential Rules for Knitters

In direct contradiction to the title of this post, let me first offer an obvious disclaimer: there are no ACTUAL rules for knitting, or knitters. It’s a lawless land out there, just so long as you don’t stab anyone to death with your knitting needles. Unless of course it’s self-defense, but we’ll all just hope you never find yourself in that particular situation.

Knit however you like. Whenever you like.

Lawlessness aside, I offer some, well, guidelines for happier knitting. I’ve found myself in a new chapter in my life, providing me with the space to redefine my knitting habit addiction process in a way that works best.

Rule 1: Knit Always and Often

I would be remiss if I did not first disclose that the first rule of knitting is obviously to knit. Whenever you can. Or, whenever you want.

Rule 2: Chill and Knit by 7:00 p.m.

I have a new rule I am trying to keep for myself: chill by 7:00 p.m.

Yes, I know you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking wouldn’t that be nice. Like me, you are surely on your feet until the last possible hour of the day. Dishes. Laundry. Lunches for the next day. Steadfastly working off an extra 10 lousy calories in a grimy gym somewhere (that’s actually not me AT ALL…) Or, possibly, still at work.

It’s hard to find balance between ACHIEVING (which requires a large investment of time) and living, which sometimes requires doing next to nothing. Now, as I am overwhelmed by all there is to do be done, I find it helpful to set limits for myself. By 7:00, I’d like to be winding down my day and relaxing, needles nearby.

Will I still parent after 7:00? Of course. I aim for 7:00 bedtime, but it doesn’t always happen… Especially if Reed has had a nap or is happily doing his own thing. There’s no hard and fast rules. Just goals for healthy living.

I am setting boundaries for myself.

Rule 3: Seek the Company of Other Knitters

For the large majority of my knitting life, I’ve been a solitary knitter. That works for me. I enjoy sitting quietly alone with my needles, recharging after long days. This is the path of the introvert.

Every night, across the vast planet, knitters everywhere sit alone on the sofa with tea (or wine) and Knitflix. Some among us are more coordinated or erudite and instead elect to read or listen to podcasts while knitting. Even though we are all alone, some of us with trashier tastes than others, we are somehow together.

But really we’re alone.

However…in a way, knitting can be like drinking. Knitting alone isn’t always advisable. A wise knitter monk (yes, that’s a thing now) once said: one must always seek balance.

For a long time now, I’ve aspired to start a monthly knitting group, and I’m planning to move that toward the top of my to-do list.

Rule 4: Maintain a Small Yet Manageable Stash

Yes, that’s ALL of my yarn. Mostly scraps. Very respectably (or horrifyingly) small stash. I try to keep things simple! No clutter. Considering all of my yarn fit in that basket on the floor for more than a decade, I think the slight expansion to another couple baskets is reasonable. For the most part, I only keep yarn on hand for projects on the immediate (three to six month) horizon. I see photos of stashes blipping about the internet that look nothing short of an in-home yarn store and am equal parts envious and overwhelmed. I of course wish my stash was a little more substantial, but I also wish I had jeans that fit comfortably (although the answer to that one might be less chocolate and more exercise).

I have set up a temporary knitting studio in an extra bedroom. It’s mostly empty and the walls are still bare. I haven’t actually spent much time working in here, but perhaps someday I will. I hope to make it cozier, just as soon as I find time to decorate and nest before 7:00.

Do you have any new knitting rules you’d like to share?

P.S. Do you already follow me on Instagram? If not, I’m over here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted on

Dispatch: Road Trip

Reed has always been such a good travel buddy, but now he’s a SUPER road tripper. Hours in the car up to Oregon, so excited to see his grandparents that he doesn’t even nap, immersed in searching for wildlife through the scopes of his binoculars, ever and always absorbed in his audio books. A quick blip to check out the great herd of elk among the tallest of redwood trees, breezing up along the Pacific, too windy to stop and play, lest we just blow away, up into the clouds, never again to land on this Earth.

A day in the snow. Alas Reed can finally where his ski sweater and hat to go SKIING. (To be honest, we may have driven five hours just so the ski sweater could finally see some action on the slopes.) Realize with some level of awe that snow really sticks to wool with a force not foreseen. Truly something. A walking four-year-old snow ball, snow gobbed onto wool, layer upon layer. Nothing hot chocolate can’t fix. All the same, the skis click on, he’s up, he’s down. The bunny hill is conquered, or so it seems, on this brilliant spring day.

Now, tuckered by his adventures, Reed sleeps. Mom (that’s me) finishes her wine and starts afresh on her top, now more confident that she will indeed have enough yarn after all. One less thing on the long list of worries.

Tomorrow, we fish.

Posted on

My Fingers Are Tingling With Excitement

If we knew each other in Real Life (not Internet Life), I would tell you how little knitting I’ve been able to do lately.

It’s just been nuts.

I’ve been working the usual three days/week before taking a day to frantically catch up on laundry and dishes, remember what my kid looks like (he’s growing and changing so quickly!), and spend some time just being Mom. Sometimes I am cranky. Sometimes I an upbeat. Reed probably can’t keep track of which version of Mom is coming or going. There’s just no predicting, although I am more likely to be grumpy if I am cleaning. I have come to realize that cleaning up other people’s messes (and possibly my own) really affects my disposition.

After a day at home, it’s drive, drive, drive and paint, paint, paint. We’ve been fixing up a house an hour from our own home. It’s a long story, but basically I can’t wait for it to be over. HGTV make it all look too fun and easy. I will admit I do like the fixing and improving, but week after week… Well, it’s just too much. There’s no break.

And I miss Reed.

And yarn.

I figure I have another few weeks to slog out. Fingers crossed.

The painting and such has greatly impacted my knitting time. I come home too tired to lift a finger. Whatever energy I do have goes toward feeding Reed, bathing Reed, and reading bedtime stories.

That’s it.

Boring and busy all at once.

It’s hard to have a vision for your life and know it just has to wait for a while. There just isn’t time.

I have been making baby steps toward other things that are important to me (exercise not included). I finally swatched up this lovely worsted yarn from the Allison Barnes collection. Allison is an indie dyer I am partnering with, hailing from the great land of Canada. I look forward to sharing more of her story with you soon. She calls this shade Mountain Pansier, which is a perfectly fitting name for the speckles of purple, green, and yellow in this wool.

It’s just so springy and bright that it makes my heart bleat like a little wooly sheep! My swatch dried with so much loft that I almost couldn’t believe it. I am itching to cast on this project…hopefully this week.

More crossed fingers.

In other earth shattering knitting updates, I FINALLY finished the pom pom for Reed’s hat (eh hem, Super Mom!), successfully completed by first proper provisional cast on, and finished my third cowl of the year.

Of course I am behind on pattern writing, photography, and posting.

Soon enough.

It’s been a very wet winter out here in Northern California, and I can’t imagine the upcoming spring will be much drier. All the same, I’ve already noticed the days are getting incrementally longer, even if the skies are drab grey.

At least they aren’t pitch black.

On the coast, trees are flowering. Hyacinths are blooming and tulips are swelling.

(I’ll be complaining about my pollen allergies before you know it!)

I know we’ve turned the corner on the dark days.

Even though it just might snow tonight and I apparently have a new unspoken policy about not going outside if it is cold out.

I simply won’t do it.

I will, however, endure. And knit.

I just can’t help myself otherwise.

Posted on

Behind the Scenes: Life Dispatch 

Happy Mother’s Day!Oh Spring. These past weeks have been so full. Mostly of the best things. Time in the sun. Time at the beach (the river version and the ocean version). Time in the garden. And, yes, most of this time spent with my little helper/mess maker at my side.

Yesterday morning we set out on our usual route to the river (the Trinity River in northern California, for those of you wondering), ample snacks and sand toys loaded into the well worn stroller that my growing son is nearly bursting out of. At last we arrive. Reed takes to the serious activity of making mud while I sneak out my sock for a few rounds. (If you happen to keep tabs on my Instagram feed, you may have noticed this sock has gotten a lot of face time with the river in the background. Progress has been slow. But steady. Thankfully we go to the river at least once or twice a week.) I had to laugh out loud today when my precious skein of yarn tumbled down the sandy slope and splashed into the river. Call it a pre-blocking soak. The recipient of these socks will enjoy the dual benefit of hand-knit wool and exfoliation. Frequent trips to the river have left the sock with a special gritty quality.

Knitting in the wild is not without its hazards. 

The spring weather has everything growing gangbusters! The hills and our garden! Reed picked all of these peas by himself. He was so proud. This is time of year, my fridge is bursting from the spring harvest and I find myself continually wondering why on earth I thought I needed to plant 24 heads of lettuce, all of which ripen on the same day. Ditto with the broccoli, spinach, and everything else. I have enough ripe vegetables to feed an army (but no army) and so many weeds to abate that I truly do need said army to feed just for some help to keep up with the chore. I think I have previously mused in this space that anyone who tells you gardening is anything more than constantly weeding is simply fibbing. To be generous.

Alas, I labor on. The tomatoes, basil, and peppers are now in. All I need is a couple of eggplants, and the summer plantings will be complete. Phew.


There is so much to celebrate lately. My birthday. Mother’s Day! An anniversary. This means there has been one bottle of champagne uncorked after the other. So much indulgence. I like to let the champagne corks fly off the front porch into my flower beds when I pop the bottle. Later when I come across them again (while weeding), I remember back to the happy time, cork throttling threw the air amidst merriment.

Despite all the busyness of daily life and special occasions, I have managed to sneak in an occasional cocktail on the front porch, lingering in the not-too-hot spring sun, flipping pages in a new knitting magazine and risking a few rows. This particular Bloody Mary was concocted with last summer’s tomatoes and garnished with freshly pickled asparagus from the garden. Yum. When faced with an abundance of garden bounty, one is forced to eat AND drink the harvest to keep up. It’s a requirement, actually.I know summer is only moments away. Just yesterday I ventured onto my beloved floaty for my first pool float of the season.* It was glorious! Reed is finally old enough now that I can actually float in peace for a ten minute stretch, just looking up at the clouds in the sky or watching my sweet child skip about the yard, collecting flowers and leaves for Top Secret three-year-old projects. Those are the moments when I reflect on my life and feel complete. Nothing is missing. It’s all there. My family. My passion in yarn. Beautiful sun. Bountiful garden and rural beauty.

I am counting my blessings, feeling grateful, and on my way to put up the mint I just dried en masse for a summer’s worth of sun tea with honey. Watch out world. Hear I come.

*I maintain that floating in the pool on a floaty should be an Olympic sport. The winner will have the slowest pulse short of death. I will be the reining champion to defeat! Think you can beat be? Game on!

Posted on

Knit the Sun

Congrats to Ann from New York for winning the Architexture giveaway. Enjoy!

There has been so much ferocious knitting of late. Stitching like mad at all hours to finish up projects…then typing at the speed of light to write and do all the computer bits during free moments. Before I released Metamorphosis last week, I hadn’t published a pattern since last fall. Too long. For some reason, pattern development has come to me in waves. It’s a workflow issue I need to address, or maybe just bursts of inspiration that seem to resolve themselves all at once.

Not only did I release Metamorphosis, but I was finally able to finalize the gift to my subscribers that I started …LAST July: a simple scrap yarn head band that was inspired by yarn from my Grandma’s stash. (If you aren’t already a subscriber, be sure to sign up and snag the free pattern!)

I have one more lovely pattern to publish soon: this pink treasure, which I call Tulipland. It’s a summer scarf. Light, luscious and perfect for bright days. Tulipland is knit horizontally and available in three distinct lengths.

It’s fancy that way.

Tulipland summer scarf. Light with a touch of lace. And bright.I’ve been rewarding myself for all my hard work with pleasure knitting, making great strides on my Rosemont sweater. The weather has warmed this past month, and I have delighted in an abundance of outdoor knitting, sitting in the sun while Reed plays about in Imagination Land. I love it when we reach this symbiosis during our days, both of us happy just doing our thing for a while. He suffered a bit last week when I was working so hard to get patterns released into the Knit Universe. I’ve felt I needed to make it up to him in some way, karmicly.

After a while, he’ll emerge from his play, come near, and ask to help me knit. At first, I was weary of this request. In the past, this is when he would run off with my ball of attached yarn with a devilish laugh, finding great fun in 100 yards of fingering weight-responsibly produced (read: expensive)-wool instantaneously looped around the legs of the dining room chairs. So when Reed asks to help knit, this used to be my signal to put away all knitting IMMEDIATELY.

Now, more times than not (although disaster can still strike during an episode of Knitting Jealousy), Reed will carefully hold the skein and slowly unravel yarn as I need it. Do you need more yarn, mama, he’ll ask sincerely. After a bit, I will go to put away the project, but he’ll plead one more row, okay mama?

Reed surprised me one night a couple weeks back. At bedtime, after reading stories, I usually turn off the light and recount the highlights of our day. We ate pancakes for breakfast, you played Play Doh (which you did not pick up….), we let the chickens out, went for our walk to the river, you helped me knit, and so forth. Sometimes I will ask him which part of our day was his favorite. Usually this garners the expected answer from a three-year old: watching Paw Patrol…eating ice cream…play group. But this particular night, he paused before answering this typical inquiry into his favorite part of the day. Walking to the river and helping you knit.

Seriously. I am not making that up.

And…it gets better! The other day I woke up and put on a pair of my hand knit socks. Reed immediately pointed to my socks and asked: did you knit those? I said yep I did. He squealed with excitement and did a little happy dance. All because I was wearing my socks that I knit. Somehow he knew that was cool and special and everything that knitting hand knit socks is.

I love my kid.

Although I had to laugh out loud last night when I read Alicia’s post about how she feels like she needs people standing on the sidelines with Gatorade, dumping water over her head at 4:00p.m., just to make it to bedtime. She also has  a three-year-old. No wonder all I can do after 7:00 (when Reed often goes to bed) is lay vertically on the sofa knitting and tv binging. With chocolate.

I am simply wiped out.

Tulipland summer scarf. Light with a touch of lace. And bright.As I raced to finish Tulipland, Reed asked me what I was making. I explained it was a scarf, and he immediately inquired as to when his scarf might also be completed.

Nothing gets by this kid.

I told him I would finish his scarf soon. Basically by the time it’s July and 100 degrees (38 C) outside.

I always have impeccable timing.

Tulipland summer scarf. Light with a touch of lace. And bright.I hope your knitting time is as bright as mine, even if cool days still have you inside. The sun will soon (more literally)  shine on you as well.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and reading Furiously Happy, which I truly can’t recommend enough. It’s been a while since I have laughed out so much while reading a book.

Posted on

Knit In the New Year

Knit in the Near Year!

It has been such a crazy, busy, fantastic year! I am equal parts saddened that the year is (nearly) over and giddy, brimming with dreams for the New Year, now just days away.

Here’s the kicker: I totally forgot to grab champagne at the grocery store this afternoon!

Mercy!

This wouldn’t be a big deal for most people, but I live in the middle of nowhere. The grocery store is an hour away! It is a catastrophe of epic proportions, not unlike running out of yarn in the final rows of a sweater that took eight months to knit.

Sigh.

I tried so hard to squeeze the life out of each day this year. Some days I did better than others. I tried to knit as much as I possibly could, and I learned a lot in the process (about both knitting and blogging). So many great projects came off my needles, from baby hats to sweaters, some of which didn’t exactly fit.

Of course so much of my year had little to do with knitting and much more to do with parenting, gardening, working, and plain ol’ housework and grocery shopping. Aw, the toils of the modern woman.

The end of the year is always a bittersweet time, when I am able to reflect on the past year and take stock. Acknowledging all that I achieved. Treasuring adventures. Accomplishments. My growing (talking, thinking, willful) child. But I also can’t help but feel a twinge of sorrow at all I had hoped for myself but didn’t quite manage. I was distracted. Or tired. Maybe there just simply wasn’t enough time.

How can a whole year not be enough time?

I will put those things on the top of the list for next year. At least as best as I possibly can.

I did manage to release four designs this year, all of which I really love. I have to admit the Twist Shawl is my favorite. I had hoped to finish many, many more designs, but gift knitting and selfish knitting (Can knitting really ever be considered selfish? I don’t think so…) got in the way. Not to mention all the socks.

And the need to sleep.

2015 was a beautiful year. So many stitches (but of course never enough). A few tears. Lots of laughter. In the end, I am blessed. I am healthy. My family is healthy. And I have a reasonable stockpile of yarn, in case of emergency. There’s not much more I could ask for.

Wishing you the happiest of New Year’s!

Andrea

 

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams. Reading a little Yarn Harlot on the side.