A New Woman

Over the weekend I snuck away from the hubbub of my household, locked myself in the bathroom, opened up a Cheeky Maiden Bath Bomb and settled into the tub for a long soak. I usually wait until everyone is in bed before I do this, but everyone was busy and I was optomistic about my chances for solitude. My absence did not go unnoticed for long, however. In no time I was visited by The Munchkin who wanted to catch all the “sparkles” out of the bath water. Then she wanted in the bath with me. Before I knew it we were having a grand ole time chasing sparkles and enjoying the bath together.

When it was time to get out I sighed. “Ahhh, I feel like a new woman!”

The Munchkin turned to look at me in surprise. After a good inspection she said,

“Well, you still look like Mama.”


Wren

I am the oldest of eight kids (when I first typed that, it came up “oddest”, which I guess is also true!) We range in age from 34 to 8 years of age and are all very different from each other. Some of us are energetic and athletic and ambitious. Some of us are strong leaders, and some of us are still young and cute. There are also a lot of artists among us.

Wren is right in the middle of the pack age-wise. She has been drawn to crafting since she was knee high to a grasshopper and is now an extremely talented artist. She can take anything – beads and wire, crayons and paper, shells from the beach and a twig from the backyard – and make something beautiful, something extraordinary. Still just a teen, she has already sold her jewelry on Etsy, at craft fairs, and on consignment in various stores (from pet stores to beauty salons to gun stores!) in nearby Fresno.

Wren inspires me to be more creative, more productive, and more experimental with my craft. She also examples to me the industrious, hard working attitude that any crafter needs if they hope to make a living with their art.

So, when I was making this, my second headband pattern, I was thinking of my little sister, Wren.

The Wren Headband looks more complicated than it really is and only took me about 2 hours to knit up. Plus, it only uses about 30 yards of Malabrigo Rios to complete. It is now for sale in my pattern store on Ravelry.

Coming up next – The Mysti Headband

Knitting a Prayer

In the last two years I have come to know of many moms who have lost their babies. A baby gone after only a few weeks in her mother’s arms, a miscarriage, a stillborn child – news of this kind breaks my heart. A woman I never knew before suddenly becomes so dear a comrade to me in that sisterhood of unbearable loss and I weep for her as I wept after my own miscarriage two summers ago. So when I was told of yet another lost baby, another mother who will never hold her baby this side of heaven, my heart broke yet again.

The square pictured above is for a quilt for this mourning mother. And though I don’t even know her name, as I knit each stitch, I prayed for her. I prayed peace and comfort. I prayed that she would be surrounded by those who know what to say and when to say nothing. I prayed for her family and her husband. I prayed healing and new life for her heart and her home.

When I had prayed all I could pray for her, I thought of other moms whose names I know and I prayed for them, too. I prayed joy for those in mourning. I prayed peace for those in turmoil. I prayed comfort for those whose hearts are still raw from the pain. I prayed healing for the families who are missing the presence of a crib and the sound of a new baby’s cry.

If you have your babies, then hold them. Thank God for them. Enjoy them.

And pray with me for those who don’t.

Five Reasons Every Knitter Needs a Drop Spindle

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a drop spindle (and, therefore, learn to spin) for the following five reasons.

1. Spinning is meditative. Often I read (or hear people say) that knitting relaxes them. “I knit so that I don’t kill people” is a common logo on t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags for knitters. This sentiment is lost on me, however. Perhaps it is because I approach my knitting with a desire to be challenged, to reach goals, to learn new things. I don’t knit to relax. I knit to enrich. I knit to challenge. I knit to occupy my mind. Because of this approach, knitting tends to make me snippy and short tempered. “Don’t bug Mama, she is working lace right now.” “Leave Mama alone, she is trying to get that _____ finished.” But spinning is a whole other story. Spinning is meditative to me. The mesmerizing turn of the spindle, the fluid motion of drafting, the wool slipping through my fingers. Sigh. This is where I relax. This is my therapy.

Gorgeous, right? Check it out here.

2. Drop spindles are beautiful. Just search for a drop spindle on Etsy and you will see what I am talking about. When you are done collecting all the knitting needles any knitter could ever want, time to start a new collection.

3. A whole new stash. Speaking of collections – if a large yarn stash is heaven, than a fiber roving stash is heavenly potential. While you are on Etsy checking out spindles, be sure to look at the batts and braids in hand dyed colorways. Swoon.

Drooling, yet? Check out this roving here.

4. A new understanding of yarn and fiber. I have only been spinning for a short amount of time, and yet my mind is spinning (ha! pun intended) with the implications of all this new knowledge. Understanding the construction of yarn and the properties of different fibers opens up a whole new approach to my knitting. The idea that eventually I will be able to make yarn that is perfectly suitable for its intended knit just blows my mind!

5. Taking it to the next level. When you have conquered knitting, climbed every mountain so to speak, it is time to go deeper. Take it to the next level and be perfect in your craft.

So, what are you waiting for? Get spinning! 🙂

Natalie

I am blessed to have a handful of real, live knitting friends, and each of them are different. They each influence my knitting and my life in unique ways.

Natalie inspires me to be more energetic, to exercise, to enjoy my baby more, and she keeps me young. She keeps my knitting young, too. As I get older I realize that I am no fashionista, but I have Natalie to help me. It was she who aided me when I was choosing the pattern for the sister-in-law-Christmas-sweater. And it was she who inspired my first headband pattern up for sale in my new Ravelry pattern store.

The Natalie Headband is a simple ribbed headband worked from one end of icord to the other with decorative increasing and decreasing sections to form the shape and give the ribbing movement along the piece. I am sure that my knitting buddy will make her own with fabulous improvements – a big flower and/or a cute button – and I can’t wait to see it!

This headband is the first of a set that I have been working on. I will sell them individually as I complete them, but when all is ready I plan to put them together in an e-book.

Coming up next – Wren.

You Know You Knit Too Much When….

… you are leaving to go grocery shopping and all you have left to do is pack your knitting (I guess I could stop right there. Knitting while grocery shopping with six kids? But there is more), so you ask your daughter to run and “get the blue knitting project off the couch and throw it in the diaper bag” (and you must specify “blue” because there is more than one WIP on the couch). She comes back carrying the project that you meant, plus another work in progress and two random balls of yarn and a set of DPNs…. and she not only thinks that you are totally normal for asking for knitting when packing for a grocery run, but also thought that you would need all that extra yarn and needles in case you finished the half done sweater project that you originally asked for.

Oh, and if you were wondering, no I did not get any knitting done on the grocery shopping expedition. I did, however, feel better knowing that it was with me, just in case I needed it.

Cleaning Out the Queue

I know you were wondering what all that yarn was for yesterday.

Well, I cleaned out my Ravelry Queue. I like to use it as a list of things that I am actually going to knit, but I often get carried away. It does tend to get cluttered up with things that I would love to knit but know that I probably never will. From time to time I like to pare it down to reality, as in “I can (and will) knit all these things this year”.

The yarn that I showed you yesterday is for the first seven items in my queue. Yarn for the eighth and ninth item came yesterday in the mail. Items 10 and on are still a kind of dream and I will probably run out of days this year. If I still like them next year, I guess they might have a chance.

I feel really good about this. I have a list of knits that I want to make and a box of yarn with which to make them.

So, how do you use your Ravelry Queue?

The Other Mister

The Man came in the door with a big box last night.

“This came in the mail for you,” he said as he set it on the table.

“Ooooh” I gushed. “Who’s it from?”

“A Mr…..” he searched for the return address, “A Mr. Yarn.”

A box from Mr. Yarn! And this is what was inside:

I love that guy!

Clockwise from left to right – Dream in Color Classy, Peacock Shadow (4 skeins); Malabrigo Sock, Light of Love (2 skeins); Handmaiden Mini Maiden, Wine (3 skeins); Malabrigo Sock, Ochre (4 skeins); Malabrigo Rios, Archangel (2 skeins); Dream in Color Classy, Emerald Darkness (4 skeins); Malabrigo Rios, Cumparsita (4 skeins)