She is SO Predictable

My inner knitter is doing it again. She is so predictable. You see, I had the audacity to plan out my knitting for the next couple of months. I have made a list, I have checked it twice. Christmas is coming and it is deadline time once again. I told my inner knitter that she has to buckle down and get some things accomplished. She was happy at first, to have such a pretty list of knitting to do. Inspiration was flowing and the yarn went on the needles in a happy fashion. It was hard to not knit all the things! This list was inspiring! This list was exciting! This list was totally doable!

Fast forward to today, however, and my list has made a mysterious change. My once alluring siren has now morphed into a harsh task master – whipping my conscience for not completing projects in a timely manner, shaming me for desiring a smidge of inspiration, and shackling my creativity with a sense of obligation.

My inner knitter yearns to be free from her list of must-knits, but knows that she will be so satisfied if she could only see it through. She slogs through knitting projects that long ago lost all of their cast-on excitement, and she dutifully works to complete what she started with great determination and resilience.

But she also dreams of the day when she can cast on some frivolous knit with no deadline and no anxious little person endlessly asking, “Mama, is my ______ done, yet?” and no Christmas tree to mock her.

And so, oftentimes when I sit down to knit, I will find myself on Ravelry, surfing through everyone else inspiration, living vicariously through the creative expression of other people. I will waste the entire window of knitting time poking around on other peoples’ project pages and adding more patterns to my queue.

The irony is that my queue is full of the things that I found the last time this list tortured me so. And some of the things that I am knitting now came from that wandering eye when I was trying to avoid some “must-do” knitting of the past.

It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. Vicious. And my inner knitter never strays from the merry-go-round. Make list. Cast on. Knit. Get bored. Surf Rav. Make new list. And on and on it goes.

This actually reminds me of my stash. Oh, inner knitter! You have gobs of gorgeous yarn! Pounds upon pounds of heavenly fiber! Why do you continue to haunt etsy? and Eat.Sleep.Knit? and swap groups? Use the amazing stash that you have, already!

My inner knitter is so predictable!

Dirty, Rotten, No Good, Lying Piece of Swatch!

Swatches lie. Big time. I only swatch when it is absolutely necessary, and this time it was absolutely necessary. I made a great swatch. A beautiful swatch. A swatch to base an entire sweater pattern upon. Behold, the gorgeous swatch! … Continue reading

Stranded

When I want to really enjoy my knitting, I reach for my stranded colorwork project. I always have one in progress, alongside the pair of socks in progress, the soaker or longies in progress, and the sweater for a kid in progress. Those latter knits are necessities. Sure I love the knitting of them, but I knit them because I want handknit socks, wool soakers, and sweaters for all of my kids. The stranded projects, though? Those are the ones that I do for pure enjoyment.

Stranded colorwork is so pleasing to work. Every row is a new adventure and I stay riveted to the very end. I love the way that colors play against one another. I love the finished products more than lace shawls, more than cabled sweaters. The colorwork knit makes me happy from start to finish and beyond.

For example, look at these socks that I made in June.

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Starry, Starry Night Socks in Mosaic Moon Merino Nylon Sock Arbor Pink and Mosaic Moon BFL/Nylon sock in Amythyst Grotto Purple SS
(Ravelry page here)

I am wearing them right now. The colors make me happy, and the two stranded yarns make a cozy, cushy sock that keeps me warm and comfy. I am in love with these socks, even months after I bound off the last stitch, and I am super excited about filling my sock drawer with more like them!

When I can squeeze in some “me time” between cooking for this herd and changing diapers and reading stories, I reach for one of my current colorwork projects (I have three on the needles right now, but who’s counting, right?). I will reach for this sweater next.

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Selah Colorwork Sweater in Mosaic Moon High Twist MCN, Selah Deconstructed

It is a cardigan of my own contriving and will be my first steeking project. There is so much fun here, I half expect to see cake and balloons when I look up from my knitting.

You can have your entrelac and your lace. You can keep your cables and your intarsia. I know how I want my knitting. I want colorwork and I want it stranded.

Upset

Two years ago this month. That’s when the upset began.

I was content with my life. I had six perfect kids. I was comfortable with our income, our home, our car. I was complacent in my belief system. I was stagnant.

I was due for an upset.

And then it came. In triplicate.

First came the pregnancy test that heralded another nine months of morning sickness, heartburn, and depression. Month after month I did little more than vomit, wish I wasn’t having a baby, feel guilty for not wanting the baby, and then throw up again. I lived on the couch, watching Netflix and trying to keep down a bite of something, anything. My house was a wreck and I was a wreck. My only hope was in knowing that it would end and I would a have a beautiful baby to show for it.

Then came the birth, and with it the next upset. Down syndrome accompanied my Blessing into this world, calling into question everything I thought I knew about health, parenting, and faith. My baby flirted with death and for months I’d rock her to sleep with my heart silently pleading, “Live! Grow! Thrive!” I spent her early days redefining my mothering practices and wondering if she’d live another day. But she did live, and she grew stronger. We got comfortable with her diagnosis and fell into complacency once again.

Then came the next big upset. It became necessary for us to move out of our home of nine years. The hunt for a new place to call home became my new turmoil. I wondered where we would live, or if we could find a place or would we be homeless? I pleaded with God to give us a place to call our own, a place perfect for us. And He did. He didn’t give me what I thought I wanted, but as always, He gave me what I needed. And so we moved and changed and grew a little more.

For the last two years my life has experienced great upset. And while I long for peace and security, I recognize that it is through adversity that I become stronger, more faithful, and closer to God.

It is through the pain of pregnancy that I was given The Blessing.

It was the through disappointment of her diagnosis that I was introduced to an amazing community of people who were born with an extra chromosome and have so much to offer the world.

It is through losing our old home that we were able to move into a home much more fitting a family of nine.

And it is through all of these upsets that I drew nearer to God. Relying on Him to provide, calling on Him to heal, resting in His peace, and allowing Him to be my Father as well as my God.

Blogging through all of this has been a challenge and recently I have neglected it all together. It is hard to pretend that all is well. I’m not a good liar. Besides that, I want this blog to be a place of inspiration and encouragement , not a place for me to air all my dirty laundry. But today I’m being real. Life is hard, but it is also good.

I hope that the upsets are over for now and I can have some nice things to write about. I know that I have a lot of knitting and spinning to do and to share. I also have some thoughts about homeschooling, parenting, and babies. Then there are the things God has shown me about Himself in the past two years, and everyday that I sit and listen. I have some political rantings, too, but I promise to keep those to a minimum. The point is, I see more blogging in my future. I’ve missed it.

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My Happy Place

A bird song in the distance, the tap-tap-tapping of a woodpecker on a nearby tree, the laughter of my children as they explore the hidden paths behind our house – this is the song that serenades me as I sit in the shade of a spreading oak tree and knit. Creamy white wool forming tiny knits and purls on an endless loop, each round denoted by the sweetest of stitch markers as I lazily knit on by. This is my happy place. This is where I recover from the stresses of the week, the busyness of my days, the complications of my life. The cool breeze blows all my cares away and I breathe deep of the simplicity that is found right here.

Knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl…

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Tomorrow I will add some colorwork to this knitting. There will be a riot of color in complicated patterns. The ease of a simple white ribbing will give way to a carefully crafted design that will require more of my concentration and more of my skill. Likewise, tomorrow l will be faced with the dilemma of life and all of the intricacies and difficulties therein. I will be required to pay attention, to strive, and to overcome. But I leave that for tomorrow.

Today I choose find rest in the simple things.