Friday, January 6, 2017

Luci

 This is Luci.

Luci was born in the spring of 2014, and she very quickly became one of Mom's favorite lambs.

Why?  Well....that first picture is a clue....
Luci (on the left) was a bottle baby, which meant she spent time in the house and has grown up to be one of the sweetest ewes in the flock.

Last summer Mom and I went through the yarn that she'd had spun up, and I discovered a batch of beautiful, creamy, squishy fingering weight wool that had been made from Luci's first shearing.  I could tell Mom was super attached to that yarn...and I knew that it needed to be made into something special just for her.

I also knew Mom tended to put herself last on the list, so I asked if I could bring it home and knit it up for her.

She requested lace, and she wanted a shape that she didn't already have. 

I decided on a rectangular stole because it would allow me to make a fairly large piece.  I also knew that the pattern needed to be fairly simple because the yarn was not spun up very evenly...there were thick and thin spots which made more complicated lace tricky to pull off cleanly.  Also, I wanted the yarn to be the star of the show...not the pattern this time.  Jane Sowerby's beautiful book, Victorian Lace Today, provided just exactly what was needed.

I missed my Christmas deadline by a few days.  I was not at all happy about that, but life got in the way and it just wasn't possible.  Also, I'd forgotten how long those knit-on edges take!

Blocking this piece was a real revelation.  It relaxed beautifully, and the finished piece ended up being larger than I expected...even though I didn't pull it very tight.

Can't wait to deliver it to my mama!

Leaf and Trellis by Jane Sowerby
in Victorian Lace Today
fingering weight Jacob wool by Luci - about 1,500 yards
Addi Turbo 24" (I forgot to record the size, and now I can't remember...maybe a 6?)
finished size - 26 x 72 inches
December 17 - 29, 2016 











Thursday, January 5, 2017

Someone to Look Forward To....

In November of 2015, 
I knit wedding socks for some very dear friends of mine in their wedding colors.
 Yesterday I finished a pair of wee socks made from the leftovers...
 Baby will be here in a few months, and I plan on spoiling her rotten!
Baby Socks by Bianca Boonstra
Knit Picks Harmony DPN's, 2.5 mm, US 1.5, 6 inch
September 27, 2016 -  January 4, 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New Life

 I absolutely adore knitting Baby Surprise Jackets.

You probably know this...I've lost track of how many of them I've made over the years!

They are the best when the yarn is leftover from other projects, when I can add random stripes as the mood takes me.

This one turned out particularly well, if I do say so myself!

Wee baby showed up the day after Christmas - the son of a friend I bonded with at our dance studio last year...a woman who is now my youngest's ballet teacher.  (And she is an amazing teacher!)  Baby is the cherry on top of a fantastic year for her family, and I coudn't be any happier for them!

Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Addi Turbo size 5, 24 inch circular needles
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (leftover from an old cupcake kit)
January 1-3, 2016


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Newest Sweater

 Torgeir by Elsebeth Lavold
Book One: The Viking Knits Collection
Simply Shetland Silk & Lambswool, 8 skeins in Moniak
Addi Turbo, US 3 (3.25mm) and 4 (3.5mm) 24 inch circulars
October 26 - December 26, 2016
As you know, I'm a lucky knitter because my husband LOVES his handknit sweaters.  He gets a new one every other year for Christmas, he wears them frequently, and he always looks forward to getting a new sweater.

Two years ago I made Sean a traditional fair isle sweater, which was quite the undertaking.  I love that sweater, but it took a long time to make, and it was quite pricey.  SO, I decided to focus on something simple in 2016, and to try to use yarn that was already in my stash.  

Elsebeth Lavold's pattern was perfect for this...quick to knit, designed for lighter weight yarn, with just enough detail to make it interesting.  The yarn...well that was sale yarn that I picked up for dirt cheap years ago.  I only wish that this sweater had eaten up more of it!  (I have six skeins left.)

Truth time.  Sean loves it, I'm not crazy about it.  Torgeir is a very basic drop shoulder pattern - which means, as I knew it would, that there's a bunch of extra fabric in the underarm.  It also grew way more when being blocked than I expected it to.  It looks a lot better on Sean than I thought it would...but I'm kicking myself for not altering the pattern more for a better, more sophisticated fit.

But the husband is happy, and that's what matters! 


Sunday, January 1, 2017

About Those 2017 Resolutions...


I don't really make resolutions because resolutions are made to be broken.  Often, they are too grand and don't include an actual plan.  Made on January 1, discarded by January 14.  It's just too much.

But....I do love the new beginning of New Year's Day.  I love that time to reflect and make a fresh start.  The possibilities are endless, and the hope of a new and better year ahead is exciting!

And so instead I make a goal list, knowing full well that when I look back at the end of the year I will find mixed success.  I will succeed with some things, fail at some, and see mixed progress with the rest....and that's ok.  Life is unpredictable, and my goal lists are meant to be guides, not absolutes.  Looking back at my 2016 goal list was fascinating, and really gave me insight on the year I had.  As a bonus, some unexpected things came from it!

Without further ado, my (publicly shareable*) 2017 goals are:

Reading:
1.  Continue on with a minimum of 10 books/month
2.  Go back and complete at least one book/month from the unfinished shelf.
3.  Do something about the shelving situation, so that I can pull as many books as possible out of storage and put them on display!

Handwork:
1.  Knit 2-4 garments for myself from existing stash
2.  Christmas ornament knitting throughout the year.
3.  Queen Susan.....and maybe the Shetland Star
4.  Again, continue working down the stash
5.  Do something with my spinning.
6.  Purge my crafty stuff.  It's time.

Health and Wellness:
1.  Add strength training to regular routine.
2.  Add more stretching and/or yoga to regular routine.
3.  Continue on with my hard won good habits, which include my best practices allergy care, making quality sleep a priority, and getting enough water every single day.
4.  (All further exercise/running goals are on hold until I receive clearance from my sports medicine physician to return to exercise following my blasted plantar fascia injury.) 

Personal:
1.  Put one letter/week into the mail.
2.  Journal often...taking it deeper to help work through some things.
3.  Silent Sundays:  which for me means no movies, tv, or podcasts on Sundays while also limiting internet time.  Books and music are totally allowed (both of which require my devices)
4.  I want to learn more...I just haven't figured out yet what direction that needs to take.

I can't wait to look back at the end of 2017 and see what this list has helped me to accomplish!

*Sorry folks, some things are private!

Goodbye and Hello

I love New Year's Eve.  I'm someone who loves and finds a special magic in the symbolic transition between old and new.  I like to spend the days leading up to the New Year celebration reflecting on the year past while making plans for the year that's to come.  It's always fun to look back at my blog posts, sort through old pictures, and talk to friends and family about what my hopes are for the new year.  I love writing my year-end wrap up posts and celebrating with family and friends in ways both big and small.  Yes, New Year's Eve has always been a favorite.

This year, though, has been different.  

2016 ended with relief, and not with celebration.  It ended with fear, anger, and apprehension over what is to come, grief over what has been lost, and deep sadness over personal setbacks.  It would be an easy thing to let myself be lost to despair....to give up and lose hope. 

And yet.  

2016 was also a year in which many truly good things happened.  It's important to remember that, and it's important to show gratitude for all of the blessings that did come.  I made myself sit down today and focus on the good...and wow, 2016 truly did have some great moments.

With gratitude, I want to take a moment to celebrate these things today:
  • I earned my 13.1 sticker in 2016.
  • My husband and I were able to finally participate in a Halloween half-marathon that we've wanted to do for years.  
  • I ran, and I ran, and I ran...and I tapped...and I discovered that not only did I love all of this crazy exercise, but that I thrived on it...that the benefits went so very far beyond the purely physical. 
  • I took to heart the lessons taught by two separate, and very different injuries.  I think those lessons will help make me be a better person.
  • I took to heart the lessons taught by those races...lessons about setting goals and reaching them, about being flexible, about my own capabilities.  I think those lessons will extend well beyond my running shoes.  
  • My weight and other health markers remained blessedly stable....meaning that all of my hard work over the past couple of years has helped me to find stasis in a positive place.
  • And by the way, I ate some chocolate, and the world didn't end.  (That may be a post for another day.)
  • We were able to make a significant upgrade to our home by replacing our kitchen floors. 
  • And I found that after all, I do love my corner of the basement and can happily find peace there.
  • We celebrated my beloved Grandma's 90th birthday. 
  • We celebrated the pregnancy of some beloved friends, and are looking forward to welcoming their baby in the coming year.  They are family.  
  • We bore witness to the miracle of life, a gift from the farm....and when I say miracle, I'm being quite literal about that in at least once case.
  • I spent so much more time outside, and found nourishment in all that the world had to give.
  • I found ways to eat out and enjoy myself again. 
  • So very many of my relationships deepened this year.  It's a beautiful thing.  
  • In dark moments, I was surprised by who reached out to me...and that kindness and love gave me hope for the world.
  • In dark moments, difficult conversations were had, which taught me valuable lessons in how to communicate.  
  • I took some important first steps towards returning to the workforce, all of which were confidence builders. 
  • SPEC was a revelation this year in so many ways. The last 10 minutes of our last class will be in my heart for always, and I continue to give thanks for the community I've found there.  
  • I watched as my girls continued to blossom.  They have so much potential, and we are starting to see some of our hopes and dreams for them bare fruit.  I would say more, but that is their story, not mine.  
  • My commitment to social justice deepened, and I began to find some clarity in how best I can prioritize and support causes that are near and dear to me. 
  • I was reaffirmed in the values that my family holds dear, which allowed me to let go of some petty jealousies that have been plaguing me.
  • I made some beautiful things....and some of them found homes with people who love and appreciate them.
  • I was inspired by friends and loved ones who are chasing their dreams, and I celebrated their successes.
  • I was inspired by friends who have shown grace in the face of great difficulty.
  • The balance that I've sought for so long became more of a reality as I learned how to push myself gently while also giving myself what I need...even when that meant doing the hard thing by standing up for myself.  
  • Mostly, I've felt loved and seen...and that's all that really matters.  

This afternoon I pulled out the journal that holds the goals that I set forth for 2016.  They weren't resolutions per say, but were a list of about 20 or so things in 4 different categories that I wanted to work on.  Some of those goals I achieved to great success, others I made progress on, and a few, of course, went completely by the wayside.  That's just the way that life works, and overall I'm pleased with what I was able to accomplish.  I'm glad I have that list...we should always have a concrete list of things that we are working for, just as we should also have some compassion for ourselves and a sense of humor about it as well.  

I'll sit down this evening and make up a list of goals for 2017.  Maybe - just maybe - I'll even share some of those goals with you.  It will doubtless be a list of goals both mundane and lofty.  Next year I'll look back and roll my eyes at some while celebrating success over others, and I will remind myself of the lessons of 2016:  That life is complex, and can be heartbreaking...but it can also be beautiful, and as long as we are striving to be our better selves there is hope for the world.  

May you all be blessed with a Happy New Year.