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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

shawl weather



A Shaelyn shawl, rich and red, kept me cozy for an impromptu breakfast picnic with my boys. We sat on a bench and watched the leaves fall as we spooned yogurt straight from the carton, took giant bites of fresh baked bread topped with almond paste, and sipped hot coffee with milk. It was one of those moments I could just live in: the sun still rising, the air cool with morning dampness, the trees ruddy with fall, the three of us together.

All photos taken in Hunt Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan, where we last visited four years ago. I wouldn't at all mind making an annual fall pilgrimage to that bench.







Sunday, October 26, 2014

down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby






down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby socks

I bought this yarn nearly four years ago when I was a freshly minted knitter determined to knit socks. I remember walking into the knitting shop shyly, as I always did then, because it seemed everyone there knew one another--I was forever interrupting the jovial shop conversation by being a stranger among them--and even more importantly, they all seemed to know what they were doing. I had only this semi-abstract notion that my knits and purls could somehow form socks. Of course I pretended I knew what to do and picked from among the few skeins of sock yarn I could find, which were in the sale bin, and now I realize there were probably whole shelves full of the stuff if only I had known where to look or, you know, just gotten up the courage to ask. I picked this blue variegated yarn, which is not my style at all, so I must have been pretty desperate to make socks to have picked it up in the first place.

I took the yarn home and excitedly cast on a sock, but being a new knitter meant that even though I wrangled those double-pointed needles, I had no idea about laddering, so I ended up with tell-tale loose lines down my sock and had to rip out the whole thing.

I tucked the yarn into my stash and forgot about it until earlier this year. I decided that even though it's not my style, I wouldn't mind it if I toned down the variegation, so I paired it with a dark blue yarn for the heels, toes, and cuffs.

These socks were months in the making, simply because I tossed them aside for other things and then when I finally finished them I couldn't be bothered to weave in the ends. They sat in my knitting basket* until my knitting frenzy, when it became an urgent matter to finish these before the cold weather set in.

I'm glad I finally did finish them because they're warm and I actually do like them. Sure, they aren't really my style, but the yarn tells the story of the knitter I once was--unsure and shy but daring enough to try--and I'll wear that as a badge of honor.

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What yarn tells your story? 

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*I imagine it's somewhat like the Island of Misfit Toys in there, only a basket of almost-finished things.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

marigold harvest





Inspired by Liesl, I decided to harvest my marigolds to try some natural dyeing. The marigolds were ready just before we were to leave town, so I picked them to freeze for dyeing at a later date.

The harvest was a thing of beauty in itself, with those oranges, rusts, and yellows all heaped together. I enlisted the help of my son, who loves to pluck marigolds from their stems and sprinkle petal confetti all over the garden. He was less enthusiastic about harvesting marigolds than I thought he would be, though. Turns out that part of the appeal to him is doing something I tell him not to do. It seems as though I have a little rebel on my hands. He did join in once I'd filled a bowl with marigolds. He just couldn't resist emptying the bowl for me!

We are still enjoying the garden here for a little longer. We planted some sunflowers late and they are just now blooming. Jude has been pestering me about the box of bulbs on our dining room table, so this week we'll plant tulips, daffodils, and irises for spring. I'm excited to have his help, and I think these bulbs will be just the right size for his toddler hands to hold. Let's hope he agrees to help!

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What have you been doing outside these days? Planting, harvesting, hiking? 

I'm hoping to have a few fires in our fire pit soon. The smell of woodsmoke and wet leaves is one of my favorite parts of fall.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

toddler bear hat




This hat was meant for a Halloween costume, but we couldn't wait. I think it's adorable to have a little bear cub running around, but the real benefits are that it's easier to get him to agree to wear his bear hat than any other hat and he keeps it on longer than a millisecond. Score one for me.

If you need a toddler bear hat in your life, check out my notes. I combined and adapted a couple patterns to get the fit and look I wanted.

Monday, October 13, 2014

hitofude





Thank you for sending so many kind thoughts and so much support my way. I appreciate it more than I can say.

The upside of my knitting frenzy is that I actually finished some projects, and my favorite may be the Hitofude cardigan. It's a lightweight, lacy cardigan, and I made mine out of linen so it will be cool enough to wear during our hot Kentucky summers. 

This sweater is slip of a thing and so comfortable that I sometimes forget I'm wearing it. It's so comfortable that I wore it every single day the week after I finished it. I tend to wear a t-shirt and jeans or a simple dress--it's my mom uniform--because I don't have time to put much thought into my day-to-day wear. But I do like to feel put together, and the Hitofude does just that. I hope this will be a sweater I can wear for years to come.

Friday, October 10, 2014

knitting frenzy





Hello. I am happy to be visiting here again. Over the past month I've thrown myself headlong into knitting, spending any free moments when I'm not caring for my boy, working, or keeping the house together with needles in my hands.

In truth, it has been frenzied, knit-like-the-wind knitting. I have been staying up too late and falling into bed only when my fingers can't knit another stitch. I have been knitting because I have to. I have to make something. I need the mindlessness of blindly following a pattern, even if it means making mittens that are two inches too big for my boy's hands. I need the control of deciding to alter a pattern when it isn't working for me, like the "Easygoing" socks that somehow stumped me from the get-go. It is not a hard pattern. I was just having a hard time. So I changed the stitch count and eliminated one of cables (one of two, mind you--somehow that second one pushed me over the edge), and now it works for me.

My knitting frenzy didn't come out of nowhere. I had a miscarriage last month. I just wanted to mention it here because so many of you offered support after my last post and because I strive to be authentic and open in my life. I thought about writing more about the miscarriage here, but for now I don't plan to. I am comfortable talking about it on an individual basis, but I don't want to put it out into the vast unknown of the Internet.

But know that I am okay. I am almost to a place of relaxed knitting. I can feel my mind and my fingers slowing their pace, forming stitches for enjoyment once again. It's a good sign.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

good things lately


This week has not been the week I expected it to be. I've needed good things in my life to balance the bad. If I'm feeling brave, I'll tell you about the bad sometime. But right now I'm still healing, greedily drinking in all the good I can.



coconut fish

My mom and I got to watch them being made at an old-fashioned candy shop across the river. And we got to eat them while they were still warm!


mail

It brought inspiration for my mind and hands. Taproot has me itching to plant some bulbs next month so I can have a garden full of flowers come spring. I've got plans to make my boy a coat from that navy yarn, and I better hurry because I want to finish it before we head up north.





my boy

He is the sweetest. He still loves being outside, whether it's hanging out in the herb garden or walking down by the river. He's learned some new signs lately: shampoo, bath, pasta (his favorite), and poop(!). He learned how to play hide and seek today, but he was easy to find because his squeals of excitement could be heard throughout the house.

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good things all around

Dottie Angel's frock pattern. Yes, yes! I want to make one for each day of the week. I'd fill the pockets with yarn and chocolates.

Just for fun, I filled a up a virtual cart at the Fringe Supply Co. shop. My favorites were this tote, these simple stitch markers, some bonsai-style scissors, and, most indulgent (and best!) of all, rosewood needles.

Melody's Pinecone & Mulberry hat makes me swoon so much that I cast it on almost as soon as she released the pattern. Oh, such beautiful, cozy texture.

And these college guys make me smile so hard every time I watch their rendition of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" (and the events of this week have necessitated many viewings). Seeing that dorm hall makes me nostalgic because it's where I met my sweet husband a dozen or so years ago! I love that the guys there now are every bit as goofy as my husband and his fraternity brothers were.

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I would love to hear about something good in your life. Or something funny. Or something you've come across online that has made you smile. Please, share some good things!



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