Sunday, May 24, 2015

What's In Your Glass?



"If a pickpocket meets a Holy Man, he will see only his pockets."
-- Hari Dass

What one focuses on is the window in which the world presents itself.  Is the glass half empty, half full...or do you wonder just what in that glass?  Is it worth drinking at all?  Is it worth worrying about or even caring about?  Why are we even talking about glasses?

If I judge myself on the progress that I made this week on Caitlin's Caitlin...how do I do that?  I actually knit quite a bunch and I should be proud of myself.  Could I have knit more?  Sure.  Could I have knit less?  Yep.  So, what do I see when I look at my progress?

It is so easy to judge ourselves with negative eyes, but I choose to see that I accomplished something.  I knit exactly what I was meant to knit this week; not more, and not a stitch less.

I have stayed focused on this project.  I have not cast on something new.  Enjoying one project is something that is hard for me to do, but I am doing it.  I am actually quite proud on the rows I accomplished and that is what I will focus on.

It is easy to get lost in the beauty of this yarn.  The colors are bright and full of enthusiasm.  I am really happy with it and I hope Caitlin enjoys the subtle shades of her new school colors represented in this colorway.




This is my sage.  It has overcome so many things.  It was moved twice.  It endures our harsh Winter year after year.  Yet, each year in the Spring it sheds the cold and embraces the sun to bloom again.  The blossoms are such a lovely purple / blue mix (this photo made them more purple then blue).  These are a little past their prime but still their blooms give me such joy.  The scent is sweet and mixes with the aromatic woodsy smell of the sage.  I love that delightful fragrance that sage has.  It is somehow calming to my entire system and I adore that this wonderful little plant greets me every morning and every evening is waiting at my door as I transition between work and home.

This week has been a challenging one and it has helped me to focus on the positives in my life that I take for granted, like this sage...or...the fabulous bounty of veggies that we got delivered with fresh herbs to boot!  There is always so much to be thankful for!

My tarot card this week was a card of enjoying and embracing family though sharing a meal together and really connecting.  This is easy enough since it my goal for every day.

I wish you a beautiful weekend full of blessings and happiness.
Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)


Sunday, May 17, 2015

I Don't Doubt It

Nature hued Ostara Garden
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
Wayne Gretzky

Every day I play a game of Sudoku, Ken Ken, Crossword and Crossword Cubed.  Mom used to do puzzles to keep her brain sharp and I've been doing the same for a while now.  Sudoku is one of the puzzles that can be really frustrating to me because if you mess up it is hard to fix.

But If I mess up then I just start again.  I don’t go into it thinking I will mess up and I don’t worry about the numbers not working as I am figuring out what goes where.  It is a puzzle and I work it out.

In games this is easy; in real life…well it’s just…not.

Those thoughts that creep up like a tangle in a skein of yarn and grab you, are not so easy to work through. Doubts, worry and indecision can wrack your brain and drive you into an anxious fretting mess if you let them.

My Mom was a chronic worrier.  She worried about everything.  I think at one point worry becomes the norm and it just starts to seep into everything until you worry about everything. 

I am trying to stop the cycle before it takes root.  My mantra is:
I choose to see peace, instead of this.

The this is anything that is bothering you.  I believe all trials and tribulations can be slowly overcome through faith, family, friendship, tenacity or sheer force of will.  Death and taxes can’t really be negotiated; but other then that…in most cases you choose how you are going to live.  Each moment you decide how you will see the world and everything that surrounds you.

If I am going into a boss battle I’m gird my loins and have the best of everything that I can manage at my level.  I will stock up on potions and buffs and be ready for that boss.  If I fail, I will learn from my mistakes and I will change my attack.  If I fail again, I will watch how the boss moves and see what patterns might be helpful in defeating him.  After gaining new insight I might change out my spells and or use a staff instead of sword.  The point is, just because I lost, I don’t become afraid of the boss.  I learn from my mistakes and go forward until I beat him or her.

In real life it is not so easy it seem to fight the fears that way us down with their white noise chatter.  How can we gird against these unseen foes?  If you are a person of faith then that is one way.  Faith is a very powerful weapon.  Everything for me goes back to one thing:  I am a beloved child of the God and Goddess.

My faith is about love and light. The doubts that are created in my mind are 90% of the time totally not based in reality and devoid of love or light.  Fear is all in our head as well…doubt…worry…they all hit us from within and they can be brutal.

When the negative emotions start, I pray.  I take essences and breathe relaxing breaths.  I count my blessings: my awesome family, my supportive husband, my kind son, my sister who gets that part of me that is still 5...and the list goes on.  I am thankful for my friends from all walks of life who are there for me and help me in myriad of little ways each and every day.  I am thankful for a roof over my head and a man who mows my grass.  I am blessed by my little Rhoomba who saves me a bit of cleaning each day by sweeping up the downstairs for me.  Every Friday I get a delivery of healthy veggies and meats that allow us to live a better life style. 

The truth is this is very long list and when it gets going, no fear; no worry and certainly no uncertainty can last.  I gird myself in my Faith; I take potions of gratitude and blessings.  My sword is the light which drives out the shadows and the love that surrounds me is my magic.

That is not to say, "poof" that all my troubles fade away like dew on a Summer's Day, because that would be a lie.  Life will always had us obstacles; but it is how we face them that matters.

My finances were a mess about ten years ago.  It took saving, changing the way I looked at money, doing without and a lot of prayer to get where I am now.  It wasn't a microwave quick dinner fix, it was a slow simmer crock pot meld of new concepts and ways to look at things kind of dinner.

When I was grieving, it was a long and emotional roller coaster.  It takes time to heal.  It takes time to do anything really.  There might be set backs along the journey...just keep getting up and try again.

Life and knitting have a lot in common.  Every thing I make is a journey of sorts.  As you can see all those flowers got together this week and made another Ostara Garden.  My first commission is done. Fini!  It is very earthy and naturesque.  I really like it.  I still want to make my awesome neon and sparkly one...but not for a while.

So, someone asked me how I put them together and the answer would be the most wonderful mattress stitch.  If you have never used the mattress stitch then you are in for a treat.  It does a bit of magic that is fun to watch.

Just a FYI...the mattress stitch is also used to close wounds securely and distribute the tension across the skin evenly.

So there are different ways to do the stitch based on preference and the type of fabric that you are seaming.  I have used 2 flowers to demonstrate.



The first pass goes in the vee on the left-hand flower towards the left, the second pass goes in the vee on the right-hand flower towards the right.  You are always stitching away from the center.



When you get a little way through you give the working yarn a tug and watch those stitches disappear...just like magic.

This is a great technique when you don't want the colorway to show through.  I hate seaming, but this stitch is really fun.

I hope all your troubles melt like lemon drops!
Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)





Sunday, May 10, 2015

Progress


Flowers and radiant ideas are the only things that I accomplished this week,
but that is okay because progress is still progress.

Everything of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you. -Shakti Gawain

When I try too hard to figure something out is when I can't see how to make it happen.  When I immerse myself in happiness and family then suddenly I know the answer.

For  Beltaine, May 1st, I drew the rune isa as my lesson for this turn of the wheel.  I have talked in length on this blog about isa and it's meanings, so it is a very familiar rune for me.  I didn't understand why I would get standstill as my rune to celebrate spring and new life until Sunday when I was working so hard to figure something out.  I was so immersed in making it work that I didn't allow it to work itself out.

When you ask the Universe for something you don't really know how the Universe is going to get it to you; you just have faith that it will.  The intent, the belief, the emotion behind it all is the most important part of the process.  The how is not really our concern.  The Universe knows the best way to bring our desire into our lives in its own time.

Its kinda like when someone has a vision of something they don't want to happen and in trying to make it not happen...they actually create the perfect environment for it to occur.

This principle really applies to anything and everything.  You can feel when you are humming in time with the rhythm of the Universe and you conversely can tell with every fiber of your being when you are in disharmony with the energies around you.

I was trying desperately to fit a lace block into a tiny little space and yet still achieve a design motif that would work with my project.  I had tried everything and I was at a standstill...there was no way this was going to work.  I walked away from it all frustrated and went to find something unrelated. My sister was busy making some mitts knitting and purling and as I ran down stairs it was like a bolt of lightning and I could see the Universe working it out in a way that I wasn't open to minutes before.

The lace wasn't really the important part of this equation.  I was so stuck on it that I hadn't allowed myself to be open to anything else.  The heart that I was trying to create; that was the crux of the issue and that could be made with knitting and purling as my sister was doing.  I could easily fit a reverse motif in the space I had and it would work perfectly with the pattern.  Voila!  Problem solved...thank you sister...thank you Universe...thank you Odin for giving me isa and once again showing me that I have so much to learn.

******

I've been trying to keep my focus on my project list so I've been making flowers for a Ostara Garden commission, knitting a Caitlin and getting ready to do a test run of Maureen.  Also, I have been polishing up patterns and hopefully I will get them up next weekend.

It was hard to believe but I couldn't find the right yarn for my Nana Cowl commission at Sheep and Wool...I did find it at Knitpicks....so I will be working on that too when the yarn comes in.

I found something really disturbing, most of my needles are missing from their cases, I have no more cables to make new circulars and I have started way too many things.  If I finish some projects on the needles, it would take away my focus on the things that have to get done, so I bought new needles and cables.  Just a few...so I can cast on these commissions.

Until they come in I am making flowers.  I have 12 out of the 20 I need to knit.

*****

If you are a Mom in any way shape or form, have a beautiful and special day.  Hugs!  :)
Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, May 03, 2015

It Is that Time Again :D

Fiber Optic Yarns - KnittyandColor - Avalon Springs Farm

Here in these parts, the first weekend in May is MD Sheep and Wool.  There is something for everyone at this wonderful event.  Yummy food, sheep dog trials, books, tools, cute animals and every type of yarn or fiber a person like me could ever dream of.  The above is my haul.



There is so much going on this weekend.  Every weekend at this time has also been a Marvel Event and Age of Ultron is one of the biggest so far.  And while the way Marvel has built to this movie has been amazing and I have loved each and every story (Including Agents of Shield and Agent Carter) the reason this movie is so significant to me is it has the Scarlet Witch in it.  I have always loved the Scarlet Witch.  I have her original comics as you can see.  Over the years she has popped up in games and cartoons but when I saw that last sneak peak / spoiler / trailer at the end Winter Soldier I squeed with wild abandon like a little fan girl.


And I found this at the new toy exchange.  So much love.



*****


Finally I can show you the secret project.  I am very happy to have finished this before S&W!  This is my sisters Awesome Trellis in Miss Babs Gradients.  It is a twin to mine that I did in the pink color-ways.  Her yarn is absolutely awesome, the hues are so lovely and it is such a joy to work with.  That is why I was happy to wait in a long, long line to get more at S&W.



All in all I feel very accomplished.

This week it was back to making more flowers for the commission.  I want to keep this forward motion going so I'm going to make a flower a day, since I have a June deadline.



In between my flowers I am going to make a Caitlin in some lovely yarn I just got from Italy on Etsy. Caitlin is going away to a crimson and gray school and I wanted to give my lovely model something special for all her hard work on the photos.  I think this will be perfect!

*****

There is also some designing going on as I have grabbed the next item from my very organized list of patterns I am in the process of creating.  This is something I have been dabbling with for a while and finally the dust has settled towards some forward progress.  I just love this yarn!

I just had to totally reverse gears when I talked to the intended person I was creating this for and she told me she hated shawls.  So a cowl it is then.  Her birthday is on Valentines's Day so I interspersed hearts on every other block of the entrelac in lace.  I'm going to name it Maureen after my friend who has been with me through all the ups and downs and we knit through it all.  She inspires me with her fearlessness in fiber and she makes the most beautiful things.

I've been trying to work on this for a while but maybe the Universe knew that a shawl was the wrong direction all along and I just wasn't getting the message.  I have trouble with getting the message sometimes it seems.  I have gotten the 2 of Pentacles (Boulders in this deck) for my card of the week for 6 weeks now.  You must understand that I shuffle and cut the cards for about five minutes each time and still I get the card of two fighting witches.  This card is usually about juggling your priorities in an equal fashion.  But this card shows two girls fighting tooth and nail over beets and beads.  I read somewhere that they were going to a swap meet and one heard beets and one heard beads.

So is this a lesson of perception again?  One girl was hoping for some lovely ripe beets and didn't want the shining beads and the other girl was hoping for a bauble of a different nature?  Is it about disappointment because what you thought was not the reality of what you were supposed to get?

Obviously I do not know or I would not keep on getting this card.  But I keep going forward, doing my thing and working on goals and being happy.  Eventually, I will figure it out right?

I hope your day is full of happiness and joy and some forward progression on your goals!
Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)


Sunday, April 26, 2015

A World Adorned in Flowers




This little branch fell of the pear tree at work and I brought it in to sit with me for a bit.  The blossoms smell so sweet and these little white blooms fill me with such joy.

Everywhere Spring is bursting forth.  The grass is becoming green again and my yard is dotted with purple little flowers.  Tulips are reaching up towards the warming sun in hues of yellow and red and daffodils gently wave in the breeze.

The air is saturated with new life, hope and promise.  The hard winter is almost forgotten as the landscape changes her gown in hues of color and delight.

*****



I started these flowers when it was still cold and the landscape was covered in snow and ice.  At the time I was craving color and using up my bright sock yarn seemed to be the cure for the winter blahs. As my garland grew, the sunny days came and now our little corner of the world is awash in new life.




Now that I am finished I am stunned by how much I like this design.  It isn't necessarily meant to be made up all at once but rather maybe to have a flower added each time you have a little left over after making a sock or other project.  And slowly, like a garden bursting forth with new life, you will have colors and stories that you can one day join to adorn yourself with.




These sock yarns are special to me because I bought them to make a traveling socks with. These yarns were added to my sister knitters socks as part of a knitted collage we created together in the form of socks.  Two of these sisters have passed on to the world beyond since then.  So, in a way these flowers are a tribute to those that weave in and out of our lives and create beautiful blooms that stay within our hearts forever.

*****

Finishing the Ostra Garland means that I can go back to knitting the secret thing.  After that I need to start on another Ostra Garland that has been commissioned.  I think this one will go much quicker since I worked out the kinks on the first one.

*****

I hope you all have a beautiful week full of new growth and experiences,
Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Senses


We binge-watched Daredevil this week.  And it was awesome if you like the rather dark Marvel character.

The thing that makes him special is that when he lost his eyes to the chemical spill after saving that person's life; he gained super sensitive senses.  He can taste the air and tell you what you had for lunch and tell if you are lying by the sound of your heartbeat.  Everything is heightened for him and more then three-dimensional.

That is how I feel about yarn.  I wanted that yarn above, the masala Knitpicks Gloss because I loved the warm spicy feel to it.  It looked like something you would find in a vat overflowing in Morocco. You would see the color long before the aroma of the spice hit you and by the time you reached it you would be awash in color and taste.  You would be thinking about the dishes you could make with this spice and how alive they would be when they hit your tongue.

This yarn is merino wool and silk.  Your eyes delight in the color and then your fingers feel caressed by the silk as you knit.  There is such joy in pairing a yarn with a sensory experience like silk.  Silk stitches feel delicious when you knit them.  They dance over the needles.  



Most times I am drawn by the color to a yarn.  Sometimes it is that it sparkles or that it is a certain type but usually it is the color.  Yarn colors call to them as you need them.  I believe sometimes we go for a long haul of buying the same color until the need for that color passes.

I love pink.  I just do.  And this pink is bright and cheery.  One day it will be a shawl.  But now I can look at the pink and smile.  That has not changed in all these years.  Pink remains for me a memory of home and cherry blossoms in the spring, of valentines and love that lasts forever and of the sun kissing the sky in the morning.  To me the memories that are woven as I knit with the pink are as beautiful as the color itself.




This is a look into one of my drawers of many types of yarn.  They are sorted more or less by color so you can see how much I love reds, purples and pinks.  I adore sparkles...they are just magical.  All of these yarns are waiting to become something bigger then themselves.  I love to just look at them and open up their bags and feel them.

That is really all I have time for right now.  But the knitting waits like a flower bed that sits outside one's window in anticipation of someone looking out and noticing how beautiful it is.

I have been working on connecting my flowers all week between taxes and other stuff.  I hope to have them all joined for next week.

I hope you have been enjoying the beautiful weather.

Hugs!
Ruinwen
:)


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Caitlin





There is a moment in Skyrim where this plays and you know that there is a dragon approaching and your your adrenaline starts pumping as you ready your weapons and look to the skies.  The score is so powerful you can feel the energy emanating around you and filling you up with purpose and conviction.  I still get the chills when I hear it.

That is how I felt when I saw the photo shoot of Caitlin.  OMG!  These photos are fantastic.  The photographer and model have left me breathless.  The model is the beautiful Caitlin herself that the pattern was named after.  I love the playful way she got into the shoot.  Her Mom is the talented photographer and I love all the shots she took.  It is hard to choose which ones to use on the pattern.

I am so blessed to have these two talented individuals in my life.

This is the second professional type shoot that we've ever done.  The first was the Nana Cowl shoot and I love those pictures so much!  I've been going back and forth and trying to figure out how to do things.  I am part of a group of designers who talk about photos and what makes a pattern come alive for people and there are a bunch of really good ideas on there.

I am just awed by the difference I feel from the previous photo in the snow and these photos with Caitlin are.  Adding a human element allows you to see how the pattern flows and drapes.  You can see it on and maybe envision it on yourself...you can see how it would fit into your wardrobe as a cold weather staple.

There is life in these photos, movement and whimsy.  I feel energy emanating from these photos and I am empowered to create more things so that this photographer can breathe life into them.

*****

I made these.  I love kale chips.  I love the way they crunch and how healthy they are.  So I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I washed and dried the kale and then ran some olive oil over it.  Not more then a tbsp which I blended into the kale with my fingers.  I then placed the kale on a metal tray that has tiny holes in it.  I set the oven to convection at 300 degrees and used some of our special spice blend (garlic powder, onion powder, Hungarian paprika, chili powder, cumin and a little celery salt) to season the leaves.

Then, in they went for 15 minutes turning once.  Anything over 15 minutes tastes burnt.  I sprinkled them with some nutritional yeast which tastes like a kind of cheese if you haven't had any for a while. To me, it is like a smokey Parmesan mixed with something I can't quite place...but the crux here is it is really yummy.  If you haven't tried it before then just try a little on one of the leaves but put it on while they are hot and there is a bit of oil to hold it on.

The result is just pure yummyness!  So this will be another healthy staple that I'm adding to my weekly diet.  Kale is full of beta carotene, vitamins K and C, calcium, lutein and zeaxanthin (both are good for the eyes).  Kale boosts DNA repair and is an antioxidant that appears to block the growth of cancer cells.  It has also been shown to decrease LDL, the bad cholesterol levels in the blood and decreases the absorption of dietary fat (like green tea does).

*****

I hope you are enjoying the slow returning of spring to the land after our hard winter.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

P.S.  I hope to have Caitlin proofed and published in a few weeks.  I'll let you know when it is available.  Thanks for reading.