Sunday, December 08, 2013

Minecraft




This house has been a Minecraft family for as long as I can remember.  Years ago our nephew came to visit and showed everyone this new game and it was love at first sight for everyone...but me.

Sure I was awed by the scenery and amazed by the things my family built but I had resisted the urge because I knew I would like it...probably too much.

Those of you who know me, know I love to game to the point of obsession.  I've never ignored my family or missed a day of work or something like that...but I throw myself into my games and learn all there is to know.  I don't just play; I research and take notes and immerse myself totally into whatever world I happen to be in at the time.

Minecraft is more then just a game; it is an experience and you can choose to play it anyway you like. During Thanksgiving everyone was on our family server while I was Skyrimmin'.  And that was great, everyone was having a super time and I made headway on my Alteration magic...but listening to them talk about their experience and all got to me this time.  Which considering this is what happens whenever our family gets together...was strange.

So on Monday I got on the 360 and decided to see for myself how Minecraft and I got along.  My sister was right, I was better at it then I thought.  The tutorial world makes it easier I guess since you have the ruins of a place to stay and food and all.

Yep...just looking.  That is my story.  So, thinking that I have absorbed a huge amount of knowledge I did the online demo.  You have 5 Minecraft days to see what you think.  At the end of the five days I had a little house, a bed, an oven, sugarcane, pumpkins, wheat and I had just found some iron.  I killed two zombies and learned firsthand about a lot of things that I had heard them talking about but never seen for myself.

What are the top 10 things I learned from this adventure?

1.  I think I'm in love with Minecraft; it has something for everyone and the biomes are amazing.

I've seen my sister's breathtaking houses and been awed, I've watched my son create parkour courses that really impressed me, I've seen my Father-In-Law make a really complicated obsidian generator, I've watched my hubby create these amazing and complex farms and and basically seen over the years all the different things people like to do in Minecraft.  But nothing quite prepared me for being walled in a box with a window with the sun going down and no bed to make the bad things go away.  I could see a spider and a zombie in the distance and I huddled in a corner until day broke again and prayed.  There was much rejoicing when dawn arrived and I was still alive!

2.  Baby animals are so cute and you can create babies through a fence.

3.  Mooshrooms are even more adorable; I want to live on a mooshroom island and live off of mushroom soup.

The seed lost (all lowercase) will give you an awesome mooshroom island with tons of mountains running with awe inspiring caves, waterfalls and pools of lava.  I can't play there yet but hubby let me see it last night and the biomes were breathtaking.  There was an entire world of mooshroom too!

4.  Mining is really exciting; finding that first coal vein was really a happy moment.  I'm ready to dig deep now and follow my sister's shaft digging protocol.  I think I'm going to pack up my bed, crafting table and oven and live in a cave for a while in my demo game.  It has become a race to see how much I an do in 5 days.  In a cave I won't have to sleep so I can dig...dig...dig.

5.  You never hear a creeper.  My wheat garden was blown to smithereens before I even knew what had happened.

6.  I love growing crops.  It is like Farmville without the need to send stuff all day.

7.  Birch trees are beautiful as are all the other trees; but birch trees are my favorite

8.  There is an ocelot in the jungle biome and I want to tame him and have a house cat

9.  Since I am terrible at directions I have made huge dirt pillars by important landmarks so I can find them quickly.  Next one will have a torch on top.  These pillars have saved me so many times when I lost my bearings.

10.  If you don't have a roof spiders can get in your house.  If you leave your door open...who knows who you may find.  Some days it will be a cow...some days a zombie.  It is better to have a small house that can just fit a bed so you can have roof; then to go without.  A crafting table can be built into the walls of your home as well.

I finished Holda and she is lovely.   I just need to steam her and then take a pic and I will have a new pattern to put up.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Iris



So this week I had something really scary happen.  I had a Posterior Vitreous Detachment in my eye. Suddenly there is a little gal that looks like a black iridescent worm dancing around my vision. The above picture was the closest I could come to what she looks like.  Mine looks more like a circle that has a bulbous head (probably where it was attached to my retina before it came loose) that is an opaque black color.

Mom had all kinds of eye troubles so I headed into the ophthalmologist right away.  After a long look into my eye with bright lights the Doc determined that it is just a floater and no harm to the retina was done.

Praise the Goddess!  I can deal with this little gal floating around my vision if nothing else is wrong. Sure if I focus on the little worm then I can get quite agitated and having my vision blur out is a learning curve but they are both things I can deal with.

I told the Doctor that as long as I just have the floaters and flashers then I will give her a name and make her my best friend because we will be together for a long time.  I decided to call her Iris.  Yes, there is a bit of a pun in that name; but laughter is good for the soul.  Iris is also the Goddess of rainbows and I love rainbows and colors and such; so I think it is a fitting name.

I've read a lot about people getting quite anxious about having floaters as they are always in your face.  I was worried about it being worse then it was; but I don't feel anxiety anymore.  I keep brushing away bugs that aren't there out of reflex and I find that when I write a curly little a seems to pop up and that is a little weird but my brain will adapt.

Bifocals were hard in the beginning but now I don't notice that line where it seemed like the world was bubbling up at all.  This too will become a part of me and then I won't notice it so much either.

Of course the minute I got back from the eye doctor with my eyes all dilated I tried knitting a row. When I look at my knitting the floater hangs out on the right side of my eye and I barely notice it at all.  What a blessing!

This week in the US we count our blessings.  We take a moment to look deeply into our lives and see those things that we are so thankful for that maybe we take for granted the rest of the year.

The simple truth of the matter is that I am blessed.  I have an awesome family, wonderful friends, a job that I love and a career that brings me joy.

This is the first Thanksgiving without Mom and Dad and though we will always miss them; they will always be a part of us.  I am so thankful for the time with them, for the memories that will always be mine to treasure and proud that the Universe chose me to be one of their daughters.

As we spend our first year without our little Widdershins the same feelings lie in my heart.  I miss her but I have such wonderful memories of how she took care of my hubby and our family.  I know she asked the Universe to bring us Frost and he has brought mirth into our home.  He is truly a treasure.  And my love-muffin Shadow has become his best friend.

So many blessings...I choose to focus on them instead of some of the little things that are out of place at the moment.  Every day you make a choice how to live, how to face the world...and I choose happiness over any worry or stress.  I choose to embrace my family and friends.  If I need help I will ask and not take the entire world on my shoulders.  I have unpacked my metaphorical knapsack that I carry that was filled with worry and strife and I have worked really hard to let each negative idea go that serves no purpose in my life.  For the things that remain that I still need to work on, I am thankful that I am learning and growing and striving to become closer to my soul's ideal.

Bright Blessings to all,
Ruinwen
:)


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holda



"When flowing water ... meets with obstacles on its path, a blockage in its journey, it pauses. It increases in volume and strength, filling up in front of the obstacle and eventually spilling past it....

"Do not turn and run, for there is nowhere worthwhile for you to go. Do not attempt to push ahead into the danger ... emulate the example of the water: Pause and build up your strength until the obstacle no longer represents a blockage."

-- from the ‘I Ching,’presented in
‘To Build the Life You Want, Create the
Work You Love: The Spiritual Dimension
of Entrepreneuring’ by Marsha Sinetar

Last week I was supposed to teach a class on Frederick; but a mix-up in the picture for my class led to an unanticipated adventure.  

It was the day before my class and I needed to have a pattern that 1) would work with any yarn, 2) was in the round and 3) was linen stitch.

At first I was totally freaked out because I hate to be unprepared.  But then I took a breath and listened to what the students wanted and started to come up with ideas.

My son had been doing math problems that week to figure out specific things and I asked him to come up with a formula to figure out how many stitches needed to be cast on for each person. That proved to be an easy task for him and soon I had a formula that would allow anyone to be able to use this pattern with any weight yarn.  Check number 1 off my list.

That night I took off going to meet-up because I needed the time to write a pattern up.  I realize that I could have just slapped something together; but that isn't me. 

So I added a join I liked for the cable cast-on and the bind-off I liked from my other linen stitch pattern and put it all together and 2 and 3 were checked off my list as well.

I gave the pattern the name Holda honoring the Germanic Goddess of weaving.  I was printing up copies at 9 pm and felt pretty good about the whole experience.

I'm glad I didn't just freak out.  The Universe gave me a chance to see what my students wanted and I was able to deliver and that means a lot to me.

The class went well and my students were awesome and very understanding.  Some had to change their color choices since this pattern wouldn't allow switching between yarns that well. One of my students decided to spit-join the yarns as she goes for a beautiful effect.  

Each student's color choices were so lovely; I can't wait to see the finished products.

I need to finish one of these myself so I can have a cover shot and then I will put it up for you all on Ravelry.  :)

ETA.  I had the pleasure of meeting up with two of my students on Friday night.  I believe my class does not end with the close of the day; I feel that I should be available during their journey through my pattern.  I realize that not all teachers feel this way and this is my personal choice.

I really enjoyed chatting and getting to know these two wonderful ladies.  We had a really nice night and I look forward to seeing them again in the future.   Times like these let me know that I am on my true path.  I didn't realize that one could practice healing through a craft like knitting. Isn't the Universe amazing to prove me wrong and allow me to combine the two things that give me such joy?

If you live in the US, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving,
Ruinwen
:)

P.S.  The Yarn is Maple Creek Farm and one of my favorites.  I have only been able to find it at Sheep and Wool so I have no link for you; sorry!  The pillow is also one of my favorites and it is in the 20's today and Eddard Stark's words seem very appropriate from Game of Thrones.  :)




Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Day With Mom


Monday was Veteran's Day here in the US and it is the only holiday I get by myself.  I really had some good intentions when I started the day.  I put in a load of laundry and filed some papers.  I knit for four hours before I realized that fighting the kitten over my needles was a loosing battle that I just didn't want to fight.

And then I just decided to chill.  I didn't need to be productive because I had a day off.  I had been productive and gotten a bunch of little things done and it was time for me to just enjoy the day.

I put on SALT because I love action / suspense movies like that; something I may have gotten from Mom. She would have really liked SALT.  The woman was kick ass and not to spoil anything for someone who hasn't seen it but there is quiet a bit of intrigue as you try to figure out just whose side she is on.

Mom was always watching movies.  She taught us to look behind the words and see the meanings.  Being so smart she picked up on tells in an actor's behavior and things that didn't fit in the background.

Which is why I then watched The Tourist.  It was like Mom was sitting across from me and filling in little details about Venice as we watched.  Italy was one of her most favorite places in the world; she went there when she was younger and it really touched her soul.  Once, we planned a trip there for a school project. We had every day planned out with all the places she wanted to return to and share with me.  I had hoped one day to take her on that trip, but I never had the money and then the arthritis made it harder and harder for her to travel.

I must admit I talked to her during the whole movie about how beautiful the marble walls were or the splendor of azure waters.  I talked to her about tells and plots and for the span of the movie she was there with me...more so then most times.

It was a really nice day and I was glad Mom could be there to share it with me.

Hugs!
Ruinwen
:)


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Just Breathe



I've been having this feeling that something is missing for a while now.  It took me a while to realize that the something that is missing is not a hole to be filled or something I need to fix.  There is space now where before I was doing things for my parents; which wasn't a chore but it was a constant part of my life.  Just like having another family live with us was a mixed blessing; but now that they have found a home of their own...everything is different.  To lose two such big influences on my life in one year has changed everything for me and my family.

This is what it feels like to have less stress.   I can come home and relax and do things and still be able to wash a load of clothes or dishes or make dinner and not feel hurried.  There are breaths of space between everything that weren't possible for me before no matter how hard I tried to carve the way for them.   This is new and it feels unnatural for me; but this is how my life is supposed to flow.

Space is a good thing.  It allows air and possibility to exist.  In lace it helps to show how beautiful everything is with some distance between the stitches.  I am starting to be able to focus on individual moments again because of the light between them.  Simple things really have started to shine for me again.

I got that old rush I used to get when I did ritual this Sunday.  It had slowly been coming back to me these last few months.  Ritual for me has always been such an important aspect of my faith.  I married a man who believes as I do and loves to raise some good energy.

In the old days I had a circle and we would feast and do ritual every holiday without fail.  I missed that.  I missed the simple act of sitting around a fire and the house smelling of a roast sprinkled with magic because for a while it was just something we couldn't do due to circumstances that were beyond our control.

But now...I feel like a kid again and it is like coming home to a part of myself that I really missed. My son suggested we rebless our Nightmare Prevention Bags that we made in '08.  There was a really bad year where he would recite the words every night before bed.  I can't tell you how many bad dreams I pushed away with my little bag.  It was time.

So one of the things I really like to do is write spells, prayers, blessings...really anything spiritual. Back in the days of my Wicca 101 classes; the thing that stuck with me was the whole rhymes have power thing.  I like the challenge of making it rhyme.  It puts a little of myself into it and my time and energy which in my opinion, both add some good energy.

Here are the words since they blurred in the photo:

Little bag full of herbs and things that scare
Make a hedge boundary that reads beware
No evil can reach me when I sleep
No negativity into my dreams may creep
Herbs of protection circle thrice
May your scent good dreams entice
I welcome in good beings to watch over me as I rest
As I fall asleep I know that I am very blessed.
So mote it be.

I also like correspondences.  So for the NPB I got some punches and made little cats, bats, spiders and maple leaves to add the power of the season to the mix.  The herbs I chose for the NPB were: coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dill, salt and frankincense.  Almost everything I do has some herbs blended in.

My son helped mix everything and punch out bats, cats, spiders and leaves.  We had fun and it didn't take really long to prepare everything.  We got some cat whiskers (they had fallen off over the years and we save every one of them) for a blessing from our four-footed friends.

I mulled some cider with cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger.  A roast was crocking as we were working and the two smells were just divine.

My husband and I cleared off the pad in the back and it didn't seem like work.  This song was starting in my heart and I could feel it running through my veins and filling me with this incredible joy.

The whole ritual was simple but the energy of family and community and connection were so strong that I can still feel the effects.  I feel like a battery recharged.  It is like the lapse of the past had never been.

In knitting news I have been working on my friend's projects.  She wasn't sure where she left off in the pattern and I picked it up after a long Friday at work and I really should have known better to just rush into something.  But alas, that is where my tale begins.  It was a moebius and I judged wrong where she was in the Fibonacci sequence and I was five rows off.

Now, I pride myself on helping people and she had entrusted me to finish these projects correctly so I had two options; rip or fix each stitch.  Really the time expended would be the same so I began to drop five rows down on each of the stitches and ladder them back up again.  All told in the end I fixed 1,360 stitches. But the Fibonacci is back on track and now I don't have to reknit those rows.

This is such a lovely yarn to work with.  It allows me to move all the stitches around and then just snaps back into place.  The colors are beautiful and soothing too.  I will have to ask my friend what it is.

Happy Crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

BTW: No Nauga's were harmed in the making of this post.  :)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Starburst



So here it is; the starburst pattern.  I love it!  The blue, green and pink all glow which always makes me smile.  It really didn't take too long to make.



I improved a bit on how the band works that you make after you make the bracelet.  Normally you just do a single chain to extend the band, but I put the two loops back on the loom and made a fish-tail pattern.  I really like it better for looks and durability.  Those long chains quickly can get over stretched.  This is a nice fix for that.



Anyway, the trees sure are pretty here.  It definitively looks like fall now.  I am reminded that Yule is around the corner and I'm banishing that thought for now and trying to enjoy the now.

This is New Year for me and every year I make resolutions, if you will, that help to nurture my body,  mind  and spirit.  I have been so lax lately...at least is seems so to me.  But I still mange to to what needs to be done which begs to differ that maybe my view of "what I should be doing" should be reviewed.

I think my resolutions should look something like this:
Air - Stop being so hard on myself - no one can do everything - be content with what I do achieve

Fire - Get moving - I don't have to do something formal every day as long as I do something

Water - Stop apologizing for doing things that I love - if I enjoy it then there should be no guilt in that

Earth - To continue to be thankful for all the blessings I have, the people I know and the creatures I share my life with

Spirit - Take 5 minutes each day for spirit by myself without a phone, TV or anything else distracting and take one night a week for spirit at least

I feel so blah right now.  The weather is changing.  We just had a raging storm and it rained through most of Halloween.  We made it out for about an hour before it got too bad and my son had a good time.  Now the sun is out and it is almost balmy; that really messes with my head.

So before I complain too much - I hope you had a blessed and magical Halloween / Samhain.

I'm helping a friend out who is unable to knit so I will be working on her projects for a while.  I'll show you when I figure out where she left off.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)




Sunday, October 27, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different



As an Aries I am easily distracted by new and shiny things.  I've been looking at those Rainbow Loom band bracelets for a while now.  I thought they would be fun to make for our booth and apparently my son was thinking the same thing.  So we ordered the loom and bands and got to work.

You have to pay attention to what you are doing to make sure all your loops are secure is of course the first rule that I learned.   The second thing I learned is these bracelets are fun and easy to make if you are patient and I'm kinda addicted.



Being around Halloween they had a lot of glow-in-the-dark colors so I'm a happy camper.  There is something that always makes me smile when I see something glow.

When I first saw them I fell in love with the Starburst pattern.  I have wanted one of these for a while now. When my son and I watched the video it didn't seem to hard even though it was marked advanced.  But we had a good teacher.  I like Ashley's videos because she clearly shows how to lay out the bands and she is really easy to follow.  Hopefully I will have one of these to show you next week.

I'm looking forward to conquering new patterns with my son; it is nice to have a project that we can share together.  He is looking forward to making bracelets for his friends with his mad new skills.  It is a win/win deal.

The only thing bad about this hobby is the bands are little and we have a little white terror who wants to save us from the evil snapping rubber bands.  I ordered a case for the bands but it is running a little late so my son volunteered one of his Lego sorting boxes and it is perfect to keep the bands away from Frost.

Frost is an amazing kitten.  He has been pushing his limits a little more each day by jumping, climbing and winning every game of Cat Fishing.  Yes, my little kitten loves to play on the iPad.  He is ferocious as he hunts down the fish and he has learned to restart the game as well.  I think hubby found him eyeing Candy Crush the other day.  Frost really gives credence to the dog that ordered stuff on amazon; so we are watching his computer time closely.  lol

Frost hates napkins.  They are evil and he hunts them down and rips them to shreds.  You will hear this growl and suddenly Frost will appear with a napkin trailing behind him.  I keep taking them away and he keeps finding new ones.  I gave him a white towel that he couldn't rend and he seems happy to hunt that as well.

Shadow seems to be adjusting and they have started to play now and then which makes me really happy.

No knitting has taken place at home due to the fact that needles move and it is hard to make stitches with a kitten lunging at you every few stitches; but that is okay.  I knit Friday night at our meet-up and it was refreshing and nice to pick up my project again.

While I have not been knitting much; I have been working on a gift design for my secret Yule person.  I'm having a lot of fun with it and I think it will be a cool thing to knit.  But that is really all I can say right now.  I hope to be able to give you a peek later.

I also jotted down an idea for a Widdershins memorial pattern.  I always liked the way her contrasting fur made her beauty shine and I want to design something to highlight those aspects.

Lots of ideas gelling in my head.  Hopefully this weekend I will get some time to chart them out a bit.  Maybe I can sneak in some swatching while Frost is sleeping?

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Love is Infinite You Can Always Make More


"Love doesn't end with death."
a blurb taken from my Hospice newsletter

It has taken months for my mind to really believe this.  A loss of someone important in your life is devastating.  In the first few months after they pass you feel a hole that can't be filled.  And hopefully, other things slowly close that hole up a bit as time goes on.  You may not think of them as often and when you do it might be because of good memories that make you smile.  You will always miss them but the underlying truth is, "love doesn't end with death."

The moments you shared with your loved one are yours.  Your love for them is eternal.  Death does not change that.  When a I hear a bird call that I know, I smile and remember Dad teaching me how to "talk" to them at the cabin.  When I watched Lethal Weapon this weekend, Mom was right there enjoying every minute with me.  I find myself still looking under blankets for Widdershins since she loved to hide under them. These are all precious memories that are dear to me and allow my loved ones to still be with me.

Do I still have moments of tears and sadness that bubble up from within me and rent me in two?  Yes, of course.  But the good memories and the love that I have for them outweigh the sadness more often then not.

Do you believe in Fate or Karma?  Widdershins loved my husband with her every breath.  I believe that she reached into the soul of the Universe and made a wish that her "person" would find someone new to take care of him.  She knew her passing would be so hard but she also knew that it was her time to go.

The day she passed there was a kitten that had been brought in that morning.  His Mom had been hit by a car and he was all alone.  He was sweet and white and tiny as kittens are.  But my husband couldn't even think of a another cat, especially when he was losing his beloved little Widdershins.  He told me later that he had to take a peek though before he left the Doctor's Office to see who was mewing back there.

A week later I came to get Widdershins' memorial box and the Doctor put the little white kitten in my arms. It is hard to know what to do.  It is easy to say that one isn't ready for a new kitten so soon; but it is almost impossible not to fall in love with a sweet little face and big blue eyes.

So I went home and talked it over with the family and the next day everyone went to hold the little white fluff ball.  And he has enchanted us all.  So, please welcome the newest member of our family who has yet to be named but has already won our hearts.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Moving Forward



"Learning to be aware of feelings, how they arise and how to use them creatively so they guide us to happiness, is an essential lifetime skill."
-- Joan Borysenko

I've been feeling out of sorts as of late so my sister suggested turning back to something that I had put on the back burner; Linemen.

Usually when I create a new pattern there is a meaning to why and who it is being made to honor. This time it is my family members who are part of the phone company. I have always seen them as helpers to Hermes the God of Communications. Communication is so essential in any relationship. We take the ability to press a button and hear someone's voice for granted since it is something that we do every day but the minute we can't...we notice.

My Grandpa, Pop Pop and my BIL all work(ed) for the phone company and kept (keep) communication flowing. I wanted to design something to honor them.

I usually turn to KnitPicks when I am designing; they have a beautiful choice of yarns and colors that really hold true to gauge. Their Swish is soft and vibrant with 220 yards to play with.

I haven't worked a lot with cables but now I feel my understanding of how they work is much broader. I took a cable I liked that had four legs and charted where each of the legs was going with different colors and then I took out the 4th leg and cleaned up the chart so the cable was balanced. I worked a few swatches and I'm pretty happy with the result.

When I dreamed about this cable originally, it had different colors. So I have been playing around with intarsia cables. After looking at the cable in a few different places, I think I really like the colored one to be the one in the middle. As you can see from the swatch the middle cable is the one that touches each of the others. I like that. I think this would look really neat with any combo that someone desires. I'm going to make a black and red one, a blue and white one and then one to keep for the shop in purple and green which have nothing to do with the phone company but I really like them.

This scarf could be used for teams or other things that have two colors like Hogwarts' Houses. I really like it.

Of course, the whole thing is starting to curl and that is an issue that I hope (pray) will block out.

I bought a book that was filled with things I could only hope to knit in 1996. It was my one day I hope to be good enough to make this book. I bought the book because of this sweater.  It is the Cromarty by Alice Starmore.  She is a goddess of cables and all things knitting.

I really think I could make this now.  I have come such a long way since the 90s.  lol  :)

Cables are very daunting when you look at some of them; all those legs can be very intimidating.  But if you break each cable down and treat each leg one at a time, they become so much easier to manage.


Linemen is just three cables but I really learned so much from cleaning up my cable legs.

Say you have this pattern:
Row 1: P6, K2, P6
Row 2: K6, P2, K6

The middle two stitches are your cable.  If you want to move those two stitches to the right it would look like this:

Row 3: P5, T3B, P6
Row 4:  K7, P2, K5

(Twist 3 Back- slip the next stitch onto a cable needle and hold at the back of your work, knit the next two stitches from the left-hand needle, then purl the stitch from the cable needle)

The (b) back or (f) front instruction tells you where you will be holding your cable needle.  The number tells you how many stitches are in the cable.

This cable moved the stitch over to the right by one stitch. It takes the purl stitch on the right and swaps it with the two knit stitches of your work.

If you want to move those two stitches back to the left again, it would look like this.

Row 5:  P5, T3F, P6
Row 6:  K6, P2, K6

(Twist 3 Front- slip the next two stitches onto a cable needle and hold it at the front of your work, purl the next stitch off of your left-hand needle, and then knit the next two stitches from the cable needle)

This cable moved the stitch over to the left by one stitch.  It takes the purl stitch on the left and swaps it with the two knit stitches on your cable.

If you wanted to take two cables and cross them you could do this:

Row 1:  P4, K4, P4
Row 2:  K4, P4, K4
Row 3:  P4, C4F, P4
Row 4:  K4, P4, K4

(Cable 4 front - slip the next two stitches onto a cable needle and hold them in the front of your work, knit the next two stitches off of your left-hand needle, and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle)  In this cable the right-hand cable leg goes over the left-hand cable leg.

A C4B, where the two cable stitches are held in the back, would do the opposite and the left-hand cable leg would go over the right-hand cable leg.

You can use these three cables to do this:












(the example is worked over 16 stitches, all of the abbreviations are listed above)

Row 1: P6, K4, P6
Row 2: K6, P4, K6
Row 3: P6, K4, P6
Row 4: K6, P4, K6
Row 5: P6, C4F, P6
Row 6: K6, P4, K6
Row 7: P5, T3B, T3F, P5
Row 8: K5, P2, K2, P2, K5
Row 9: P4, T3B, P2, T3F, P4
Row 10: K4, P2, K4, P2, K4
Row 11: P4, T3F, P2, T3B, P4
Row 12: K5, P2, K2, P2, K5
Row 13: P5, T3F, T3B, P5
Row 14: K6, P4, K6
Row 15: P6, C4F, P6
Row 16: K6, P4, K6
Row 17: P6, K4, P6
Row 18: K6, P4, K6

And there is a simple little pattern you can use to embellish hats and such.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Green Scales Feel Like Rain :(























Our sweet little girl is journeying the Rainbow Bridge.  She is free of pain and running and causing havoc on the other side.  I'm sure she is happy to see her brother Obsidian too.

Widdershins, who was named after the way she chased her tail counter-clockwise, was our little huntress. When she was a kitten she would zoom around the house, climb the curtains and pounce on unsuspecting feet.  She would position a toy mouse just so and then proceed to stalk and hunt it.  She loved curling up on her Daddy's lap, keyboard or anything that was between her and him.

I loved her tuxedo markings; little white paws and the white on her ruff and face.  She had the most beautiful expressive green eyes that could really look into your soul.

She loved to sleep with me and would pin me to the bed even though she was a tiny little thing.  She started doing it more after Dad died; I think she didn't want me to feel alone.

She always faced adversity with tenacity and determination.  Her arthritis made it hard to walk but did that stop her?  Nope, if she wanted something she would go after it with all her heart.  There is a lesson in that for all of us I think.

Farewell our little Widdershins; you blessed our lives in so many ways.  We will miss our beautiful little girl. Thank you for taking such good care of Daddy and sharing your life with us.

We will always love you!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fear and Faith


"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I found that this weekend I was struggling here and there to get some rows on the shawl in and you know what?...the shawl is done.  We blocked it last night and I think it was gorgeous.  It was soft and airy and I'm glad I could help someone out who has given so much to me by just being my friend.

So how did I manage to get so much done in such a short time when my own projects seem to lag?  Did the equinox cause some flux in my knitting that created a hole in the time space continuum long enough for me to accelerate my knitting speed this weekend?  Well in a way, yes.

I knew that my deadline was Wednesday, and I knew how many rows I needed, plus a day of blocking, in order to achieve that goal.  I knew that I had to bring it with me and knit on it during the day and during movie watching in order to achieve this goal. I did what I could here and there...and here is the truth of it that is so simple, but so hard to see when you are looking at the entirety of the project...doing something on a project every day pushes it forward; doing nothing...does well, nothing.  There can be no growth without effort on my part.

So all those projects in the drawer down in my beautiful new Craft Room are not going to grow without my help.  They are like little acorns with all the potential in the world; but without the elements of air, fire, water and earth...they are still just acorns instead of mighty oaks.

This was one of the parts of our Mabon ritual last Sunday.  It was such a blessing to have a ritual again with my family out in nature.  It has really invigorated me and helped me to feel more balanced which, helps with my sense of flow.



We also celebrated the duality in things; sun / moon, hot / cold and so on.  We each drew a mask that touched on what ever aspect of duality we wanted to expand on and the above picture is my sister's creation.  Isn't it fabulous?  We all have our aspects of creativity that run in our veins and you know where mine lies...but my sister has always been so talented with drawing. The shirt she is wearing may look familiar...it is the Vixenpath logo she designed!

While she was wearing this mask it was hard to match the voice to the face and it really helped to drive home what you see on the outside doesn't really show you what is on the inside.  I have a friend who always says, "yes" to everything and last weekend she put her foot down.  She had taken on too much and she was at her breaking point and she didn't want to let anyone down but she was afraid that if she took on one more thing she would shatter into a million pieces.

When she said, "no" everyone didn't understand since this was not the usual mask she wore...the always helpful one that suffers in silence because that is the way it has always been mask. They tried to get her to change her mind but that was not going to happen.  She needed to take some time for herself or she would not be there for anyone else; even her Doctor had told her this.

I for one, was proud of her.  I have listened to her talk about how she couldn't handle it for years now.  But even I had to look again because the face telling me the story was not the one I was used to seeing.  Her face was radiant and the dark circles under her eyes were receding as the light emerged from within her.

We all wear masks.  One of mine is my confidence mask.  When I am doing something new I usually have a panic attack even when I don't want to.  I've tried very hard to hide this fact over the years and it is just in these last few months that I have opened up to people about it.  After I lost Mom I just fell apart and all those masks that have served me well over the ages just fell away.  I lost all my defenses and the inner and the outer bled together and this is the "real" me.

When I design a pattern; I try so hard to test it.  I usually test it three times myself and then I teach a class and test it again before I even think of putting it out there.  I have also been having my sister read through for grammatical errors as well as of late.  I am so afraid of doing something wrong and having someone have a bad experience through my patterns but you know what?...all designers feel this way.  They all have testers for this reason.  They all dread a mistake...but that is life.

I can either be like a project that is never worked on that sits in a drawer and never grows or I can be like the project that I bring everywhere and grows little by little.  The first rows you really can't tell what the project will be.  But as the piece grows the fabric takes shape and you start to become excited by the way the colors play in the light.

I choose to take the next step and claim a little more of my potential.  The fact that I am a designer is not a mask; it is a truth that permeates me.  As I take these next steps there is fear but that is okay because there is faith as well.  Without the fear, I couldn't claim the faith. Without the fear I wouldn't necessarily put the care I do into my patterns.  They are dual to my nature and both are necessary for my growth.

So I give you two new patterns:

The first is my journey into brioche, one and two color knitting.




The second is my journey into linen stitch and textures with color.



I learned so much creating these two patterns.  I have been blessed to be able to create two new patterns this year and teach them as well.  This has been a powerful journey; both patterns were created while I was in different stages of loss.  I was knitting on the Beginners Brioche the day I found out Mom wasn't going to be with us much longer.  You can read about the brioche here. Frederick my linen stitch shawlette / shawl was born from the love of my parents and a book that they used to read to me.  I wrote about it here.

Here are the patterns on Ravelry; you don't need to be a member to purchase / down load them.

Beginners Brioche which is free -  download now

Frederick, new pattern priced at $2.50 -  

These are both active links that will download or send you to Pay Pal.  If you would like to look at either of their pattern pages on Ravelry; here they both are.

Beginners brioche

Frederick

So, my life is bound in those stitches, in these offerings that I am putting up on Ravelry. There is both fear and faith but that is okay since it is in my nature.

May you have the blessings of an abundant harvest,
Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Today...I Saw a Blanket

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
By the Muppets 


I have a problem.  I saw this and fell head-over-teacups in love with it.  So what's the problem you say?

This...



I just spent the weekend organizing my yarn, work-in-progress (WIP) projects and designing projects.  I gathered yarn from all over the house and found a home for each skein, cake, ball and hank.  I was so happy to see it all together in my new room and I still am.


I realized how many things I have started and then abandoned for one reason or another.  I was flabbergasted at how many working projects I found hidden in bags or bins.  So how can I even be thinking about a blanket of all things?

But I am.  I am thinking of...the rainbows that I made with my sister in the hose in the Summer sun, the blues in the ocean tinged with green and how marvelous our family vacay was this year, the hues of fall and smelling cider mulling on the stove and fresh gingerbread baking in the oven, Kermit singing in a swamp and my Mom loving him for it, sitting by the fire with my Dad at the cabin when I was younger and the chakras and how wonderful this blanket would be to use in healing or balancing the energy centers in the body.

Yes, that is without a stretch, the way I think.  One glance at something and I can picture myself enjoying it: and all the reasons why I should buy it wrapped in pretty bows.

I know that these Knitpick kits go fast and I've missed out on quite a few of them for waiting.  So what do I do?

The obvious answer is to knit like the wind and finish things in my drawer of WIPS but that is not going to happen since this weekend I agreed to help a friend finish a 5' shawl in two weeks.  I have a foot done.  Her hands are bothering her and she should not be knitting and it is the least I can do.  But that means all my projects are on hold.

I am an Aries...I have these moments of must-start-something-new and it eats at me until I give in; which, if you look at my WIP and designing drawers you will see proof of this malady I have. But this blanket is so neat how it uses 10 yarns to form all the colors of the rainbow in this beautiful progression of hues flowing into one another.  I have been looking at these kind of patterns for a while now and hemming and hawing because it was a lot of yarn to buy.

But when would I have time to make it?  I mean really?  After I finish this shawl I need to go back to my sister's scarf and while we are on my sister...I need to work on her sweater.  I have Yule gifts from two years ago that I never finished.  The logical person in me...and there is one...is saying that I don't need to buy this kit.

But the little kid in me that will always think a rainbow is the most beautiful of nature's creations, is not ready to give up the dream.

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Edited to add:  My friend that I am helping out by knitting the shawl for, has gotten the kit for me for Yule this year.  Problem solved!  I get to knit the beautiful rainbows after I have made a good dent on my WIPS!  Yay!  :)


Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Fullness of Time


“No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
-- Source Unknown

I've had this dream for a while now of having a room for my yarn, patterns, books and everything knitting related.  When dreams come into being it is an amazing thing.  

It will take me a while to get it all organized in these bins but wow!  I can't believe how neat and orderly everything has become.  

My mind has been as cluttered as my yarn lately with moving everything into one room to do the floors.  But now as I start to weave spaces into my house as things are put in their places; I feel much freer...airier even.

It really is no surprise how much yarn I've accumulated over the years.  I never seem to have the right fiber for the project I am on so I had to buy more.  Really...

I'm feeling the itch to design something...but it hasn't gelled into an idea yet. Usually I dream about a project and then it consumes me for a while.  I'm open and ready.  There is more space to let the ideas in and I love to create new things.

Lately I've felt this shift within my being that allows the day to flow from one thing to the next in this harmonious way.  There actually seems to be more time to do things; when in fact it is my perception of time that has changed.  I think this happens when my stress dissipates.  it is such a rare occurrence that it seems strange to me.

But since Florida it is strange to me to feel stressed.  Everything changed on vacation and I have not lost the serenity that apparently hopped into my carry-on and followed me home.

I used to laugh when I would ask spirit for a time frame and all I would hear was "in the fullness of time."  I know what that means now for time is full and fruitful and you can flow with it or fight it.  You can be thankful for the things you were able to do and allow the things that are not yet done to be for another day...or you can fret about all the would haves, should haves and if onlys.

It is almost like I found out this amazing secret that was all around me all these years but I am just seeing it for the first time with new eyes.

So I'm not just going to shove all my yarn onto shelving; I'm going to take time to savor it and maybe I'll remember some of the reasons I bought it in the first place.  Maybe it will take me back to a time that I spent with a special friend or a wonderful class.  

Instead of thinking about all the projects I haven't started...or finished...I will reminisce on the journey that I have taken and each project and skein will be used...in the fullness of time.

Not much to show you right now.  I'm still working on the Pointelle Scarf for my sister.  This has been a tough knit for me.  I originally was making one for my sister and one for me in the colors of spring and cherry blossoms.  My goal was to have them to wear through the tough times in Mom's illness.

Cherry trees used to line the streets of our childhood home and it would look like heaven for a while...it is a cherished memory for both of us.

But a week after I got the yarn, Mom passed away and then I was going to try and hurry and make them both for the funeral but I just couldn't knit.  I really wanted to but I kept making errors and ripping back and I finally just gave up.

I've knit this scarf on and off now for a while.  I'm back into the knitting groove again but I'm trying to keep with the flow of my day as well so the other little things get balanced in there.  My thought on this is it is better to do one repeat a day then to wait for time to knit.  If I do just one repeat a day then the scarf will grow by almost an 1" each day; that is 7 inches a week.  That means that if I can do a repeat each day I should have this done by the end of October at the earliest.  If I bring it to Knit Night, I can whip out a foot or so...if I'm not talking all night.  That will bring my day count down considerably.

My goal is to have both of them done by the time we take Mom's ashes to Hawaii.  Speaking of Hawaii: have I shown you the Guest Room yet?  I got these awesome prints and the whole room just radiates with calming vibes.  I still have to put the net over the drop ceiling and fill it with shells...but the light needs to be fixed...replaced? first.  I really adore this room.  I hope it blesses all who sleep there with that feeling I had in the middle of my vacation where I no longer felt stressed...at...all.

Happy Crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

What a Wonderful Event!




Yesterday I was honored to be a teacher at the Knitter's Day Out event in PA.  It was a really nice event with beautiful knitting from a myriad of local sellers.  I met such awesome people in my class and I am thankful to all of them.  It was such a joy watching all of their color ways knit up; everyone made a different vibrant fabric that was unique and beautiful in its own right.  Plus, I got to spend the day with my sister who I always am blessed to spend time with.  :)

The above sample is knit with something from my stash that I love the slow gradient on; when I finally unpack the living room I can tell you what it is.  I tried to make as many mistakes as I could to show what happens when you pull too tight in linen stitch; but the colors really are lovely aren't they?

I will be getting my linen stitch pattern Frederick up in a few weeks.  I really like it and after seeing so many beautiful versions of it yesterday; I'd love to see what other lovely color ways are out there. 

Next week I should have more room pictures for you.  After a grueling 4 hours with my Container Store room planner we have two room organizing systems on order, mine and my sons Lego room.  They even had Lego themed sorting systems that will be so nice for him to use and we can finally have a place for the 3 foot ship he got earlier this year.  It is all so exciting but it really keeps you busy when you are redoing your house.  A very happy busy, but busy none-the-less.  :)

I hope you all are having a beautiful day!

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Where Did the Summer Go?

“I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Everyone is different and my grieving experience is going to be totally different from yours.  This summer I tried to start celebrating life more and that's what I've been doing.



Here is Dad's Memorial flag, medals and patches.  I love this box so much.  It fit the flag perfectly, which is what it is supposed to do.  But it made me all kinds of happy.  :)

This year I did something that I have not done in six years, I left my home and went on a real vacation.  We toured Lego Land and then chillaxed at Ormond Beach in Florida and it was the best vacay ever!



Lego Land was indescribably amazing!  There were Lego critters hiding behind every bush, in trees and amid the flora and fauna.   The park was full of things to do and see and everyone found something to enjoy.  They even had allergen-free food fare so I was able to eat.  And the food was delish.  Fresh spit-turned chicken and zucchini and squash with potatoes all cooked in oil, not butter.  We took two days so the second day we could spend getting soaked in the water park which is separate from the main park.  Boy did I get wet...yep totally drehnched.  But it was a welcome thing to be wet in the hot Florida sun so I didn't complain.  I had put my entire purse into plastic bags so everything was safe even when I went in the wave pool.  There were places to build and play.  It is built on top of the old Cypress Gardens so the gardens are still there and they are just lovely.  There is an old banyan tree which has the most beautiful energy surrounding it.  Lego Land had something for everyone and we all came away tired but extremely happy.



Next was relaxing at Ormond Beach where we stayed at the almost tropical resort The Lotus Boutique .  This hotel was just beautiful.  Our room faced the ocean and was steps away from the hot tub, fire-pit, cabanas, and pool area.  We stayed there for 8 days and I was so relaxed by Wednesday that my stress all started to melt away.

I confided in my sister about my terrible panic attacks and other things that I was afraid that she would think less of me for and you know what?  Since I have the best sister in the world she loved me all the more for opening up to her and letting her know so she can understand me better during those times I'm making no sense.  Love my siiiiiiister!  :)

It's always ourselves that we find at the sea.  E. E. Cummings

I dragged knitting and stuff across the US to do when I came here and relaxed.  But in relaxing I realized that I wanted to be with my family and nature and enjoy the ocean.  I love the ocean, I always have.  But this trip was different.  Maybe my eyes were open in a way they haven't been before but I felt at one with nature.  The ghost crabs scuttled along the shore line if one knew where to look; I could have watched them for hours for no reason at all.  A dolphin swam along the sandbar scooping up fish right new to the shore.  Those fish were a silver ribbon as they danced around us in the water.  Pelicans flew in formation and then dove for fish right by us as we bobbed up and down in the surf.  The sea was alive and it spilled into me and refreshed me in a way that nothing else could have.

It was such a glorious vacation but all things must end and when we got back we had a super surprise waiting for us.  My BIL and his kids who have been there for around eight years, had moved out.  I was so happy that we could provide the stepping stone that he needed to get his life back on track but it was glorious to have our house back too.  :)

A lot of time has been focused on the house.  We had it painted in color.  My husband and I love color and we picked our hues very carefully for meaning and feeling.  If we had our way there would be no white, no cream, no ecru anywhere in the house.  So getting the entire Basement painted with all the hallways and rooms was such a huge blessing for us.  Next came the floors.  The Basement still had carpet and carpet in my opinion is much harder to clean then hardwood. We all have allergies and if we had our way the whole house would be hardwood.  

I love my new Basement!  The Guest Room is a reflection of the ocean and has pictures of Hawaii on the aqua walls.  Eventually it will have a net over the drop ceiling filled with shells and starfish.  I even got a porthole cling that looks out on an oasis.  This means that my sister can have a safe and dark place to sleep when she comes over and I won't end up on the couch!  Yay!  It also means that my Nana and Pop Pop  have a room to stay in as well when they come to visit.  We still need to get a futon or something so they both can come; but hey, this is a work in progress.  

My son is creating a Lego room.  This means all the Legos that are bursting out of his room now have a home.  I know that all of us are happy about that!  Hopefully this will also allow him a place to film his stop-motion videos that he has been wanting to create.  It will be great to get all of his Legos in one place and I think a bit scary to see how much he actually owns.

Note: this is not all my yarn; this is not even a fourth of my yarn.  lol

But speaking of scary...all my yarn in one room.  Eeek!  I am so happy I will have a Knitting room to store and create in.  I have been gathering skeins, and balls, hanks and cakes from all over the house to be lovingly placed on the easy-hang we will buy this weekend.  I really want to organize everything as I go so that I don't loose stuff.  I need to update my Ravelry stash page since everything is moving too...that will take time.   But it is all happy time and the work makes me smile.  

Everything really has been making me smile.  Having a place for pans or organizing shelves.  Finding something I haven't seen in a while.  It all make me smile.  I love the floors and walls and the other day we had friends over in our Basement and played Catan and it was the happiest moment since in the past just walking in our Basement was an accomplishment.

I think it will take a year to clean up everything...let's not talk about Mom and Dad's stuff in the Garage...but it is a happy thing to make space and let the house breathe again.  :)

I have been knitting but it has been mostly on prayer shawls and this is really all I have to show for all that knitting.  The recipients of the shawls have all loved them though and that is what is really important.

Next week is Knitter's Day Out and I am excited and scared all rolled into one.  My wonderful sister is going with me for moral support and I am so thankful for that.  I know my stuff...I just need to get over these inconvenient fears that crop up.  But when I talk to teachers we all have them because it is a human thing.  So c'est le vie and all that.  I am blessed to have this opportunity to teach and I am honored to be there with such great knitters and teachers.  

So I don't have a bunch of summer knitting or projects to show but I am relaxed and happy and blessed in so many ways that it seems a great trade off.

Have a Happy and Safe Labor Day!
Ruinwen
:)

Sunday, June 30, 2013



"By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired."
-- Nikos Kazantzakis

I have spent the last week trying to put focus back into my life.  I could did not imagine it would be so hard; yet each little thing I can complete feels like a major hurdle and each thing I cannot seem to get done is as it should be.  Baby steps still bring you towards a goal and that gives me reason to celebrate.

I started taking grape essence this week and I have already noticed a difference.  I have always responded positively to essences and I can't believe I didn't think about taking them until now.  But c'est le vie.

I decided to start small by working on the Pointelle scarf from Moorehouse.  I love their yarn it is so sproingy.  I am making this scarf for my sister and then another for myself.  It was supposed to be an easy project; but it has taken me much longer then I thought possible.  I keep mixing up the rows and have spent more time tinking then knitting at this point.

Sometimes it is like that.  But that is okay.  I finally was able to get in a groove at knitting tonight and realized if I just "read" my knitting then I would know where I was.  Duh, right?  I'm always repeating that mantra "read your knitting" in my classes and then I go and forget the basics.  I am just not myself and that is just the way it is.

I accept that and I move forward slowly.  Moving slowly is still moving and that is all that matters.   This project is going to be blocked from 55" to 74"; I can't wait to see what comes of that!  And my biggest obstacle is finding the other ball.  May the Gods be kind and help me to remember where I stashed it away for safe keeping.  lol

I love this green that is so fresh and full of life.  I like the look of it on the pavers; it reminds me of a lichen or some moss that thrives in this wet climate we've had as of late.  My sister loves greens so I am hoping this will be a delightful little scarf that she can wear when it is just a bit cool.  For myself, I chose the peach color since it reminds me of the cherry blossoms in the spring.  When we wear them together she will be the leaves and I will be the flowers and since cherry blossoms are a cherished memory from our youth; this will be such a special set of scarves.

I wish you all a safe and Happy Fourth of July as our nation celebrates another birthday!  
Ruinwen
:)