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 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


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,

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?


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 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,

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 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 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

Happy Crafting,

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!

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!