Saturday, January 14, 2017

queue check

after having said in my last post that I've decided this year not to really set any goals, I did come up with one goal for my fiber pursuits: devote more time to them.

whether that means knitting more, or investing the time to really practice spindle spinning or even try my hand at dying yarn (all things I plan to do), my main focus this year is going to be on putting aside distractions and using whatever available time I can find on this craft that is so dear to my soul. 

going along with my guiding word for this year, I do hope that I will grow in my knowledge and skill level as I try new things, but my main focus is going to be on crafting because I love it.

so, what projects do I have planned? well, thanks to my recent trips to both Scotland and Vancouver, I've got a basket full of delicious yarn just waiting to be turned into special projects. here's what on the list:

Woods Design // Black Isle Yarns 

Back in the Fall, I submitted a design to the book WOODS, which is a pattern collection featuring natural yarns from Europe. I was so honored and a little surprised that my design has made it into the book! I'm going to be working with the incredible Black Isle Yarns (which are from Scotland, how perfect is that?!?) and I honestly can't wait to work more with this yarn.

Arctic Cowl // Drops Alpaca

I received the newest edition of Making magazine as a Christmas gift with my mom and was blown away with the lovely projects and patterns found in it's pages. I especially love how there's such a mix of projects. My sister fell in love with Carrie Hoge's Arctic Cowl and we picked out this yarn together while I was in Vancouver. The pattern calls for angora, but my sister is allergic to rabbits, so we figured alpaca would be a nice substitute. 

Heidie Shawl // Blacker Tin II

I first tried this pattern back in the Fall of 2015, but the yarn I picked was all wrong. It had been on my mind again recently, as a possibility for this very special yarn I bought in Edinburgh. When I visited Valley Yarn shop with a friend over Christmas, they had a version of this hanging in the window and that was it- I knew I had to cast on. So that's what I'll be starting next. 

Woodsy Hat // Brooklyn Tweed Loft

Over the holidays, I ordered a skein of BT Loft (pictured above) because I was curious to get my hands on it and see what it was like. I'm thinking the Woodsy hat from Manderines might be a nice choice for it. Melody's designs are always favorites and I like how only one skein (50g) are needed for this project.

Winding Way Socks // Ginger Twist Studio sock

It's been awhile since I've had a pair of socks on the needles and Spring is coming up! This is a beautiful design from Emily of Tin Can knits, inspired by Edinburgh's old town, which feels especially fitting as that's where I picked up this yarn. I've got no deadline for this project, so I'll probably wait a few months to cast on, but I'm excited to do so.

Lainey Cowl // Lion Brand Hudson's Bay

This is a fun last minute project that I've just recently added to the list. While in Michael's with my mom over Christmas (looking for items for my brother's wedding favors) we found this yarn- the color way is inspired by the classic Hudson's Bay blanket (the same blanket that also inspired this shawl). I love this pattern and I think having this cozy cowl to wear will remind me of home. 

Wild Feather mitts // New Lanark DK

This is also a pattern found in Making magazine that my mom and I fell in love with. I think we're both going to knit them up (using the same yarn, since I bought her some in Scotland as well) so maybe we'll have a little knit-along at some point?

okay, well there you have it: my knitting plans for the next few months (or longer- it'll probably take me awhile to make my way through this list). I'm so excited about each of these projects and to get the chance to work with these yarns! what projects do you have planned for this year? I'd love to hear what your working on, or planning to cast on!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January's Quote

Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.

- Mary Oliver

never been this late in sharing a quote before but this one perfectly sums up where I want to head this year. I've not set any goals (though I have chose a guiding word) but these three things seem like good aims to me. I'm excited to see where this year takes us. It's going to be quite the ride...
Also, this photo was taken on New Years day after a fresh snowfall when anything felt possible. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

one word 2017

photo by Christine Pienaar 

okay so it's fascinating to me to look back over the past few years of choosing words. In 2013 I went with embrace (as in embrace all the change happening around and to me in moving to a new continent and city..) In 2014 the word was patience. 2015 was brave. And this past year, I had the word savour

It's not lost on me that the trend seems to be alternating between active and passive words. Of course, words like patience and savour are not entirely passive, but they aren't driving to see change such as a word like brave is. And after this year of savouring, I'm ready for something active again.

That's why I've decided to go with the word grow. As in, reaching out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to really set down roots here where I am. 

I've got to admit that there's a part of me that's hesitant to really sink in and make a home here in Germany. The possibility of another move in the not so distant future has been looming over me these past 4 years but the truth is we've already been here FOUR years. That's a hellofa lot of time and definitely long enough to establish roots. And yet, I sometimes let myself hesitate because of fear that I'll just be uprooted again at some point soon.

So. No more. This year I really want to dive deep into the community I find myself in. To grow where I'm planted so to speak. AND to push myself out of my comfort zone, take some risks and grow as a human being, a wife and mother, a creative. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

best books of 2016

can hardly believe it's that time again, but here goes:

best re-read: The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)

most surprised to love: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson) 

hardest to put down: The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion- not exactly suspenseful but I do remember reading it in two days..)

most likely to change my daily life: Daring Greatly (BrenĂ© Brown) 

best non-fiction: I Am Malala (Malala Yousef) 

highest recommended: I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)

best memoir/biography: When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi) 

best crafty related book: Knitlandia (Clara Parks)

best foodie book: A Homemade Life (Molly Wizenberg)

what's up to be read next: Talking as Fast as I Can (Lauren Graham) 

This year I managed 14 novels, 7 memoir, 2 other non-fiction books, one play and one audio book. That's a whole lot less than most years but a whole lot more memoir than I usually read and I really enjoyed adding it into the mix. I hope to continue that this year, as well as read a whole stack more poetry.

you can see previous book lists here: 2013 | 2014 | 2015
also to follow along with what's on my bookshelves (and night stand and coffee table...and recently, e-reader!) see past posts here

Friday, December 2, 2016

Decembers Quote

"there is no need to be perfect to inspire others...Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections."
-Robert Tew

I actually had another quote all typed up and prepped for this post, but I saw this quote on the Solly Baby Wrap Instagram feed this morning, and just knew it was what I needed to hear going into this holiday season. Maybe it's what you needed to hear too..?
Happy December!  

Thursday, November 24, 2016

ebb & flow and creative mornings

Fall is by far my most creative season. Every year when September rolls around I'm riding high on the flow of inspiration and way too many creative ideas to put into action. This usually lasts all through October and into the beginning of November. 

And then. Mid- November hits and I start thinking about (and planning for) the holiday season. The trees are mostly bare and the daylight is rapidly decreasing. And (as can be witnessed by the number of blog posts I had for October compared to November) I inevitably start to run out of steam.

I used to get stressed out about this. I'd feel overwhelmed by all the half finished projects, started in early Fall that end up sitting in boxes and drawers, waiting to be pulled out at a later date. I'd feel discouraged by all the ideas I didn't have time for, the creative endeavors I'd hoped to get to that inevitably wind up forgotten as the year draws to a close. 

But creatively comes in ebbs and flows. Neither lasts forever. All we can really do is respect that flow when it's here and do what we can while it lasts. Knitting, just like any creative endeavor is a process. 

One thing that's been helping me this year to keep that creative spark is my weekly creative mornings. Once a week, Waldi takes Caleb for a few hours so I can get some good quality time to work on a few projects. Usually I set myself up at home, with coffee and candles but this month I also spent one morning in my favorite cafe, updating my design notebook and swatching with some lovely yarn. 

It's true that I still have way more ideas then I'll ever have time or motivation for, but instead of letting that overwhelm me, I'm trying to glean inspiration from it. There is so much to learn within this craft, so many possibilities of what we can make with just our hands and some sticks and string. It's actually a wonderful thought that there will always be something new to make.

And so, I'm just embracing November in all it's quiet gloomy-ness. I'm working on some Christmas gifts for friends & family and not worrying about how often I've got a new blog post up, or if it's been almost a week since my last Instagram post. 

After all, I'm doing all this because these creative pursuits give me life. I don't have time to waste worrying about when that creative flow will return. There's just too many other things I could be doing.

And I hope this post encourages you to embrace the ebb and flow of your own creativity, in whatever season you currently find yourself in.

related: I recently stumbled across this post from 2 1/2 (!) years ago. Time to take some of my own advice I suppose...

Friday, November 18, 2016

here & there

once again, it's been ages since I shared a little list of fiber related links I'm enjoying. so today, I thought I'd change that. 

this video from the Mandarines' Youtube Channel was so fun to watch! I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way :)

this post from my friend Fran about spinning in the early days after her baby was born is just so inspiring. 

this yarn is so interesting looking and has such an interesting story. I'm sure it would be pretty fun to knit with!

this interview with Amy from Madeline Tosh is really fascinating- I could have listened to her talking about color all day long...

this pattern is beautiful and though I don't normally knit triangular shawls, I just might have to make an exception

this knit along is just starting up and I'm so tempted to join. any of the kits would make excellent projects but I specifically love the winter mittens.

Slow Fashion October is now long over but there is so much good stuff in the archives. I must admit I've not read a ton, but I'm slowly making my way through Karen's blog posts

and in connection with SFO: this post from Julie really hit on something that many of us can relate to and addresses an important element of this conversation.

and also, not fiber related but: 

this video is my cousin (who I interviewed here) announcing his world wide bike trip. you can also follow along on Instagram here or here and see a video about their first week in Washington state here.

PS. that fiber in the photo above was inherited from my auntie. she traded veggies from her garden for it back in the 70's and I'm excited to card it and start spinning!
AND in case your curious, that is my Lila sweater which I made almost two years ago now.