Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Legacy {Everyday Beautiful}

part two of two

A few weeks ago, I was approached by someone who knew someone who needed some knitting done (I have no idea why she thought of me). I called the number she gave me, and it turned out this person had a set of Christmas stockings but had added a new daughter-in-law, and wanted to welcome her into the family with a matching stocking of her own. She had a version of the pattern, some of the original yarn, and was willing to lend the originals for me to reverse-engineer off of.

It involved a technique that I don't have a lot of practice at, but my philosophy toward knitting is that it's comprised of the same thing over and over with very slight variations so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do any of it - and I did. I pulled it out once, part way through, because it wasn't on level with Grandma's version, and I ended up doing quite a bit of touch up work at the end, but the finished piece is one that I'm proud to have made.

While I was sewing little bells onto the toes of the stockings and the end of Santa's hat (the final step), I sweetened the task (I was a little over it by that point) with a cup of tea in a mug that a dear friend had sent to me. Try your best. I was reminded of a little rhyme my great-grandmother would say - If a task is once begun, never leave it til it's done; be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all. She was an extraordinary artisan... she was naturally left handed but lived in an era when desks were designed for right-handed writing only and she was forced to change, but she had some of the most beautiful penmanship I have ever seen, anyway; she sewed, quilted, embroidered, painted, crocheted, and knitted (on top of raising a family), and even though I didn't learn to knit from her, I still think of her when I knit.

Especially within the knitting world, but I think elsewhere as well, I believe that our community extends both backward and ahead in time - we learn from and are influenced by those who've come before us, and we teach and shape those who come after. Co-creation is in my DNA, and I've learned from many other more experienced knitters, both through their writing and from spending time with them (I actually consulted someone before agreeing to make the stocking, and she gave me some invaluable advice). Now to make sure the legacy I leave is as graceful as the one that's been left for me!

This post is day 26 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

52 Lists: things that make up your ideal holiday season

For me, the best place for a fresh start or to begin a new project is on my birthday - the beginning of my year. So the year I was 21, I did a photo a day project (that ended up including an internship in Cleveland, meeting/dating my now-husband Adam, and going to New York to work for Vogue Knitting - so I'm retrospectively glad that I committed to documenting that particular year!), and the year I was 24, I knitted the sky (one row one a scarf each day in the color of the sky). So for 27, I'm doing lists. I'm going to roughly follow along with the book The 52 Lists Project.

A list of the things that make up my ideal holiday season

1. Quiet conversations
2. Competitive board gaming
3. Traditions and rituals
4. Music
5. Seasonal treats
6. Fires and candles
7. Bundling up to go outside together, for the sake of lights and stars
8. Giving, and receiving
9. Staying up late
10. all balanced with interludes of solitude

This post is day 25 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Knit 2 Together {Everyday Beautiful}

part one of two

The vanity plate on my car is a mock-up of Maryland plate with "K2TOG" as the number - a knitter's pun for getting married, because k2tog is the abbreviation for a decrease, turning two stitches into one. (It's funnier if you're a knitter...)

But the whole of knitterdom is "knitted together" in a beautiful way... I've written before about the strength of this community that's held together by often this single thread. People helping people, experience trumping age, gender, and social status - the way a knitter will leave not just her project, but also her purse and other personal belongings sitting at a communal table to run next door for lunch (which she brings back and shares with the others) - the "knitter's handshake" (petting someone's handknitted garment) - asking total strangers for their opinion on which two yarns go best together, or which color looks better on you, and then genuinely respecting their input --- it's a perfect picture of community, to me.

This post is day 24 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bread and Wine {Everyday Beautiful}

When you put seven adults and three under-four kids together at a table --- the shuffling of chairs and perching of children and strategic distribution of parents (and steak knives) - the way everyone takes care of everyone else, and the first one finished takes ansty Littles to play so the others can eat in peace - a hostess who is willing to work around dietary restrictions - with plenty of excellent conversation --- there's a sort of communion that happens which I think is just as holy and beautiful as any kind in a church.

This post is day 23 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Greyscale {Everyday Beautiful}

We had dinner with friends from church and visiting missionary family yesterday - Tobin and the missionary's daughter found courage together, their desperation to pet the dogs equaled by their terror of being licked. Oh, to form friendships so quickly and innocently!

This post is day 22 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Park... {Everyday Beautiful}

It's Five Minute Friday! Each week a flashmob of bloggers gather, internet wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

We went to our lovely local "pop bar" for farewell popsicles last week (not that cooler weather will stop us from going there, just that it was the last of the really warm days), and got there a few minutes before they opened (I always forget).

There's a kitchen goods store on one side, filled with glass and sharp things, and a furniture store on the other - neither really good places to wait with small children, and then I noticed that someone had set up a Little Free Library right there on the sidewalk.

So I got out a couple of books - childhood favorite of mine (The Poky Little Puppy) and some pretty Eric Carle, to start with - and, parked on a convenient bench, we read. By the time we'd finished the last one we were really interested in reading, Le Pops was open, so we returned our borrowed books to the box for someone else to enjoy and moved on.

It seems that's often how beautiful moments come to us - disguised as inconveniences, waiting patiently in the sidelines for us to notice them.

This post is day 21 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ocean {Everyday Beautiful}

Three beautiful things: a wild-and-free mug by Little Inklings, a Johanna Basford coloring-planner, and whoever invented colored pencils. I'm reminded of of Sarah in Patricia MacLachlan's book Sarah Plain and Tall, going into town to get blue and grey and green pencils, the colors of the sea she missed.

My soundtrack for the day was provided by this adorable duo - Brooklyn worked the backbeats and Tobin danced to the tune they created together.

My Fair Trade Friday bracelet of the month came today - Haitian made! You should check out 2nd Story Goods - an awesome company with awesome products! (It says "live wrecked" which is ironic and fitting given the chapter I just read, in a Priscilla Shirer book, about letting our hearts be broken toward the needy)

This post is day 20 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.