Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weak...


I am, by nature, tendent toward self sufficiency. While I have often said I don't want to, I have rarely faced a situation which wrested an I can't from me. It may be unpleasant, but goshdarn the consequences, I can do this - to the point of stuffing down panic attacks because it wasn't a good time. Perhaps this is because I don't want to be seen as weak - or because I don't want to think of myself that way. I am an adventurer and an advocate, not some helpless hapless female.

But. The reality is, I can't do anything by myself. My very atoms are held together by the active will of a God who loves me enough to remind me (often) that only He can do what He does, and that only when I am willing to bring Him my weakness, can it be multiplied into His strength.

This has been especially evident as I've been solo with Littles for several months (and still have awhile to go). Yes, I could grit my teeth and muscle on - at the expenditure of everyone's joy/my sanity... or I could ask for help, and accept it when it's offered. And in the process, I'm learning something: our weakness is what gives us strength as a community. From I-can't-paint-but-you-can't-knit (see yesterday's post) to "I pulled a muscle in my shoulder chipping apple sauce off the walls, yes, I will gladly accept your offer to drop my kids off at your house for a few hours," when I'm willing to admit to my weak points, the strengths of others shine through.

It's a good thing to know and embrace the strengths that you've been given (because we all have them) - but there's no shame in naming weakness along with it. We're meant to be parts of a body, working together to form a whole, and sometimes recognizing our own limitations is a part of functioning smoothly, allowing everyone an opportunity to give as well as to receive.

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

Art for Art's Sake


This is going to be a pretty knitty post, but this was a fairly consuming project and it was also a fascinating experience...


Last Tuesday I bought 17 yards of fleece (if that sounds like a weird amount, it was the sum total of all they had at the two nearest Hobby Lobbys)...


...spent 5 hours cutting it into 3" strips using a rotary cutter I had borrowed from a quilting friend (because the cutter and guide were not designed for cutting a double layer of fleece, I had to kneel on the guide with one knee while pushing my full weight onto the blade in my right hand - thankfully, it never slipped and I still have all of the fingers and toes that I started with)...


...pushed through about 4 hours of very tedious linking together (fold end, snip, fold end, snip, pull through, repeat)...


...then embraced the extremely tactile experience of arm knitting it into a giant blanket. That part took about 2 hours, although I kept having to stop because my arms were cramping, so the actual knitting didn't take quite all of that. They were also flushed once I finished, from the constant motion of stitches being pushed up and pulled back down. I crammed on 30 stitches, the absolute limit for the length of my arm, and it ended up being the perfect size. At some point - like, in several years - I might like to make one for myself.


Because this one was not for me. I'm increasingly interested in knitting as an art form - it's practically impossible to place a monetary value on something that so much time, energy, financial investment, and heart went into, and even writing out the pattern takes a little of the joy out of it. But I adore artistic exchange - Morgan (find her and her amazing artwork here) now has a blanket she couldn't have knitted, and I have a picture I couldn't have painted.


Because the blanket was not portable (understatement) and I like to have a project to tote around, I've been making "house scarf hats" - that is, following the colors and sequencing of the house scarves in Harry Potter, but because I have no interest at this time in making a full length scarf, I made them 8 inches deep and seamed across the tops. It was a refreshing interlude between the manual labor of the Epic Blanket.


As always, I've immediately moved on to new projects - and while it may be a long time (if ever) before I make another blanket like that, I'm still grateful to have had the experience of doing it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

52 Lists: all the people who brighten your day

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 on 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 all the people who brighten my day


Just noticed that I accidentally skipped this list - but I'm glad, because it's much more appropriate for Valentine's Day than "the things you should ignore"
Also, this list is not in ranking order, nor is it complete.

1. Morgan
2. Rebekah
3. Kayla
4. Cathy
5. Adam
6. Cynthia
7. Cat
8. Micaiah
9. Brooklyn
10. Tobin
11. My grandparents
12. Mum
13. Bev
14. Maddie
15. Carolyn
16. Shannon
17. Amy
18. Christiana
19. Emalie
20. Karrilee
21. Juliann
22. Trish
23. Erin
24. Rachel

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

52 Lists: the things you treasure most

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 on 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 I treasure most


Well, there's a trick question if ever I saw one. "The best things in life aren't things," and all that. But I'll give it a go...

1. Time with people I love
2. and also time alone
3. Anything that "adds to the beauty,"
4. whether that's words
5. or objects
6. or actions
7. or moments
8. Creative margin
9. Evidence of thoughtful consideration 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Short and Sweet


Ah, February! My favorite month - short and sweet. And one month closer to my Bear coming home!


January was... an adventure. The secret project is now complete - if you're in Fayetteville, check out the Fayetteville Underground art gallery for First Thursday tonight to see Morgan Bame's knitted renditions of a little bit of history (that's not always what it seems).


In the midst of that, both Littles caught a bug that's been going around here - thanks to the sacrificial assistance of my mother (who came at the beginning and helped keep the alternate well child away from the current sick one) and my mother-in-love (who came after and sanitized my home from top to bottom), I never got it and they recovered quickly. But it was a crazy interlude, nonetheless.


But now we're all well again and I'm trying reestablish a normal routine, as well as take a bit of a break after a hectic month. Right now, that looks like rereading The Lord of the Rings and knitting a quick just-for-me project - hyacinths to feed the soul, as it were. I've also got a review copy of Moll Anderson's upcoming book Change your home, change your life: with color that I can't wait to share!

Final note: every year, the Arkansas Children's Hospital sets up a way for people to create valentines for the patients there - choose a design, choose a message, and they do the rest. Please head here - it only takes a few minutes!
[Join the conversation on Facebook!]

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

52 Lists: your favorite quotes

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 on 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 my favorite quotes


This was not thought out in advance, so these are the first that came to mind, with a little editing, because I could have happily just put 20 Tolkien/Sherlock Holmes quotes

You will never find a book long enough, or a cup of tea big enough, to suit me.
CS Lewis

Above all shadows rides the sun
and stars forever dwell
I will not say the day is done
nor bid the stars farewell.
JRR Tolkien

You cannot wait for inspiration - you have to go after it with a club.
Jack London

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the song without the words
and never stops - at all.
Emily Dickinson

If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes, as written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Live in the sunshine
swim in the sea
drink the wild air
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like: design is how it works.
Steve Jobs

To affect the quality of the day;
that is the highest of arts.
Henry David Thoreau

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.
Desiderius Erasmus

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim...
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it
Rudyard Kipling

Knit on, with confidence, through all crises.
Elizabeth Zimmerman

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.
Shakespeare

The road goes ever on and on
down from the door where it began
now far ahead the road has gone
and I must follow, if I can.
JRR Tolkien

You take the measure of a man by two things: what's said, and what's done.
from Beowulf

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

52 Lists: the ways you love to have fun

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 on 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 ways I love to have fun


"Fun" is such a subjective concept...

1. Knitting
2. and designing
3. and teaching others how to knit/helping to learn a new technique
4. Discovering new (to me) local businesses
5. Walking
6. and hiking
7. Exploring the city where I live
8. alone
9. or with family or friends
10. Sharing the things that I love with the people I love
11. Reading a book all the way through in one sitting
12. while sipping tea
13. Discussing new-to-me ideas 
14. Reasoned debate
15. Getting lost in a creative moment