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Local Christmas: Loving the City, Your Friends and Family, and Knitters, too!

In doing a local Christmas, I've come across a lot of things that knitters, and anyone else, for that matter, would probably love to receive. With that in mind, I've compiled a list of Things That Are Not Yarn, in order by location, so you can start at one and work your way up the street.

Beginning with Nightbird Books at the corner of Dickson and Church Streets, Extra Yarn is an engaging tale about a little girl with extra yarn and all of the people (and things!) that she knits for, with to-die-for Jon Klassen watercolor illustrations. So, I enjoy reading it as much as Brooklyn does! They also have some wonderful pattern books to actually knit from - most notably at present, Knitting Scarves from Around the World, which has wonderful photographs (and patterns. Good patterns, too :)

If you head up Dickson Street and turn on Block, you'll find IM Spa a few blocks up on your right. When they first opened a few years ago, they did a collaboration with Hand Held with a "knitter's massage" (apparently, all knitters have tense shoulders and enlarged muscles in their hands). They are absolutely extraordinary at what they do, and they have both gift baskets (books, aromatherapy, gift certificates) and gift certificates alone --- be warned, though: if you go in for a gift to pamper someone else, you may end up getting some pampering, yourself, before you go!

Next, Hand Held! If you do need a gift for a knitter, you can't go wrong with a gift certificate. And, if you're giving to a generous knitter and not expecting anything or hinting about it, maybe they'll use part of it to knit a thank-you. Maybe. ;)

Shindig Paperie recently moved to Block Street, and we're so glad that they did. While notebooks and journals have many uses, a couple that might occur to the fibercrafter are keeping track of changes to a existing pattern, and making notes while designing. In the foreground is a lovely lined Bison letterpress journal, and (fuzzily) in the background is a larger reporter-style notebook from Surgarboo Designs.

And they have a dizzying array of Le Pen colors, to match any journal or taste! I paired an "oriental blue" pen with a graphed Bison journal for an under-$20 gift for an aspiring designer that I know:

Up on the Square (but still on Block), you'll find The Mustache (goods and wears). They have many, many awesome things (clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, baby things, and a well-curated but highly random assortment of, well, goods) but one of my favorites is the FEED Guatemala line. Each piece is produced by a fairly-compensated artisan using environmentally friendly methods, and is stamped with the number of meal supplements the proceeds will provide. They have a lovely selection of handbags (or, in my mind, "knitting bags")... well as having smaller pouches that would be perfect for cosmetics, art supplies, baby-necessities, keeping a larger purse more organized, notions, projects... you get the idea.

Terra Tots is geared toward mums (and dads) and their babies, and while a lot of the knitters (and Other People) that I know are parents, these Chew Beads silicone bangle bracelets are awesome all around - for knitters, because they don't have anything that will snag expensive yarn or beautiful handknits; for mums, because they're safe for babies to chew on and play with; and for anyone else, because they come in lots of beautiful colors (and necklaces - there are also necklaces!) and are super comfortable to wear.

Finally, where Block Street ends at 71B, you will find The Four-Legged Bird. While they have many, many wonderful handcrafted and vintage items, the one I'm going to highlight (for now) is their Red Bird Naturals body cream. It comes in quantities from small-and-portable to ginormous, and in several lovely (and fairly unique, but not in a weird I-don't-know-if-they'll-like-that kind of way) scents, and it's the best hand cream I've ever found. It doesn't take much at all (I've been regularly using a tiny jar on my hands for months) and it soaks in quickly, leaving your hands soft but not greasy.

I encourage you to visit at least one of these shops (and the shops on either side of them - there isn't room in a single post to highlight all of the amazing local flavor that Fayetteville provides), for your Christmas shopping, or just shopping in general. Everything I've listed (with the exception of the FEED Guatemala products) is under $20 - and if you're willing to spend $20 (or more) on someone you love, why not use it to support a brick-and-mortar business?

All of the shops I've listed (less the two 'birds) are accessible from a walk around the Square, so you can visit them before enjoying the lights. But if they're not enough, I'll leave you with the sponsor list (sponsors. There are even more vendors unlisted!) for this year's Little Craft Show, located on the Square in the Fayetteville Town Center on December 7th. It's going to be absolutely amazing (I've heard rumors of a photo booth, y'all!) and another great opportunity to love the city and have a very merry local Christmas.


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

Pattern index:

Pageturner Mitts
Hogwarts House Tie
Urban Artemis
Graffiti for Humanity
Love Out Loud
Strange Jacket


In order to change your knitting, you must first change yourself. I've lost track of how many times I've said that, or how many people I've said it to. Frustrated new knitters wondering why their work is loose or tight or uneven or really anything less than perfect. But something I love about knitting is that it's a record of your inner dialogue. That swatch knit at the yarn store table with a cozy cup of coffee and a helpful (and more experienced) knitter nearby is going to be a lot more relaxed than the sweater begun a week later while sitting next to a hospital bed - just like the knitter.

Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…