Reclaiming Space

As is always the case, the summer is busy and flying by. I’ve become increasingly aware that I’ve been writing little of the more personal stories here as it’s been all I could muster just to find the time and space in my mind to get the knitting & spinning news shared. As I was working on the gardens project the last couple weeks, I finally had some time to really reflect. A lot of my writing happens in my head while I’m on the trail or out for a walk with the kids and the dog or while I’m spinning or when my hubby is taking the lead with the kids, but those times have been more… cluttered the last few weeks than in the more structured moments of the school year. I’ve been struggling to find those peaceful moments where I can find some clarity.

As I dug (and dug and dug) in the gardens, I thought about the act itself and I watched as the gardens were transformed from weedy, cluttered, neglected messes to tidy little beautiful spots.

img_3798I thought about reclaiming that space and it occurred to me that the last few weeks in the garden and before that the decluttering in our house, it’s all been about reclaiming space in one way or another.  And now, in this post, I thought I would share some of those more personal moments from my last few weeks to finally organize and reclaim that space in my mind.

A few weeks back we stopped at this small park in a neighboring city…

img_3631It was a warm morning, but the mist was cool and the whole hike was just lush with greenery.

img_3628While the kids ran ahead, I lingered over wildflowers…

img_3629A little forest of echinacea…

img_3630And the rich black-eyed susans.

We moved onto a damp forest trail and there were more wonders to be seen…

img_3635And little details that it would be easy to walk right past…

img_3639I’m glad to have had the luxury of time to pause here and there.

One day, we also took a trip to the very popular Devil’s Lake.

img_3669It was beautiful as usual and the trails were wonderful, but crowded as they always are, especially in summer. We turned back a bit before reaching the top of the bluff — when it comes to being out and about hiking, hoards of people all talking and shouting back and forth tend to send us packing and this day was no different. I’m so glad people are out being active and using the park, but this kind of outdoor experience is just not for us. We’ll save a return trip for quieter seasons.

We did find a miraculous little secluded spot on the lake so that the kids could swim…

img_3686-1I could knit a few stitches, the mister could read a bit…

img_3687And Moose could bask. He much prefers swimming to rocky trails.

Somewhere in these last few weeks my daughter finished her first ever 4oz of handspun singles.

img_3548-1She was anxious to start another project, so I offered to ply them for her.

delia skeinThe resulting skein is so much fun, I think.

delia detIt’s full of texture and the essence of sheer determination that comes from an 8-year-old learning to spin. We’re going to knit it into a cowl we can share, I think.

Reflecting over these images and experiences as I weeded and dug through my final overgrown garden the other day, I couldn’t help but think about how big of a deal I had made of and how long I’d put off undertaking this garden project. I thought about all the excuses I had and all the obstacles I saw and in retrospect I really just needed a leaping off point and some direction. If it were knitting, it was like I had the yarn but couldn’t figure out what pattern to use and didn’t know where to start looking.

As I thought about all the stages of the project, what I kept coming back to was the image of my gardening genius friend, the architect of the gardening exploits rolling up in her little compact car. Each time she came over to help & direct me, all she brought with her was a trunk full of plants, a shovel, and the enthusiasm to get the job done & make it great. Every technique she taught me, every aspect of the process was so simple and basic and inexpensive. I was reminded that reclaiming space is really just about making the time and taking the time to make it happen. No elaborate tools or plans or loads of money were necessary. Time and effort, that’s the true secret to reclaiming space — in your house, in your garden, in your mind, in your life.

13 thoughts on “Reclaiming Space”

    1. Thank you, Deb! My hubby teases me a lot because I’m always lagging behind on the trail taking close-up images of whatever little things I notice. For me, the act of taking a photo — that interaction — helps me retain the memory better. 🙂

  1. so much introspection – I am glad you had that digging time to think! It is very true that we get caught up in our lives and forget to take time to stop and smell the roses, as they say. And it is also true that projects can seem overwhelming with no good starting place, and all it takes is fresh eyes and some support like your friend gave you to get the ball rolling. Sounds like you did lots of work and lots of thinking. I am glad you are getting that time this summer.

    And as always, the pictures are beautiful – great portrait of Moose – relaxed but ready to take on whatever is next. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’m definitely the type of person who needs time to process things and reflect and it was such a relief to find that time.

      Moose is such a ham for the camera. He strikes these majestic poses which are hilarious when you know his goofy personality. ❤

  2. Your little one’s first spinning looks very much like mine and I am many times older than 8! I, too, knit a cowl with my skein and I still wear it; it holds a special place in my fiber-y heart! Your little girl has done beautiful work and I hope we see more of it!

    1. She did really well! She’s currently a little frustrated so she’s taking a break. She wants her yarn to look like mine, but, you know, it’s not that easy. So now she’s convinced that she needs a spinning wheel instead of a spindle, so we’re on pause for the moment while we try to maybe put that off for a bit. Hopefully she’ll come back around before long!

  3. I agree with the others about the quality of your pictures. You do such a fine job of framing and finding the beauty in the small things. PLUS, your joy of being there comes through, and that’s a special gift. Speaking of special gifts, passing on your love of spinning, knitting and all other things fiber-y to your daughter is the best kind of gift. She did SUCH a great job on her first spin – and pink, of course! 🙂 KUDOS all around. Thanks for sharing.
    P.S. Since I’m not a spinner, will you please expound on ‘spinning’ and ‘plying’? Thanks!

    1. Thank you for all the kind words!!!

      So when I talk about spinning, I usually mean I’m making singles that will eventually be plied. Plying is when you take two or more individual single strands of yarn and ply them together to make a yarn made up of multiple strands. Does that make sense? That’s not the most eloquent way of putting it so if not, let me know and I’ll find a way to say it better!

      1. That makes great sense and appreciate the info. Of course, I have understood “ply” as a description for the number of multiple strands, but was not sure exactly how the process worked. I think I do now – so you ‘spin’ to create the individual plies, then ‘twist’ them together so to speak, to make the yarn strands. I get it. Thanks!

      2. Yep, each strand is a ‘ply’, so after you ‘spin’ the ‘single plies’ you can ‘ply’ them together. Now that I’m writing it, I’m realizing how confusing the language is!

      3. LOL. The language is only confusing because you’re talking to a non-spinner! You did great and I feel a bit smarter now. 🙂

  4. Well said! Time and effort are what get you through every little thing in life. It makes you feel accomplished and also makes you realize that it wasn’t as overwhelming or dreadful as you thought.

    I love that your daughter has taken an interest in spinning and knitting. It is so special and sweet that you can share this with her.

  5. I find I get onto myself when I don’t get to chores around the house. We all have such busy lives, but when we stop and reflect like your example we find that life is deeper than business & ‘chores’. I love all your pictures and the little details in them and your thoughts you shared!

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