Thankful.

To say that my life has been a rollercoaster over the last six months feels like a huge understatement. It all started with a scary emergency room visit with my husband, followed by our adopting a puppy, followed by a decline in my dad’s health that started to quickly spiral, followed by the discovery of a mass in his brain and a late night drive up to the hospital, followed by his disagnosis of Cushing’s disease, followed by neurosurgery, followed by my daughter starting school for the first time, followed by a really heroic recovery for my dad, followed by my husband admitting he needed a change & beginning a job hunt, followed by an almost unbelievable series of fortunate contacts which led to an interview for him, followed by my mom being admitted to the hospital for surgery, followed by another recovery without complications, followed by a really good progress report for my dad, followed by a job offer and a new beginning for my husband. ***deep breath*** There is nothing more I can say than this has been a lot of extremes in such a short period.

I am the first to admit that I live a mostly charmed life. Things always work out. Nothing is perfect by far, but overall I always feel so very fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life, both in my friends and a lovely family — the one I was born into and the one I created alike. In the grand scheme of things, I want for nothing and live each day happy & comfortable. Through the last few months as the seas of chaos kind of raged around & through me I learned a lot. I have seen that family really does come together in a crisis. I have learned what it looks like to see the strongest people you know ask for & accept help. I have felt what that means — to me & to them. I have been terrified and thankful and angry and broken-hearted and laughing hysterically all in the same day, sometimes in the same hour. I have learned that it is true, that in life you have to face things when you aren’t prepared to face them. I have also found that trust & support from your loved ones and a positive attitude can take you a long way,  through the roughest stuff this life has to dish out.

I have also learned that — as trivial as it may sound in this context — I am grateful for knitting.  Through each stressful situation, my knitting was with me. Whatever I had started or handy, I threw into my purse as I ran out the door or came home to it in my empty, too quiet house. It is my meditation, my calm in whatever hurricane I find myself in. When the world is turning upside down or — in some cases — somersaulting, the repetition and familiarity of knitting is a comfort. When there are no words, when it is time to wait patiently, when I just need to feel an ounce of normality, that’s when the knitting lets me steal a moment peace. It reminds me of who I am and centers me. I think everyone has their own methods in these situations, mine just happen to be in yarn & needles.

As my husband dozed in the emergency room between tests, I worked on these colorful Toe-Up Socks by Ann Berk in Shibui Sock. I will never be able to forget it. One foot is much tighter than the other — proof that stress can definitely change your gauge.

I delivered my mom’s birthday gift — a Clapotis by Kate Gilbert in Misti Alpaca Pima Silk — in the hospital the night they found the mass in my dad’s brain. I knew she didn’t have anything packed and thought it might be a nice gesture to give her something special to chase the chill away. It seemed like a thoughtful addition to the bag of necessities I threw together as I ran out the door. (thanks for humoring me and posing, Mom!)

I started these Basic Socks by Churchmouse Yarns & Teas in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Superwash Sport in the waiting room while my dad was in neurosurgery. Making socks for my dad was a great comfort to me. I was doing something when I could do nothing but wait. For the week after that he recovered in the hospital I clicked away. I delivered them to him at home the following weekend.

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, I have so much to be thankful for. My parents are doing well. My children continue to grow healthy & happy & brilliant. I have the sweetest puppy on Earth. My husband has a new job that is a great fit & the transition was as seamless as we could have hoped. My friends, sister, in-laws — everyone is healthy and happy and doing well (I even have a new niece!).  And I continue to click away.

Life is good. And I am thankful for every last detail of it.

I Didn’t Knit a Gift

Stay-on Baby Booties by Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

When I first started knitting, I made a lot of gifts. I knit for others partly to share this fab skill I had picked up and partly — I will admit it —   because it was an excuse to knit more. These days, I really don’t make many knitted gifts. Life is busier with my kids. I work out and from home a bit. I often have shop or class samples on my needles — which by the way I am pretty much over the moon that I get to do — so the time I have leftover for personal crafting is usually set aside for this blog, knitting for my immediate family or myself, or spinning. If extended family or friends put in a request I will always happily oblige, but that’s usually the extent of my fiber gift giving. For better or worse, it’s just the balance I have found that works for me.

Sometimes though, sometimes the stars align and a gift just happens. A month or so ago, I was gearing up to teach a class using Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Stay-on Baby BootiesWanting to snap a couple in-process photos, I decided to sift through my stash for enough yarn to make a new pair. I had just enough Madelinetosh Pashmina. I debated. Too fancy? Too impractical for baby booties? In the end, I decided to just go ahead with the project. The yardage in my stash was limited enough that there weren’t a whole lot of other options for it. And really, pashmina should never sit in your stash for long. I knitted & got my photos & finished them off.

They. Turned. Out. Lovely.

They are absolutely impractical for babies, I will be the first to admit. Any mama will tell you ‘Hand Wash Only’ are NOT the words you want to see on a baby gift, BUT what these booties lack in practicality they make up for in beauty and unabashed luxury. Back when I was a new mama, I always tried to be very no frills. You know,  function over fashion. By my second babe, though, I learned that appreciating a little luxury for the sake of luxury once and a while is ok. In fact, I think every mama deserves it. Whether in a big way or the tiniest, the ability & opportunity to spoil your wee one once and a while is special. It makes mama feel as good (or better!) than the small person actually wearing the pashmina booties.

With all this in mind, a gift was born. I knew these little lovelies were destined for an old college friend who was due any day with her first daughter. We were never super close, but I always appreciated & admired her ability to appreciate little luxuries in life. I immediately inquired as to her address, tucked them in some wrapping and sent them on their way to their new home. I didn’t knit a gift. I knit, a gift was born, and then I let the gift find its way home.

Project details can be viewed on my Ravelry page here.

All project supplies purchased at Firefly Fibers in Beaver Dam, WI.