Dear Readers…

Dear Readers,

I’ve been writing this blog for quite a long time. I can tell you the archives here go back to the end of 2010, but I honestly had to look that up because I don’t spend a ton of time looking that far back over the years on content I’ve posted. I just know it’s been a very long time. August is the month when I first transitioned from more of a photo journal to a blog, though, so it’s this time of year that I tend to spend time reflecting on the labor of love that is my collection of projects and stories here.

I inevitably contemplate the evolution of this space. Initially this blog started — as I mentioned above — as more of a photo journal and project log. It eventually grew into a means of reaching and staying in touch with my knitting students once our classroom time had ended; to inspire and be inspired by a knitting community that I could not access easily. I had young children at home and not a lot of time or money for babysitters to give me the freedom to get out of the house on my own (largely because I like being home with my family and babysitter money can also go a long way to fund projects) . When I left teaching, this space became a place where I could continue to connect with fellow knitters and spinners, to fill the void left by the loss of my classroom community. It allowed me an outlet to talk about my projects, the things I was learning, and in little ways to continue to teach which is something I have always loved. It was at this time that this space grew to allow me to write about and share a glimpse of my other passion, my family’s adventures, as well.

Over the years, I’ve found that it’s pretty normal to go through periods where I write more or write less, where I am very good about keeping up with daily snapshots and then not so much — it’s much like the ebb and flow of the tides. There are times I ponder where my writing should go, if I’m failing to reach some larger potential, or if I should bother to continue writing at all. It all used to really get under my skin and, in truth, sometimes it still does. I’m someone who craves order and reliability, who is very much all-in or not-at-all and when I’m off my game here, it is easy to let the doubt creep in and for me to question if I should keep tapping away on the keyboard.

At the end of the day though, the point I’ve come back to time and again for the last 8 years is that writing and sharing here is an important creative outlet for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always written and I’ve always been compelled to share what I’m writing. Frankly, I might be a little lost without it.

Today, after a summer that felt as though it sailed past, of which I barely scratched the surface here with the stories of life and updates of my fiber-y exploits, I find myself back at my desk, still tapping away. Even though I wonder if I should or if the time might be better spent, I will continue to share when I can because I don’t know how nor do I want to let it go. Still compelled to keep tapping, I’ll relentlessly ride the tides of inspiration and the flux of time and keep on sharing my photos, techniques, stories, thoughts, dreams; successes and failures as life and coordination of thought allows.

And with these whimsical thoughts, I’ll embark on the next year here in my little space. I think I will start by winding some handspun yarn into skeins.

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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.