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.

Fit for a Princess

My dear sister-in-law, her husband & their son will be welcoming a very special little lady into their family in just a few short days. For months — before I even knew she was a ‘she’ — I had been trying to decide what I could make for this little addition. They live in the south where it is warm, so I couldn’t knit goodies to keep baby super cozy — it seemed like overkill. Even a sweater seemed like it might be a bit much. When I heard it would be a little princess, though, I knew just what to make: Ysolda Teague’s Tiny Shoes. I hadn’t yet tried the pattern, but I have made Ms Teague’s Not-So-Tiny-Slippers. In fact, I am teaching a class on making them at Firefly Fibers next month! I thought it would be fun to make the original mini-version.
Requiring only 44yds of fingering weight yarn for the smallest size, I set off to sifting through my stash for an appropriate yarn. I briefly flirted with making some mods and using some leftover Madelinetosh Pashmina, but opted against it in the end. It wouldn’t have been perfect. What I did find was literally just enough Shibui Staccato in Raspbery leftover from the Linen Stitch Scarf I made last year. By ‘just enough’ I mean I had inches left when all was said and done.

I knit these little shoes up in just a couple hours and I loved every minute. There is something special about knitting for a new baby. No, not just the rush of finishing a project in less than a day (although there is something to be said for that, too). It’s that with each stitch I can imagine what this little girl will look like, what she will be like as she grows. I wonder if these shoes will be too big or too small or fit just right those first days. And I think about this little lady’s mom & how special she is to me. All the warmth & love & hugs I can’t give to them in person because we live 1200miles apart are knit into the stitches of these shoes.

I don’t knit many gifts. It’s just not something I do very often. For this special family, though, since I can’t be there but I wish I could, I knit. I knit baby’s first merino & silk blend with delicate little yarnover details on the top of the foot finished with a lovely little silver button. These Tiny Shoes really are fit for a princess. I can’t wait to see them on her.
You can see project details on Ravelry for Baby Girl’s First Shoes here.