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An anniversary and an announcement

Well how to begin this blog post….

We’ve reached the one year mark.  One year ago this month my husband passed and life changed, what some of you may not know is that the exact day was also my birthday.  While my 41st was difficult, facing events and a decision I never thought I would have to make my 42nd was peaceful.  One thing that I found hard to do at the time was to not be upset with myself for the year that has passed.  Rather than looking back at the time spent and thinking that I needed to be farther along this path I told myself to focus on the positive.  So how did I spend the year?  I wrote two patterns for Yarn Crush, self published three of my own to Ravelry, and had two published with PieceWork, one of which was featured on the cover.  I took a chance with the French Nest Open Air Market and fell in love with my looms and weaving again.  What was most important that all three of did this year was to heal.  To be able to take the time to learn what our new normal is and I’m glad that we took it.  Death stops life for only one person, and while we remember, smile and pay tribute as we all see fit, life does change and move on.

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Last week before Thanksgiving if you follow me on Facebook I promised you a happy announcement this week. I am beyond thrilled and happy to tell you that my woven scarves are now on display for sale at the Blue Moose Art Gallery and Gifts here in Fort Collins!

blue moose displayblue moose exterior

I took in some of my work in October to have it juried and hopefully accepted and it has been. Deb and Cathy are the owners there and have a beautiful shop inside with a great variety of art available. They also host classes taught by the different artists and have a featured artist every month. At these events you can go in and talk to them to learn about their work. For December and this time of gift giving they are having a featured artist every day! I will be there Thursday December 7th from 10-4 with my little traveling loom demonstrating how it works and talking about some of the techniques that I’ve come up with.
One of the biggest lessons I’m trying to learn is patience. Just like one of my pieces this handcrafted life takes time and effort, it can’t be rushed, but this? This is a step, a tremendous step, and step after step it will all come together 🙂

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New pattern alert!

Here I am again as promised with a new pattern!  This one came about in an unusual way.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is the Adventure Neckerchief now listed on Ravelry.  The yarn for this is Jaggeryarn’s newest creation, Kokadjo and getting the yarn came about in a unique way.

Normally I’m not one for making comments on things on social media but this just happened to be a time that I did.  I follow Jaggeryarn on Facebook as I’ve been a big fan of the Jaggerspun Zephyr for quite some time now.  The post talked about a new fingering weight yarn that is 90% superwash merino and 10% silk.  My comment was simple, saying that I would have to find some in my area and try it.  At the time I had recently been in contact with the editor of PieceWork and we had talked about the yarn I would need for an upcoming project…(spoiler alert!  Watch for PieceWork Jan/Feb 2018!) which of course I had decided on Jaggerspun Zephyr.  Lindsey of Jaggeryarn saw my comment, saw my PieceWork request and contacted me asking what color I would like to try of the Kokadjo since she was sending me yarn anyway.  Happy day!  Free yarn?  You bet!  The Kokadjo is a delight to work with and I personally would recommend it for season transitional garments because even though it is 90% superwash merino and 10% silk it has a feel similar to cotton.

The pattern itself is worked from tip to tip on size 4 needles and measures 14″ wide at the point and 70″ long.  Small you might say but of the items I’ve made and wear regularly the ones that wrap around my neck get the most comments.  You increase during the first half and decrease during the second half making it suitable for yarns that you may have a limited amount of.  To do this weigh your yarn at the beginning of the project, work the increase side until you are close to half of the weight you started with, then work the decrease side.  I plan for this pattern to be the first of many for the Orphans…you know those single lonely skeins you find at the shop that you just can’t leave without yet you don’t know what you can do with the limited yardage?  Here you go!

As for the name….sometimes naming a pattern is the hardest part!  Something catchy, original, suits the piece?  This one comes from The Hobbit.  Bilbo is running after the Dwarven company and someone asks where he’s going…”I’m going on an adventure!”  is his reply, and isn’t that what life is supposed to be?  An adventure, just like this craft journey that I have embarked upon  🙂

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Not always craft….

I’ve been trying to keep this blog singularly devoted to craft.  What I’m making, publications that are coming out with my patterns in them, events that I’m going to be at and so on.  Today is different, today I want to talk about life and finding happiness in the present and the journey.

If you’ve followed this blog or know me in person you know that I have two daughters, Amanda and Serra.  Music is a big portion of our lives, be it songs on the radio in the car or the fact that both girls participate in their school band programs just as I did.  Marching band takes over in August and dominates the calendar through the State Championships at the end of October.

calendar

This past weekend was just that, Colorado State Marching Band Championships.  The start to the weekend was seeing Amanda off Friday evening as the band travels together.  Serra and I walk in to the auditorium and find Amanda and her buddy friend in tears as they had just held the Senior recognition Ceremony.  There are times that I don’t agree with their director but one thing he does understand with these kids and our family personally from last November is this: Band is family.

The band traveled together that night and Serra and I got up early Saturday morning to head to Colorado Springs.  Serra is such a good sport about this kind of thing.  She has been brought along to so many band events and archery tournaments for her sister over the years.  She’s never complained and understood how important they all are to her sister.  Stars only know how much candy, French fries and hot chocolate she has consumed at these various events.  Proud of her for being my tag-a-long and cheering for her sister, even as embarrassing as it might be to be seen with me.

As for Amanda, we cheered through semis, their performance bringing me to tears, found her talking with her hands to everyone around her during the award presentation where they were first place.  Watched 12 more bands for the 4A semis where I cheered for my high school Fruita Monument and the local 4A Loveland, both of who made finals.  Watched again in finals with temperatures dropping, bundled in blankets and Serra falling asleep until the moment came.

Silver medals for Fossil, Silver for Loveland and 5th place for Fruita Monument.  After a long drive home and an exhausting 20 hour stretch I hugged a proud but heartbroken sophomore at 1am Sunday morning.  Later, after a good 10 hours of sleep we talked about the weekend, sharing silly things that happened on each side.  Me, cheering with other parents.  An Arapahoe mom after semis turned back to me after Fossil’s performance and smiling said, “Well, we now know who you are cheering for.”  Amanda talking about freezing during retreat and trading gloves with a trombone player named Jordan from Legacy.  Commitment, teamwork, pride, heartbreak, joy…so many emotions packed into such a short amount of time that create a person.

state tNow if you’ve stuck with me you’re thinking, where is she going with all of this?  It’s simple, some days I want the future to be here NOW.  For the business to take off, to be productive, to feel like I’m doing something to be successful.  Then I have a weekend like this with my girls and I realize I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, right here, right now.  It’s not the destination that defines you in the end, it’s the journey you take to get there.

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A pattern, a market and a beginning…

Good morning!  It is a quiet Sunday morning here as I’m typing this.  Girls are getting as much recovery from the past few weeks and hopefully a jump start on the two weeks to come.  August through October is always full with marching season and the beginning of archery season.  So here is a bit of a time out from the chaos to catch up online here with you.

In keeping with my goals to publish at least one pattern per month last week I posted the Dayflower Wrap to Ravelry.

It takes approximately 1000 yards of light fingerweight yarn.  I used Prism from  Lambspun of Colorado.  It is handdyed there in the shop and is 50% merino and 50% silk.  I have a lot of it from attending the biannual sales over the years.  Have to decide which pattern that I’ve already knitted to write up next…

I spent one Saturday in September as a vendor at the French Nest Open Air Market and tried again yesterday.  September was not a good event, but also as I was reminded by some wonderful support staff that work behind the scenes that the weather was a big factor.  Cold rain is never a good way to start or be at an outdoor event.  So I crossed my fingers and hoped that yesterday would go better and it some ways it was.

 

Different style display and having a working loom there brought more people into the booth to check things out over the first two hours while we had wonderful sunshine and a light breeze.  At 11 however that changed.  The wind decided to visit the market and for the next two hours I stood holding the canopy frame so that it wouldn’t fly away.    After an especially large gust of wind at 1pm the vendors in our area and ourselves simply started packing up.  My dear Serra was an absolute trooper through it all.  She helped sit against a canopy pole lending her weight to hold it down and then carefully broke down and packed everything up while I kept the canopy from blowing away.  While the market did not go as I would have hoped people did like what they saw and wonderful friends Mary, Wendy and Lori of Cowgirl Yarn all stopped by.  As for the market itself, I’m not sure that it’s the right place for me.  I plan to use the winter months to do a lot of making and thinking about the types of events that are available and the best ways to get myself and my product out there.  In the end I do care very much about my business and in some ways possibly want it all right now.  Well that’s not how this works.  I have to follow my intuition, learn patience and work to find the best ways to make it work for me.

As for that business thing.  Something I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of years is writing a book.  I realize that this is quite a task and instead of doing anything concrete I’ve been letting it percolate in my brain a bit.  There’s a journal with notes in it, lists of topics that I want to include but nothing firm.  I changed that this last week.  It’s not much, an intro and a possible table of contents but it’s there.  I don’t really want to go into much detail but those that I have talked to about it love the idea.  So yet another project to work on or possibly several depending upon the size and shape that it takes.  Something I keep telling myself is that the business is going to take time.  I have learned many things from the time I spent doing wedding cakes, discussions this year and what I see for my future.  Patience is key, and it will get there one step at a time.

And since I’m sure you’re all curious about all of that time spent marching I was finally a good mom last week and took some photos rather than simply watching Amanda hit her spots and perform. 🙂

 

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A wedding, a pattern and a show…

Life here in my world seems to be in full swing.  School has started again, marching band has taking over and archery practice will join the slate too.  In the meantime around the girls believe it or not I do occasionally work 🙂  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

Saturday it was a wedding.  In what feels like a past life some days I made cakes and sometimes still do birthdays.  This time it was the wedding of a dear friend that decided to tie the knot in Vail this past weekend.

IMG_2943Congratulations Ena and Steve!!

In August, you were also treated to a new pattern in PIeceWork’s Sept/Oct issue along with a cable hat pattern for Yarn Crush box.  So glad the yarn finally cleared customs on that one!  As part of my motivation to keep things going I have said here that I’m going to publish at least one pattern on my own per month so here’s September:

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is my Raindrop Cowl that I just published yesterday on Ravelry.  It uses one skein of fingering weight yarn and is knitted in the round and inside out to make it fast and fun.  The yarn in this sample is some of my hand dyed that is available at Your Daily Fiber one of our local yarn shops here in the Fort.  This particular base titled Faith is 70% merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon.  This colorway is I Love a Rainy Night as I was on a music kick last time I dyed yarn.

This Saturday will be my first ever show with my handmade items.  I will be at the French Nest Open-Air Market down at Civic Center Park with my friend Mountain Woolies.  I am a bit nervous but know that once I get down there and into the swing of things it will be good.  The market runs from 9-3.

There are times that I doubt myself on this journey and wonder if I’m doing things in a way that is appropriate for my girls and I.  Well today I am glad that it wasn’t a trial to stay home with one that isn’t feeling well and that I can still get some work done.  Then I get comments like this on Ravelry:

“Hello, first let me tell you that I absolutely love your designs.”
“I am very excited to knit this shawl! Do you have any idea when Pieceworks will add it to the data base? I am getting antsy to cast on.
Thank you for your lovely designs!”

“I have been drooling over your design in the May/June 2017 issue of PIECEWORK. Please tell me that you didn’t use the entire skein of Treenway Silks Silken Cloud (all 1600.3 meters) to make them up!”

So maybe I am doing something right and traveling the path I’m supposed to, guess I just have to wait and see 🙂

 

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Gratitude is not only for November

Again another month has passed in the blink of an eye.  Some days drip by like the sands in an hourglass and others fly around the track faster than you can think.  The calendar turned to August and the first five days have already been full of band camp, a first concert and a treasured traditional trip to the ball park.

Today I got to spend time with Lori of Cowgirl Yarn in Laramie, Wyoming as part of the Hot August Knits Yarn Crawl.  For those of you that don’t know, a yarn crawl is just like a pub crawl.  You travel around to local area yarn shops tasting all of the different offerings of cashmere, merino, silk and more.  As the local carrier of Jaggerspun, a yarn that I have used in some of my designs, they invited me to hang out for part of the day with my pieces.

cowgirl

Yes, that’s me with Lilacs and Rain, Compass Rose and both versions (color and black and white) of the Doctor Who inspired scarves.  Cowgirl has an amazing selection of color in the Zephyr lace right now:

jaggerspun

I had a great time and yes some of this did come home with me!!

What struck me on the drive home was an overwhelming sense of gratitude…bet you were wondering when I would get back to the title of this post.  Life may not be perfect but right now it’s good and it makes me thankful.  Some to my husband, his motto of “hope for the best, plan for the worst” has allowed me to continue to be here for my girls, to be able to take care of them in the best way I know how, which is with time.  I get to see the light in one’s eyes at her excitement of a new marching season and I get to have some of the most interesting conversations with my little one, that range from medicine, the nature of sharks, to death and the afterlife.  Some to my lovelies, my crafty community that are walking a similar path to my own, of wanting and needing a creative life yet still trying somehow to get it to be prosperous as well.  Some to my inner circle, who have stuck by me for so long and through so much, believing in me; knowing that I can do this, especially on the days when I don’t think I can or try to rush the future.

As for those business type things….for locals to the Fort, I will be at the French Nest Market on Saturday September 16th with my handmade pieces.  Later on this month I will be able to share a new pattern through Yarn Crush as part of their August 2017 box.  Be on the lookout for PIecework’s Sept/Oct issue for a new one there as well.  I’m still going to get a pattern published a month and will start that in September.

Gratitude is something to be shared every day in the little things we do, from a good morning text to a kiss on the forehead saying good night, not just the fourth Thursday of November 🙂

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Maybe this monthly plan is a good idea

Here we are again…another month and I didn’t say a thing to you about this crafting life.  Maybe that’s a good thing though, last thing you need with your own crazy lives is me butting in too much.  I have been told however that my stalkers get lonely without me so here goes.

June is really the only month that the girls get off from school.  What?! You’re saying?  Yes summer is the standard June, July and August here in the Fort, but both girls are now involved in band.  Summer band camp for one begins July 17th and runs for three weeks.  This one is important as this is her first year in middle school.  She’s not going where most of her elementary buddies are and so it’s going to be more of a social opportunity to make new friends more than anything else.  The sophomore’s (?!) schedule for marching band begins July 10th with rehearsals twice a week and full on seven hour a day camp July 31st.  Anyone that says the football team works harder than the band hasn’t seen these kids.  Yes, it’s hot, tiring, demanding, yet every one of them accepts it with grace and humor.  Sometimes I personally think it’s a little much but then again they won 2nd place at the State competition last year.  So for June we took some time off and were major touristy out in Chicago for a week which was a great load of fun, but now it’s time to get back to work.

I have 2 deadline patterns to bust out this month!  PieceWork and Yarn Crush both get my attention for July.  I’m hoping that the Yarn Crush package with the yarn in it is in my mailbox and here is the start for PieceWork:

piecework Jan feb 18

Rapunzel has also received some attention as I finally got the third Van Gogh inspired piece strung up:

van gogh 3 weave

I’m loving the blend of colors and patterns.  I also have an idea to try out soon on my little loom…little being that it’s only ten inches across.  It’s still eight harnesses and currently threaded with 20/2 tencel.  Hoping to spend some time with it next week.

As for the future, one of the biggest things that I have to do with this craft venture is to let go of fear.  I can’t be so afraid of things not being absolutely perfect before I begin so I have applied to be a vendor at The French Nest Market in September and October.  Also I have set goals for September-December of this year, to publish at least one pattern and get at least one handwoven piece made each month.  My patterns are currently available at Ravelry but I’m also thinking of trying to figure out how to offer pdfs from my website so that you do not have to be a member.  As for the woven pieces, I do have an Etsy store that needs some serious work and that is where I plan to post those along with my hand dyed yarn.

Happy Canada Day yesterday!  We had a great time watching the pregame festivities between Toronto and Boston and Happy 4th!  Safe travels to all who are doing so this weekend and dear stalkers I will try not to wait another month before saying hi.

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