Saturday, May 23, 2015

Eager Hands to Spin

Proverbs 31: 10-31
“A wife (woman)of noble character  who can  find? She is worth far more than rubies…..She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…..She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family….She sets about her work vigorously;  her arms are strong for her tasks….In her hand she hold the distaff and grasps the spindle with her  fingers….she makes coverings for her bed ; she is clothes in fine linen and purple.  She is clothed with strength and dignity….Her children arise and call her blessed…

  How many times have I sat down to spin some yarn on my spinning wheel and think of these verses?  God knows the joy and peace this lovely craft gives me. It quiets my mind and allows me to listen and talk with my Lord of my life.
   I am amazed at the many opportunities I have discovered this year for finding peace….a feeling of rest from worries and grief of the ones I have lost.  In these moments I surrender to God…letting go of my troubles and fears and letting him fill my mind with accomplishment as I make from a raw fleece something , warm, soft and beautiful with my hands.
   As I have regained my desire to spin again, not to say I have given up on knitting, I find a happiness that I thought I lost. Since I lost Walter, I haven't spun much at all. Spinning is a time to peacefully reflect on my life and pray for people as I imagine the yarn I create as the connection to important people in my life past and present.
   I finished a Mitered square blanket knit with the colorful handspun yarn I have saved over the years. I had no idea it could be made into something so lovely. It inspired me so much that I started another one out of blue shades of handspun yarn.
   I have been reading carefully the latest edition of “SpinOff” magazine. I found a very easy scarf pattern to knit. I search through my stash and found a white very soft yarn. Im not sure whether it is wool or alpaca or both. I am somewhat inclined to believe that it is both since it is stretchy and bounces back and  is so soft and luxurious to touch. It would feel cozy and glorious around a neck on a cool night or day. The pattern has garter stitch and feather and fan patterns in it. It is something I have to count and concentrate on as I always have difficulty memorizing this type of pattern.
   I have finished spinning and plying a beautiful  4 oz. pink dyed roving braid I purchased at Stitches a few years ago. It is a very soft merino and turned out to be close to a sport to dk weight yarn…all 360 yds of it. I am wondering if I should make a scarf out of this too.
   I love my new Hansen Electric Spinning wheel. It was a Birthday present to myself. It is small and lightweight and very easy to control. I haven’t yet taken it on a trip. It came with a car plug adapter and I purchased a 12volt battery to take it anywhere without electricity. I am in love with spinning again. I could easily get up at 4am  every day and find a variety of spinning and dyeing projects to work on till I go to bed at night. But alas, I have to work and this takes up my daytime. Yet, I can still dream……Thank you, God, for blessing me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Handspun solutions

  Cleaning out storage has brought me face to face with my stash… handspun stash. Years ago I took up spinning my own yarn.  Yes….from a dirty sheep fleece to dyeing the spun yarn into skeins. Since I am a process knitter, it was the process that interested me, not necessarily the product. It was a skill I learned until other interests took hold….or rather drew me back into knitting purchased wool.  So my handspun stash hibernated in plastic bags in my storage crying out every once in awhile to “Knit me, knit me”.

    So now, I have these many plastic bins of handspun yarn. I didn’t think I had  enough of the same type of yarn to make anything big.  Since knitting the Rainbow mitered blanket again, I wondered how it would look to knit one in handspun. Small amounts of different colors and breeds did not matter. So I started one. I am thinking that I can make small throw blanket or lap robes to give to charity. Even if someone mistakenly felts them, they would make some fair rugs or dog/cat blankets.  So now I have a new charity project.   Yet, knitting it gives me some satisfaction and purpose in this world. 

    I’m still struggling with finding my role in this world without a partner, but as long as I have my home to love, my son to keep me company, and a job to keep the bills paid, I am somewhat content.  Finding “Peace” in decorating my home and my knitting brings me joy.  Someone said that “Joy doesn’t just happen. You have to choose Joy and keep choosing it every day.”  There are days this is easier said than done but for now I am at peace. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy March!

Happy March!
   February has just slipped away. It always seems like a short month  because it ends on day 28 and is filled with several holidays and events (i.e. Lincoln’s birthday, Valentine’s, President’s Day, etc.). It was Heart Health and Dental Health month.
  So here we are in March, aka “Green Month” and also National Nutrition Month.   This month has inspired me to decorate my house.  Since I am spending very little time elsewhere other than my home and my job, I wanted to make something beautiful to keep me happy. I found a few Green and gold things at Michaels Crafts that made me happy.  Yes, they really are green and gold, not black and blue… seems color has been in the news lately.  I still don’t understand why people see color differently unless they are color blind.
  I also just finished my Beige socks, which came out so soft and nice. I still have some yarn left from the $2.00 skein of super fine Woolike Yarn from Loops and Threads. Perhaps I may be able to make some baby socks or save the leftovers for a rainy day when I can make some striped socks.I need to wash and block my finished socks. The ribbing seems a little loose but it fits my foot. Whether they stay up is something I will need to find out. I casted on 80 stitches with these socks. The next pair I make, I will try 72 stitches.
     I started a Knit Picks Rainbow Miteredblanket a time ago. It is made with Rainbow colors of Knit Picks Brava SportYarn on Size 5 Bamboo needles.  Four panels of 5 x 5 squares are knit, picking up stitches with each square to reduce the sewing together. I am working on my third panel of blues and greens.
     I am in love with color. Perhaps I’ll start to knit something green this month…..

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Searching for Peace

       I am getting my knitting mojo back. Knitting seems to be one of the things that can bring my anxious feelings under control and give me some peace. Peace is my goal for this year….”For the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace……”.  Life seems to give one ups and downs.  We can choose to feel out of control or strive to find peace in the chaos of life. It takes a lot of effort for me to deal with the disappointments of life but God leads me to find Peace through my knitting.  One must be still and concentrate on what one is knitting.
        I have taken up the challenge of knitting socks again. One day as I went on a long walk around my small town of D….., I decided to stop at a local place to have some breakfast and rest.  The day was sunny and cool in the 60s. A slight breeze was blowing… was a perfect day to appreciate God’s gift to us…his world. As I finished eating my meal, my thoughts were absorbed in my finished knitting projects and yearning for something new. My favorite craft store, Michaels’ was just a 15 minute walk further, so I decided to see what new things Michael had to inspire me in a new project.
       Lo and behold, I was excited when I found ALL the yarn was on sale. The one thing I did not need was more yarn. I had promised myself to knit up all the yarn I still had at home, but temptation got the better of me when I found a very soft ball of “Woolike” yarn in assorted colors for $2.00 a skein. It had over 600 yds and was super fine, but OH! So soft.  It was 85% Acrylic and 15% nylon.  Perhaps it was time I tried to knit a pair of socks again. I couldn’t help myself. I bought 10 skeins of different colors. This should make a pair of socks from each ball.
        I wasn’t sure how this yarn would behave on my needles so I knit a swatch in Size 2 needles as was recommended on the label and Size 1. The size 1 swatch looked better for socks.  I found a Generic Sock Pattern by Kate Giberton Ravelry and I did a 2 x 2 ribbing for the cuff, but it seemed a little loose. Nevertheless, I pushed on.  With the new yarn I decided to do a “Vanilla (plain) Sock Pattern”, to see how it behaved.
     It was glorious. I love it’s softness. I couldn’t stop. I kept finding myself wanting to knit it every spare moment I had. The fine stitches nearly left me blind and at times I resorted to working under a magnifying glass. As I worked down the sock, it became easier to knit. The yarn held together nicely without splitting. It has a fuzzy halo which contributes to its softness.  I’ve just about finished with the first sock and can’t wait to get going with the 2nd sock.
         My next project will be to knit with a Burgandy color which may pose a challenge in seeing the stiches, but I will persevere in my continued search for peace.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Perseverance: A Woman's Work

   Repairing my house and learning all the skills needed to do so, has given me a great respect for the construction Men and Women who do this day in and day out. 

   It is really hard work to do a good job at making something beautiful.  Before this, I had never paid much attention to the details in the materials and tools….the types of putty and patching….which is the best type of putty knife to use to get the best even patch?  What grades of sand paper to use for what job? What kind of wall texture is there?  What the heck was “orange peal”? Do I use flat-paint, satin, semi-gloss or enamel? Primer or non-primer? One-coat or two? 

   The big thing for me was learning to use a Mitered saw. I did my research and bought a small 7 ½ in. saw that was easy to handle. The first hurdle for me was to get over my fear of the noise.  One can really loose their hearing being exposed to the high decibels for a long period of time.  That fast spinning blade was quite intimidating and its no joke to take special safety precautions and make sure your limbs and fingers are in a safe place before you make the cut.  I initially tried the less intimidating Mitered box that uses a hand saw. After two attempts at this and a sweaty brow, I knew it would be impossible  for me to cut 200+ feet of baseboards for my house project.  I just didn’t have the strength. 

   Strength! Wow, did I get a dose of reality!  Men are more suited to this type of work because it takes brute strength to do this. Unless you are a weight-lifter woman, the average woman is not equal in strength or muscle.  Even hammering a nail can be overwhelming to a little ole lady as myself. There were times I cried in frustration because I didn’t have the strength to do something, but graciously God gave me a brain to figure an alternate way to achieve the same result.  I had to accept imperfection in my work,  but I convinced myself that “No one will notice”……right?

  There were times that I questioned myself,  “What were you thinking, when you decided to do this  project yourself?”.  However, perseverance brought me confidence, added a measure to  my self-esteem,  and I saved a ton of money to have all I wanted repaired in my own timing.  I asked myself,  “Why? What do you hope to achieve?”  Beside the finished product, I thought about how I am husbandless. So many thoughts came to mind about Walter, my late fix-it handyman, and his absence caused me many tears. However, tears are cleansing.  Life goes on without him and I am trying the best I can. God is with me. He gives me strength. 

Prov. 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Prov 31: 17 “ She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 
Prov 31:26 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”