Friday, March 6, 2015

Handspun solutions




  Cleaning out storage has brought me face to face with my stash…..my 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…..it 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…..it 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.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

To Everything there is a Season.....A time to weep and a time to laugh....Ecc. 3:1,4



   It’s amazing how God works in our lives. We may not fully understand why things happen the way they do, but in the end, when we trust him, he makes Romans 8:28 become real in our lives. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

   My oldest son’s family was finally able to move to their own place and I had my home back, although a bit lonely. A few months later, my youngest son decided a closer commute to work was more appealing, and I invited him back home. We have a lovely time learning to cook and experiment with new dishes. 

   I feel God teaching me to cope with my occasional sadness and celebrate the joys. My job of 23 years was ending this summer of 2014. Regardless of this anticipated loss, I took a big leap of trust and committed to a major kitchen, bathroom and laundry room remodel. A wall was taken down but God was gracious and the remodeling went very smoothly and the result was beautiful. It gave me joy to see the potential of entertaining again in this big house. One great joy in my life was the Wedding of my 2nd son. It was absolutely beautiful from start to finish. There is not been many times I had a chance to “gussy” up and have fun, and this was a beautiful celebration of love for a lifetime. 

Son Alan, Me, Nora & Robby, and son Scott
A beautiful dream reception
   One month after the kitchen remodel, a refrigerator water hose came apart and flooded almost the entire house overnight. Upon cleaning up, asbestos tile was found under the carpet and a major clean-up was done, paid for by my homeowners policy. I decided to do the remaining repairs myself and do all the things I wanted done and my contractor could not with the estimate they gave. One wonders if God had a hand in this? How is it possible that I was able to get everything repaired and still have money left from the insurance settlement?  Of course, if someone had to pay me for my labor, it might be a different story. But what did I gain? A lot….not just money. I learned a lot of new skills thanks to Youtube videos, gained some new tools and supplies. My confidence rose. This labor kept me busy and focused as I also applied for a new job.  I gained a few sore muscles too, but this was nothing compared to the results accomplished.

  So now I have a new remodeled house, a new job and a new life to look forward to as I use God’s gift for His glory. Praise God for his Blessings!