Tuesday, August 30, 2016


"I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well."
Psalm 139:14

As I sit and ponder this verse once again on a late summer morning with the sound of thunder rumbling in the heavens and rain pounding the ground and rolling down my window, I am amazed at a God who can cause the earth to cry out in such force at times and yet took such gentle care to design each of us so very uniquely. He is a God of tender mercies and One who loves infinite variety. It begs the constant question: Why do we so often play the comparison game?
We all do it at some point. I think we may find ourselves going in and out of seasons of it. To compare ourselves to ourselves is often a good thing because it can be how we measure our own personal growth but when we step one tiny toe into that territory of comparing ourselves to anyone else it can sometimes set off a whole chain of events and it is never a good idea.
Each one of us was given our very own unique, individual, personal set of traits, characteristics and qualities. We were born with a God given temperament. We were "hard wired" so to speak with a specific blue print that the Maker intended just for us. So what do we so often do? We try to be like someone else. Then what happens? It doesn't feel right. Someone else doesn't fit inside our skin. That's because only my soul was made to fit inside my skin just as your soul was made to fit inside your skin. This is why I believe we should celebrate our uniqueness and individuality and not only stop trying so hard to be like everyone or anyone else but also be very careful about passing judgement on others. Every person around us is exactly who God made them to be. They may not be functioning in their very best mode at all times but that is an issue between them and God and we must always be careful with the heart of another individual.
When it comes right down to it, we only get one chance in this life. We really do need to get it right. By that I mean we need to give it our best shot at being exactly who we are. We need to express ourselves and live fearlessly. We should have the courage to step into ourselves and fully be the person God already knows we are. We get so very caught up, or shall we say "hung up",  on minute details that in the whole scheme of things never end up mattering, that we lose sight of the big picture. I truly believe God wants more for us than that. It's right back to that whole concept of abundant living that Jesus came to give us. It's within our grasp. Not only does He want us to have salvation, He wants us to be at peace with ourselves as well. I believe wholeheartedly this is attainable. I also believe that in order to achieve it we must reach a point of being at home within our own spirit, mind and soul. He wants our hearts to be at rest.
At the end of the day the only person God really expects us to be is Ourselves.

"You can never cross the ocean
unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
Christopher Columbus

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
Oscar Wilde

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pressing On

As August nears its end I will finally be moving onto my next big project for the upcoming Pumpkin Festival. One of my absolute favorite yarns of all time to work with is Knit Picks Billow. It is literally the softest cotton yarn I have ever experienced. It's a bulky weight pima cotton that runs thick to thin and is downright buttery in its softness. As we all know cotton has no negative ease, or give to it, which causes some knitters and crocheters to shy away from it or not like it at all. However, in my opinion, cotton just requires the proper pattern. What cotton does have, when used in the right pattern, is beautiful drape due to the fact it is very lightweight. Also cotton is the perfect choice for anyone with skin sensitivities or for someone who just simply loves whisper soft, supple, barely there feeling things against their skin.
My favorite pattern to use Billow for is this hat that I make every Fall.
This is my youngest daughter Chelsea wearing the hat. Billow comes in sixteen gorgeous color options but I especially love the Turmeric on her beautiful red hair.
This hat is very pretty in the back with its little flower like effect. And see what I mean about the nice bit of drape? The fact that the cotton is so very lightweight and the pattern is lacy makes this hat have the perfect slouch to it.
This hat is lovely for Autumn weather. It provides some warmth and beauty without being too heavy and hot. It's fun to knit and it makes the most beautiful gift. Like the fingerless mitts, I can never make too many of these. People love them. So starting on Monday I will be making a whole lot of these as I am finally calling it a wrap on my mitts. Although I have two more pairs of adult size to knit over the weekend,  I just added the last pair to my little girl size stack yesterday. Each color stack goes deeper than the picture makes them appear. When I peer down into the crate I feel happy with what I have managed to accomplish.
Now... if I can just get the same reaction out of others.
"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends."
Walt Disney

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


One of the things I love so much about being creative is that it usually takes a bit of imagination sprinkled in the mixture. Although as knitters and crocheters we are oftentimes working from a written or charted pattern, we still have to use our imagination to a certain degree. We use it when we make decisions about color and how to combine different colors to get the right look we want in the finished piece. This actually takes some thought process, especially when we are making an item for someone else, as everyone sees color differently. Actually I believe people feel and experience color because, just as smells do, color often subconsciously grounds us to things deep down in our core. I think that's why we become so creative when we work with color and our imagination comes into play even when we are not aware of it. We must visualize the final result, yes. But we are also, on some level trying to capture how that finished item will make us or the recipient feel. Ahhh.... now that requires imagination. We use it automatically in this way, all of the time, and don't even know it.
Then there are the times we knowingly and very purposely tap into our imagination during the creative process. When I make crocheted covers for these Nursery Hangers is such a time for me. I have to say these are one of my all time favorite items to make because they allow me to let my imagination roam free. They are totally my own design and creation. Each time I am crocheting the cover piece for the hanger I am letting my mind ponder the possibilities of how to embellish that particular sweet creation. Once a year a place an order from my supplier and buy these beautiful  wooden hangers in bulk. The hangers themselves are solid, gorgeous and of excellent quality but they are plain on their own and I like to cover them. Plus adding a nice covering to them helps to keep the clothing from sliding off.
Early last Winter I had a custom order through my Shop for 24 of these covered in all different flowers. My customer wanted to open her little girls closet and feel like she was walking into a Fairy Garden. See, once again, it's about the way things make us feel. This particular customer was a Marketing Manager on Wall Street. I'm sure she had plenty of hectic things in her daily life and when she crossed the threshold of home I can only imagine her need to surround herself with pretty, soothing things that might make her feel peaceful and give her a sense of well being and happiness. Maybe she even needed a magical moment when she opened the closet doors.
 She and I had a great deal of correspondence back and forth while I worked on that job. She gave me free reign to create as I wanted to with one stipulation only. No Repeats. So I went to work and I spent hours upon hours laying out color pallets and making plans for twenty four different flowers to adorn those hangers. Some were knitted and some were crocheted. Some had glass pearls sewn in the centers and others had very tiny glass beads added to look like dew drops. Just a hint though. As I made a couple I would send her pictures for her approval. She was thrilled the whole way through. My favorite was one with a pink cover that I attached three tiny white lily of the valley to. The cute little bells dangled down over the arch of the hanger with soft green slender leaves behind them. During that time I definitely discovered that creativity is imagination at work.
Then the day came and I wrapped them all lovingly in tissue paper and boxed them carefully for their journey to  New York City... and I held my breath. Nothing looks the same in person as it does online. One must hold and experience things. The package finally arrived at its destination and immediately I received a long and wonderful message. My customer and her Nanny were so filled with delight and wonder that they could not put the hangers down. They filled the closet together then took all the hangers back out because they just had to hold them again. Then they called the grandma over so she could do it all with them. Well, don't you know, I was over the moon with some delight of my own. All those hours of planning and working and laying in bed imagining fairy flowers through the nights had paid off. I still hear from that sweet customer from time to time and she sends me pictures of her beautiful little girl.
The hangers pictured in this post were shipped off to a customer in Brisbane, Australia yesterday. It will take approximately two weeks for them to reach her in the land down under. I am hoping she lets me know when they arrive and whether she likes them or not. The one with the sprigs of lavender and the tiny glass butterfly is a particular favorite of mine.
Of all the things in my life I am thankful for, I have to say, imagination ranks pretty high.

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
Albert Einstein

Friday, August 19, 2016


* firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action
in spite of difficulty or opposition.
* the continued or prolonged existence of something.

This is how I have come to feel about these fingerless mitts at this point. Persistent, firm and downright obstinate in my course of action in spite of any difficulty. When I get out of bed in the morning with my swollen and stiff joints they are staring me right in the face wanting something from me nonstop all day long. They have become my new best friend with their continued and prolonged existence in my life lately. Although my body wants to be difficult at times and provide some opposition, I remain determined to meet the quota I have set for myself as far as this particular item is concerned and I must say I am quite happy with the amount of work I have accomplished so far. The wire basket holds all of the color options of the adult sized mitts while the picture below shows my current choices for the girl size 6-8 mitts. There are other colors to choose from in this DK weight yarn but I haven't purchased any yet. After the Pumpkin Festival is over I will order more to bulk up my shop for Fall and Winter and to get ready for my Christmas Tea and Sale in December.
For now I chose the three colorways I liked best. I really love the soft lavender paired with the oatmeal color just as much as I do the beautiful shade of pink. Then for blue options I went with a nice bright one to compliment the oatmeal and a lovely soft sky blue with a blueish grey. I am really enjoying knitting them in this size. I especially love these soft colors. Just when I decide one pair is my favorite I make another and then it's my new favorite!
I think maybe Mercedes has a preference for the pink. She sure shows up to lend a paw every time I'm working with it. Then she refuses to move.
 Of course she seems to instinctively know the moment I so much as lay a finger on a knitting needle or a skein of yarn because she will surface from who knows what hidden depths of the house she's been hiding and napping in for hours so that she can pester the snot right out of me. I have to fight her off in order to work around her and keep only animal fibers that are meant to be in the yarn there, such as sheep or alpaca, versus cat hair. Trust me, I go over everything with a tape roller. But I really do keep her from touching things as best I can...
When I began making these fingerless mitts a few years ago this was the color combination I made my very first pair in. I took only three pairs to a craft sale at a local high school that Fall. Two pairs were for sale and one pair was a donation for them to raffle off to help raise money for the school. I realized right away I had stumbled onto a popular item when the retail pairs sold immediately and people were going bonkers trying to go home with the ones I donated for the raffle. Over the next month I had people calling me and showing up at my house wanting to custom order some for Christmas gifts. I've been making sure to stay well stocked on them every year when Autumn rolls around ever since. I already have several custom orders for them now for after this years Pumpkin Festival. It's a good thing I love to make them! As you can see they are knit flat on two needles then seamed up. I knit them on my favorite Knit Picks Rosewood Needles and love every stitch that goes into them. I don't even mind the seaming. I have always enjoyed finishing work. As I've mentioned before, people hire me to do their finishing work for them because some people do not enjoy it.
In the midst of all the constant knitting I still have packages to ship to customers as well. I have to say wrapping items to ready them for mailing is a favorite thing of mine. I feel like I'm getting a birthday gift all prettied up for someone. These two pieces of tissue paper went to the same customer a couple of days ago. They each contained a Laurel Hill Crochet Hook. I think when someone receives something in the mail they should be filled with delight when they open it even if they already know what's inside. Every little detail matters to me because every single person is of the utmost importance to me. So while I forge ahead on my persistent knitting path, I also take time to work on the small things that go into the work I do because I believe everyone's world needs to be warmed with beauty. 

"To follow, without halt, one aim:
there is the secret of success."
Anna Pavlova

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sky Blue Pink

When I step outside at the very moment the sun is beginning to make its decline into sleep to end yet another day in my life, I am always immediately silenced and rendered motionless by the incomparable beauty of a pink sunset. I love all sunsets but there's just something more breathtaking to me about a soft blue sky that's painted with streaks of pale pink clouds. It makes me feel instantly serene.
My grandfather, Grandpa George, called such a sunset "sky blue pink". It was a favorite of his too. He used to point pink sunsets out to his only son, my father, when they worked the land together on their farm. I imagine my grandfather saw too many of these sunsets to even count in his eighty five years of life. He grew up on a farm and then raised his own family on yet another farm. He rode the kind of tractor that was open to the air with no enclosure around him. Just him sitting in the open air surrounded by God's creation all the days of his life. He was a quiet, kindhearted, peaceful, Godly man who was gentle in every way. Oftentimes when I see a pink sunset I think of him and the many ways he made my childhood happy, secure and wholesome. He and my grandmother took me to their little country church. It was the old fashioned type with polished wood floors and pews that shown and smelled of lemons. There was a lovely steeple at its top. I loved everything about that church but the best things about it were its Pastor and its people. Those days of my childhood Sunday School, when I could feel the presence of God coursing through His people around me, will be forever engrained in my memory.
I also feel God all around me when I look up and behold such a wondrous sight in the evening sky. If you ask me how I know there is a God I will tell you this ...
Look at the sunrise, the sunset, the ocean as it waves and all of the forces of nature with all of their power and beauty. Stand completely still. Look, feel and breathe it all in. God created it all. Nothing so miraculous could ever take place accidentally. It's all too well ordered. That may seem simple but I believe our faith is meant to be simple. After all, aren't we told to come to Jesus as little children? {Matthew 18:1-5}. I really think we're meant to keep our childlike wonder throughout our lifetime.
I honestly believe that God intended for nature to teach us so many things about Him and ourselves. God likes beauty, order and all things in their own time. It is we humans who try to run ahead of God, ourselves and everything under the sun so much of the time to do ... What? I'm not always sure actually. Yes, there is much to be done on any and every given day, to be sure. However, there is a lot to be said for living in the moment and letting tomorrow care for itself. {Matthew 6:25-34}. When we try to live past today and this moment we miss so much. Not only do we miss the beauty of everything that surrounds us, but we also risk feeling disconnected from our family and most certainly from God. In order to hear the voice of God, we must sometimes be very still and silent. These are things that can be terribly challenging in this fast paced world of today. That's why I love nature so much. No matter what hour, day, month year or century it is, nature keeps her own pace. The pace God set for her. I think God set a pace for each one of us too and we spend a lifetime trying to figure it out or even reset it. We all have different callings on our lives and our own path we are supposed to take but the One Thing that is the same for all of us is the constancy of God. He is there, everywhere, whether we know it or not. He may seem at times to change but He never truly does. He remains the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be tomorrow. {Hebrews 13:8}.  We just need to breathe Him in and learn to see Him in everything. God cannot be separated from anything. He is in every birdsong, every breeze, every sunset and He continually envelops us with so much beauty and evidence of His presence because He wants us to really live life to the fullest and enjoy the blessings in our lives. So while you're going about all the many things you have to do today and tomorrow remember to take moments here and there to stand still and look up at the sunrise or sunset, listen to the birds, feel the breeze against your skin and give thanks to The One who created such incredible things with You in mind.
"Look to the birds of the air, that they do not sow,
nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet their heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?"
Matthew 6: 26,27

"... I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
John 10:10b

"Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Work in Progress

Getting ready for an upcoming event takes a lot of time and effort. It also involves more than my actual art form of knitting and crocheting. All of the items I am attempting to mass produce must be tagged for sale. For my larger items, especially garments that will be worn, I use these tags because they provide ample room on the back for me to handwrite the fiber content of the garment and the laundering instructions. I have always been a stickler about listing the exact contents of the fibers due to the fact there are so many people with sensitivities and allergies. I have such sensitive skin myself and I don't want someone to get home with something and have a reaction to it. However, my policy is that no sale is ever final. I am happy only if the customer is happy. Everything is returnable whether purchased online or in person. I will either give a full refund or remake the item. I just like to make people happy.
Since I have a preference for natural fibers, whether they are animal or plant based I feel it is extremely important for the laundering instructions to be included. A couple of years ago a friend of my mother in laws had a gorgeous hand knit cowl on. I mean it was truly gorgeous. It had beautiful cable work all over it. I was very impressed. When I asked where she got it, knowing she is not a knitter herself, she said she picked it up at a Craft Faire. I asked if the laundering instructions were included. She said, "No... I was just going to throw it in the washer and dryer with my clothes. Should I not do that?" She told me she had paid a rather good amount for it. I told her I was certain she had. And NO don't throw this in the machines! It has to be hand washed and laid flat to dry. I took one sniff of it and knew instantly it was Pure Wool, very soft wool, probably top of the line Merino Wool. Why someone didn't label that I will never know.
Here's the other thing: Work it, Sell it, Explain to your customers WHY that fine item they are holding in their hand is not priced like they are at a Garage Sale. This is NOT my Granny's Acrylic yarn Ladies {not that I ever say it in that way, mind you}.  If you want to be a professional at whatever you are doing then it's simple ...
Be Professional.
For my smaller items like stuffed pumpkins and bunnies that don't need special instructions I always have these tags made.
Basically all that's needed for these items is enough room to state what they are and their price.
As you can see I use an Etsy Shop called
Green Ridge Designs
for these tags.
For the larger tags shown in the first picture I use an Etsy Shop called
Morrell Décor
I have been ordering these same two designs from these same shops for the last few years and I love them. I can't say enough good about both shops. They do a beautiful job and the orders ship almost faster than I place them. Not only do I love being an Etsy Seller but I really do love to support other Etsy shop owners. There truly is not anything you cannot find on Etsy.
The pretty stamp with the pink glass rose that makes my beautiful shop logo on these hand stamped tags was custom made for me on yet another Etsy shop a few years ago. If you are ever looking for a stamp of any kind check out this shop
My Rubber Stamp
They have some awesome things.
So, I'm stamping and pricing and tagging.... but I'm still knitting and knitting and knitting.
My work basket is piling higher and higher and higher with more pairs of fingerless mitts.
And still I am working on adding to the stack.
As I mentioned recently I have added a Girls Size 6-8 to this popular line of  Fingerless Mitts for the first time because last Fall and Winter I had several requests for them. So far just the
Pink and Beige pair is listed on my shop with my sweet little neighbor girl modeling them for me.
This is Stella. She looks just like an Angel, doesn't she? She talks and acts like one too. She is daughter number two of the four Little Women who belong to my dear friend Erin who lives across the street from me. Her sweet sister Eliza, number three in Princess pecking order, is the one featured in my post that still remains my most popular post of all time. Having these beautiful girls across the street is a constant joy in our daily life. Scott and I love seeing them come and go. Such sweetness.
Stella was so good to model these mitts for me a few days ago.
She is 8 years old and tall for her age. The mitts were a perfect fit on her.
I have to admit, this pattern is probably my favorite. Making them in little girl size is really fun too.
I love the single chunky cable that runs up the center and the ribbing around the wrist and fingers. The texture on the palm side is nice as well.
The pattern tells you to change colors as shown and I enjoy playing around with various options for color combinations. These colors are called Kitten and Rhubarb. I love it. I just wish Knit Picks would make the same colors available in both weights of the City Tweed yarn. This Rhubarb Pink really works for me, especially with this particular shade of beige {Kitten}.
I have another pair in this size knit up already in Cobalt Blue and Kitten but don't have a picture yet. There will be more colors to come in this size including a beautiful light blue and soft lavender with a lovely grey {with a blue undertone} to play around with for border colors, as well as the beige.
There are two things I have discovered over the years. The first is this, selling in person is always very different than selling online. The customer base is surprisingly unique to that of the online one. That took me by surprise in the beginning as selling online was what I did first. I expected to be able to conduct business the same way but found out this isn't necessarily the case. I have realized that my Craft Faire customers gravitated toward very specific and select  items and they return each year looking for those items. I have one sweet young mommy that likes a particular baby hat I crochet so well that I have had to continue to tweak the pattern every year to her growing daughters measurements and custom make her a new hat exactly like last years. She shows up every year at the Pumpkin Festival for me to take measurements and write her order down in my book.
I love customers like that!
The second thing I discovered is this, when stocking my online shop variety can be a good thing. Lots of different items for people to choose from while they are shopping is helpful online. So, I went with the same mindset to my first few Craft Fair's and did real well but over time I began to notice, like I said, they choose the same things over and over. I actually sell better in person when I mass produce the few specific things I know people will be looking for {and here's the key} in as many different colors as possible.  People love color variety. Give them too many options of things and they can become overwhelmed but color options, now that's a different story. Everyone speaks that language.
Every year brings something new, however. New people along with the loyal repeats, unseen weather challenges {we are outdoors in individual tents} and never ending changes in fashion trends. Just trying to stay on top of it all takes a lot of work. It's the work behind the scenes that has been more work for me than the actual knitting and crocheting. Let's face it, that's the good stuff. I can do that in my sleep at this point. Actually, I darn near do at this point. The rest of it though, I have to figure out as I go along. Believe me, I am still a work in progress on that end of things!

"Always walk through life as though you have something new to learn
and you will."
Vernon Howard

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Beautiful Land of Life

Over the weekend we celebrated two birthdays. Our son in law Eric, who is married to our youngest daughter Chelsea, turned another year older on Saturday, while our oldest daughter Hilary, will have her birthday this coming Saturday. We enjoy having one big party when we can. It's always so much fun to get everyone together. This time Chelsea held the party at her house.
I baked Hilary's favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting and Chelsea baked Eric's request, a chocolate cake with Oreo Cookie frosting. It was a big hit with the children who were present. See Hilary blowing those candles out with all her might? Well, what she soon discovered was that her mother put some of those fun trick candles on her cake so they just kept relighting themselves.
She just kept blowing and blowing and Eric kept laughing and laughing. I think it took her a few minutes to realize what kind of candles they were because I don't usually use those. It took her by surprise. I love how something so simple can be so much fun. We didn't think they would ever go out. Eric even called for a glass of water to douse them in but before it arrived they finally went out and stayed out. There was so much laughter ringing around the table that Archer came along to climb up on his Mommy's lap and see what all the hubbub was about.
He got there just as the candles finally gave up the ghost.
I think he enjoyed the massive smoke they left behind quite a bit though.
We also had Parker and Archer at our house recently. We love every opportunity to have both of them at the same time. They are incredibly cute together.
I love to sit them next to each other at the dining room table.
Two little men, side by side.
Before they left for home they had to water Grammy's plants on the front porch.
I mean seriously, how cute can they be?
I love any event or celebration that brings any or all of my family together under one roof. Although our family is relatively small in comparison to so many others, and we all live in the same area, it is surprisingly difficult to coordinate everyone's schedules. So when it does work out it seems like even more of a celebration. Just being together is pure heaven to me. It makes my heart soar. It's one more precious memory stored up for a rainy day. The collective sound of their laughter and their voices is like music. As the clock ticks the time away when we are together, I look around and observe each one of them in turn. I see their beautiful faces, shadows of past generations in fresh, new life, and my soul rejoices with the sheer knowledge that they are mine.
I love watching my children love and care for their own children. It gives me a deep down satisfaction unlike anything else. Sometimes I feel that surely there is too much here for one heart to hold. Then suddenly I am aware that all of these things add up to an extremely beautiful life.

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life."
Albert Einstein

Sunday, August 7, 2016

My Day Job

Once I say goodbye to July and hello to August it means I have to get incredibly serious about my knitting. Although I work throughout the year to get ready for the Pumpkin Festival that comes to town in mid September I am never exactly as prepared as I would like to be. The fact I am also trying to stock an online shop adds to the need to keep on top of it. Plus being sick most of June and all through July this year didn't help me in my endeavor to be as productive as I usually am. So by this point if I'm not sleeping I'm knitting, believe me. It is truly a full time job all day, every day.... 24/7. My work comes to the breakfast table with me and so starts my day.
That's one thing I love best of all about knitting and crocheting. They are so completely portable. I have been taking my mother in law to doctor's appointments lately and my knitting bag just goes along. At one visit to the cardiologist there was another lady in the waiting room knitting a gorgeous multicolored blanket. So at least I'm in good company when I look like a bag lady everywhere I go these days.
Oftentimes when I am preparing for an upcoming event I mass produce a particular item, such as these fingerless mitts, because I know what my top sellers are and what my customers will be looking for. I can never make enough of these particular mitts.
Even Parker loves them. He was absolutely delighted when he was here early this week and discovered an entire basket of "mittens"! He climbed right up on my kitchen table before I knew what was happening and started ransacking my basket then lining his arms with them as fast as he could move, giggling all the time. I turned around from the kitchen sink to see this already in progress. Man they are fast at this age!  He was somewhat less delighted when he realized Grammy was not going to let him get down and run all over the house to play with his toys while wearing his new mittens however. But that's the way the cookie crumbles Little Dude.
Like most yarn enthusiasts, I have many different bags to work with. Most of us can't seem to help ourselves. The knitting bag addiction is secondary only to that of the irresistible, constant obsessive need we have for yarn and needles. I used to feel slightly guilty when I bought yet another knitting bag {notice I said slightly}. As the years have gone by though, I have to say I see the upside to having options in this very important area of my life.
First of all, fiber art, whether it be knitting or crochet is my day job. There are certain times when I need a break from it and make the decision to leave it at home but I have to admit that almost never happens. It most definitely does not happen once August rolls around. I will come home from the Pumpkin Festival with a book full of custom orders. Then I will be working towards my Christmas Tea and Sale that takes place the first Saturday in December in my home and there's always my online shop to keep stocked. Once Fall hits I am off and running. The knitting bag is very essential and it has to go with me. I should say here too, I really, really love my day job. It's my passion; my dream and it truly is art to me. When my hands are not busy creating it, my mind is pondering and planning and at night I am dreaming of it. Sometimes that can be exhausting but most of the time I love every single thing about it.
So, getting back to variety. I recently pulled this particular bag out again for various reasons. It's a really good choice for my current project size, it has a flat bottom so it will sit on a floor next to me easily, the round bamboo handles make it easy to carry, it's lightweight, it's roomy enough for a water bottle, there's a zipper pocket and a cell phone pocket inside, a clipboard with my pattern fits inside it and it is pretty. The right bag for the right job really does make a big difference as far as I am concerned. I have had this bag for several summer's. It's made by Longaberger, the basket company.
Another perk is when I notice that my current knitting project just happens to match my chosen bag. For those of us who love to build an outfit around our accessories, this is just the frosting on our cake. Over the last couple of years these cabled fingerless mitts have become my top selling item of all time. Like I have already mentioned, I can't make enough of them. They are the most popular requested item for custom orders for Christmas in my local sales.
This year I decided I would add child sized mitts to my line also. Just by using the same pattern, going down two needle sizes and knitting with a DK weight versus the Worsted weight this is very easily achieved. Little girls love fingerless mitts too. I've had a few requests for them in this size so I hope they sell as well as the adult sized mitts.
You may have noticed there are three rosewood needles pictured along with this mitt. I actually knit these up on size US 5 (3.75mm) needles. The pattern tells you to "bind off tightly". As I've said before, I have rheumatoid disease, therefore I do everything I can to put as little as possible stress on all of my joints, especially my hands. I work with them all day every day and it stresses them already. They swell and throb sometimes as it is and are always stiff and locked in place every morning. Well, as we all know, necessity is the mother of invention. I discovered ages ago that instead of trying to crank the stitches on tighter, which causes further stress to my fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders, all I have to do is grab one smaller knitting needle to bind off with. For example if I am knitting on size 5 needles I pick up a size 4 (3.5mm) needle in my right hand to start binding off. So the live stitches are still on the size 5 needle and I am using a size 4 needle in my other hand. It seems simple. It seems like it wouldn't make any difference. Believe me when I tell you it works every single time. There's no need to try to tighten things up. It just happens naturally. Maybe many of you already know and do this. If not, give it a try and let me know what you think. Also, for a "loose bind off", grab a needle one size larger and the same concept will work.
I have to share the lovely surprise I received at the end of the week. On Friday a Knit Picks shipment arrived on my doorstep that I was not expecting because I didn't order it. My dad recently heard me talking about being out of my stash of  Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted Organic Yarn. I stated that I wanted to restock in order to continue to make items to donate to the Peoria Cancer Center. Without me knowing it, he placed an order for a dozen skeins and had them shipped directly to me.
My dad does this sort of thing from time to time. He loves to make Knit Picks purchases for me. He has been a fabulous supporter of my home based business. He enjoys seeing what I am working on when he's around. He also makes an appearance at my booth every year at the Pumpkin Festival. This time he wanted to help support my efforts to donate to a very worthy cause. How wonderful it is to have someone who understands our dreams.

"I dream my painting and I paint my dream."
Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Nearness of God

I have jokingly said at times that I was raised up in the middle of a cornfield or that I am from a cornfield. What this really means is that I was born and have lived my entire life in Illinois surrounded by cornfields. My paternal grandparents were farmers. My cousins and I spent many happy childhood days running through cornfields, hiding from each other, calling out, laughing and sometimes getting a little turned around and lost within those long swaying stalks of corn. We spent every Sunday on the farm running free in the summer sunshine, climbing the ancient apple tree that seemed to be stretching her arms out and waiting for us like an old friend year after year. When it got too hot we sought shade under the wispy waving branches of the massive weeping willow tree. Three little girls without a care in the world, breathing in the fresh country air as though it were the very breath of God.
We were floating in a world that knew no time.
Every time I drive down a country road it takes me back to those days of sweet childhood. I am captured by cornstalks rustling on the breeze and ditches with their abundant growth of wildflowers.
One glimpse and a sudden scent of corn on the breeze and I am there again...
Carefree and timeless.
In a place where all that mattered was that day and that moment.
But isn't that the wonder of childhood?
Well, it's the innocence of childhood, for certain but I think as adults we should still be this way. I believe we should still have that sense of awe and wonder deep within us that causes us to stop and realize this is it. This day. This moment. This is it. There is magic in this day and this moment. Maybe then we might be a bit more carefree like that little child we once were. We might once again be able to see with our heart and soul as well as our eyes the way God intended.
So as I drive down those country roads just less than five minutes from my house, I wander back in time when my eyes behold an abundance of wildflowers as far as I can see, dancing in the breeze with butterflies keeping time, and I am suddenly aware of the very nearness of God. So much so, that I have to pull over and get out. There I am, all alone standing on the side of the road. Who knows what people passing by are thinking. Who cares really because I am caught up in the moment.
In this day, this moment.
I just need to see and feel and breathe it all in...
So I walk a little closer because I want to touch this white frilly softness.
The Queen Anne's Lace, with it's profusion of tiny white delicate blossoms, has always been my favorite.  
I get a closer look at the butterflies as they flutter and move from one flower to the next. There are several of them in different kinds. All going about their business. Enjoying the sunshine and flowers.
I peer down at them. They don't know I am here. They are like those three little girls of long ago, floating in a world that knows no time. All they need is the nearness of God and the goodness of this day; this very moment.
To them each day holds its own goodness; its own sweetness. They don't worry about tomorrow. Sometimes I just want to be like a butterfly, I think.
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works."
Psalm 73:28