Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Nature of God

  Through the many harmonies of nature we are constantly 
being refreshed, renewed and reborn.
  It is an avenue, a conduit, God uses for our continual
 healing, personal growth and forward motion in life.
 As I stood at my kitchen sink early this morning,
looking out at a familiar scene that has given me
 great comfort for over thirty years now, 
my heart quickened and I was lost in a reverie of pure joy.
For there in the distance, across the yards to the back of me,
standing with great majesty in the hazy sky, 
are a pair of old trees I've known and loved for years.
I've watched each season change their crowning glory
 all these decades, and today they have signaled to me, 
even through the gloom that cloaked them like a shroud,
 that Spring is about to touch my weary and thirsty soul again.
I was so happy to see that these lovely old trees are clothed
 all over once again with a sprinkling of tiny buds of red.
Immediately the Psalms rose up in me...
"O clap your hands, all peoples; 
Shout to God with the voice of joy." Psalm 47:1
"Let the field exult, and all that is in it,
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy..." Psalm 96:12
And so the cycle begins again. Freshness, newness and rebirth.
I am clapping my hands and singing, along with the trees,
in a joyful voice to God with great thankfulness.
I am reminded, even in the cool grey dampness of a March day,
 that God has His hand on everything and just as the new dawn
                                    of yet another Springtime is gently starting to unfurl, 
He will always lead us out of the wintertime of our souls. 
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 
If you have woundedness, loneliness, brokenness or despair of any kind, 
take the time to listen to nature and you will hear the voice of God.
He speaks to us in the rustle of the pines, the chatter of the squirrels,
the ebb and flow of the seasons, the hush of a new fallen snow,
 and the soft stillness of a moonlit night.
 He calls to us, He teaches us, He loves us beyond measure.
His ways are not our ways. We spend our days caught up in worry.
He offers salvation, hope, restoration and peace.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled,
 neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27
God created so many things in the natural world to
benefit our hearts, spirits and souls, if we would just take time
to slow down and observe and absorb His presence all around us.
In perfect stillness I watch a hawk gliding through the sky.
What utter grace and beauty and peace.
Then it hits me afresh...
God's Word says I am even more valuable
than this glorious creature. I am humbled anew.
But there's more to that portion of scripture. 
He is also using the birds of the air to teach us not to worry.
{Matthew 6:26}
He wants us to look to nature and see Him; fully know Him.
Through the trees he tells us, though the branches are barren for a season,
He breathes new life into them as they continue to reach up to Him.
He shows us that, as the clouds turn from ominous grey to billowy white,
they roll away and reveal a bright blue sky that is fresh and new and clean.
These elements of earth and nature are our examples. 
They were designed for a purpose by a Father who loves us.
"But ask the animals and they will teach you, 
or the birds in the sky,
and they will tell you; or speak to the earth,
 and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
 In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
Job 12:7-10

We all have unique ways that God speaks to us through nature.
I would like to encourage you to seek quiet new ways
 to meet Him in this vast, glorious world He has given us.
You just might be amazed at what it will do for you.
Sometimes it brings poetry out of me so fast I have to 
capture it with pen and paper before it fly's away forever.
I'll leave you with a recent example and a hope
 that you will begin to touch the heart of God 
in new and deep ways in the days ahead.



There will be peace
In the valley of my soul
As it reaches toward that place
Of beauty and wonder once more.

My heedless heart wanders;
Restless to the core,
As it seeks verdant hills,
Holding memories from distant shores.

I stand open, trembling and free.
Your breath whispers in soft breezes
Of pine needles blowing
Over, under and all around me.

My eyes cling to barren trees,
Reaching, clawing in their nakedness
Through winter's forsaken sky,
Pleading in their supplication.

We search this world together,
Longing for our healing touch.
Till evening cloaks us both in softness
And blackness hovers all around.

Finally you find me in the darkness,
Weaving stars throughout my hair.
Stars of hope eternal
And love that knows no end.

You cover me in moonglow.
How very like you to blanket me
With the brightness of your glory
In the Winter of my soul.

Danette Bartelmay
February 2019

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Every Perfect Gift

If you've been a long time friend of mine here,
you may notice I've made just a few changes recently. 
As of April 2nd Google Plus will shutdown,
therefore I updated my profile and returned to using Blogger this week.
 My profile was long overdue for a serious tweaking so that's a good thing.
 One thing that might not be so good however,
is that I seem to have issues with comments while using Blogger.
 I have people telling me they try repeatedly
to post a comment to my blog and are unable to do so.
 So if this is happening to you, I am so sorry!
Actually, this was happening with Google+ sometimes as well.
 I'm not sure what the problem is or what to do about it.
 But I will continue to try to figure it out.
I may decide to switch everything to Wordpress in the future.
 It's something I have considered and am still mulling over.
Another recent change is the addition of a Sponsorhip 
tab at the top of the page for you to click on if you are 
interested in contacting me to promote your business or products.
You can refer to the Sponsorship page
 then contact me via email for more details.
I've been blogging for over a decade at this point and I have
thousands of readers and followers around the world. 
I would love to be an avenue that helps you gain more exposure
 for your business by helping you to grow your online presence.
Over the years I've taken, and excelled in, many college classes 
in writing and am currently taking more to further hone my skills.
I also plan to take professional photography classes in the near future.
It is my belief that when we all work side by side,
 bringing our individual and unique talents and gifts together, 
we can accomplish amazing things that make the world
 a better and more beautiful place for all of us.
We are creatures of togetherness and as such,
we were created to build one another up; 
to unlock and enhance the potential in each other.
Every single thing we have in this life is a gift
that must be valued and offered wholeheartedly to others.
No matter what our specific set of skills,
 talents or gifts may be, we are meant to use them to
 build the Kingdom of God and further humankind.
Each of us has a light within waiting to be sparked.
Our lights shine more brightly as they absorb and reflect
 the energy from other creative, talented individuals.
Together we are stronger, healthier and happier.
It's the only way our gifts ever truly reach total fruition. 
As human beings we were designed to
 complement one another and work together.
I am thankful every time I log onto this blog
 and read your comments and see the overwhelming 
amount of views and readers I have every day.
Your presence here matters so much to me. 
Thank you for shining your light into my world.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
Helen Keller

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above,
 coming down from the Father of lights,
 with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." 
James 1:17

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Sands of Time

Have you ever felt that the sands of time flow incredibly fast?
It certainly seems like it to me as I peer into the faces of my grandchildren
and see two little girls giggling together on a swing set mere moments ago,
only to realize they are now the grown up mothers of these precious young things.
 I hear and feel the redolent echo's of their long ago laughter 
embodied in these fresh, youthful souls. 
What went on in daily slow motion now feels
 as though it all happened too quickly somehow.
The hand of time stretched out, the hourglass was flipped,
 and suddenly...
 I was no longer the mommy in charge of wiping away tears,
chasing butterflies in the sunshine, reading bedtime stories,
saying prayers and giving goodnight kisses, as I tucked 
blankets up to those sweet sleepy faces each night.
While I was living and breathing those days;
the days of raising my own two girls, I had no idea
of the passage of time or the day to day progress being made.
We were just simply living life.
 The good, the bad, the messy and the in betweenness of it all.
 The ordinary and the extraordinary.
As a mother I just kept on keeping on, like we do.
Time kept on moving like it does too and before I knew it,
after what felt like no time at all, those little rosebud daughters had 
blossomed into the most beautiful full grown flowers I had ever seen.
I hear the word, "Mommy, Mommy...Mom".
I turn to look and there before me stands a little girl, a teenager, a woman.
Where did the time go so suddenly?
Ahh... but it's still here, right here with me.
I see it and feel it and sometimes even smell it.
It's in my mind's eye on a quiet day,
 as I stand at the sink looking out
 across a backyard that once held a swing set...
It's in the glow of three faces that look to me now calling out, "Grammy"!
My heart is still captured, carrying me backwards, by snatches of fairy stories,
 remnants of songs, and the fresh smell of laundry hanging to dry,
as I stand there again with two laughing girls chasing each other in and out of 
the sheets as they hang on the line in the warm summer sunshine. 
And the true joy of it all is that it never really ends.
It just becomes redefined and continually refined as those
lovely jewels we raise up come into their own, find their way
in this world, spread those glorious wings and fly...!
Layer upon layer upon layer, our relationships with them and to them change.
It is a bond that needs perpetual nurturing for an entire lifetime of blooming.
This love we share with our adult children is multi-faceted.
It grows and develops in a whole new dimension.
Although we are not needed in the same childlike ways we once were
for them, we are still needed in their lives and in their hearts.
They often enjoy our company and sometimes seek our advice.
Thankfully, they have reached that time of valuing our opinion, finally.
 And our need for them has experienced a metamorphosis of its very own.
We have been relieved of the primary care and responsibility for them
and yet we still need, on some level, to be needed by them. 
Or maybe it's more that we need for them to know that 
we are always here if and when they have need for us. 
I love the way mothering has grown me as a person.
How it has changed me and continues to do so.
I know so many different things about the world around me, 
other people and myself than I ever did all those years ago,
all because of this one vital, life-giving role in my life.
I love knowing that my daughters are on this same journey.
They are each taking their individual paths in their own ways.
Just as it did for me and my mother before me,
one day the hourglass will suddenly be flipped over and
 the sands will slowly start to release a new beginning
 into the wonder of their lives,
 as they step into truths that can be known only
 by the living and never by the being told.
 They too will be captured in moments when sights,
 sounds or smells transport them back to the childhood 
sweetness of their own offspring and maybe even further back
to the days when they were the ones laughing, swinging, chasing
and knowing nothing but the beauty of this moment.
I hope they will find me there, waiting in a continual circle of love.
 For memories are not bound by the flow of sand
 and love will always be stronger than time.
"Of Roses and Bunnies"

Of roses and bunnies
And sweet childhood days,
When time was our friend
And life was just play.

We skipped in the sunshine 
And splashed through the rain,
As we chased in a land
Where time knew no end.

There were teacups and cartwheels
And butterflies and bugs;
Laughter and bike rides
And tears that brought hugs.

Oh how I'd love to go back 
If just for one day,
To that sweet land of roses,
Bunnies and childhood play.

~ Danette Bartelmay

Friday, March 8, 2019

Creativity Connected

I love the fact that we live in a vast world rich with diversity, color and creativity.
There's a never ending abundance of artforms for our enjoyment and use.
I am constantly amazed by the talent of others, those things which inspire them,
the mediums they choose and the unique outcome of their endeavors.
Today I have some gorgeous results to show you of what can 
happen when two totally separate forms of creativity come 
together to make some truly beautiful artistic design.
I have the most exquisite cookies for you to see,
 along with the two completely different sources of 
creative genius that it took coming together to create them.
First, let's talk about that delightful shimmering gold
 buffalo check pattern that's on these delectable cookies.
  Every artist must have the perfect set of tools and oftentimes 
the tools themselves are works of art, in and of themselves,
such as those required to make the various motifs
you'll see pictured on the cookies throughout this post.
This gorgeous work was accomplished by using a variety of 
 precision laser cut cookie stencils by Stencil Revolution.
This fantastic company is a small, family-owned operation based in
 sunny Spring Hill, Florida, where every item is made to perfection, 
packaged with great care and shipped on time.
This takes a team of people who put their heart and soul into it.
That's what I love about a family run business, they work hard together
to give every step of the process their personal touch, ensuring that each
 customer reaps the benefits of their creativity and cohesive teamwork.
You can see their happy faces and read their story right here.
You can't get such detailed results unless the stencils
 are cut by someone with an artistic eye who also 
cares about putting out the best product possible.
Just look at those magnificent scales on the mermaid tails
 that were achieved by using the Fish Scale Cookie Stencil.
And look at the detailed woodgrain pattern of the
How fun would it be to create your very own beach themed 
party with the use of these spectacular stencils?! 
The possibilities are endless!
They have so many more fantastic stencils for things other than cookies too.
Like the breathtaking Mandala Stencils that come in different styles and sizes.
There are two of these beauties that are my very favorites.
 Probably because they remind me of giant crocheted doilies.
My absolute first favorite is the Harmony Mandala
 but I also really, really love the Bliss Mandala.
Okay, so is it the whole crochet connection for me,
or am I just feeling the peaceful vibes from the thought of 
painting some harmony and bliss into my daily life...?
I think I just might find out in the future because I'm already
scoping out an area and dreaming of the colors...
One other stencil that I really love and already have is the
  I plan to show it to you in an upcoming post in the early Autumn,
 once I've done something completely awesome with it.
I have it in an 18"x12" size. As with the Mandala's, 
all of their stencils are available in several different sizes.
As for the cookie artist who worked her magic
 on these over the top, sweet confections, 
that would be my extremely talented sister, Bridget.
Nobody can take a little of this, a little of that
add a pinch of sugar here and there and end up with 
something that will enchant all of the senses like she can.
She's as remarkable as Mary Poppins with her bag full of goodies.
This world of ours is a truly astonishing place.
For all it's great breadth of many cultures and people,
we continue to find sensational new ways every day 
to connect to one another so beautifully,
 so perfectly, and sometimes even magically, 
in our own individual forms of creativity.
It connects us heart to heart across all boundaries.
 Sometimes it takes your work of art in
order for me to make my form of magic.
 Now tell me that's not a fantastic design.

"Creative collaboration is awesome."
Alicia Silverstone

"Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something,
they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it,
they just saw something.
It seemed obvious to them after a while."
Steve Jobs

*This post is kindly sponsored by Stencil Revolution.
All sentiments and stencil selections are my own.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Let Us Dance

March is the time of in between. That time that cannot make up its mind.
In early Roman days it was the first month of the year. 
January and February had no place as of yet,
 making it a ten month calendar year. 
The new year began on March 1st 
and in many cultures and religions
is still celebrated as such to this day.
Why was this the case for the long ago Roman civilization? 
Because the hardships of winter were finally over, 
meaning they could return to the battlefields of war.
Today, March is the month that blesses us, once again, 
with the glories of an all encompassing,
 long anticipated Spring.
In the great order of the universe,
it perpetually brings back the fresh renewal of life.
For me there's always a return to bunny knits 
like the organic cotton baby hats
that I enjoy creating for little ones over and over. 
I don't know what it is,
 but there's something about seeing bunny ears 
on top of a child or infant sized head
 that just captures my heart and puts a smile on my face.
The joy of the process is in the finishing details
 of choosing the color for each crocheted rose,
whether to use a creamy glass pearl in the center
or a sparkly iridescent Swarovski crystal 
 and what type of ribbon to tie around the ears.
This particular March is bringing me back around to something else.
Something that was deep inside me long before I ever touched that first 
strand of yarn or took up my first set of knitting needles or crochet hook.
It has been embedded into the fiber of my being from the very beginning
and has always coexisted with all else I've done in life,
whether I chose to ignore it or give it voice...
My abiding love for the written word.
Reading it, yes, but what I mean here is writing it.
So in February I made a decision to nurture this part of myself again.
Now that March has arrived, bearing its promise of rebirth,
I am finding myself settling into the tempo of taking
 online courses with a goal of honing my writing skills
and eventually having some works published
 in the forms of poetry and freelance writing.
I spend my days in a merry dance of knitting, reading and writing.
This is an easy fit for me, as these are my favorite things to do already.
But it's been a lot of years since I had to do the reading and writing
part as assignments that will be graded by an instructor or professor.
Also, over the last few years, 
the knitting has worked itself into a full time job.
Therefore, getting all of these things accomplished, 
as well as living a packed full life in general,
is like watching my graceful granddaughter
as she performs a beautiful ballet.
It all has to flow in rhythmic step together.
I am currently taking three classes and am learning
once again the importance and value of time management.
It's all a bit challenging but I find myself loving every single moment.
I feel like I am in the early Springtime of my personal journey.
There is a road of adventure and growth in every step.
Words chase each other around and around inside my head
all day and night until I grab hold of them and work them into 
the order they are begging for.
Knitting, reading, writing...
Knitting, reading, writing...
This is the dance I am doing these days.
The song of my here and now soul...
The dance of my once and future heart.
"Let us read,
and let us dance;
these two amusements will never 
do any harm to the world."
~ Voltaire

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Essence of February

February is a month full of promise.
It gives us love and it gives us hope. 
 We inhale the glorious aroma of flowers everywhere we go.
 Chocolates and hearts are arrayed in abundance. 
Valentine's Day awakens new depths in us.
Much of Winter's cold dormancy is moving behind us and 
we are once again able to look forward to the freshness of Spring.
Yet even in our dreamy days of hope,
 we are still experiencing weeks of snow,
freezing rain and frigid temperatures.
We need to bundle up in warm layers for just a bit longer.
So I decided before I set my needles to more Springtime makes
 like little bunnies and darling hats with bunny ears,
I would make this pair of fingerless mitts
 I've been wanting to knit for quite some time.
I have to admit, about five minutes into knitting them,
I knew I wasn't going to be able to part with this exquisite creation.
The decision to keep something is a temptation I seldom succumb to.
However, this time I surrendered myself to the essence of February...
that mystical, age old, enticing allure of the month of romance.
The heady combination of heathered pink along with
 the sublime softness of baby alpaca totally beguiled me.
It whispered sweet nothings as the fiber caressed my fingers
and I fell instantly and wholeheartedly in love.
Not only does my heart always skip a beat over lacework,
 especially if it includes vining leaves,
but the extra unique details in this pattern are pure poetry to my soul.
The 1x1 ribbing along the edging adds a more delicate finish 
than a 2x2 ribbing would,
mainly because it's worked up on tiny needles.
 What a beautiful stitch definition this gives.
Well Done designer.
 Speaking of which,
 you can find the pattern for
 Countess Mitts
Another detail that I find so lovely is the gentle curve that naturally occurs 
across the top of the hand and then again below the wrist on the top of each mitt.
The palm side of the mitts is done in stockinette stitch
 and ends up straight rather than curved in these two areas.
 The pattern calls for 2 balls of Blue Sky Alpacas
Royal Petites but I used 2 skeins of
 Knit Picks Andean Treasure in Dogwood Heather.
Although the suggested needle size is a 2 (2.75mm)
 I knit my pair on US Size 1.5 (2.5mm)
double pointed needles in order to obtain the proper gauge.
Adding to their overwhelming appeal is the elegant length of them.
They come down a good 4 inches beyond my wrist, 
making them a total of 8 sumptuous inches long.
How do I love them?
Let me count the ways...
They are super soft, extremely warm and lavishly feminine.
Let me just say I am so happy I let them seduce me
 into having them to keep all for my very own.
As the months continue to dance their way in and out of our lives,
I suggest we grab hold of that quintessential perfect love
 February brings to us before she waltz's away for another year.
We should hold it close and nurture it so the fragrance lingers.
Not only would we be more expansive in the ways we love those we love,
but we might begin to understand and learn to savor the essential beauty 
of saying yes to things that fill us with wonder and delight.
For the essence of deep, abiding love
 is a thing that must start within oneself
before it can fully bloom into a thing of beauty for others.
"When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier."
Diane Von Furstenberg

"Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners."
William Shakespeare

Friday, February 15, 2019

There Is More To Life

Do you have people in your life who refresh you?
You know the kind of people I mean. 
Every experience you have with them
takes you to a deeper level of yourself,
while at the same time stretching you beyond self.
Contact with these touchstone people is always
enriching to us far beyond the beauty of the moment.
 The time spent with these individuals can be
anything from brief and lighthearted fun
 to talk of the serious things
life is currently throwing our way.
We share our greatest joys with these special friends
and we call them when our world suddenly shifts.
They say things like:
I'm leaving the house now...
I'll be there soon...
If they're long distance they send us texts:
I'm praying...
 How can I pray for you today?...
In the ebb and flow of our life
they are there... giving;
always, always giving from the part
of themselves that is real.
Each time they leave that essence of realness with us
 we store it up and treasure it, allowing it to strengthen us.
Over the years we can look back and see that we have been fortified
 along the way by these little sparkles of selfless love and energy that
God has breathed out through these incredible human vessels
 just when we have needed it the most.
It has revived us when we were weary.
We live in an age of so much that needs to be done
all of the time and as we find ourselves longing for rest,
we also find the to do list growing longer and longer.
But we need to carve out times of true rest for ourselves.
Precious moments spent in the presence
 of the One who created us.
Days and hours to relax, laugh, even cry
with these remarkable people
 God has so graciously blessed our lives with.
Relationships take time and energy and love.
As Gandhi said,
"There is more to life than merely increasing its speed."
We should be savoring life.
We cannot do that without being refreshed,
which starts with a very simple yet increasingly
hard thing to do...
Our rest begins at the feet of Jesus who says,
 "Come to me all who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28
In his book,
Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight
in our Busy Lives,
Wayne Muller says,
"The human spirit is naturally generous:
the instant we are filled, our first impulse is to be useful,
to be kind, to give something away...
Once people feel nourished and refreshed,
they cannot help but be kind; just so,
the world aches for the generosity of a well-rested people."
He goes further to say...
"When we cease our daily labor, other things -
love, friendship, prayer, touch, singing, rest -
can be born in the space created by our rest."

This weekend I hope you are able to start thinking of ways
to implement rest and moments of refreshment into your life.
We can't give out what we don't have to give.
I am so blessed to be on the receiving end of so many people
who are daily here for me with their love and encouragement.
I know that I must also have periods of vital rest
so in their time of need I am the one able to offer them
 the cup of refreshment
 they have so often let me drink freely from.
"Fervently love one another from the heart..."
1 Peter 1:22

"Just to be is a blessing.
Just to live is holy."
Rabbi Abraham Heschel

Friday, February 8, 2019

Fresh Friday... The Measure of Achievement

With Valentine's Day just around the corner
I thought I'd share a little something sweet today
in case you would like something new to make for your
Sweetheart this year or even as a gift for a special friend.
But I warn you...
Once you take a tiny nibble just to sample these delightful
confections, you may have a hard time parting with them!
They are quick and easy to whip up and really do melt in your mouth.
So here goes...

Vegan Melt Away Shortbread Cookies

1 1/3 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp. Cornstarch
3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
3/4 Cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter {I used the Sticks}
1 Tbsp. Vegan Cream OR Soy OR Almond Milk
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
With mixer cream butter and sugar together till smooth and whipped.
Add in cream or milk and vanilla.
Sprinkle flour, cornstarch & salt over butter mixture.
Mix till just combined.
Do not overmix or texture will be compromised.
Drop dough by 1-2 tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
Roll dough into individual balls.
Press with a fork.
Decorate cookies with sprinkles.
{Mine are sprinkled very lightly with pink sugar}
Bake 12-15 minutes.
They don't need to "brown" to be done cooking.
Check them at 12 minutes and go from there.

Today's post is Short & Sweet...Literally.

I'll be back next week to show you the pretty bit of
pink lacework that is currently on my knitting needles.
Until then I'll leave you with some wise words from the
Master Chef herself because I think it applies to everything.

"The measure of achievement
is not in winning awards,
It's doing something that you appreciate,
something you believe is worthwhile."
- Julia Child

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Alpaca Love

My current knitting love affair is with Alpaca.
For those of you who have either
 knitted with this sumptuous fiber
yourself or have been the recipient
 of a gift made in alpaca or baby alpaca,
you totally understand the allure.
Alpaca is softness personified.
As it floats through my fingers...
 I lose myself in a daydream.
I feel the tension rising up and leaving my
 body as my mind relaxes into the rhythm
of needles while this delicate fiber dances along,
 whispering in soothing motions to my soul.
Quite happily, my last couple of custom orders
called for either Alpaca or Baby Alpaca.
The hat on the left is made using Knit Picks
in Alma, which is a soft creamy almond color.
Though it comes in hank form and I have two yarn swifts,
sometimes I find the slow process of 
hand winding yarn into a ball very soothing,
which is why you see it that way as opposed  to a yarn cake.
What I really love about this fiber is that it is unbelievably soft.
Also it is undyed and unbleached meaning that all the colors are 
naturally occurring and there are no chemicals involved,
making it a wonderful choice for sensitive skin. 
This was the first time I had used this particular alpaca yarn
 and I ordered only the one hank to see how I would like it. 
I've already decided I will be using it from now on.
The smaller hat on the right is knit from
 Andean Treasure, one of my favorite
Baby Alpaca's that I've used many times from Knit Picks.
This yarn is a Sport Weight. 
The hat is made in the color Fog Heather and I used
Dogwood Heather to crochet the little rose
for the larger hat to girlie it up.
While we're on the subject of "girlie-ness"
you'll see I've sewn a glass pearl into the center of the rose
for that extra touch of sweet femininity.
There's a pair of booties to go along with the grey hat.
This smaller set is for a baby boy. 
I love the versatility of the cable knit ear flap baby hats and booties
because I can knit them for either a baby girl or boy.
Over the years I've used wool, wool blends, 
organic cotton and cotton blends
to make these hats and booties.
Sometimes I sell them in sets and other times individually.
They are oftentimes my go to baby gift for family and friends.
My grandkids came home from the hospital in them.
I have to say I love them best in the alpaca or baby alpaca.
What a perfect way to combine two of my favorite things;
knitting for babies and knitting with alpaca.
As heavenly as these luxury fibers are to work with,
the real moment of pure ecstasy happens when the
item is all finished and I run my hands over it
and even gently squish it around.
There are times I even make my family
 give a little squeeze to the hats
 because I just love that divine feeling so much!
I'm telling you,
 if you don't work with Alpaca, 
you are missing out!
It's a whole mind, body, spirit experience
 as far as I'm concerned.
Also, it is absolutely perfect for delicate
baby skin that has just arrived fresh from God
and needs to be kept warm and snuggly.
Alpaca isn't prickly like wool and contains no lanolin,
causing garments made from it to be comfortable and hypoallergenic.
It's also warmer than wool and naturally water - repellant.
So if you have a little one in your life
or feel the need to wrap yourself in the 
most incredible softness you've ever known,
 I recommend you try some of this fabulous fiber.
I promise,  your heart will be blessed either way.

"Babies are such a nice way to start people."
Don Herold