Sister Shawl Saga: Part I Finished

It definitely came out a bit larger than I had intended, but I did have a lot of fun making it. Once I’m finished with mine, I will write up the story that goes with it. I have until Spring to get it done so that I can send it to my sister for her birthday. I’m really excited and also have no idea if she will like it. Although, she once said to me she would wear anything I made her. Which, of course, made me tear up.

The beginning of the shawl. I started them at the campsite. There is almost nothing better than sitting in the sun knitting. A pebble pattern for the gravel road we came in on and camped alongside. It definitely stirs up some sensory memories for me. I hope it does for her too. I did some basic rope cables next to represent the ropes we used for the tent I slept in every night with at least one kid. And the ropes used for the rain tarp my step-dad put up (we helped, but it is his creation-he’s an engineer).

We went to the beach almost every day. It was our morning activity before lunch. It’s a bit hard to see, but the blue bit in the shawl does look like waves in the sand. Then more rope cables. My sister and her husband brought their dog and he has to be kept on a leash. He’s a wonderful dog, but not very comfortable around excitable children. So this is a bit representative of their pup being with us. I say pup, but he is a huge German Shepherd.

There were, naturally, trees everywhere. Leaves all over the place. So there is a lace leaf pattern to remind us of all those beautiful trees. And some of the fun games we played as well. Then I added some Viking braids and knots as a nod to our Irish, Scottish, Celt ancestry. I guarantee we have Norse is our ancestry, somewhere. We were never really the braid each other’s hair and talk about boys sort of sisters. We challenged each other and tried to make our own way in the world, but we always had each other’s back when it counted. We are strong and fierce women who not only survived a tough childhood, but thrived because of the family that was there for us (my family’s family is not just blood relatives). I also wanted a connection to our ancestry for both of us.

And the last section is a lacy star pattern for hanging out by the fire until the stars came out.

A few more rows in the cable section to go, and then it’s on to the lacy stars for the finish. Part of the Sister Shawl story is also the colors I chose. We both have white, her marble color is more of a blue while mine is more of a purple, and the self-striping yarn has a few different shades for each. I also did not repeat the colors in the same order. We come from the same family and have been given a lot of the same clothes, opportunities, friends, and such over the years – especially since we are so close in age – but we always put our own spin on everything and we are pretty different people. It’s been a crazy and trying journey, but I have the most amazing sister and am so happy that age has brought us closer together.

While I Was Spending Time with my Kids

I had a few different ideas about what I wanted to write about today. I’ve been mulling them over and rolling them around all day. Once the kids were home from school I set my phone aside and we played charades while having a snack. Then chores and dinner. Only then did they turn the tv on, but we don’t have cable. No chance of hearing what’s going on out there in the rest of the world.

See, the kids have been almost literally climbing the walls the past week. Fighting, screaming, scheming, and really hitting each other. This is the most cooped up we’ve been through all of this because we’re not taking hikes or neighborhood walks like we usually do. We’re also coming out of another swing of too much tech. Now that they are back in school I have a much easier time implementing no tech, more family time, chores get done more easily. It’s still a fight, but once they see me hold my ground, we quickly get back into our routine. Hence, no way for me to know what had been going on while we ate our late dinner and tucked our kids into bed. That’s when I called my mom back. That’s when I was once more glued to my phone for a couple hours.

Keeping up with this insanity is exhausting and so time consuming. I just don’t have it in me to be as hyper focused on it all as maybe I should be. That isn’t to say that I have my head in the sand, but I do often hear the latest second hand and then look into it later. Scouring news article after article. I also have three kids who are quickly becoming young women before my eyes, and, in order for them to be able to make their own decisions and have the strength of character and of convictions to shape the future and their own, my main focus has to be them. Especially while most other influences are not an option in our current climate.

The best I can do right now is maintain my mental and physical health and try to teach, support, and help my girls to do the same for themselves. This is such a difficult time to grow up and I want them to be able to face the world without me or their father. We may have brought them into this world, but it is their lives to lead.

Saga of the Sister Shawls

My new knitting rule is gifts are for birthdays and only for the most special and thankful of people. This is the first of the two Sister Shawls I’m making for my sister and me. I will be tucking it away for her birthday while I write up the story that goes with it and finish knitting mine. I have to block it in sections because these are all my blocking mats in action. And all my blocking pins. For the moment, anyway.

I have to be honest. I’m pretty stoked about this shawl. I have been working on it since July and each section represents a piece of our camping trip together and our journey as sisters. I’m so excited to have nearly finished it.

This is the final section and the pattern is called lacy stars. I’d like to think it looks like a night sky filled with stars. Sleeping in a tent, under the stars, was absolutely wonderful. I separated the lacy sections with cable sections to represent our ancestry and how we are linked as a family.

I had a little trouble with this leaf section in the beginning, but quickly got the hang of it. Our campsite was beneath a canopy of leaves. The girls played with leaves and made leaf boats. My sister wrote out a scavenger hunt list for them and my girls worked together to find all the items. This included differently shaped leaves. There were also a lot of inch worms. The girls really enjoyed getting them onto a leaf and putting them back towards the trees. Or watching them crawl across their hands.

And into the final stretch of blocking! This section of blue is one of those sand patterns. It made me think of our trips to the beach almost every day while we were camping. My sister and I got to have some nice conversations standing in the water, soaking up the sun. We watched the next generation of sisters play and explore in the water with Oma close by.

The very first section is a pebble stitch and made me think of the gravel road we drove in on and camped alongside. And the day my sister let me drive the two of us into town for a few things. My sister hates my driving. I just have a different style. I drive more like my mother than I care to admit, but seriously, having kids does something to your brain! And when you’re typically the driver, it’s hard to be the front passenger. That’s why I tend to knit in the car. Anyway, I think her disapproval of my driving style has now become a running joke with her. On the way back in, we stopped to fill the giant water jugs our step-dad brought for us all to use from one the spigots. We had to hold the jugs up because of how the water came out. It was hilarious.

Happy New Year

Our traditional meat and cheese tray. I did forget the port wine cheese for my husband though.

We made it! 2020 is over. Only one of us didn’t last until midnight this year. We did not watch any ball drop or do a count down, but instead watched Princess Bride and then Men in Tights.

I’m also trying to get a bit more organized again. I’ve been going room by room and throwing things away and boxing up donations. I reorganized my yarn a bit because the holiday rush got things a bit messy. I wasn’t supposed to knit more than a couple gifts this year and I did more than that. This year I’m going to stick to my new rule: no more knitting Christmas gifts. I’m done with the rush and the less than stellar response to what I’m making.

That’s not to say that I don’t have people who truly appreciate what I make them, but between knitting hats for selling at work, crocheting sweaters for my kids, and what I want to make myself, I have to get practical about what I can actually accomplish. My dad is definitely knit worthy and so he got a ‘one of a kind’ version of the hats I sell (stag horn cables on the sides). My sister is amazing and wears everything I make her, so she gets fingerless mitts that she’s been asking for and a ‘one of a kind’ version of another hat I sell (the ‘arrow’ style cable down the front). Her husband is absolutely wonderful to her and is great with his nieces, so he gets some nice fingerless mitts too.

So I’m ringing in the New Year by clearing out the clutter and focusing on the important stuff. I am no longer stressing myself out trying to go above and beyond based on other people’s expectations. I am simply going to enjoy life and soak up this time with my kids and my husband.

Merry Christmas-Some Gifts I Gave

I know. I’m still behind! But at least everyone I saw in person got their gift on time! Ok, ok, so that isn’t saying much this year because we are all seeing less people than usual. These hats went to a few nieces. One of them even wore their hat for a little while (until they got too hot). The purple one I made at the beginning of the year and went into a timeout because I was really unhappy with it, but couldn’t bring myself to rip it out. When I found it, I loved it, so, gift it is. The other two I just made up as I went with some bulky yarn I had left from other projects.

I was also able to go see my dad for a bit and was able to give him an original of mine. This is a hat I sell at the massage studio where I work, called Artemis. The Stag being one of the goddess’s symbols. I added the stag horn cable on either side for this one, just for my dad. He really likes the fit, which makes me happy.

Then I reached into my knitting library for some more quick gift ideas. I made my mother-in-law a headband from one of these magazines and some cowls from the Highland Knits book. I have a difficult time knitting for my MIL. She never really seems to appreciate what I’ve made her in the past and once complained to my husband I never make her anything nice. She seemed very underwhelmed by this gift. I want to knit for her to show her how much I appreciate all her help this year with the kids and all of my husband’s health crisis stuff, but I can’t bring myself to put any real effort into it because she still doesn’t seem to appreciate it. I have made her shawls, cowls, hats, fingerless mitts, and none of it good enough. I only ever see her wearing the stuff she crochets herself. I guess I need to just let it go.

This knit was going to be a gift, but I fell in love with it once it was done. The yarn was originally meant for a project for myself anyway, so I kept it and quickly made another one in black and grey to gift. I’m not sure if she liked it yet, as the recipient was not feeling well and I was not able to give it to her myself. I have no doubt she will at least appreciate the effort.

I have a few more projects in the works for a couple people, but most importantly I need to get to work on my husband’s sweater. I bought the yarn back in March or April, but got busy with a lot of other things and it’s just been hanging out in its plastic wrap. I think he’s getting a bit jealous too. So I’ll be knitting it in secret. Shhh.

Happy Solstice

I’m a little behind, but Happy Solstice! The kids enjoyed their gifts from Mother Winter, who visits our house the evening before the Solstice. She usually brings them something cozy in preparation for winter. This year it was slippers, hot cocoa, mugs, and a board game.

We talk about how this is the longest night and that the days will begin to get longer. This year the conversation led to how Mother Winter doesn’t visit everyone (which was a surprise to my girls). Then we talked about how Santa doesn’t visit everyone because there are lots of people who believe differently than we do. We also talked about how even Santa can be different for different people and what he is changes through time because people change and so the way they believe changes. Some of the holiday movies we watch touch on that idea and seemed to make sense to them. It’s been fun having these kinds of conversations with our kids as they get older.

Here’s hoping you all had a lovely and restorative Solstice and blessings on whatever comes next.

And it’s Done

It’s done! Assembly began to get messy, I’ll admit it. I thought about all the ways I could attach the strap, but by the time I got to it, all I had the energy for was to tie it on with a whole lot of crazy knots. To hide it all, and give it a little more durability, I crocheted a circle with a strip done in short rows, and a second circle and stitched them in. Oh my, was that a bit tough. The sense of accomplishment at the end is worth it, though.

Good Morning

Well, I stayed up late crocheting the hood for my middle one’s sweater. I was really on a roll and am anxious to get it done. I also managed to get the purse mostly done. It’s a little rough on the inside, so I’m crocheting a liner to sew in and hide all that.

While I was sitting here, hooking and drinking my morning cup, I decided I needed to do some yoga. I enjoy this video quite a bit. It’s soothing without making you tired. The instructor’s prompts are right on target for what I need and aren’t annoying. I also appreciate that its 20 minutes. Usually just enough time to help me feel more open.

I will admit, I skipped about 5 minutes, or so, towards the end. It’s been too long since I’ve been in a regular routine and I’m easing myself back into it. The kids joined in for a little bit too. Remote learning (Zoom classes at home all day) has the girls feeling a bit cooped up, so I’m hoping to help get them moving a little more too.

Back to crocheting. I really want to finish this purse so I can get back to the hat I’m working on for my sister.

Three Granny Squares: Progress is Tough

The farther along I make it with these sweaters, the less time I have to work on them. It’s one thing for the kids to see the squares as I make them. It’s another when I’m stitching them together and it’s starting to look like an actual piece of clothing. So I’ve got some late nights in my future.

I’m also working on a purse for my 5 year old niece. She likes Frozen, like my youngest, and I was inspired to start making this one day. I always seem to forget just how long it takes to cover the plastic. Now I get to have fun sewing it all together (that’s not sarcasm; I love this stuff). I’m going to make a strip to go across the top and work as a clasp, and I’ll crochet a strap too.

I Like Christmas?

I’m actually really getting into the Christmas Spirit this year. It’s quite a shock. The holiday is usually so overwhelming, I tend to turn into a short-tempered grump. Not this year. All the decorations were up the day after Thanksgiving. Unheard of! My husband even put up some extra lights around the house.

We’ve done some crafts and watched a few movies, even had some hot chocolate and holiday chocolate chip cookies. Simple and delicious. It has been really nice to have a toned down, quiet version of Christmas this year. Everything just seemed to keep getting more and more extravagant (not necessarily in our house).

So I’m wishing everyone a merry and calming holiday season!