Dear Knitting,

Can we please find our rhythm again? My anxiety has been sky high lately and you’ve always been able to steady my hands. To ease my chest. To smooth the dangerous rapids in my brain to a babbling brook.

But we’ve had to rip out a lot of the progress we’ve made. Many months I have searched with no plum yarn to be found. So I am adapting with a soft compliment. Deep breath. Pull the thread.

So off we go! All my detailed notes at the ready and they are still missing key clues. We’ve talked about this. I need to write everything down, no matter how obvious at the time. I’m no longer the person I used to be. Past me is often a mystery. Future me is always evolving. Present me just wants to relax.

Don’t even get me started on this one. The tale of my first design, and my first wool sweater, is for another day.

So, my darling Knitting, I’m rather tired of learning my lessons. May this letter find you well and may your calming effect be restored. 🙏🏼

Sincerely,

Anxious Knitter

Favorite Things

The plan was to take a hike today. It has been a long time since we have voyaged into the woods and long overdue.

I wasn’t too hopeful when rain greeted us this morning, but leaned into a slow morning. After some oatmeal and dressing, we made our way to the woods. And of course there was much ado about it from our younger two. (We’re enjoying a rather mellow oldest at the moment).

When we arrived the sun was shining and no one else was on the trail. It was a fun adventure of mud, snow, and some ice.

The girls had a blast and helped each other traverse the obstacles. Their dad and I almost wiped out a few times ourselves.

We made sure to pause periodically and take it all in. Enjoy the beauty and take stock of the trail ahead. I thought this was all ice, but their dad proved it was crunchy snow, so onward we penguin walked.

It was a wonderfully warm day after such an icy grey winter. We picked up subs for lunch and made our way home to relax. Some of the the girls’ friends have come over and I’m just knitting and reading. One of my favorite things besides enjoying Nature with my family.

First Design

This sweater will truly be my first original design. I could not find a pattern and so just began taking measurements and making a gauge swatch. I’m not aiming for perfect, but do want it to be easily adjusted for a lot of sizes.

Back during the beginning of the Covid adventure, I bought myself a bit of beautiful merino wool and saved it until I knew what to make with it. After making several sweaters with other yarns, I realized I did not have enough for a sweater. So the yarn continued to sit.

Then a friend of mine asked if I wanted some yarn and other craft things she found cleaning out her house. I was very excited to receive this package. Especially when I found this beautiful brick mixed wool! After that, the sweater began to take shape in my mind.

At many points through the process I have doubted aspects of the design. It wasn’t what I had imagined, but sometimes that’s part of the journey. So I kept plugging along in the hopes it would all turn out.

The wool is delicious to knit with. I took very detailed notes through the whole process. Once it was done and set for blocking, I rewrote the entire pattern with all the adjustments I wanted to make for the next one. Sadly, I’m not happy with the finished result and am steeling myself for frogging. I have also never frogged an entire sweater before.

So here’s to new adventures and the lessons we learn along the way.

All Souls

I read the All Souls trilogy a couple years ago and decided to re-read them around Halloween. The first book, A Discovery of Witches, starts out in the Autumn. Timing lined up well. Then I began the second book, Shadow of Night, which happens across the winter holidays, around the winter holidays. I have been slowly making my way through the third book, The Book of Life. I think I have slowed down with this one because, a few chapters in, hype around the third season of A Discovery of Witches was amping up. After talking to a few other people and reading lots of reviews, I succumbed and began to watch the show.

Personally, I prefer when the visual version is it’s own thing. There are definitely pieces that need to be right, and scenes that are necessary, but it is a whole different way of story telling. It requires a certain skill to appropriately adapt books so loved by the fans. I have been thrilled with the tv show, but trying to read the third book while trying to watch it is rather disorienting.

I will say I was disappointed they did not include the yoga class. I was really looking forward to that. And there are some characters that just weren’t given the depth they deserved, but time is of the essence and pieces need to be lost. I did appreciate the added depth for other characters. And certain aspects of the story make more sense now.

Basically, the show adds a richness to the whole epic tale, even if nothing beats the books. It has a bit of everything. I never quite know how to explain a book about a vampire research professor of genetics (to be brief) who falls in love with a non-practicing witch professor of alchemy (to avoid magic) who falls in love with him, too. There’s self-discovery, and fighting, and time travel, and plots to fight back against an oppressive system of governing, and family, and a race to find a book that contains mysterious secrets about everything and so much more. So expertly woven.

This is definitely one of my favorite works, and the show has delighted me quite a bit. I have enjoyed the interpretation and added adventure of seeing the story fresh. I highly recommend checking both out. I will add, I am a binge-style sort of viewer and am looking forward to rewatching it all together, instead of week by week. Happy reading!

I Bought More Books

I need to start devoting more time to reading. I’ve been so overwhelmed lately that I’ve been soothing myself with cross stitch and watching Downton Abbey for the hundredth time. The hyper focusing helps me quiet the inner monologue.

I had planned on taking the girls to Barnes and Noble, and since my mom is visiting, we went. So, of course, I bought more books. I’m not sure why there were a couple Bridgerton displays. I’m assuming another season is coming. Since I enjoyed the show, I figured I’d try the books.

Then I saw this book and have always been interested in these topics. I’m looking forward to what I’ll be learning. My mom enjoyed Kate Moore’s other book, The Radium Girls, and it’s another on my to-read list.

Then I remembered I have been wanting to read more thriller/horror novels and saw this. I don’t really enjoy watching scary stuff anymore. It’s too stressful. I’m also really picky and get disappointed by books that were really hyped. There are also certain plot lines I refuse to subject myself to. My imagination takes care of those ones for me. No need to feed the lion. This one sounds really good and right up my alley. Horror used to be one of the only genres I read for fun.

Then I realized what book I had just picked before this one and thought it was funny.

I looked at my choices. What a variety. I thought about the pile of books waiting for my attention at home and bought these three to add to it. I’m hoping as the weather warms, I’ll spend time reading on the porch. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Until then, I will be content to make my way through this canvas and my comfort shows.

Panic in the Morning

I had planned to write about something else for today, but then had a bit of a panicked start this morning. I looked at the time and realized the only kid going to school this week was going to be late. Then I couldn’t find her anywhere in the house. I felt I should have been more concerned. I might have still been waking up.

Her school bag, her shoes, and the house key that is for the kids to use were all gone. I was pretty sure she had taken herself to school, so I called to be sure. After they called back to let me know she was, in fact, at school, my middle one found the oldest’s note that she had left on the fridge, letting me know she had gone to get the bus for school. My ever maturing oldest had gotten herself up and ready and to school all on her own.

It has been a strange, exhausting, frustrating several months (years really), and realizing your kids are growing up despite your desire to hold on is wild. We are really proud of her, even if it gave me a fright. I guess we’re getting a few things right along the way.

It’s Been a While

I have been regularly writing posts. I swear. They’re just all in my head. My mind and my body have been so restless I spend most of my time wandering around taking care of this or that in order to relax and then run out of time to do so. Because of the restlessness, my anxiety has me piling up the yarn projects. Or snuggling my kids. Or zoning out while staring at the tv screen. Certain things have simply been crowded out by the demands of life right now.

We had a magical Halloween. Our oldest dressed up as some death version of Link from a series of character stories she found way too young online. (Lots of blame to go around on that one, but the main thing is we are working on the result of early exposure to the wrong material). She was excited and most people just recognized her as Link.

Our middle wanted to be a devil. We found the last devil set at the costume store during an anxiety attack (I’m trying to learn how to help her through them, but sometimes you can’t avoid the chaos) and later found some awesome red wings, once most of us had calmed down. She wore a velvet red dress with it all, and a red ribbon sash to hold the tail.

Our youngest was going to be Elsa from Frozen. Then she was going to be an Ice Queen with a mask. Got her all that. Then decided to be Aang from Avatar when she saw the costume at the store. They were all so excited. We did our first Trunk or Treat. I had never even heard of these things until I moved to this area back in my twenties. It was fun and our girls really enjoyed it.

Trick or Treating in our new town was magical. I felt like we were in the perfect feel-good movie. Everyone was spaced out enough that the girls had to look for porch lights to knock on doors or ring bells (our old neighborhood was just a steady stream of people coming from both ways and everyone sitting outside). There were lots of dogs to pet and the girls saw a few of their friends from school. We were out for three hours! They came home with quite the haul. They are still picking their way through it all.

Thanksgiving was quiet. My mom was the only one who could make it. It was really nice. We cooked and watched Tic Tic Boom while James took the girls to his brother’s house for his family’s meal. The girls had fun. Then we all ate together at home.

So, it’s been good, but we are also still stressed out and still catching up on a lot of things. Right now I’ve got two of them jumping all over me because I have left them to their own devices for too long while writing this.

Discovering Runes

The Book of Runes by Ralph H. Blum

Every once in a while, I get an idea in my head that I can’t give up on until I do it. Having a set of runes and a book on them was the most recent. I was watching one of my favorite shows, The Good Witch, and runes were featured in a few episodes I hadn’t seen yet. I felt a pang. Or a ding. The stones and tiles have always intrigued me, but something has always seemed to be holding me back from them. Then the ping.

After that, I came across discussions on runes in a couple places online. Then I really got it stuck that I needed a set. I started looking at sets online with my mom and husband. I started looking up ways to make my own. I even felt better after bringing home some black clay and a gold paint pen to make my own set with. I still needed a book. Much more reliable than the internet. Easier for me to learn from as well.

I haven’t made them yet.

I have a request in at the local library for a guide and history book, but I needed one now, so my mom and I went to Barnes and Noble. I spent nearly 20 minutes examining the limited selection of really New Age books. There was nothing. I picked up one that had a section on them, but I really didn’t want the rest of the book. Right before giving up, I decided to look on the other side of a very large book and there it was. The one and only book about runes on the whole shelf, and it also included a set of ceramic stones. I was going home with a book and my first set.

My mother offered to buy them for me and we played with them a bit at the restaurant we went to for lunch. It was a really nice way to bring them home and I felt at ease as soon as they were in my possession. My mom is great at supporting my path, whatever it is and the girls were really excited to have a reading too.

I have been reading with the same tarot deck since I was a teenager. It seems silly to not have gravitated towards runes sooner, but everything has its time. I know my cards pretty well, but I still use my notebook with every reading. I’m looking forward to working my way through each tile and reading more in depth about the art. And creating a small notebook just for them and me.

Found the Library!

Our youngest’s selection.

We don’t spend as much time reading as I would like, but we are a family of readers. I have been meaning to check out the library in town since we moved in in May, but life… Finally we made it over after school a couple weeks ago and the kids were thrilled. It’s very small and still uses the stamp cards in the back of the books, but I love that.

Our middle one’s picks.

My youngest two were very excited for the holiday section full of Halloween books. They quickly found some books they liked and sat to read while the rest of us hunted. My oldest wandered around unhappy with her choices. She is at that age where the kids books are too young, but the young adult is a bit too adult. She finally found a book, but I don’t think she is really enjoying it. Which is probably for the best. I think it’s more for teenagers than an almost pre-teen kid.

Our oldest’s pick.

I was not real hopeful I would find something for me, but trying something new is how I have found a lot of really good books. I am already in the middle of two books with plans to read the Harry Potter series again, so of course I found a book to borrow.

More to come on these in the future, but for now the Ani Difranco memoir was a gift from a friend. So far, it has been a wonderful reminder of where I come from (we were both born in Buffalo, NY) and who I really am. Red Queen is the sequel to Alice by Christina Henry and I just love her version of one of my favorite stories. Then I found Coastliners written by the same person who wrote Chocolat. I love the movie, and after watching it several times, I finally read the book. I definitely recommend it. Coastliners has the same pull and style and I am looking forward to reading it- in the future. I’m returning it until I’m ready because I remembered a trilogy that is perfect to re-read this time of year.

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. This is one of my most treasured sets of books and I ate them up about a year or so ago. They are everything you could want, and then some, from a story about a witch and a vampire and a lot of history. It’s the kind of book that reminds you grown-ups have lush imaginations too, full of depth and intelligence. One of my greatest fears as a child and teen was that adult books would not have the same magic that the ones of my youth did. I am delighted to discover those fears were wrong.

Fall Treats

This really simple apple crumble was a hit. Diced apples baked with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a dash of salt. Then I topped it with granola and whipped cream. Definitely need to make sure to cut up enough apples next time.

Another night, I decided to try again and got the apples going while making some pulled BBQ chicken. The apples were supposed to go with it, but took a bit longer than expected. The sandwiches with cheddar cheese were really good. Then we had the apples for dessert.

I had some pumpkin cake and so topped it with the apples and, my favorite, whipped cream. I added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to them. The kids still really liked the apples. It’s always a nice feeling.