Merry Christmas Eve!!

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Hello Friends!! It’s been a while since I blogged, but most of you know it’s been a year of healing for me after losing my mom…and I am starting to feel like “me” again. A slightly different “me” but good, nonetheless. In all this processing time, I have still been very fiber busy. Here’s a few updates from finished products. The pic above is my newest muse..free form tapestry weaving. I. Love. It. Here’s another:

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And a knit/woven scarf:

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A hoodie for my nephew for Christmas:

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And, probably one of the biggest decisions I have made..in January I’m starting the process to become a certified Holy Yoga Instructor. In a nutshell, it’s all the benefits of yoga but connected to the Christian faith, which is how I have been practicing anyway. I love the idea of helping others discover that path. And I have mentioned before how much yoga and knitting are such a great combination..I truly believe that yoga has saved my wrists and improved my posture. So, you’ll be hearing more about that adventure on this blog as well.
I hope you all have an amazing and beautiful Christmas!
Leah

Quick post from the sky!

Disclaimer! I wrote this post on the plane right before vacation.. And then lost wifi for a week (which was not a bad thing). Stay tuned for part 2, and a spinning update!

IMG_0533.JPGTwo weeks ago, my husband asked me how I felt about taking a random vacation. We haven’t had one in quite a while, and it’s been a tough year emotionally. So, he picked it, planned it, and didn’t tell me until we were in the airport! All I knew was it would be warm and sunny..and that’s all I needed to know!

And right now, we are headed to Puerto Rico!!!!

I have to admit…and I know we all go through these times…my knitting mojo was on a break. I just started a new job (same organization but bigger job) which has been awesome and draining. My knitting-in-the-car time turned into catch-up-on-email time. I don’t know about you, but knitting does this zen-like relaxing thing for me and I’ve missed it!

So I grabbed my Arabella sweater for the trip. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a serious airplane knitter. I have finished the back of the sweater, and now I’m on the front. It is a great knit, but with fine yarn and size 4 needles, I kinda got in a rut. But I’m back. Even this time on the plane has been so nice and grounding, and in a few hours I will be sitting at the beach…getting all my mojo back!

I wanted to do a progress pic…but my connection just got wonky. I’ll add it to Instagram…and I can pretty much promise some more awesome Instagram shots throughout the week!

Spin and knit on!

Meet the Seattle Sweater..My First Pattern in Knitty!!

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This is crazy. And awesome. Beyond exciting. I am in the Knitty Deep Fall Issue

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This is a blog post I’ve been holding on to ever since I got the email from Knitty saying my sweater pattern was accepted..and I can’t really believe I’m writing it.

I learned to knit when I lived in Japan..about 15 years ago. My resources were limited, and I had some really inspiring books, but there were just “things” I didn’t get. Then I found Knitty, and at the turn of each new season I would wait for the new issue, skim through the patterns, and plan my next project. Not until this spring did I ever think I would be behind one of those patterns.

In March, I went to the Vogue Knitting Live workshop and took a class from Josh Bennett. I had to bring a design concept to the class (that was an “oh, crap” moment, since I thought I was going to learn how to do that), with a swatch (Yoinks!) I knew I wanted something unusual and something that would be fun to knit..each section had to be a little different.

I started knitting it out…and it was like magic. You know how sometimes the ideas in our heads don’t always pan out the way we think they will in real life? This one kept getting better and better. I fell in love with the sweater.

Then I entered one of the most difficult seasons of my life..the last month of my time with my mom before she passed away from cancer. She saw the design completed..she was so excited that I had gone to a “Vogue” event. She knew I was submitting it, she and was excited for me.

Sometimes life gets too heavy..even to move your dreams forward. I didn’t have the mental capacity to convert the design to a written pattern in time for the June 1st deadline. I let it go..and decided to wait for another time so I could focus on family and returning to work after Mom passed.

In a moment..that changed. The Knitty editors extended the deadline by two weeks, and I knew that was my chance. I buried myself in the final stages and got the design to Knitty by the new deadline.

So, this is a double joy for me..knowing it was something I shared with her that she would celebrate with me now. I’m a little teary as I write this..but this one’s for you, Mom! I know you get it. 🙂

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Weekend Knitting, Camping, Kayaking and SUPPing Adventures (in pictures)

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Knitting on the beach…

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Bump on a log…

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Bump on a log part 2..

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Knitting + Kayak + Dog + Hubs fishing off the back of the kayak = peace 🙂

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A little SUP and yoga..(yoga is sooo good for knitting and sore wrists!!)

And a nap. Nice weekend!

Spin and knit on!

Channel Cardigan: Done!

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This might be my favorite knit of all time. Seriously. The knitting was an endurance race, not a sprint, but that’s totally ok! I shared with you a few posts back about knitting by my mom’s bedside before she passed away, and as I thought..this is like a cozy hug reminding me of some beautiful moments.

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The fit is amazing and I loved working with Shelter yarn. The yarn is a bit fragile to work with..if you pull it at all it breaks..but it does splice back together beautifully, which makes for fewer ends to weave in.

One of the tough things was finding a complimentary colored yarn to do the seaming. Once I found it the seams looked great..especially since the sewing yarn doesn’t really show..but a close match is still important.

I loved the pattern. Very engaging..and I didn’t feel the need (or distraction) to start another project. I think I finally got to the “ready to be done” stage when I was doing the collar.

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I wore it to work today (I know, it’s June..) and was told it looked like an Anthroplogie sweater, but with a custom fit. Sweet compliment!

If you like a detailed project for a sweater that will be a heirloom type garment, this is a great pattern for you. Here’s the link on Ravelry.

Enjoy! Spin and knit on!

Tools of the Trade

20140605-122812-44892962.jpg Have you ever debated for way too long about adding a tool to your supplies? You know, one of those things that seems like it might be awesome but you just don’t want to spend the money on it? For me, it was the skein winder. I can’t begin to tell you the countless hours I’ve spent winding yarn. Countless. And now I’m thinking differently about it because my kids are grown and I can’t coerce them into helping me…I love thinking about the hours they spent with their arms the width of the skein, squirming and trying to be patient.  Quality bonding time..that’s what it was.  20140605-123149-45109203.jpg It was this picture that pushed me over the edge. I wanted to warp my loom but couldn’t get motivated to wind the yarn. There are just so many other enjoyable things to do with that time. So, I bit the bullet and got the winder. Oh. My. Gosh. Game changer. Why did I wait so long?? Skeins wound in less than five minutes! In fact, I was so tickled, I texted this video to my (now grown) kids. Their response? Daughter: I see how it is….. Son: First giving my room to the dog and now this…. I feel replaced…. I love it. Seriously. Money well spent! Spin on!

Are you a monogamous knitter?

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I think I’m getting my groove back..and it feels good. One of the consistent things I’ve had to help me process my recent loss has been my Channel Cardigan . (I’ve just got to attach the collar and front band now. Full report when it’s a real FO). During the past several weeks I’ve realized I am much more of a one project knitter than a “mix it up” sort of girl. In fact, having several projects on the needles stresses me out, and I usually end up not liking one of them.

I do have a running wish list in my head though..of what to do next, and that choice is a constant battle! I’m really smitten with Arabella from Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People 7. What’s not to love?

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I am, however…NOT a monogamous fiber artist. Here’s the list of what’s going on in that world..Yoinks!
1. Two fleeces a-washing..
2. Spinning said fleeces…
3. A pattern in my head that needs to get out..
4. Warping the loom for a special project…

How about you? Are you monogamous in your creative pursuits or do you thrive with more projects going on?

Spin on!

When Knitting is Beautiful: A Reflection

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It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ve had a hard time gearing up for this one.

Today I’m not writing about how we create beautiful things, but why we feel drawn to it. Why creating with our hands and our hearts is nourishing to the mind and the spirit. Why there’s a peace that comes with the process that brings comfort and joy.

Over the past few months, I’ve mentioned that my mother has been battling cancer for three years. During the month of April, I had the opportunity to spend last few weeks of her life with her. The time we had together was filled with some of the most beautiful and difficult moments of my life, and I am so grateful for it.

Many of those moments, she would be asleep on the sofa and I would knit. Watching her breathe, praying for peace for her, sitting and thinking about the times we shared… I wouldn’t trade those quiet moments for anything. The picture above is a tiny glimpse of one of those moments. Her asleep, me knitting. Just silence, just us.

Knitting helps me to stay quiet and open during difficult times. When other things are beyond my control, I can take a stitch at a time and turn it into something beautiful..something forever bonded to the memory of that moment. When this sweater is done, I will always remember it for the time I had with Mom before she passed away..and for that I am grateful.

Knit on, my friends, knit on.

Mo’ Mojo please!

20140128-145434.jpgSo here’s the scoop. I am not one of those bloggers who takes amazing pix of beautifully perfect FO’s. You know, the lovely blogs we all look at for inspiration..things that remind us why we love knitting so much. Nope, mine’s the real life, dropped stitch, “oops that seemed like a good idea at the time” sort of blog. This is one if those real life moments.

I have been so excited about this sweater! It’s all been planned in my head, I wove in the ends as I went along, I even told my husband in a quiet, confident whisper..this could be the coolest thing I have ever made.

I had to knit the start of the sleeves to see how it would fall on my body. Then I tried it on. Oh. My. Gosh. Not enough words or awkward pauses to say how yucky it was looking!! I put it down for two days..but not away. Away means “to the place of objects that will never get finished but I can’t throw it out.” No, “away” is not good.

I put it on the floor this morning. Determined. I frogged the top, down to the sleeves, did a three needle bind off for the shoulders and started an arm. There’s hope..I tried it on and the fit was soooo muchhhh better. I think it has been saved, but now I will need to add a collar. Once I finish the sleeves, I will post it and ask for collar ideas. But here’s where we stand now..and imagine that it’s blocked.

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So yeah..welcome to my world of trial and error! And thanks for the mojo!

Where’s Your Space?

20140116-074028.jpgThis subject has been on my mind a lot recently. Most of us have the “essential things” that we have to do each day–work, family, etc. while those are often wonderful things, those actions can be very outward facing.
When I think of people I know well, all of them have things they do that allow them to be more introspective and/or creative. But how do we honor that space for ourselves within the busy routines of our day?
The other day, a very close person in my life was overcoming a challenge to get to her space, her place to just “be.” I realized that even though my husband and I live in a pretty small condo, I have my place for reflection and creating in our guest room. But in my hurried moments, I allowed the space to become cluttered. The result of that was that I felt cluttered.
I spent a few hours last weekend doing a big sort through and brought my space back to life. Freshly spun yarn hanging on the wall, organized shelves, and room for yoga without fear of falling on my drum carder and impairing myself.
Sometimes seeing another person’s challenge and how it’s overcome can be the kick in the booty to look inward.
Do you have a place that’s just “yours?” Away from TV, tasks, electronics, and responsibilities? How do you honor your own time..or us that something that’s still on your to-do list? Take it from my lesson. The time to step back is rewarding in ways that you don’t realize until you are there.

Peace out and spin on!