Expand and Contract

This is my new Cascade 220 Sport for The Oa.

A friend and I were talking and she mentioned expansion scares her. Change is challenging for her. Not me, I love change, but lately I’ve been feeling a similar way. I expanded a lot in 2018. But now I’m feeling anxious and like it’s time to shrink back into myself. No more clubs, goals, or new things! Just knit on what you got, girl!

I signed up for FibreShare and it’s really fun, but it’s hard (for me) to know when to stop. I’m new at this, and when I hear what others are doing I think I’m not doing enough! Anyway, I have to ship international priority, and there’s a limit to what I can squeeze into that Tyvec mailer!

Are you a Valentine’s Day celebrator? Here’s a quiz for you, either way. I’ll go first.

1. Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day at home with your parents when you were a kid? If so, how did you celebrate?

My mom usually had some kind of Valentine’s Day treat for us when we were kids: candy, cookies, or cupcakes. One year she bought me a little doll I wanted with a pink dress. It was when I was almost too old for dolls, but not quite.

2. Did you give and receive Valentines at your school when you were a kid? If so, what is your happiest memory of it?

We decorated our own mailboxes at my school, and I remember one year I papered mine with aluminum foil. I thought it was really nifty. I also think I gave KISS Valentines one year, and of course I thought that was super cool.

3. What was your favorite Valentine’s Day treat when you were a kid? What about now?

When I was a kid I remember liking those cherry flavored, heart shaped suckers. Now I love chocolate cherry cupcakes and red wine.

4. Do you craft for Valentine’s Day? If so, what do you make?

No. Not anymore. Although I thought about knitting a red scarf this year with that lovely yarn from Karen.

5. Do you have a bad Valentine’s Day memory you would like to share?

I have two but I don’t wish to share them.

6. Do you have any special plans this Valentine’s Day?

No, I will be traveling for work. But I will get some candy for the kids.

I look forward to reading your answers! Please leave them in the comments or a link to your blog if you respond there. ❤️

New Year New Club New Studio Same Me

I’m very excited for the new Kate Davies club. I received this beautiful journal and a bag full of Milarrochy Tweed yarn! I admit I feel intimidated by this gorgeous blank journal. I look forward to starting the club. Until then, I’m afraid to make a mark in it.

I am starting to look around for washi tape and stencils, even though I feel silly since I’ve never used a bullet journal before and have no idea what I’m doing.

I am mostly moved into my new studio, where the above photo was taken, on my new standing desk. As I was moving and sorting I found some old artwork. If it aged well I went ahead and set it out. Why not?

I’m currently knitting away on my holiday red Carbeth. I’ve just started the sleeves.

And here is a photo inspired by skeinherder.

JoJo insists on curling up in my lap while I’m knitting, so I should be allowed to have a little fun, right?

Also, do you remember how Charlie Brown had a kite eating tree? I have a knitting needle eating couch.

Christmas Knits

I finished all my Christmas knitting by the end of the day. That counts, right?

Harald’s sweater is massive, but he loves it and wore it all day. I suppose we could felt it a bit and shrink it a tad, but I think he really likes it as is. The stripes ended up looking okay as the entire back is like that.

I had to modify the Goats of Inversnaid hat pattern in order to use the Milarrochy Tweed yarn. I ended up knitting two more repeats of goats before starting the crown. (Look at me learning from my mistakes and listening to myself.) I really like how long and narrow the beanie is. It looks a little more trendy this way. And I’m pleased with how the crown came out.

We had a great day of Ethiopian food for dinner, presents, and Christmas movies. I’m surprised by how many we watched this year: Elf, Rare Exports, Krampus, A Christmas Horror Story, Christmas with the Kranks, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Black Adder’s Christmas Carol, SCTV Christmas Special, and Scrooged.

Merry Christmas! I hope your day was jolly!

Knitting Friends

Nothingbutknit graciously offered to participate in a holiday swap with me. It all started when I wanted to send her some shea butter lotion chips made by local women. The challenge was to send a skein of local yarn.

Here is a photo of the beautiful things she sent me. (Except for the candle which I made with a pottery cup gifted to me and handmade by my stepson.)

Isn’t this red yarn festive and lovely? It’s also soft enough to wear around my neck, so I think I want to knit a “hap” with it. (Props to Kate Davies for reintroducing the word to our vocabulary.) I didn’t know a small shawl or wrap had a name, but sure enough, if you look it up, the third definition is “clothe, cover.”

Here is my favorite “hap”, which was the start of a lace shawl that I cut short because I’d had enough of knitting it many years ago.

I wrap this around my neck once or twice, and it’s the perfect scarf. This is knit from Jagger Spun Zephyr Wool Silk, which has really withstood the test of time.

But back to the red! Aren’t the gold flecks lovely on this Campfire Knits yarn? The hand dyeing really stands out too. This is “Winter Cranberry.” I’ve already cast on a simple eyelet increase triangle scarf, but I’m not sure how I feel about the garter stitch.

And I love these stitch markers which were included in my package, made by her husband. So festive! They make me crave peppermint.

My issue with lace is I prefer for my knitting to be intuitive. I like to memorize the pattern so I’m not constantly referring to the chart or instructions. And because I’m old have short term memory challenges, I need the repeat to be about four rows. So I am looking for a simple, all over lace pattern. I’ll keep looking! Maybe my fabulous red hap will be done in time for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you, nothingbutknit! I’m grateful for your friendship. It is always encouraging knowing someone is reading and paying attention. Thank you for the beautiful things and for being willing to participate in a gift exchange with me. ❤️

Say Yes

carbeth shoes

Although November ended on a sad note, I have to say I’ve had a really great year, and December has been the cherry on top.

  • I went back to the gym.
  • I secured a studio space near my house.
  • I sold two of my art pieces.
  • I signed up for two 2019 knitting clubs.
  • Not only did I finish the work budget, but I also pulled together our household budget and got it all entered into Quicken. Yay, financial literacy!

As mentioned, the Blendon Woods I pair of photo and felt painting were sold today. It made me very happy, and I can use the funds to purchase a work table and pair of comfy chairs for my studio space.

At the beginning of 2018, I chose my words for the year. They were, “doing it all.” I worked hard to be promoted to Executive Director at work. I started knitting in earnest again, and even managed a successful design. I made art and participated in an art show. I started a cooperatively owned business with two other women. On top of taking care of kids and being in a relationship with my spouse, that was a lot, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.

I chose to take the same path that I had been taking with my work over the last few years, which led to the success of our new store. That path is, “say yes whenever possible.”

I know saying yes too much and too often can get you into trouble. It’s important to know and respect your limits. I’m not going to pretend this approach didn’t take a bit of a toll. I worked my ass off, and it’s not something that can be sustained forever. But this year, whenever possible, I said yes and reached out and grabbed with both hands whatever opportunities came my way, and it really paid off in a multitude of ways.

candles and knitting at preserve

Here I am at my side hustle, knitting and selling my aromatherapy candles for Haven Herbs! Look how happy I am! I look a little dorky, and I am a little dorky. I can own that and still be happy. Also, check out my great earring game.

My Christmas Cactus is blooming with gratitude as well.

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Gluten-Free Gingerbread

This year I adjusted our gingerbread recipe so I’m going to post it here.

Cream:

3/4 cup coconut oil

with

2/3 cup blackstrap molasses

1/3 cup sorghum

(You can use all molasses.)

Add:

1/2 cup whole cane sugar

1 egg

Mix well.

Sift together:

4 cups gluten-free flour mix

(I added brown rice, tapioca, and sorghum flours to my regular mix.)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground cloves

(We like our gingerbread cookies really spicy. Also, look for fair trade spices, coconut oil, sugar and molasses.)

Add dry mixture to wet and mix well. While mixing, add hot water one tablespoon at a time until dough is no longer crumbly. (I added three tablespoons.)

Refrigerate until stiff, 2-3 hours.

Roll out to 1/4″ thick and cut into shapes.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Makes a lot of cookies.

I mixed butter, powdered sugar, milk, and meringue powder for the frosting and decorated with candies. Look at these holiday candies I found at World Market this year!

They don’t break your teeth either. They have the consistency of, and taste like, a fun dip stick, according to Hans.