Saturday, August 12, 2017

Knit or Cut Bait...

"Fish or cut bait is a common English language colloquial expression, dating back to the 19th-century United States, that refers to division of complementary tasks. The use of this expression has expanded over time, sometimes including the ideas of swift decision-making (to act or not to act), and cautions against procrastination and/or indecisiveness."   -Wikipedia

This week, I had to cut bait. I had been "fishing" on a gorgeous bit of lace knitting that was kicking my knitting butt! Here it is, in its splendor, not even 1/3 finished:

I ripped and restarted this scarf 3 times. That makes 4 starts from scratch, for those who are counting. Each time I got a little farther before I made a fatal mistake that required ripping out rows and rows of lace-weight, lace knitting. It was heartbreaking every time, but I kept putting the bait back on that hook...err needles...and trying again.

When I discovered the most recent error, I estimated 2 things:
  1. It would mean ripping out another 10 rows of lace and reknitting them, probably after 1 or 2 failed attempts at just dropping down the affected stitches...again; and
  2. As it turns out, I would most likely not have enough of this yarn to actually finish the project anyway. (I should have measured that dwindling ball of yarn sooner and saved myself a heartache or twelve!)
It was at this point that I could barely look at my knitting. I would take it out, open it up and just sit there. Occasionally, I did not even open the project bag. I just sat there, cradling it gently. Sweetie would say, "Aren't you knitting?," or, "You're not knitting?," because it is odd indeed for me to have still hands in the presence of yarn. I simply could not decide whether to go on or go back, as I had so much time already invested in this project. I would sit there and sigh the sighs of the indecisive knitter. Should I keep going? Should I start something else? Should I give up knitting altogether?

::egad!::

::No!::

I knew it was doomed, and yet I held on...treasuring those stitches. I had two balls of yarn, but I would have needed three (at the least) to finish. I had tried to bring the thing to knit-night one time too many, and always had mistakes afterward...and after knitting in front of the TV...and after knitting in the presence of curious kitty cats...and after knitting in complete silence with no distractions whatsoever. Still I held out hope...knit two together here, yarn over there...just dangling that line in a sea of lace, waiting to finally catch the elusive, enormous-and-light-as-air scarf I was dreaming of.

In the end, I ripped back all 40 grams that I had knit (some of it several times) into the airiest, most beautiful, multi-directional lace I have ever run my fingers through...now, just yarn again.

Fear not, knitters and yarn lubbers. Even though I did cut bait, no lace-weight yarn was harmed in the process. I know better than to create unnecessary knots in yarn so fine! But I did admit defeat, pulling out hundreds of yarn-overs and decreases and double decreases. It was a sad day.

I cheered myself up by casting on a Color Affection shawl in soothing, mindless garter stitch, with just a few increases here and there. Purple is the theme here, with nary a yarn over in sight!
So now I will just keep swimming...err fishing...err knitting along.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health (unless it's time to cut bait)!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sandwiches

It is a new kind of sandwich for me. I mean, I know that everyone hits this point, and I knew I would get a taste eventually. I even remember worrying that it would happen while the kids were still at home. I wondered how we would care for our kids and our parents, possibly under the same roof, but I don't think I ever really considered what this would look like with everyone under different roofs.

Yes, I am talking about being smack in the middle of the current "sandwich generation," pulled in different directions by our independent, adult children and our increasingly more dependent parents. It has really hit me hard this last year-and-a-half, with all that has hit Sweetie's family. Then, a couple of weeks ago, my mom fell at home. I am grateful to Mom's close neighbors, who she called first. These great folks got her to the ER, and watched over her until I could get there.

Luckily, Mom's injuries consist only of a sprained knee, and she is steadily getting more and more mobile again. I am down to visiting mostly on the weekends now, or if she has an appointment with one of her doctors. Again, I am truly grateful to her neighbors, because I live 45 minutes away...and they can certainly get to her faster than I can. Thank you especially to Paula and Jessica for all your help!

At the same time that this was happening with my mom, Dollface and her main squeeze got the keys to a house they have bought, and I felt badly that I couldn't get super excited and run right out there that minute. I mean, I am super excited for them, and I did eventually get the "grand tour" of the new digs. (By the way, it is a great house, and yes, they are engaged!) I was a little bummed that I could not drop everything and go right away, but I am sure that Mom was glad that she did not end up on the floor again! Choosing between my parent and my kid is a relatively new experience for me...and sometimes I feel like the cheese is sliding right out of my ham sandwich!

How many of you are in this sandwich generation with me? Here in the middle, we want to support both our parents and our kids. I just did not imagine that it would be so difficult at this stage. But with both of us working full-time, and trying to keep up with our kids' lives, there are days that I am just pooped! Enter the lack of knitting...and I apologize to my knitting friends for that! I know that this is just a season, and so we continue to put one foot in front of the other, endeavoring to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16) and not embitter our children (Col. 3:22). Sandwiches R Us!!!

I feel like I should somehow knit a sandwich to represent this time in our lives. I would bet my eye teeth that there is a pattern for that!

Thanks for taking time out of your sandwich to stop by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Matchy Matchy

Now that our little loves are in a mountain state of mind, my knitting has taken a turn. I recently acquired a couple of skeins of a snowy, stripey mix, and hats just flew off the needles!

These stripes are in a colorway called Stone Harbor (KP Felici yarn), but I see Elsa when I knit them. I see blue sky, sunshine and clouds, and snow caps in these lovely hues...and in my mind's eye, I immediately saw fingering weight, slouchy hats and hand warmers that would accompany them on a mountain hike! I am still working on the fingerless gloves, a pair for each of them, with cuffs and tops that can be folded or not, depending on the warmth needed for each part of the hike.

In a perfect world, I would have thought to get extra to make a matching set for their mommy, and I still may. But even if that is not in the cards this time, I will keep knitting. Speaking of matching, I can't wait to visit them this fall, so we can all wear our matching leggings together. This LuLaRoe has really stolen my heart, and matching Disney leggings are things of my dreams...when you wish upon a star, and all that jazz. (Jazz hands!)

I guess that's about it for today. Some knitting, and some matching, and life goes on. I hope that today has found you with some time on your hands, and that you are using that time to do something you love!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#OldPeopleProblems

As my sweetie and I were taking our evening walk yesterday, he told me that he had accidentally dialed our daughter on his phone. When she answered, it was evident that she could not hear him through his bluetooth headset (he was doing some yard work), although he could hear her. Later, when his hands were free, he texted something about how he didn't mean to call her, and he wasn't sure how the phone even dialed from his pocket. Without skipping a beat, she answered, "#oldpeopleproblems."

As he relayed the story to me, I laughed out loud! I mean, to her we are old. To us, we are still young and vibrant. Perhaps that is what these middle years are all about. Perhaps these late 40s and early 50s are for learning how to be old. If that is the case, I will sure be paying attention to the lessons all around me!

After all, I work in customer service for an insurance company. Do you know who calls their insurance company the most? Who calls if that 6-month premium increases by 72 cents? Who calls because they can't find the bill you should have sent 3 weeks ago? Who calls because they just want to check that the bill they have marked paid is actually paid? #oldpeopleproblems.

Besides my encounters at work, our parents are aging (some better than others), and we are noticing that they are not as sharp as they once were. We are noticing that these people, thirty years our senior, are having trouble doing the things they love to do. They have called for help because they have fallen, and they could not get up. They occasionally forget special occasions, and forget that they have forgotten them. We have seen (and heard) their frustration at these changes. #oldpeopleproblems.

So here is what I have learned about the kind of old person I hope to be:

When I am old, I hope that I will still love people. I hope that I will not yell at the gal answering the phone when things do not go my way. I plan to continue my habits of kindness and common decency, even though I am sure that some of my filters will not continue to filter my thoughts before I speak them in exactly the same way they do now. 

When I am old, I want to have joy. The joy of seeing those I love on a regular basis and of watching the children grow is life-giving, and I want to always find the joy! I have heard that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, and so I hope that my wrinkles will reflect an easy grin, many lols and and a face filled with the joy that comes from loving and being loved.

When I am old, I would like to think that I would not feel privileged because of my age. I hope that I will recognize that I do not need special recognition on earth, because I am certain of my heavenly reward as it grows ever closer. I hope that bitterness will not overtake my thoughts and conversations, even if my mind fails me. 

I have heard some say, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn't go..." But I will wear purple today, and crazy print pants, and comfortable shoes. Today I will take better care of myself, not to hinder the aging process, but to add enjoyment to every day along the way. When I am old, I hope to not be a burden to anyone, although I am sure that I will need help here and there with my own old people problems. So today I will practice sharing words of encouragement for those around me, that they might still want to be around me when I am old.

Having old people problems is a privilege. #Oldpeopleproblems mean that you have lived a full life, and that you have opened your eyes to see another day. #Oldpeopleproblems follow seeing your children and grandchildren learn and grow and become people you are proud of. #Oldpeopleproblems are a crown, like the silver hair that has replaced the brown. #Oldpeopleproblemms are a badge of honor, marking the years as time marches on. I hope to wear my badge proudly, and to relish every day that I have the privilege of my #oldpeopleproblems.

I hope that you and I will both enjoy our "golden years," and that others will enjoy them with us. For today, let's wear purple and do what we love as we also love those around us, because we are secure in the knowledge that we are loved beyond measure, now and forever.*

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

*I know it sometimes sounds trite, but it is true...for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have everlasting life...John 3:16.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Terrible Thought

Did you ever have a terrible thought? You know, you're just going along, everything seems great, then Bam! A terrible thought enters your headspace, and you realize that it only takes a moment for things to change drastically. 

What if that driver loses control and swerves into my lane?

What if I didn't lock the back door before I came to bed?

What if my friends really are laughing at me, and not with me?

What if I don't have all the answers?

What if I'm just not good enough?

No? You don't have those thoughts? It's just me then? Hmph. I don't believe you. I think we all have a terrible thought once in awhile. Maybe yours are more along the lines of things you think you could get away with, or things you'd like to do (if only these things were not illegal)

Terrible thoughts come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them unfortunately turn into terrible actions. If you are the victim of those actions, they seem to come out of nowhere, and can leave you battered and bruised in many ways. If you are the "actor," you still may bear self-inflicted wounds as a result. We have likely all done things, or said things, that we regret in response to a terrible thought. 

So, what do you do with that? What do you do when you have been hurt? What do you do when you have hurt someone (including yourself)? How do you recover from the terrible thought?

First, acknowledge it, and allow yourself time to feel the feels. Too many times we rush ourselves past painful feelings, sweeping them under the rug, only to trip on them later. Give yourself a minute...an hour...a day...or longer...to feel it and figure out next steps.

When you are hurt by someone else, even if they have not apologized for the offense, forgive. Holding grudges only hurts the holder. Now, I am not necessarily suggesting that you declare, "I forgive you!," with a smiley face to that person. In fact, depending on the injury, you may never talk to him or her again. Still, you have the power to forgive, let go, and move on, as a wiser person. If you do this well, you will not likely be hurt in this way again, because you will have learned how to judge this kind of character.

Lastly, if you are hurting yourself, stop. Whether your thoughts are leading you to negative self-talk, or thoughts of physically harming yourself (or someone else), just stop. As a thinker of terrible thoughts, especially about myself, I know that this advice seems trite and impossible. I know that you may not know how to stop, and in this case you must get help. I won't dwell here, for I have talked about this in other posts, but you must not hurt yourself verbally or otherwise. Email me at PrettyKnittyJewelry [at] yahoo [dot] com if you have nowhere to go for help. I will help you find the care you need to stop hurting yourself.

Why all this terrible thought talk? This is normally such a Pretty blog...

It is a yarn thing. Ever since I learned how to make yarn (side bar - I MAKE YARN!!!), I am called by the siren song of fiber waiting to be spun into beautiful yarn! My latest fiber acquisition is named "A Terrible Thought," but the yarn I have made is anything but terrible. 

A luscious two-ply in happy pinks, corals and orange, with a thread of dark brown and gray (the terrible thought) running through it. I have been spinning this for the last two blog posts, and I have often let my mind wander during the spin time...how many terrible thoughts have I let get away from me? Plenty. But spinning this yarn has led me to let go of some of those thoughts and share with you. Oh, and the yarn has turned out so pretty, even despite the terrible thought running through it!

Our lives can and should be beautiful, because we are God's masterpieces! He has created us to live out loud, to experience joy, and to share our lives with other masterpieces! If you are not treasuring yourself and others, you are missing out. So, join me in being kind to one another, and to yourself. It is what you were made to do!

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!