Saturday, August 26, 2017

Young Love, First Love

When I was little, I loved to read. Wait. No. I lived to read! I wasn't a particularly athletic child, and the house I grew up in was not part of a neighborhood with lots of other children to play with, but we had lots of books! I was reading before I went to school, and I drank in the praise of adults who were impressed with my mad was the beginning of my over-achieving.

As I grew, I found that the books I really loved were how-to books and self-improvement books...all the non-fiction. I also read novels and some historical stuff, but what I really craved was information on how life is done. To give you some perspective on how much I loved books, I used to go to the public library for fun. I would just sit there, reading book after book from the shelves, sometimes not even bothering to check them out or take them home.

In the eighth grade, I met a boy at the library. He also liked to read, and he was the first boy I kissed. He was not a particularly good kisser, but he sure knew lots of stuff and read a lot of books! As these things go in middle school, the relationship soon fizzled, but my library was still there for me, and so I kept reading.

When I first met my husband in the tenth grade, I devoured books about love and dating. I rarely brought these books home, but I stored up knowledge about relationships, and we eventually married. When I was pregnant with my first child, I turned to books and magazines about child development and parenting, and stacked them high on the coffee table for easy access.

Somewhere between the birth of that first child and the business of a young family, my reading dwindled until I was just reading 1 or two magazines a week (along with a LOT of Dr. Seuss!). I found that I didn't really mind, and I took great joy in watching my children grow into readers of everything they could get their hands on, too!

When I worked at the church, I marvelled at Tim's collection of books. Sometimes, when he was out of the office, I would just walk among his books and run my fingers along the spines on the shelves, occasionally taking one down to open it and smell the ink and old paper inside. Sometimes I would even borrow a book, and I would try to find time to read it. Inevitably, as a working mom, I rarely finished a book.

Now that our children are grown, and my life has gone through so many changes, I find myself once again curiously drawn to this first love. Without time to spend in the library on a regular basis, I have turned to my kindle, and I have three books open right now! I still prefer non-fiction, and most of the books on my shelf fall into that category. A new category of both print and digital books that I currently own falls into the knitting realm, and what joy it is to read and knit "at the same time!"

I guess you could say that I have come full circle. Welcome back, reading! I've missed you...where will you take me today?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit (and Read) in Good Health!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sometimes Life is Like That

Sometimes life is like that.

Sometimes life is sunshine and rainbows, and all your knitting works out exactly as you have planned. You don't have to think too hard, and there is lots of time for doing what you love! You decide to knit fingerless gloves, and they come out better than you had imagined they would!

Sometimes life is sunshine and wind. There is nothing in particular standing in the way of your knitting or living, but it still feels like a slog. You cast on multiple times, or multiple projects, but you just cannot seem to find any forward progress.

Sometimes life is cloudy, with a chance of meatballs. A new discovery is not what you had hoped. A new knit stitch or technique, one that looked really cool on all the You Tube videos, just does not work out as planned. The ensuing mess is like meat sauce that will never wash out.

Sometimes life is stormy. Worse than a new thing not working out, sometimes even the tried and true threaten to take you down. Knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2, knit 3, purl 2, knit 2...wait, what?!? You lose time trying to find out where you went so wrong...

Sometimes life is good, and sometimes it is bad. There are ups, and there are downs, and knitting is much the same. Through it all, the vehicle is steady. Yarn is still yarn, and it is abundant. God is still God, and he is always there, seeking an abundant life for you and for me.

When the storms of life hit, I try to remember that these are the days that give me perspective. The good days are great, to be sure, but how would I know that without the muck and the mire occasionally? Not that I look forward to bad times, but I know that they will come.

When my children were small, and I would walk them to school, they would often complain about the cold days, the wet days, the days that were less than perfect. I usually had the same answer to those complaints, "These are the days that let you know you are alive!"

I have a tendency to feel very little on a perfect day, and I take those days for granted. Those are the days that I forget that I have a purpose, and I just want to loaf. But when the wind, rain and snow are pelting me right in the face, I cannot deny that I am very much alive...and I that canot change the weather. 

Even when life is hard, keep going. Because sometimes life is like that.

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

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?



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, 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


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!