Letting Go

This guy was one of the bobbins I left intact in the New Year’s Eve purge. I set it aside a while back because this was a bobbin of leftovers from a previous project. I knew I plied the bright, multi-colored single with a dark gray to tone it down. I knew I bought more of the gray to spin up and ply with the leftovers. And that was all I knew. But I liked it so I thought I might finish it. To the stash cave I went to find the yarn and see what the label could tell me about the original spin.

Only it turned out I set the bobbin aside not just a while, but almost FIVE years ago. Man time flies. The true significance wasn’t in how much time has passed but in how much habit has been built in that five years. Because five years ago was a lot of classes ago and it turns out it was also a lot of bad habits ago. Because I had NOTHING. And no Ravelry stash page. And a mystery of construction with no notes to remind me what I did. I established that the yarn is actually 3 ply, not 2 like I’d thought, and a 2×1 cable at that. I knew it was a project for a group I used to participate in, so I managed to trace it back to a post but the only details I was able to confirm were the ones I’d already figured out and not overly helpful. Faced with the choice between trying to recreate a mystery or call it a day, I made a big choice. I let it go. And it felt good.

Also I have a pretty skein of singles that may just make an interesting Hitchhiker some day… So far I like how this intention idea is working out!

Looking Back To Look Forward

Huh. Nearly a year. My poor ignored blog has sat untouched for nearly a year. Given how The Year That Shall Not Be Named went, I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me. There were a lot of things that went neglected, either intentionally or because the world just felt so damned overwhelming. I’d say this was definitely a bit of both. So now I’ll try again to dust it off and see what happens.

A few years ago I started using bullet journals to keep track of stuff. The various calendars I use to manage home and work life, packing lists for trips and festivals, the mundane daily tasks, the silly things that are just fun to track. Some of my favorite lists are the things I’ve read, the things I’ve spun and the thinks I’ve knit. These are the things I do to keep me sane, to keep me grounded and just generally to relax. Its fun to see what gets accomplished. In 2018, I read 29 books. Not bad. Half were a new series I discovered and plowed through everything that was available. Most of the rest were re-visiting old friends. In 2019 my reading game stepped up a bit- 36 books. A couple of new series were discovered and thoroughly enjoyed. Slightly less than half were re-reads. Still very satisfying. Books are like old friends. The good ones are worth catching up with on the regular! Last year, last year was only 24 reads. Four were previously unread. Twenty times I realized I didn’t have the head space to learn new characters or storylines. 2020 was the year of comfort reads and I’m both surprised and not surprised at the decline in finishes. It was just that kind of a year.

Spinning and knitting followed a similar course. For much of 2020 I didn’t knit much at all and I only finished 14 projects over the year. By comparison it was 27 in 2019 and 28 in 2018. Interestingly my 2020 yardage knit (9283 yards) did outpace my 2019 yardage (8767) which fascinates me just a bit, but I did get on a sweater kick late in the year thanks to a couple of surgeries and sedentary recovery periods, so the fun of looking back might be realizing that less is still sometimes more!

Spinning, though, is really where this exercise in reflection began. Spinning is something I love. The fiber passing through my fingers becoming plies, plies becoming yarn is comfort. It is healing, It is relaxing at its finest level. But it is also something that has been sorely neglected. In 2018 and 2019 much of my spinning time was dedicated to my Master Spinners Levels I and II coursework. There was a good deal of it done, but in 10 yard bits and pieces I didn’t much track. Larger spins weren’t something I much had time to do. Seven spins were tracked in 2018. 6 in 2019. This is sad. But worse was 2020 when only four made it from wheel to finished yarn. This, I have decided, is unacceptable. I have too many fantastic tools and too much fiber that needs love to only manage 4 yarns in a year. Sure, those were all big yardage projects, but I need to spin more in 2021.

I’ve decided to set an intention to spend time with fiber every day. US dietary recommendations are for 25g of fiber a day. I could care less about the US dietary recommendations, but it sounded like a fun place to start. So my intention for 2021 is to spend at least 25 minutes a day spinning. Can be on a wheel or with a drop spindle, whatever feels right or fits in best, but I’m curious what will happen to my yearly production if I come even close to 25 minutes a day! So far so good.

January 2 I started plying. I forget how long it takes to chain ply 4 ounces of finely spun singles… So long that 3 hours at the wheel didn’t get it done. So January 3 I finished it. And even that was another hour or so! But hey! Not bad. 3 days in and I have a finished yarn! Or it will be as soon as it’s out of the bath. But something to add to the annual tracker makes me happy. And lord knows the new year needed to start out with some happy!

Kicked the knitting off with a quick finish, too, since I needed some potato chip knitting while watching a movie so I cast on a quick hat for my hubby last night and finished that off after the yarn

Sometimes knitting is hard…


I don’t mean the physical act. That part’s surprisingly simple. It’s just two stitches that make up all the gorgeous fabric I’ve spent years making and loving.  Sometimes you manipulate those stitches just so to change the fabric and give it depth. Sometimes you just keep doing the same thing over and over on a seemingly endless loop until BOOM. Sweater! The act of making these stitches is something I can almost literally do in my sleep.  Its not hard. But then sometimes it is.

Knitting is my happy place. Well, fiber play, in general, usually in the form of knitting, but spinning works to quiet my mind and chase away the demons of the day.  It is a rare day that passes without me picking up some form of fiber and doing something with it. And when several of those rare days string together, my husband takes note and worries a bit.  2019 saw many of those instances.

It was a challenging year. Tax season is always a little crazy at work, and it wasn’t long after that calming down that I found myself at my desk, booking a flight and driving straight to the airport to unexpectedly say goodbye to my Dad.  In several frantic phone calls, one of the questions my husband asked was “Do you have enough knitting?”. Because honestly, leaving the house for work that Wednesday morning, the last thing I expected was to return a week later. Luckily I had some, and I know where the yarn store is in Ft. Myers.  But the trip happened and very little knitting occurred.  And for some time after, my center was off and the knitting was hard.

Several more curve balls throughout the year and the knitting mojo ebbed and flowed.  I thought I had it pretty well on track as I wrapped up my Level 2 homework and saw the glorious beacon of free time ahead of me from early October through the end of the year! So excited was I, a new sweater went on the needles.  And failed miserably.  The pattern was gorgeous, but the yarn I chose wasn’t speaking to me. SO I picked a new pattern, cast on again and a short time later had spectacular progress to show for a short bit of effort.

And then the holidays hit. And knitting became hard. Not the pattern- it had long since been memorized and wasn’t much of a challenge. But physically picking it up and making the stitches escaped me.  Every so often a burst would hit and I’d knock out 10-12 rows, but I kept putting it down. Sometimes in favor of an instant-gratification hat or similar, but the sweater haunted me.  Nearly two and a half months for a straightforward knit without shaping or any complication of pattern is almost unheard of for me. But sometimes knitting is hard. That go to source of comfort wasn’t working it’s usual magic and I was not so sure if it was the sweater, or just life. But finally it got done. And it’s not bad, if I’m honest. Looking forward to pulling it out of the drying cabinet and taking it for a test wear later this week.  But I’m not sure the abiding love I usually feel when I finish a sweater is going to apply here. Somehow I suspect this sweater is going to remind me for some time to come, that sometimes knitting is hard.

Friday was my birthday.  It somehow became incredibly important to me that my Derwent sweater was finished before the close of my 45th year.  Somehow I just didn’t want this project following me into a new trip around the sun. I don’t normally place major significance on the start and end points of my knitting, especially with projects just intended for me because I love them. But this one was different. It has too much wrapped into it, challenges of the first holiday season without my Dad and a lot of other people I love who didn’t get to ring in the new roaring 20s. Too many days where I just couldn’t bring myself to pass fiber between needles and move forward. The project needed to be done. And it was. With less than an hour to spare before bedtime, the last of the ends was woven in and a new sweater is mine. But this sweater doesn’t feel like some of the others. And maybe this is good. Maybe sometimes I do need to remember that knitting is hard, and that’s OK. Because another day it will be easy and a freshly caked skein of handspun yarn will pop its way onto my needles and remind me that fiber is my happy place.  And the world feels right again.



Commitment is a funny thing as an adult.  Not the sort where you commit to one person. Not the sort where you go to the same job. Not even the sort where you drive the same vehicle for years at a time.  Those things are easy.  I’m talking about the difficult things.  Like travel coffee mugs.

Who knew this could become such a vexing decision.  I’ve had a Sip by S’Well mug that has been a serviceable companion for several years.  I fell in love with S’Well’s water bottles years ago and when Target brought the travel mug to the shelves, I was an early adopter without giving it much thought. The mug fit nicely in my hand, is leak proof so I can toss it in my bag between the parking structure and my office, and it keeps my coffee hot for long enough a period of time to get it all into my gob.  But the thing is, I didn’t give it much thought when I bought it.  I was a late adopter of coffee so I hadn’t done much travel with coffee to have really developed a true set of needs for my travel mug.

Fast forward several years, add in shower coffee becoming a daily necessity and a wearing out of the Sip mug and, well, Houston, we have a problem. These days, coffee isn’t optional. I don’t drink soda and tea just takes too much fuss in the morning. Mostly because my hubby kindly delivers that shower coffee to the bathtub ledge while I’m busy with my morning ablutions and I’d rather set the coffee up to brew the night before so he can make this delivery as efficiently as possible early into my shower.  And since the coffee follows me out the door those things that were nice but not critical back when the last one was purchased are now major concerns that must be addressed.  So began a weeks long dilemma over what to replace it with.

My first thought was stick to what you know. S’Well has served me well enough, but as a visual person, I can’t tell you that there any designs that really knocked me off my feet.  And I covet a couple of the designs by the good folks at Black Rifle Coffee Company, who deliver my beans to my door step like clockwork each month, ensuring that I have a steady supply of this nectar of life, but their offerings fail in one of the most significant needs- a lid that seals so I can toss my coffee in my bag without it spilling.  Turns out this is in the top 2 criteria my mug must meet.

So as I wandered the local grocery store on Saturday I remembered my go-to water cup of choice, Tervis, has come out with the stainless steel option. And sometimes I can find them in my favorite fandoms. So I perused the rack and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an Harry Potter emblazoned version.  And I stood in front of that rack picking it up, putting it down, hemming, hawing, fretting for longer than I care to admit, over whether or not this mug would meet my needs.   There is almost nothing that can put me off a solid HP design so that wasn’t an issue.  But the cup is a bit larger than my Sip.  From a volume perspective, what could be wrong with a 20oz capacity vs the 15 I was replacing, right?  BUT the 20oz is a bit larger to hold onto.  I have small hands so this is potential disaster waiting to happen.  But its tapered and I felt like I could hold it solidly enough.

Then the lid. It seals, but the vent hole is not sealed, which means potential for leaking.  I don’t like leaking.  But if I’m careful in how it goes into the bag, and I usually am, this isn’t a huge concern.  The lit stays solidly seated so that’s good. But it has taken me FOUR DAYS of testing to finally take the leap and commit to this being my new mug of choice for daily use.  Four days over which much thought was put into coffee mugs. Much more than I ever dreamed possible, honestly.  But today I did it…


I took the sticker off.  No turning back now. This sucker is mine, for better or worse. And I’m still not certain it’s the right call. That’s not weird or anything ,right?



I don’t admit defeat well, especially when it comes to knitting.  The nagging voice at the back of my head telling me something’s not quite right is one I am quite efficient at shoving into some recessed corner and ignoring for a very very long time.  But since my theme on the year is to progress, I am trying something new.

Yesterday after finishing a sweater, I cast on the new Knitting Season Hat from Kate Davies Designs.  If you know me, you know I’ve had a mad knitting crush on the designer for many years.  Her use of color and classic styling make me happy. Some of the modern updates have even caught my attention lately and I’ve tried new things. But this hat, it’s right in that wheel house of great color work that I can’t resist. So I cast on and knit to just past the half way point of the chart.

And knew there was no way this was going to fit.  I went to bed figuring I’d just finish a really great toddler hat.  And somewhere in the middle of the night I realized I’d forgotten to change needle sizes after the ribbing.  Which was only part of the problem, I admit, but it was enough to convince me I needed to progress past the stubbornness that usually grips me.  A great toddler hat it may be, but I do not have a toddler. And I really don’t want to repeat the same pattern twice in a row more often than not. So I progressed through regression…  In knitter vernacular, I frogged that hat. And I started over.

And in starting over I realized I can fix a problem that isn’t a problem but makes me a little OCD.  The first design element in the hat is corrugated rib which, by itself, is a technique I don’t adore, but love the look of so I do it.  Only I hate the way the first row of purls looks because of casting on with one color and purling with a different. I don’t like the two tone read. So in starting over I modified the first row to be knits so now the purls all read one color. And this makes me happy. So the backward leap is progress. I corrected something that I didn’t love and now I move forward again.

Of course I’m still too stubborn to swatch so, bets on successful guessing on needle sizes for this round?

The Best Birthday Gift…


I’ve had a fair few opportunities and I think this year I’ve figured it out.  Perhaps younger me (ironically before I became a Young, actually) might disagree quite strenuously, but all in all I’m fairly certain she had NO clue what she was talking about. Like Ever.  Seriously.  But I digress. Birthday edition #45 has sealed the deal.  The best gift a girl can get on her birthday- laughter. Today has been a day full of goofiness, stupidity, good time with friends, a birthday card fashioned out of two Post-It Notes stapled together and hand carried through the office to collect signatures,  and Once Upon A Deadpool. I can’t imagine any better way to kick off a trip around the sun.  May your next birthday bring you the same sort of These People Are Not Right In The Head giggles that launched mine!

So long, 44…

The older I get, the more birthdays bring about a level of reflection on where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I want to get out of the next trip around the sun…  The last couple have been a bit less status quo than most.  43 was a year of growth. Or, technically, shrinking.  Kicked off the year at nearly 200lbs, unhealthy and miserable, though I didn’t actually know it at the time.

15284090_10210941209426756_1066142052961583306_nEarly in my 43rd year, I was introduced to a diet change that turned into a life style change in the form of no longer eating sugar or grains.  NSNG was a complete game changer.  First, simply figuring out that yes, I could, in fact, give up the bread and sweets I’d loved so much.  And that I could no longer be the butt of my own fat jokes because as long as I was the one making them, they didn’t sting so much.  I learned the power of food in health, both mental and physical.  It is more than sustenance. It is medicine.  It heals.  It brings joy. That I wasn’t restricting myself to a boring diet but opening up a whole new world of flavor and options I’d never considered. Bacon every day.  Let me repeat that.  Bacon. Every. Single. Day!!

26195597_10214729047760347_4366175232994505689_nI welcomed 44 with a new outlook on life, 55lbs later, but a little skeptical of the staying power of this change.  Fifteen years of weight creeping up despite your best effort (or at least what you thought was your best effort) can make a girl doubt long term success.  While I’d never second guessed the diet-turned-lifestyle change, could the results be for real and life changing as well?

So 44 was a year of maintenance.  Proving to myself that I could do the thing I put my mind to.  In all other aspects of life, this wasn’t so much a question. I can be stubborn to a fault when I set my sights on a project, but I’d never much considered myself the project.  I’m not sure I considered myself wroth being the project. So 44 has been a pretty good year cuz it turned out I am hella worth being the project and am absolutely capable of maintaining.  This is heady stuff, let me tell you.

img_7203But as I reflect on 44 as I’m about to kick it to the curb, I’m realizing that maintaining has been my status quo and I don’t think I wand status quo to be my carry over into 45.  I want to progress.  Obviously maintaining the weight loss and lifestyle change is a given. But its time to focus on the next step of that journey- gym time.  I’ve already joined, been sidelined by injury and am working my way back, but this is something I want to truly focus on in the coming trip around the sun.  Not body builder style, but in firming up the things left saggy after years of excess weight.  In embracing the stuff that will never be firm because of the life lived in those years, but in accepting this, knowing everything else is working together to keep the change permanent.

I want to progress in my fiber enthusiasm.  Knitting and spinning have become a significant piece of who I am.  I don’t just enjoy them as hobbies, they are a part of my soul.  I want to do more. Part of this is continuing to work toward my Master Spinners Certificate.  The work toward completing Level 2 is underway and I plan to take the Level 3 classroom course later this year.  I want to continue to grow both my knowledge and my skills in creating yarn that is uniquely mine while learning how the craft has shaped modern life.

I want to grow as a knitter.  For the last dozen years or so, I have proven myself quite capable of making pretty things, but most of those things are made on the patterns others have created.  While there’s nothing wrong with recreating the works of others, I want to progress to my own designs.  I’m still not sure exactly what this means or how I will achieve this, but it is a goal worthy of effort on my part. I want the next 365 days to be the start of something exciting, maybe a little scary, but rewarding in knowing that I can continue to meet challenges and exceed my own expectations.  To 44 I say thank you.  You have shown me what is possible. You’ve helped me love myself a little more. You’ve helped me to let go of a lot of old baggage and know myself better. But its time to kick you to the curb and find out what 45 and I can do together. Lets do this.