A Knitter in Crisis

On November 7, 2015 I uttered the words I thought I’d never say: “I think I need to stop knitting.” And I was dead serious.

Earlier that day I had picked up the sweater I finished this year for Loopy Academy, Freshman Year, Semester 2: Slipped Stitches and was stunned to find a small moth hole in the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. Don’t believe the hype – they DO ABSOLUTELY eat new yarn.  I only wore this sweater for a few minutes to take photos. That was it.

Suck Factor: infinity.

As I looked at it I thought, well, maybe I could repair that small bit.  It was only a couple stitches, I caught them in time, and any knitter worth their salt should be able to fix something like that, right? Thinking I’d catch those motherf*&%^$ing moths while they were sleeping, I decided to soak the sweater first to drown any remaining munchy perpetrators. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Modest Sweater with more holes the size of reindeer. It’s probably good I gave it a bath and saw just how much damage was caused, or I might have tried to repair it first and realized later it was a lost cause. I wasted enough time knitting it, I didn’t want to waste any extra time repairing it.

After the sweater debacle in the morning, I was decidedly (and deservedly) down. What was the point of it all? Why should I continue to knit if this kind of thing is going to happen (it’s happened on a smaller scale before)? Why why why? What a waste of time and effort.  There were tears in my voice when I told my husband I should just quit knitting. He looked at me with as much sympathy as a non-knitter, non-hand-knit-wearer could muster and said, “But you love it.  It’s not about finishing things for you. It’s about the process.” Does this man know me or what? Everything he said rang true.

I haven’t given up on knitting, but I am taking a small break to regroup and fortify my spirit against the evil moth hordes. I am …gasp… crocheting with perle cotton and purchased acrylic (ick) for two projects. There are reasons for those things not entirely related to the wool hell I’ve been in, but there’s definitely a correlation. I’ve been burned.

But like a moth to a flame…. or more like a moth to wool….. I’m sure I’ll be back.

In the meantime, please answer me this: Why do you knit/crochet/create? I absolutely need to know the meaning of (knit)life!



Tomorrow will be a busy day for me.  For the first time in nearly 12 years or more, my husband will be working on Thanksgiving and I will be entertaining our family nearly alone. But don’t feel sad for me (not that you would, but just in case you were going there). I have so much to be thankful for!

Today I am preparing some foods in advance for the very first time so that I can spend a little more time visiting with family tomorrow instead of cursing at the gravy and potatoes to “boil faster dammit!”, while begging the turkey not to cool off so fast. And while I am chopping, baking, boiling, mashing and mixing today, I will have lots of time to reflect on the good things in my life.

I have a “Counting My Blessings” book that someone gifted me many years ago, and I got it out early this summer to work on with my 5 year old son. We were going through a big “I want…”, “I need….”, “Get me…..” sort of stage and I wanted him to spend some time thinking about all the good things he already has and how material things aren’t necessarily needs, but more like wants. It was nice to sit down as a family at dinner and each think of three things we were thankful for.  Unfortunately, it’s fizzled a bit because things got busy and no one wanted to do the activity but me.  I got tired of saying, “come on guys, please think of something to write down!”, and becoming that kind of person, forcing everyone to do something they should just want to do on their own. But I still think it’s worthwhile to write it down and it’s fun to reflect on past entries in the years that follow.

So here’s my list for this day before Thanksgiving 2015…..

Things I am grateful for:

  1. I am grateful for Maketober last month. Though I was a bad blogger and did not post often enough to make it legitimate, it did push me to finally open my Etsy shop and I couldn’t be happier that I made this leap. It’s been a slow start, but my wonderful friend Knitting Up North honored me with a purchase the day I opened, and I’ve had nearly a sale a week since then (the little project pictured up top is for the shop). This could be the start of something wonderful (for me)!
  2. My son. Obviously! I never thought I’d want a child. But when I miscarried before becoming pregnant with my son, I realized I really did want one. And since the moment he was born, I’ve been grateful that I didn’t miss out on the true gift only a child can give you. Yes it’s tiring, frustrating, monumental, and all consuming, but to have him wrap his little arms around me and tell me I’m the best most beautiful mom in the world? Truly irreplaceable.
  3. My husband. Another no-brainer. But without this man, I’d be adrift. He is my best friend, my biggest fan, and everything I could possibly wish for in a partner.  I’m damn lucky and I know it.
  4. My home. I may ruminate at times that I don’t belong here, but I am certainly lucky that other people think I do.  With the bitterly cold winds blowing outside today, I am supremely grateful for my warm cup of coffee in my cozy dining room.
  5. My hands. Meaning, the fact that I can, and enjoy making things.  There are so many good things that stem from this small gift. I can cook for my family, I can knit for others, I can read, I can carry on traditions, I can fix things, I can open my own shop. The possibilities are endless.
  6. You. The person reading this, yes, you! Even if you stop for a moment and never visit again, it means so much to me that you did take that one second to look at a picture, or read a few words. A momentary connection, but a connection just the same. It’s so nice to feel a little less alone!

I could think of so many more, but six is a nice even number. My son always lists the same three: “My parents, My house, My dog.” I always tell him to get creative, try to think of something else, but maybe I shouldn’t. He’s kind of on to something there…..

Wishing all of you celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, a most joyous holiday filled with multitudes of things to be grateful for!


Violet Valentine is Open for Business on Etsy!


Hooray!  I finally did it!

After talking about it for years, I have finally opened an Etsy shop.  You can find Violet Valentine here.

I am still working out the bugs, but I have many sets of handmade stitch markers listed, a few notion pouches, and a few knitting bags.  I hope to keep adding to the inventory as I make things. The focus will be mainly knitting and crocheting accessories for right now, but I expect to add some new types of items in the not-so-distant future, as well as destash some of my knitted items or crafting supplies.  So check back often!

As always, thanks SO very much to everyone who stops, visits, comments, or otherwise supports me, the blog, and all my endeavors!  You have no idea how much your support means to me and how instrumental you have all been in helping me realize some of my creative dreams.  Infinite thanks to each and every one of you!!



In The Land of Autumn-Fall

Outside it is the Land of Autumn-Fall. Inside, it is just the beginning of Maketober.

I spent all Saturday canning. Let me tell you, canning is not for everyone. You stand on your feet for hours, lift heavy things, do a bunch of mindless repetitive stuff, sweat a lot and – if you’re like me – burn yourself a few times. There should be a way to count this as some kind of workout, right?

It was a beautiful autumn day on Saturday. October is truly one of the more spectacular months here in the Pacific Northwest and it almost angers me to have to spend a day inside canning. But when you have apples sitting in your garage for two weeks waiting to be processed, you do what you have to do. Don’t get me wrong. I like canning. I like feeling that connection to women in my past. My Mom and second Mom Vicki (whom I miss dearly) canned during my childhood and I have warm memories of the smells in the kitchen, their chatter, and the wonderful things we consumed all winter long from those colorful jars they so reverently stored away for the time of need. I remember helping them from time to time, but then drifting off out the screen door to some more enticing childhood adventure. I vaguely understood, but did not appreciate, all the time and love they put into the food we ate.

For many years I did not think about canning. I went to college, then grad school, but didn’t feel the desire to make a home anywhere. Shortly after my husband and I were married, Vicki passed away from cancer. I’m ashamed to say I was an awful “daughter” and lived in denial for a good portion of her sickness; until it was too late to sit with her and get to know her, provide her some comfort. I was so selfish. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life. But I found a way to make peace with this broken bit of my heart. I honor Vicki’s memory every time I can something in my kitchen.

It started with Pickled Beets. These were my favorite things from Vicki’s kitchen (my Dad’s was her blackberry jam). She would give us crates of canned goods at Christmas time. Foods she had cultivated from seed to jar. Always a labor of love: grown with love, made with love, given with love, and received with love. I craved those beets, those gifts of love, when she was no longer with us. To feed my hunger and honor her memory, I decided to make pickled beets using her recipe. I’d like to say that I had a transcendental moment the first time I made these, but I’d be lying. It was messy, hot, frustrating, and yet ultimately rewarding. And every autumn when I make pickled beets, I get one step closer to forgiving myself, because I know that I honor Vicki every time I do. Somewhere she is watching over me and loving me despite the way I failed her so abysmally when she needed me most.

The beets will be coming in tomorrow and I expect to spend the upcoming days pickling. Saturday was Caramel Apple Butter, a first time recipe for me. Like Vicki, I make these with love. And every Christmas, with that same love, I gift them in baskets to everyone in our family. Thank you Vicki, for leaving me with this lasting legacy. It is truly priceless.


Happy Maketober!

No, you didn’t miss this on the intrawebz. “Maketober” is not a thing.

Not unless you are me and you are freaking stoked that it’s October!

September was just a blur. Will it feel like this every year when school starts, or is it just because we are first-timers? After weeks of adjustment (on my part and Knittymunchkin’s) I feel like we are finally starting to hit a stride. Just don’t ask me where all the “extra” hours go that I’m supposed to have while he’s in school.  Because I really don’t know. The house isn’t any cleaner, I’m not any more rested, and there is actually little to no knitting being accomplished. The TV is never on, and the dog looks sufficiently un-walked. I just don’t know how moms with jobs do it.  I’m barely keeping up as it is. Then again, I’m writing this post instead of cleaning something……

Yesterday I walked the dog to the bus stop to pick up the kiddo. The warm autumn sun caressed me, the searing electricity of a summer sun having mellowed to the gentle gold of autumn sunshine; everywhere burnished honey. I savored the crunch of leaves underfoot, thinking of potato chips, and wondering how my son could imagine he heard a train in their rustling as he shuffled through them earlier that morning. I love this time of year. It inspires me, turns me inwards towards creativity, and unleashes a nesting instinct always simmering restlessly inside my soul. I want to make things! I want to change things! And that’s why I’ve decided to welcome October as Maketober here at the blog.

This month:

I will make a shawl with friends (Jess & Troy)!

Pattern & image source: Ravelry link

I will make myself healthier…. by continuing with our Back to Fit program (we are ending week 5 today).

I will make someone’s warmer….. by giving away the hats I knit for charity. The original requester has all the hats she needs, so I am left with a stack that do not have homes. My husband is in a unique position to distribute these for me and I plan to always have a few for him to take in his car with him when he goes to work (his idea – and a fantastic one!).

I will make myself breathe…. This is harder than it sounds for someone like me.

I will make my dream a reality…. It may not happen this month, but every small step I take towards opening my Etsy shop has a part in helping me achieve my goals.

I will make food…. I cook every day, but this month I will do the last (most likely) of my canning for the year. Pickled Beets are as precious as the crown jewels in our family.

What do you think?  Will you make-along with me this month?  I’d love the company whether you’re crafting or simply visiting & reading :)



So Stash Dash 2015 wrapped up on Friday. For some reason I was thinking I had until August 22nd, not that it would have made any difference in my totals.  If this would have been a real race, I would have tripped at the starting line and nursed my road rash until the first aid station, whereupon I would have probably called it quits and gone for margaritas. Not that I normally do that sort of thing, but I strangely admire people who can. Instead of knitting to the last minute I spent the entire week last week not knitting at all, but instead perfecting a new skill that I’ve become entirely (and dangerously) obsessed with: wire wrapping.

pumpkins colored 2

My poor husband. At least every 15 minutes I run over to him squealing like a an 11 year old girl at a Taylor Swift concert, “Look what I made!  Isn’t it cuuuuuuuute?”. I can’t help myself.  I am disgustingly pleased at the little stitch markers I am cranking out for my new Etsy shop (hopefully opening in a month or two after Knittymunchkin is fully immersed in all day kindergarten). I took a metalworking seminar a very long time ago and we touched briefly on wire working. At the time it wasn’t as appealing to me as the other techniques I was interested in learning, though once the acetylene torches came into play in the second half of the class, those low-tech pliers and wire were looking a lot more my speed. Frankly, the torches pretty much freaked me out.  I learned to do it, but I wasn’t comfortable. It’s kind of a buzzkill when they tell you the stuff will blow up the entire studio and vaporize you instantly if not used properly. So have fun with that kids! Interestingly, I noticed when I backtracked to the link above, that I mentioned making stuff for Etsy as far back as 2007! It feels pretty good to think that I’m finally (hopefully) heading there.

But back to Stash Dash…..

My unofficial total meterage for the event was: 1257.5 meters. I say “unofficial” because I finished a couple other projects during the competition that I never photographed or blogged about. But despite not making my goal, I am really grateful that Knitting Up North brought the event to my attention. It really forced me to focus on stash and though I went about it all the wrong way (not finishing old stuff, but starting new stuff), I still managed to use up some of my stash and worked extra hard to find projects that would utilize yarn I already had.  I also really focused on finishing what I’d started, rather than starting something new whenever I saw something shiny out of the corner of my eye. I have a feeling this could be the start of some new habits for me!

In the meantime…..

Look what I made? Isn’t it cuuuuuuuuute?

flat skulls 1

lime slices 2



In the Blink of an Eye

“It’s not a race!” I frequently tell my son.

Almost as frequently as I shout, “Hurry up pokey!”.

Be still. Enjoy this moment, the voice in my head reminds me. Yet I cannot stop the perpetual forward motion of my mind. How do I prepare for what’s coming? What is coming? What do I need to do this afternoon? What do I make for dinner? Simple worries, or complicated ones, it’s exhausting. I hear that this inability to live in the present comes from our society’s continuous bombardment of information. We have less time, more stress, and less ability to live in the moment because we are expected to be constantly connected. Each interaction requires an appropriate response and the accumulation of obligatory responses leaves no spare moment unaffected. I am as guilty as anyone of allowing this tide to overtake me. I wish I wasn’t.

These thoughts are foremost in my mind as summer begins its extended farewell. Instead of imagining my glass half full with the lazy days remaining, I am imagining it half empty as summer slips through my grasp yet again. Perhaps this melancholy comes from the realization that in a few short weeks my darling Knittymunchkin will be a kindergartner. How did this happen? In the blink of an eye, is how.

Today, I told myself, I would try just a little harder. At our morning swim lessons I purposely did not knit, knowing that I would not be able to feel the morning in the same way if I was counting rows on my sock. Instead I welcomed the drizzle on my face, watched the steam drift off the surface of the pool, and listened to the happy splashing of children.

And, if only for the time it takes to blink, I was still.