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.


Clumsy Gardener


ABOUT THE TITLE:  These were made for my Mom, who requested a pair of gloves to protect her hands from sun and scratches while gardening. As she has reached her 70’s, her skin has thinned and she is constantly cutting herself. Plus, she is a little bit clumsy sometimes!

PATTERN:  Don’t skid, honey! by Justyna Lorkowska (Lete’s Knits)

YARN:  Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids in “Softly Taupe” (Super Size )

YARDAGE:  0.58 skeins/116 yds (106.1 meters for Stash Dash 2015)

KNITTING DURATION:  June 23, 2015 – August 5, 2015



DODGY BITS:  Not really. Other than the fact that Mom, as per usual, has requested cotton or acrylic (something she can bleach the crap out of, i.e. abuse). And, as usual, I was miserable knitting this.


This pattern was well written and fun to knit, though I would have preferred to knit it out of something soft and wooly and squishy instead of kitchen cotton on small needles. Seriously Mom? That’s the only reason I’m giving it a Bliss Factor of 8. It would probably earn a 10 if I could have knit it in something else. But all that really matters is if Mom likes and uses them.

Stash Dash Update: 1151.4 meters + 106.1 meters = 1257.5 meters


Bloomin’ Granny

granny 2


ABOUT THE TITLE:  The name of this project is an ode to the Beastie Boys’ “Boomin’ Granny”. Although, Grandma A– is more of a “Bloomin’ Granny” ♥

PATTERN:  #24 Lacy Wrap by Mari Lynn Patrick (Knit Simple Magazine, Holiday 2011)

YARN:  Laines du Nord Cashsilk, Color #676 – Berry

YARDAGE:  14.68 skeins/983.6 yds (899.4 meters for Stash Dash 2015)

KNITTING DURATION:  January 9, 2015 – June 28, 2015 (with a break between February & May)


RECIPIENT:  Grandma Funk

DODGY BITS:  There are errors in the chart that would make it difficult to knit if you were inexperienced (Knit “Simple”? Really?). If you are interested in reading detailed info on navigating these errors successfully (and you are a Ravelry member) feel free to check out my project here on Ravelry and/or message me. I’m glad to help!


It seems I am averse to discussing my knitting projects during their construction phase, as I have only mentioned this project one time in the months I have been working on it. Perhaps that is a direct by-product of my knitting “method” which consists of obsession, acquisition, established relationship maintenance, boredom, distraction, and ultimate abandonment. Good thing my “method” doesn’t extend to relationships with people.

Or perhaps the guilt of abandonment and exposure of my character flaws deters me from discussing past knitting history. Either way, I am overhauling my ways and trying harder to stay focused on one project at a time. Which means you may be hearing more from me throughout a knitting project. Or not. We shall see.

So, a bit about this project……

I knit this as a gift for my husband’s grandmother A–. She is a wonderfully kind, strong, and loving lady who has fully adopted me as part of the family. We frequently talk on the phone about reading in bed and needing something to cover our shoulders. Though she is a knitter, she is strictly an acrylic blanket knitter (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and I thought it would be nice to make her something pretty that she could put around her shoulders instead of the small blanket she claims to use. Once, when she and Grandpa were on a stopover in town I took her into my LYS (Apple Yarns) and we looked at all the pretty things for a little while. She picked up some yarn in the same shade as the yarn I used for this project, saying how pretty it was. I can’t wear this color myself, but thought it would be a fantastic way to use this gorgeous yarn and gift it to someone truly deserving and special. My husband tells me that I will make her cry when she receives this. I kind of hope so. Not because I would want to make someone cry, but because he says she’ll cry since no one has ever made anything just for her. She is always making and doing for others instead, because that’s who she is. It will make me happy to let her know that I am always thinking of her and am grateful for the way she holds together her family.

This project was so much fun to knit!  In a sick way, I have come to enjoy short rows. You feel like your knitting is going so much more quickly, especially when working a lace chart, because you are only knitting partway across certain rows. And this yarn? Scrumptious.  I am so happy that I have more of it in my stash (it’s discontinued) in a color that does suit me.  I’m imagining a cuddly, warm winter/fall sweater the color of roasted coffee somewhere in my future. And maybe you’ll actually hear about it before I finish it. Maybe.

Stash Dash Update: 252 meters + 899.4 meters = 1151.4 meters


Fifty Shades of Lame

  • Working on a sweater (Artichoke French) until it’s 85% finished and then neglecting it for over a year…….. Lame.
  • Picking up that sweater and working on it, thinking to yourself, “Man, I am killing it! I’m totally going to finish this in a few hours”, only to find the decreases got effed up somewhere along the way and you have no idea when that happened……… Lamer.
  • Tinking back over two full skeins’ worth of yarn (because there are about 80 million markers so there’s no way you can just rip it all out at once) and still not finding where the mistake occurred…….. Lamest.
  • Realizing there is no candy or alcohol in the house and you are feeling crazy and desperate…… Totally lame.
  • Your child is sleeping and you can neither leave your sleeping child at home in order to procure candy and alcohol, nor justify waking him up to do so…..lame lame lame.
  • Starting a new pair of socks because you can’t stand the thought of tinking back more of that damn sweater……La-a-a-aaaaaaame.
  • Trying not to think about the fact that you may have to go all the way back to where the sleeve and body are joined before being able to fix this epic mistake…….

ALL sorts of lame.