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The Hardware Store

She loved the hardware store. The odor of fresh, clean wood mingled with the scent of possibility never failed to bolster her spirits. Here, a girl could start anew; make her own future. And it amused her to see the expressions on the faces of the men surrounding her. Grizzled old-timers and beefy construction types alike, paused in their study of the merchandise to observe this strange creature meander past. Because she chose to wear her normal attire (no dumpy work-stained clothing here) she was rewarded with both displays of slack-jawed puzzlement and generously amused grins. They thought she might be lost. She smiled secretly. She knew exactly what she wanted and how to find it. She always had.

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10

Ninjas

I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before:
 

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

~Doulgas Adams – English humorist & science fiction novelist (1952 – 2001)

 
Oh but I beg to differ Mr. Adams.  The deadlines in my house are more like ninjas.  Insidious, and silent, they lie in wait for you only to pounce when you have blithely forgotten about them and are puttering happily along.  This reminds me of a kids’ song that Knittymunchkin and I love by the Barenaked Ladies called “The Ninjas”:
 

The Ninjas are deadly and silent

They’re also unspeakably violent

They speak Japanese, they do whatever they please

And if you tear off their masks they’ll be smiling.

 
I imagine my deadlines smiling madly at me from behind the potted plants while plotting feverishly to attack me with five-finger death punches and assorted hand-held artillery.  I’m pretty sure a throwing star whizzed past my head this morning.  The deadline of which I am specifically referring to would be this one.  A writing contest I posted about wanting to enter…oh…back in April.  I guess I was feeling optimistic in that warm spring air, which has since fizzled into cold drizzly summer air (I am not actually complaining about that – I hate the heat).  Instead, one thing after another has popped up, and I can literally watch my free time sublimate in a puff of glittery smoke.  So once again, I will be putting a goal aside for less lofty accomplishments like keeping Knittymunchkin fed and clean clothes on all our backs.  But this is o.k.  I’m learning that this is what life with a toddler means.  It also means kisses, snuggles, giggles and more love than I ever thought possible.  So it’s worth it :)  This is a season in my life and rather than dwell on the aspects I don’t appreciate, I need to spend more time being present in the moments that really matter because once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.
 
Taking care of myself and letting go of all the crap that stresses me isn’t something I do easily.  But knitting helps.  I’ve been a monogamous kind of gal lately and when all else seems chaos, I have the simplicity of a beautiful pattern and stunning yarn to ground me.  I just finished Spectra and it was the perfect balm for my anxiety.  Stunning in its simplicity, yet sophisticated in manifestation, I was obsessed from the moment I began.  No modeled pics as of now, but I did snap a few “artsy” shots for my project page which I’ll share with you here.
 

"Spectra" by Westknits


 

  • Pattern: Spectra by Stephen West  (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Main Color (Blue): Malabrigo Sock in “Impressionist Sky”; Contrasting Color (Multi): Noro Silk Garden Sock in #211
  • Needles:  Size 5 bamboo straights
  • Mods:  None
  • Completed:  July 7, 2011

 

"Spectra" by Westknits


 
Love love love this pattern!  Love the Malabrigo Sock!  Hate the Noro Silk Garden.  Sorry Noro.  Usually I love you, but this time you freakin’ shanked me.  Three knots (three! knots!), bad transitions and too much red-orange (which I only mildly like at best).  What do you have to say for yourself?  If I wasn’t so stubborn, I would have done this differently and just cut out the colors I didn’t like as I came to them, instead of just suffering for my craft.  But what can I say.  I hate to weave in ends.  I imagine making another one of these someday and making it a sock yarn scrap project.  It’s really well suited for that if you resign yourself ahead of time to having a billion and two ends to knit in.  I called this project “The Cool Kids” on my Ravelry project page because I am never knitting what the “cool kids” are knitting.  That one hot pattern that everyone has to make the second it comes out almost never appears on my radar until years later.  I’ve never made a Clapotis, or a pair of Monkey socks and it took me years to make a pair of Jaywalkers.  But for once, I was riding the crest of the cool wave.  I was down with what the kids were doing, and it felt good.  I’m pretty sure that’s the very last time I’ll be “cool” again, especially once Knittymunchkin hits school age. Then my chances are shot.
 
So, next week is Sock Summit!  Woot!  Looking forward to a few days off of “mom” duties, hanging with my super knitty pal Troy, and getting to meet Jess in real life.  I’m pretty sure there will be a little drinking, a lot of shopping and a bunch of knitting too.  Can’t wait!

8

Growing

Though I woke to a blanket of snow the morning before yesterday, I sense the quickening of spring in the air around me.  I hear it in the song of birds returned, smell it on the softening breeze, and feel it in the sun upon my face.  The time for growth is soon at hand.
 
Knittymunchkin has most certainly felt it too.  He is walking like a professional and exploring his world from the moment he wakes, until the last minutes of the day, snuggled in my arms before bedtime.  He has learned his first word (“Mama”) and I think my heart might explode every time I hear him say it.
 

My sweet little man!


 
Renewed interest in my garden has swelled up from somewhere deep inside of me.  After an entire season of neglect, I have a lot of work ahead of me to get things back in order.  R. Darling insisted on buying me the composter I kept looking at, and keeps encouraging me to give it a try as I waffle over whether it was a good decision or not.  Growing up with a mother who composted the “cheap” way, I got a little grossed out by the piles of food waste that littered the yard in various locations throughout the years.  Though I couldn’t deny my mom knew what she was doing, I always felt there must be a better, i.e. cleaner, way to do the whole thing.  Lucky for me, composting is back in vogue and there are lots of options.  Perhaps next year we’ll put in the raised beds for vegetables that I’ve been wanting for a while and with a little work maybe the dahlias I’ve been craving too.  But for now, I’ve started some zinnia and poppy seeds in my upstairs bathroom window and I can’t wait to see them blooming this summer.
 

Birth of a zinnia


 
Perhaps you’ve noticed the array of socks being added to my Ravelry queue lately.  Maybe it was finally finishing my Jaywalkers, the fact that I’ll be attending Sock Summit 2011 this summer (are you going too? let me know!), or the fact that I still have 15 lbs. to lose and just cannot justify knitting a sweater for a weight I don’t want to be, but whatever it is, I have sock fever!  Good thing I’ve got a stash that’s fit to burst with fingering yarns.  I’m thinking a pair of Leyburn socks in Hazel Knits’ Cami Chic or perhaps the it’s time to jump on the Monkey Sock bandwagon.
 

Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in "Cami Chic"


 
I decided it is also about time I take the leap into the unknown and put some effort into a dream I’ve had for many years now.  I’m going to start with something small and manageable and enter this writing contest.  I am, of course, fraught with fears.  What if no one wants to hear my life story?  Do I have a life story worth sharing?  What do I write about?  What if I suck?  What if I don’t win?  But worse:  what if I never even try?  I feel the opportunities to achieve what I want in my life becoming fewer and fewer as the years pass me by.  As Yoda would say, “Do or do not.  There is no try.”
 
So you see, I’m growing too.