My own little zen world


Sitting in a coffee shop, knitting of course, I watched as many people filtered in and out. They milled around the cash register, then the pick-up counter, then the tables. They grew dangerously close to invading my personal space. But I never once felt bothered by it. I had my headphones in for a podcast and I had my Drachenfels Shawl knitting project. I had my own little world of zen amidst a completely chaotic Saturday at the coffee shop. 

It got me thinking: if I can do this with knitting, why not without it? Why can’t I create this calm wherever I am, and whatever situation I am in? I noticed this while at the beach too. I was completely stress-free, even when when my kids got whiny. 

Time to start practicing some visualizations and affirmations (with or without my knitting and the beach to calm me)!


Quiet moments

Yesterday, I finished the Spring Shawlette in lavender. I was happy to send it on its way, into the donation box, and finally be done with it. I love those long projects that take endless hours of repetitve stitches, but I was very ready to start the Drachenfels Shawl.  


So now, as I fight off a cold from my kids, I happily begin the Drachenfels Shawl. Drachen comes from German, meaning dragon. I chose the water theme colors, replacing the light blue with a cream color in Queensland Llama Soft Cotton. Find the pattern (or complete shawl kit) on Craftsy.   

These quiet moments of no TV, no Facebook, and no driving all over the suburbs heal the soul (and the cold, hopefully!). May you also enjoy your wuiet moments with knitting, to become more centered and grounded in a hectic world. 

Serenity… maybe


Finding serenity in a maddening world can be one of the toughest things we do. Knitting helps, sometimes. Naps and salt baths help, sometimes. Listening to your body and finding those few quiet moments between kids screaming and horns honking… maybe.

Amethyst, Selenite, and knitting in lilac tones: recipe for a cool-down day.


Old projects never die…

Old projects never die, they just sit in a closet and collect dust until the time is right to come back to them. It’s getting sunnier and warmer, and I’m in need of a good sun hat. Welcome back, Ipanema hat!



Find the pattern, by Amy Miller, on Ravelry. The yarn I chose is Rowan Creative Linen, a 50/50 blend of linen and cotton, in a beautiful color: tamarind.

Spider totem: weaving the fabric of our lives

About seven months ago, I was working creatively with clay at my kitchen table when I felt something hit my forehead. Thinking it was a mosquito or some other annoyance, I brushed it away, only to realize that it had run for cover toward my left ear. For hours, I kept asking my husband to look into my ear, to make sure nothing was in there. I felt a vibrating inside my ear, but only every 20 minutes or so. I would later find out from my doctor that the creature was drilling into my inner ear, probably looking for a way out.

In the midst of my growing unease at not knowing what was inside me, we called a nurse from our insurance hotline. She recommended flushing it out with warm olive oil. So, being the loving husband that he is, he flushed it out. Out ran a medium-sized black spider, which my husband promptly smashed. [Note: Many tears and panic shrieks followed.]

I have been looking back on this event for months, wondering what Spider wanted with me. I have long been a knitter, so maybe there was a kinship with my weaving of fabrics? Another person suggested that spiders enter your life to make you get rid of your fears. This also made sense. Today, though, I found a website called Shamanic Journey that gave me much-needed insights.

“When the spider enters our awareness, it is asking us to rebuild the web of our life in accordance with the design the creator gave us.”  -Ina Woolcott, Shamanic Journey

This sentence in particular hit a chord with me. Spider entered my ear just when I was walking away from a career, just as I was making choices about the life I want. I strongly believe now that Spider was encouraging me to weave my own life, to rebuild it into the life that allows me to flourish while doing the work of my soul purpose.

“They awaken our intuitive, creative senses and encourage us to design the fabric of our lives from our soul’s original intention.” -Ina Woolcott, Shamanic Journey

I certainly have had an intuitive awakening since Spider entered my ear. I can hear my own gut’s reactions; I can tell when I’m wondering off the path my soul intended; I feel Divine protection. My creative senses seem reawakened as well, as I have been painting again and my dreams have been vivid.

Spring 2015

So for all you knitters and weavers of life out there, may every encounter of Spider remind you of your connection to the larger picture. May you see the eight legs and round eight-shaped body as your connection to infinity. May you have the vision of the Weaver, easily seeing your connection to past and present. May we remember the gentle nature of Spider. May we all see the eternal plan of creation.


* This image is of a current WIP (Work in Progress). It is from a Yarnbox pattern called Impressionist Daubs Shawlette and is in the Patons Lace yarn. It seems to capture the act of creating/weaving that Spider does.

Impressionist Daubs Shawlette in lavender

IMG_6124 (1)

Seaside Blue Shawl

I found this seaside blue shade from Patons Lace back when the temperatures were below zero and the windchill was even worse. The hue brought me visions of sunny afternoons at the beach, knitting outside while the waves cover my toes. I knitted this in the Rosary Stitch pattern, a repetitive one that allows my mind to wonder into meditative realms while I loosely remain connected to earthy work through the simple pattern. It was a gift for my sister, who recently had her first baby. May it bring her the same calming effect it had on me while knitting it.

Happy knitting!

Seaside Blue Shawl 1 Seaside blue shawl 2 Seaside blue shawl 3 seaside blue shawl 4

Spring Shawl meditating

So I tried out Yarn Box and they sent this beautiful yarn in spring colors and a free pattern for a shawl. Here are the pics without blocking.

It was a great meditative pattern, one where you see the repetition of the pattern and don’t need to be looking back at the paper every row. Knitting is grounding; it brings me back to mundane and concrete reality when my mind too often wanders up to spiritual realms. But in the midst of all the grounding, it is also meditative. It allows me to do a repetitive motion with my hands (much like rosary beads) while my mind relaxes.

Happy meditating and grounding today!

spring shawl 1 spring shawl 2 spring shawl 3

Spring is coming!

It might be single digit highs for the next two days here in the Midwest, but spring is coming. Sure, it’s nothing but snow and ice outside, but I see the hope of spring in the blooming purples and greens of my finished shawl!

spring 1 spring 2

I used an acrylic/wool/mohair mix from Paton’s Lace on size 5 needles. The pattern is called Rosary Stitch, which is quite appropriate. It’s easy to memorize, since it’s basically the same eight-stitch pattern repeated for two rows, then repeated for another two rows, starting in a different place on the pattern. The repetitive nature is much like holding a rosary (I imagine) or Tibetan prayer beads (I imagine), where you go through the motions and allow your mind to relax. This is the meditative part of knitting that I adore.

spring 3

Happy new beginnings in this new moon.

Groundhog Day WIPs

When this  blizzard is what you’re surrounded by after a blizzard, it’s a good time to make progress on the WIPs (Works in Progress). We had 19 inches of snow in Chicagoland and now temps are in single digits, so we can’t even go out and play in it. We’ll play in yarn instead!

WIP #1: Spring Shawl

spring shawl

I started this many months ago, and now that I’m aching for spring, it feels right to finally finish it. The spring purples and greens have been keeping me going through these dark, cold days. It’s well over half-way done, working in size 5 needles and Patons Lace yarn.

WIP #2: Striped Crochet Scarf

striped scarf crochet

This scarf has been a long time coming. I wanted to make a scarf with vertical/long stripes, which can get quite complicated with knitting. But I tried with crocheting long chains and it seems to have worked out well. The yarns are a mixture of small balls I bought from clearance racks at local yarn shops. Most of it is wool, alpaca, or cotton, though there is a bit of acrylic mixed in.

WIP #3: Lace Bamboo Doily

lace bamboo granny square

Another project that has been a long time coming, this is one I promised my kids close to a year ago. I told them I’d make them doilies for their doll tea parties. Now that they’re really into American Girl (and cousin/Target brand Our Generation) dolls, I figured I better get busy. This is the first one, from the Isabella Square pattern in The Granny Square Book. The yarn is Patons Silk Bamboo. (Are we seeing a pattern of using up JoAnn Fabrics coupons?)

WIP #4: Surprise!

surprise blue

I’m using some wool from Door County and some other blue acrylic/wool mix for a surprise. Yay! This is a priority project, so maybe I’ll get a lot done now that I’m snowed in for the day.

Happy knitting/crocheting everyone. May you find some inner peace with your own projects.

Winter Inspiration

Just when the snow is about to take over your soul, you find beauty and remember that spring will come.

Blue Sky Alpacas posted this today:

Blue Sky Alpacas

Visit their Facebook page to read about how this rock formation inspired their color scheme, or see their main website.

My favorite book for this type of inspiration, the kind that pulls me out of the wretched sub-zero days and into life again, is The Art of Knitting by Francoise Tellier-Loumange.

In The Art of Knitting, we find that knitting can bring out the beauty of the sea

the art of knitting 1


and even the beauty of winter!

the art of knitting 2

May you find inspiration also.

Baby Alpaca scarf

This is a scarf I just finished for a holiday gift to a very wonderful pregnant lady. It’s her favorite color, and the baby alpaca should be nice and soft for her as she awaits her own little baby. See the details of the project on Ravelry.

The yarn was bought from a lovely little shop called I’d Rather Be Knitting, who recently closed its doors.

blue baby alpaca 2 blue baby alpaca 3

Finished Rune Cloth


Here she is, finished. The rune cloth that took way longer than expected. What started as individual little rectangles…

Berkano    4 runes  runes 2


got pieced into a half circle…


runes 6.26


then a full circle…

runes 3

and a failed attempt at knitting a center circle….

20140717-173303-63183180.jpg    rune cloth July

before this:

rune cloth 9.14 (and weaving in all the little tails took way too long!)

It was on size 1 needles with Lion Brand cotton bon-bons and some beige wool for the center.

happy knitting and blessed be.

Cotton on Oak



cotton on oak

After trying a pattern from Reversible Knitting, I had no idea what to do with it. It was a doily under a flower vase for the greater part of the last six months, until our oak lost some branches in a recent storm. Now, it’s a wall hanging.

I slipped the stitches onto an oak branch (which is way more difficult than it sounds), then added a willow twig and a feather.


A Rune Cloth… Finally

Here she is: the rune cloth, pre blocking and pre weaving in ends. It’s like finishing a novel, where you feel a sense of accomplishment while simultaneously feeling a sense of loss that it won’t be part of your daily life any longer. It’s much larger than I imagined it would be, and I have no idea how I’ll use it. I guess I’ll decide after finishing touches.

Happy knitting!

Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair 2014

Those who could head out this past weekend to the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair were pleasantly surprised to find admission was half price ($5/adult, kids free). We were greeted by llamas in a pen, and so we of course had to buy a souvenir llama (and a $3 finger puppet).

MF&FAF_llama and clearance yarn MF&FAF_finger puppet

The red yarn was for my other daughter who could not attend, some fluffy acrylic marked way down in a clearance bin.

We also saw plenty of felted projects and a booth of unique rugs:

MF&FAF_felted lilies MF&FAF_red rug MF&FAF_brown rug

The venture ended with my small purchase of wool and silk to make a moon on a moon/sun shawl I am planning.


Get ready, Illinois: You’ve got a big weekend ahead of you!


For those fortunate enough to live anywhere near Chicago, we in N.IL (northern Illinois) have two amazing yarn events this weekend. First is the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair. From their website:

NEW DATES!:  AUGUST 1, 2, 3, 2014
where:               Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake, IL
(YES – it is air conditioned!)
times:                Fri & Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 10am-4pm
Regular admission is $10/day, or 3 days/$25
ONE admission fee gets you into the
Market, Exhibits, Demonstrations,
Competitions, Animals, Garment
Extravaganza, etc—everything going
on that day!
Kids 10 and under are FREE


The second event is an 8-day yarn crawl through Chicagoland’s yarn shops. Chicago Yarn Crawl 2014 posted this on their website:

August 2 – 10, 2014

Welcome to Chicago’s 5th annual yarn crawl taking place Saturday, August 2 through Sunday, August 10, 2014. We have 28 stores participating this year. Many of them have arranged fun events in conjunction with the crawl. Each store will have a raffle basket worth $100 to a lucky winner. There is also a discount for purchases along with a free exclusive store pattern. Stop in any of the participating stores to pick up your passport and get it stamped for a chance to win grand prize raffle baskets.

Share this with your friends and plan a fun outing to Chicago and its suburbs.

Happy yarn crawling, everyone!



Slower than molasses in January

Yep, my project progress has been slower than molasses in January. Or should I say slower than knitting projects in July?

ipanema hat july

The Ipanema Hat pattern (above) is getting close, but at this rate, I probably won’t have it finished in time to actually wear as a summer hat. <insert frowny face>

rune cloth July

I’m finally getting some progress on the Rune Cloth center (above), now that all the individual rectangle runes are finished. Hopefully, this will free me up to finish other projects!

isosceles july 1 isosceles july 2

And the Isosceles Shawl (above) is making the least progress, though I do enjoy it. I’m about to start binding off a third of it (which makes the triangle shape). For now, it is still a lump (below).

isosceles July 3


Ah summertime… long hours outdoors and very little knitting time. (Is it too soon to say that I miss winter?)


Happy knitting!