Gratitude of Life

Contemplating about, and practicing gratitude has been timely. Focusing on being grateful has made life easier — that doesn’t sound right; it’s not easy, but there’s a difference perspective. Even when faced with sorrow there is hope and goodness.

Last night a young man from this town was killed. He and his girlfriend were in a crosswalk in Portland when a car struck him.
Miraculously she wasn’t hit.

Daniel was a quiet, reserved young man. He got by on his wits and determination. The thing I remember most about him was his shy smile, his courage and determination to rise above the circumstances of his childhood.

Life. We take it so for granted. One minute walking across a street in Portland to get a bite to eat, the next mowed down by a care-less driver.

People that took him into their homes when he was a couch-surfer, who gave him a bed, encouragement and support, who helped him with many of life’s challenges are grieving. They were his family, not through blood but through love. My heart aches for them today. They’re hurting not only for the tragic end to Daniel’s life but for his girlfriend who valiantly gave him CPR.
Grateful for:
– life
– peace in knowing Daniel is in heaven.
– that he knew Jesus the Shepherd King
– the friend who stopped by the church to pray at a time I happened to be there.
– the crisp, sunny day

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A Good Day

It’s been a good day. Church service was followed with a nice Thanksgiving potluck.

There was more chatting, some knitting, and  spinning this evening with our friend, Allison.

We looked through my basket of top-whorl spindles. It’s a lovely collection which, sadly, are rarely spun as I usually gravitate to one of Ed’s spindles. There’s just something about the Turkish style that I love.
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Allison is still threatening to slip Ebo under her coat when she leaves in a day or two.

Feeling very grateful, for many blessings, this evening.

I was reluctantly dragged into Facebook when our son’s family moved to a different state. It didn’t take long to figure out that if we wanted to stay current with them and our grandchildren we’d need to have FB accounts. The added benefit is keeping in touch with far-flung friends and family. Years ago letter writing was a passion that slowly dimmed from far spaced, often brief, letters in my mailbox in return. A welcome bonus with FB has been reconnecting with a few people from years long ago.

Recently two friends have been treading through waters of deep grief. Wanting to tangibly wrap them in a bit of love but being an excruciatingly slow knitter I needed something much quicker than a shawl, or even a scarf. Yarn Harlot wrote about the realities of a certain hat taking more than a mere few hours admitting that it was more likely to take a couple days. I’ve yet to knit a hat within a couple of days, with the exception of a chunky handspun. I used a size J knook to make one in record time of a couple days for my visiting granddaughter three years ago. (Story and pictures, here.) I should dig up that knook and knock out some more hats for the grandkids, but first I’d have to spin some chunky yarn with my Navajo spindle.

That’s right, I was telling a story about finding a quick project…

Remembering a few necklaces that were relatively quick knits I turned to Laura Nelkin Designs for a bracelet knit. The first one was destined for my daughter.

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Delighted with how it turned out  I dug into a bead tray, strung a bunch onto some handspun and started a new one the next evening. The yarn in the kit was round with great stitch definition which helps the design and beads to pop. My slightly thicker handspun bloomed with washing and even after blocking it seemed a bit too uneven to give to a friend.  What’d I expect using a 50/50 silk cashmere blend?

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The first picture of the grey bracelet is closer to the color. It seems the light was picking up and reflecting the blues in the picture above. Despite the funkiness of the bottom, handspun one it feels wonderful on my wrist; soft and warm. I had to use different type of clasp than that snap clasp that came in the Nelkin kit. Aurora thought the sliding clasp I used on my bracelet is easier to use.

This one shows their true colors:

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It’s interesting to see that the slightly thicker, flatter yarn made a bigger bracelet using the same size US 2 / 2.75mm needles.

Digging through the handspun stash didn’t reveal anything that shouted their names like the yarn I wanted to use. The color and soft fibers were perfect for both of these friends in need of some hugs. Using a spindle I added more twist then cast on for a third bracelet which was finished and blocked last night using the same needles. Adding more twist and knitting a bit tighter helped tremendously. One end looks narrower than the other but they are pretty much the same when curved end to end.

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Number 4 is half-way done, tomorrow the ends will be sewn in and the clasps attached. Thursday these bracelets should be winging their way to give my friends warm, gentle hugs and to let them know that they’ve been much in my heart and in my prayers.

Meanwhile, inches are adding up on Ed’s sweater sleeves. It will be a happy day when they are finished and the blocking commences.

Crocheted booties and a baby hat

December has been filled with music, good memories, people and even two finished items!

The weekend of Dec 13 – 15 had three nights in a row of Christmas music: Friday was going to a local performance of John Doan’s Christmas Unplugged. (You may have seen his PBS “Victorian Christmas”.) He entertained us with historical details of old American instruments and facts of Christmas music a century ago. He played an assortments of the instruments including the harp guitar, which I wasn’t to keen to hear. Until he played.
Saturday evening was the Scotts Mills Friends’ annual Christmas sing-a-long. It was another fun evening of fiddling until my fingers were numb and people’s voices were worn out
Friday the four Sister-friends got together to celebrate MC’s birthday at another evening of Christmas music followed by cake.

One of my cousins (first cousin, twice removed – ha, figure that one out!) and his wife had their first child. They live in the middle of frigid Alberta, CA so I dug out some yarn I’d spun years ago from Sunset Fibers. I’d loved the fiber but until little Zelena was born had never figured out what it wanted to be. The moment I saw it when stash diving after getting word of her birth I knew exactly what it was to be. A Baby Peace Fleece Hat.

Only a couple of weeks earlier I’d ordered the Folk Art Hat Peace Fleece kit. (Go ahead, order one for the New Year!) The kit arrived with a complimentary Baby Peace Fleece Hat pattern. (It doesn’t seem to be available on their website.)

Rather than knitting flat, as the pattern instructed, I knit it in the round. Another change was crocheting two ties rather than making the chin strap as in the pattern.  The entire hat was completed in two evening; the second evening was for making the little crocheted flower decoration. (Not in the pattern) I was stunned to realize that in almost of life time of on and off crocheting I’d never made a flower. It’s not the pretty layered rose I’d envisioned due to the yarn being too thick to make a decent one.

I hope the parents will be as charmed with it as I am.
Baby Peace Fleece Hat           Peace Hat ear flap
What a fun knit, I’m looking forward to making more of these hats.

It was so  much fun that the next night I cast on for some booties for our young granddaughter. Violet’s not keen on wearing shoes and often our floors are quite cold.

I looked through scads of patterns then cast on for general ideas, didn’t see any that completely took my fancy but gathered enough ideas to begin chaining, and with only a few rip-backs sallied forth with a G crochet hook and some of the yarn I spun from fiber that Violet’s mom, Aurora, had dyed.

crochet boot project
Violet seemed to take a fancy to them Christmas morning. She was quite entranced with the buttons.066060

The past two Saturday brought spindle visitors! Adele and her husband drove over from a small town only about 35 miles to the west of us. They brought some lovely wood that he had used for carving but has since moved on to another hobby. We had a lovely afternoon visiting with them and hope to get together again one of these days. I was chagrined to realize I hadn’t thought to bring out my camera when they were here.

I would have forgotten to take pictures again this past Saturday when Susan and Michael stopped by on their way back to San Diego after visiting their son in Seattle. Fortunately Susan wanted to get a picture of her playing with the great wheel! I took a couple of pictures of her before Michael reached for the camera and took some pictures of the three of us.  Susan had been practicing her long draw with her Russian spindle and it showed in the ease with which she took to the Great Wheel.Susan spinning_2

Michael 1With miles yet to cover before stopping for the night their visit was short but sweet. We parted with wishes for a longer visit if they’re in the area again.

Ed woke up during the early hours Sunday morning sweating and chilled. We both felt pretty miserable on Sunday but whatever that was seemed to be a quickly passing bug. It probably helped that we both slept most of the morning and then lazed around reading, watching Dr Who and napping the rest of the day. Ed’s been plagued with coughing and sinus pressure off and on, we kept thinking it might be allergies since certain woods have triggered similar reactions in the past. Yesterday he decided it was time to see a doctor and get to the bottom of why he’s has so many cycles of feeling crummy. She found he has a bad case of sinus infection that she suspects has been there for months so now he’s on a course of antibiotics. His first in ages, well over a decade. The man used to never get sick. At all. This past year seems to have been making up for all those years. We’re both hoping for a much healthier year ahead. As such, we’ve continued to take it easy and not worry about work. I’ve enjoyed reading more than I may have read in the past six months, weaving, spinning on the Great Wheel and knitting on a sweater for our grandson. A friend from the days before we even had children came to visit for a couple of hours today. We hadn’t seen him in quite some time so it was great to catch up. We’d love to take a couple of days in the near future to visit he and his wife (she was unable to come with him) at their place on the coast.

Let sanity and common sense have the upper hand in this coming New Year!
We wish everyone a New Year filled with peace, joy, fulfillment and contentment.

Day with a dear friend

Remember the green Pikki Lilli mentioned in the previous post? The one that was over three-fourths done when I realized there wouldn’t be enough yarn. Frogging it turned out to be a blessing!

The next day my dear friend from teen years called saying she was in Washington State visiting her daughter who’d just had a baby boy. How could I not schedule a day to spend with her the following week. That evening I used the Cherry Tree Hill jade yarn to knit a Norwegian Baby Cap, a pattern I’ve done before and found to be a quick knit, and charming on both boys and girls. Not wanting to take chances on running out prematurely I alternated the green with variegated grey sock yarn.

Monday, the 1st,  dawned bright and cheerful, lightening to bright blue skies with the promise of a fine day as I drove 130+ north. The miles passed more quickly than I’d estimated when setting up the arrival time. (yes, the speed limit of 70 mph was maintained)  Realizing that I would arrive 30 minutes ahead of schedule — which might not be the most welcoming way to arrive at the doorstep of a brand new mother who I’d last seen when she was 3 years old– I kept a sharp look-out for a MacDonalds. (Ed and I don’t eat at Mickey D’s but I do like their coffee and I love their fries.)  Spying one only 5 miles from my destination I pulled in and enjoyed 25 minutes of drinking a latte while people watching and knitting on a project I’d started the day before. Much to my dismay they don’t serve fries until after 11am, only hash browns. (What’s up with that?)

How’s this for perfect matching?  They had no idea that I had knit Little Guy a green cap when grandma dressed him that morning. The cap will serve him well for a few months.


After holding and admiring Little Guy, Terri and I were soon on our way to the local Borst Family Park with its lengths and loops of trails leading around a pond, along the Chehalis River… where the clear blue waters were so enticing that it I’d had a change of clothes I may not have been able to resist taking a plunge. Terri is from Texas, our balmy weather felt a tad chilly in the morning.

to the mid-eighteen hundreds homestead with the still standing house and wonderful heirloom gardens.

Can’t help but wonder what the story is behind the name of tall, beautiful corn which dates back to before 1845.

We walked and talked for hours, ate a delicious lunch at the delightful Blackberry Fields Cafe then took another long walk through the fir park until the sun slanted to the west and it was time to head home.

I have embarked on my first Baby Surprise Jacket! (scroll way down)  Sarah picked out the yarn at OFFF, with Violet’s help – she clearly reached out for this particular skein at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth.

Violet rarely wavers from her first choice. As I knit with her in my lap she fondles the ball of yarn. I’ll try to distract her with a different skein but after looking at it a few moments her attention turns back to the BMFA yarn. It’s a Mill End skein which has a few splices along the 400+ yard length, and no colorway name – which I hadn’t realized until I was preparing to wind the skein into a ball. The pattern is moving along at a good clip, which is a good thing for another growing granddaughter would like a knit cap for her upcoming birthday.

Taking full advantage of the lingering warm days Violet and I love to spend time under the still leafy trees.
Tuesday a friend is coming to learn how to spin. I’m very much looking forward to spending time with her and teaching her to turn fiber into yarn. We worked together several years at the public library. During that time she bought a loom and began weaving rugs.  She’s also an avid knitter. This past summer she and her husband were vacationing in the far north of Alaska where she happened to see a herd of muskox roaming near the road. Soon the two of them were scrambling between the bushes plucking all the muskox fiber they could find with the goal of someday turning it into yarn.

The days are very full and busy. It’s been hard to be disciplined about working (I get as much done as possible during naps with Violet is here on Tuesday and Thursday) when my heart yearns to be outside roaming along fields, traipsing through woods, and exploring the low creek. There’s a waterfall not terribly far up the road that I’ve yet to see. It’s been calling my name.

Blessed by Friends

First, the spindles are almost all ready for Black Sheep. The new spinning dvd was delivered Sunday evening by the film-maker/editor. Overall he did a beautiful job and we’re quite pleased with it. I spent yesterday making copies to include in the book. There are several people who’ve pre-ordered/pre-paid and I’ll get those out early next week.

Team Jenkins Turkish Spindlers 2012 for the Tour de Fleece (at Ravelry) is coming together. Two people came up with two great designs, first Spindledreams using my spindle picture, then Michelle of Boulderneigh (who isa graphic artist) used our logo to make one and Spindledreams jumped on board, without any need for competition, instead she embraced Michelle’s work with gusto and put the finishing touch of the black borderon the design. It makes me smile and my heart sing to see two people who don’t know each other being supportive of each other and collaborating with good cheer for a common goal.

It’s not officially be recognized by the Team mod , and the other Team members, but isn’t it a great logo?

The last rays of sunshine are slanting across the treetops and the distant ridge.

*****

My eyelids indicate it’s bedtime. It’s been a very good day!

Twice in the past four days we’ve been blessed by visits from friends harkening back to younger days. Saturday a college / camp friend and her husband stopped by on their way from California to Montana. Temperance had lived a couple doors down the hall in my dorm, then we both worked at a summer camp in the Cascade Foothills where Ed also signed up for the summer. I was the assistant wrangler, Temperance a counselor, Ed the crew leader. Funny thing is, Ed took her out to see Star Wars before he took me. He ended up seeing it three times that summer of ’77 – the final time he took me. 🙂

We kept in touch for a few years, then lost track of her and her husband.  Then five years ago Ed and I both started thinking about them. A lot. We  tracked them down by looking her up via her last name, stumbled across a brothers who gave us her contact info. Amazingly, (it had to be God’s timing) they had just returned to California after living a number of years in Europe. We were soon in touch once again. And, the connection brought another new friend into my life: the wife of elder brother is also an avid knitter and spinner with whom I had the great pleasure of hanging out at Black Sheep four years ago. Waving to GrannyLinda!  I still haven’t done anything with those silk cocoons we bought together.

Around the lunch table on Saturday time fell away as we caught up with each other and discussed how God has sustained and remained faithful, even through some painful events. People of the heart. They’re headed back to Europe for a visit but this time, with the internet we’ll be able to stay in touch. And perhaps sometime we’ll be able to spend a long lazy day with the guys casting their flies onto a river. (I completely spaced on getting a picture.)

The friends who came today have had a presence in our lives since early in our marriage. They live in another state and spend part of the year working in S America (where the husband was raised) so we don’t see each other very often any more. When we both lived in Portland Serenity was a wonderful support and mentor when the kids were small as well as my running partner. Daily we’d meet early in the morning to run up and around Mt Tabor and through different neighborhoods. We share memories of running on the same Hood to Coast Relay Team in ’85, praying and studying the Bible together. A kindred spirit friend.

What a relaxing afternoon we had! We feel so blessed to have wonderful friends of the heart with whom we can pick up long dormant threads hardly miss a beat. I wish we’d had more time together – it seems we barely scratched the surface of where our lives and thoughts have lead over the years apart. Aurora brought delicious homemade soup with her, along with a salad, and Violet. Serenity was one of the first friends to stop in when Aurora was born all those years ago.

Serenity and Violet aka SweetPea

At 3 months Violet is keen on trying to make speech. She intently watches our mouths and tries to make sounds. Saying “hi” to her she works hard to activate those vocal chords and mouth to imitate us. A couple times it sounded very close to “hi”. (claims the doting grammie)

Bedtime for this sleepyhead – tomorrow will be a very full day pushing through the last of the organizing and rounding up of everything we need for a busy weekend.