Between Stitches

The falling away from public access is such a natural and useful process - especially for us hermit-like folks who find the solitude of home and family rejuvenating.  I always feel that twinge of guilt after a long blog hiatus (according to the kids, blogs are dead anyways) but I'm trying to scuff that off.  Why should I feel guilty for not documenting and publicly sharing everything that's going on?  Because it used to be a tool for me to document and remember the moments - my thoughts and feelings on them - writing to myself, really, my future self.  Scrolling through old journals are so bittersweet as re-reading the feelings of the time bring back those feelings and some of them, sometimes, are heavy and painful.

I'm working through it, here on what has become a knitting site where I can rarely share my knitting because who the hell has time to knit for fun or for family or for friends these days!?  But, I'm not just a knitter and I have to be okay with the fact that this is still my space to do with as I please and to share what my life is and what's really happening between stitches.

samples sinking.jpg

It is, of course, no secret that I'm working on my second book... and this does take up a majority of my days.  I am lucky to have an editor that has some faith in me as we round the corner from green author to one, not seasoned by any means, but maybe one with a pinch of salt.  She has let go of the reins and let me take the lead in all things from color palette to yarns - the dream - the control - the trust.  About a week ago, I looked over at the finished samples that are slowly stacking up and I thought, what is going on here?  Are any of these colors actually going to flow the way I had imagined in those early stages?  This looks like a god-damned wreck and it's going to be all my fault.  Honestly, why would she trust me with the very important task of curating this collection on my very own... as a sad, lonesome little author?  So, I grabbed all of the yarn I had received, and the samples that had already been completed, getting to work organizing and visualizing and doing all of the "izing".... oh.  So, apparently it should actually work out perfectly.  But, you know, that's the thing with taking on a big project like this - and being human - doubt creeps in.  I don't care if I'm working on my 50th book, I'm sure there will be a moment that takes hold, whispering from behind my ear, you don't know what the hell you're doing.

With that ugly mess behind me, I'm grinding out the last pattern for my interim deadline.  I'm still ahead of schedule and that has me feeling good.  Talking with some friends the other night, in inevitably comes up - how's the book coming along?  When will it be released?  You know, the usual stuff, and then the looks of horror - that long from now?  Well ya.  And future me may be looking at these designs like, ugh, what an amateur.  Of course, that always gets a laugh followed by a resounding, no way!  But that's the thing that differentiates most designers from most knitters.  Most knitters like to work within their comfort zone, not eager to tackle a project that requires they learn a whole new inventory of cast-ons and bind-offs and bazaar shaping.  Most designers live for learning those things.  Building your skill-set and knowing when and how to use all of those different techniques is part of the joy in design.  And so, for that reason, there is really always a chance that I'll feel that way.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just a thing.  I know the way the publishing world operates, and I know why, so this little feeling is just that.

I'm also in the thick of salve-making season.  I spoke a bit about the harvest and my salves in my last post so I'm not really going to dive into it here, now, again.  Just know that all of the fruits of my labors back in October are now being reaped after the long extraction processes.  I don't know why winter has to be such a dirt bag, but it is and so my dry, achy body has been gulping up the gifts of summer.  A new fun thing that came about this year is some stupid eczema that is blistery and painful on my palms.  "Avoid handling wool" I kid you not, that's one of the recommended ways to avoid irritating the condition.  HA! I said to myself as I read and knit away using my 100% wool yarn for this cabled, over-sized, long-sleeved, beast.  SO, I guess that's my life now.  Though, the salves are helping tremendously.  Calendula is a doll.

mae runnin.jpg

Mae, the bird, pictured running wild with my little baby dog, has been at a charter school on the other side of town for about 2.5 years now.  The school is basically amazing - they use their own wind power with about a half dozen mills on the property, they raise chickens, goats, and bees.  They have an FDA-approved cheese making kitchen to process their goat milk, and they have about a half acre of gardens, not including the huge greenhouse that produces year-round and the dozens of fruit trees and berries growing on the grounds.  During the warmer months they sell their cheese, honey, veg, and the like to help fund a program for students over the summer that not only teaches urban gardening, they pay these kids a wage and teach how to budget a household.

As amazing as all that is, I was watching the neighbor's son the other day and told him we were going to go to Mae's school to visit the goats. First, he thought I was saying "ghosts" and was like, ya right lady.  Then he figured out I was saying "goats" like at the zoo and not "ghosts" that say wooooo (all of this in his words).  Now, the chickens just run around all over the place, which he's used to from being at my house.  He is not used to the sight of a woman milking a goat.  The "goat lady" as the kids call her asked if he'd like to help milk but he just stared at her.  The next morning my neighbor called and asked if I wanted to hear a funny story.  Duh, of course I do.  Apparently the kiddo told his dad he had a great day with me except for when the lady at Mae's school squeezed a goat weenie until milk came out.

You know, kids are seriously the best.  I was dead. Also, I'm sure I've had some hand in traumatizing him.

good eggs.jpg

In other news, if you've been following me on IG, which honestly is the only social media I can keep up with in any way, you may know that I have some sort of green/blue egg curse that all began with our EE Sylvia.  That little rascal has never, ever laid and egg and she's now officially well past her first birthday.  My mama said she'd take her into her flock if I decide her free-loading days are over.  Last spring, I excitedly called and put on hold an OE the day the listings went up at our local chick shop.  When it was time to retrieve the little darlings I had high hopes... and then her comb came in small but straight and not looking like a pea comb at all.  Those gorgeous olive eggs I was dreaming of came out more of a mauve - very cool I'll admit but, seriously?  Her last egg before she began molting is pictured above on the left.  Gorgeous, but no green for sure.  So, my last ditch effort came in the form of another EE (Sylvia's replacement if she's a producer) and an Ameracauna.  I thought with my luck the Ameracauna would be defective somehow and the EE would lay brown eggs because I was at the point where I couldn't shake the pessimism/didn't want to get my hopes up.  Six and seven months pass - neither is laying.  In fact, the EE actually had sickle feathers and I thought she might turn out to be a roo! It was a real emotional rollercoaster.  The EE did drop her sickles and never crowed, assuring me that she was just ... going through a phase or something.  

The other day, our Ameracauna broke the curse and gave us our first blue egg.  Finally!  Now, I'm really just waiting to see what the EEs are going to do.  Sylvie just molted and Mae is pretty convinced this means she's now going to lay eggs since her feathers came back with a completely different coloring, like a splash hen.  She's definitely the optimist around here.

I'm already looking through the seed catalogs (hello new black corn that can be used as a natural dye & cold hardy fig trees) and the chick catalogs (hello cream legbar who will be a great little blue layer like our sweet Violet) which is a good sign.  I'm always most eager about spring when I feel balanced.