Red door

  
Red door found in an alley. Possible photo shoot location? 

I took myself to a cafe to work on a draft of a hand warmers pattern for test knitting. On the way home it rained a bit, and my white and black umbrella seemed to set off everything and help me see with new eyes. 
  

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surprisingly, a Word of the Year

I haven’t set out to choose a word for 2015, but suddenly there is one. I didn’t choose it. It seemed to choose itself, rising again and again to the top of my thoughts.

At the beginning of the year if I had chosen a word it might have been ‘recovery’, as I floundered around in the grips of that horrible burn out/depression. I was on a healing journey, trying to bring back my energy and the pieces of myself I felt that I’d given away. I’d given of myself and my time to so many organizations and people that it was like a weary treasure hunt, trying to bring all those bits of me back and nourish them.
Now, as I feel fairly confident that I’m no longer in mental and emotional debt, there is a word. It comes to my mind almost daily. Gracious. Not grace, which I associate with physical expression of beauty in movement. Gracious: characterized by kindness and courtesy. I want a gracious life, a kind life, a gracefully and graciously charming life.

  
It’s a word that makes me breathe all the way down to the bottom of my lungs.

I want a few ordered and treasured possessions that are clean and tidy. I want to feel that I have enough time in every day for the things that will be done. I don’t want to cram tasks into my day. I don’t want to ‘hustle’. In fact, I am probably in fact trying to put myself on a No Hustle Plan. I think I’ve spent all my time hustling since I was 26: 40 pounds too heavy, surrounded in mess, and trying to keep up with young kids. I had a breakthrough that year and realized I would fire anyone who tried to run my life like that, and I’ve spent 15 years trying to remake myself into someone I would admire. But I have hustled partly out of fear that I’m lazy.

This second half of 2015 is about breathing room even within striving to make things better. I want a feeling of openness in the time I have, the space I occupy, a feeling that keeps surfacing with that word: gracious.  

There is a line in Princess Diaries (of all places) that also keeps surfacing in my thoughts: “A queen never rushes, she hastens.” This makes me smile, but it also hints at an important element I’m seeking. I don’t want to be a human whirlwind, dazzling and powerful but rushed and flinging things out the edges. I want to be a river – powerful but unrushed, moving forward with patience and always reaching my destination.

Questions still to be answered:

Within the concept of ‘striving’, is there an inherent poison? How can I find a way to challenge myself without judgement? To improve and change is woven right into my personality, but how to do it without a criticism of ‘Sarah now’?

Cobblestone Intersections Cowl pattern

cobblestone cowl pattern release
It’s been a while since I entered this as one of the two patterns I submitted to the DesignAlong contest.  In the meantime, I’ve learned a lot about designing, about working with test knitters, about how to load things into Ravelry.  And now I have this pattern to present to you, tech edited and test knit, ready to fascinate your needles right now and be ready before the chill winds of autumn arrive.

Until August 5th it’s 25% off to celebrate. There’s no code, the shopping cart will enter it automatically.

Cobblestone Cowl knitting pattern

I wore it all winter and it kept me warm and made me happy.  I wanted wearability and warmth so it’s knit in Cascade Superwash Aran.   It’s a deep, warm cowl which features a simple, reversible texture pattern separated from a garter stitch section by a crisp line. It has a tidy slip-stitch edging and a nearly invisible join.  The cowl is knit side-to-side and the ends are grafted together. Full instructions for grafting in garter stitch are given in the pattern.  You could go with a three-needle bind off if seams don’t bother you, but why be intimidated by the grafting?  It’s simple and you can wear it any old way without worry if there isn’t a seam.

cobblestone cowl knitting pattern texture detail

When I travel, I love to watch the textures of the landscape change.  Maybe it’s the prairie girl in me – the textures of the fields and the big skies are the main attractions here. It’s like my eye is set to macro – I’ll miss a cathedral because I’m looking at brickwork.  I’ll have my eye on the jagged edge of a leaf and nearly miss the flower.  I especially love it when textures meet or overlap. This cowl’s structure was inspired by Germany’s sidewalks.   I really enjoy the many ways that rough cobblestone can be found next to bricks and intersected by a smooth line of concrete.

Unbound sweater

   
I’ve held off on knitting a boxy, oversized sweater, worried that it was an awful lot of knitting for a style I might not love. But this version, with a V-neck and split hem, inspired me. 

 
It’s a great sweater, and an incredible yarn. 

  
Pattern: Unbound 

Yarn: Alegria

Soft spot

  
Another moment of quiet on the deck, my Dream Chair proving to be a heavenly temptation away from the others in the family. I’m knitting and listening to the second Locke Lampra book. Stillness and restfullness on the outside, heists and lies and danger in my mind.