A Crafter's Life

The Ball of Yarn (which eventually became a hat)

Did you ever need or want to finish a craft project but the project itself had a great emotional weight?

Such is the case with a ball of variegated turquoise yarn in my yarn stash.

Last year near this time I was on a trip with friends to Santa Fe, New Mexico (see posts Santa Fe in Black and White and Creative Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum). Sante Fe has many wonderful shops and we did a little winter hat shopping in the shops for my friend Michele who was looking for the perfect turquoise hat to compliment her turquoise winter coat.

After trying on several hats in several shops that did not work, I offered to knit her a hat using turquoise yarn.

When I returned to my home in Central Oregon, my late husband Terry and I went shopping for the perfect yarn and we found it – variegated turquoise yarn.

Terry was taking a break from making quilts and was just enjoying being my “crafting assistant” so he rolled the skein of yarn into a ball to make my hat knitting easier.

This was one of the last crafting things he worked on before he unexpectedly and suddenly died on 12/13/18.

So I had this ball of yarn, that he had wound into a ball.

I could barely touch it much less even think of knitting that hat.

However, as I’ve discovered during my first year journey of widowhood: crafting and making things are good for your spirit. Sometimes it seems like doing something with my hands is healing to my heart.

I began working on the hat in late Winter 2019 as I prepared for my move to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound) to begin a new life adventure.

But it was difficult to work on and I put it away. Every time I picked up the ball of yarn I could picture Terry sitting on the sofa across from me rolling the ball of yarn, watching a TV show with me, and laughing. Some days I still cannot believe my beautiful life with him suddenly ended.

In early October on an unexpectedly snowy day in Denver, I realized that “Winter is Coming” and if my friend Michele was to have that turquoise hat for this winter, I needed to work on it.

And so I did.

Here is my favorite part of knitting a hat – when you switch to the double pointed needles:

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Here is the completed hat:

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And here is my lovely friend Michele in her new hat (which I gave her this weekend):

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I feel very peaceful after completing the hat. Terry was also a friend of Michele’s and he would be very pleased to see the hat completed. His work rolling the ball of yarn was not wasted!


Postscript

To close out this post, here is another inspirational sign from the collection of signs sprinkled about the restaurant I mentioned in yesterday’s post’s Postscript section:

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Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Autumn in Central Oregon

Monday I went on a field trip to the Wintercreek Nursery with my friend Jenny. The Nursery was filled with glorious examples of the beauty of Autumn in Central Oregon.

I thought I would post a couple of those photos as part of my ongoing series of posts on sources of Creative Inspiration. I think these photo compositions could be inspiration for an interesting art quilt. Feel free to use them for inspiration and if you repost the photos, please credit me as the photographer, thanks.

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Here is my absolute favorite of the photos I took:

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And here is a tiny little house that I think was covering some plumbing that looked like a real house tucked away in forest growth:

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Finally here are a couple photos of Autumn at my house in Central Oregon:

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We have a lot of reds, yellows, yellow-greens and greens. We do not have the purples of the Autumn in Vermont (when I lived in New York we used to drive to Vermont in the Fall to see the exquisitely beautiful palette of colors) but I think Autumn is an exceptionally lovely time of year with the Fall colors and the backdrop of an impossibly blue Central Oregon Autumn sky!

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Thanks for reading my photo essay of Autumn in Central Oregon!

One of the “non-Wordpress” blogs I love to follow is that of a fellow Central Oregon SAQA member, Kristin Shields. On her blog Kristin Shields: Artist & Quiltmaker, she has a visually beautiful post on Fall Color – October Color.


Postscript

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the table runners I am working on (see recent posts) and will sharing a peek in a future post.

Now that the weather has changed (it has dipped into the 60s and 50s during the day and 20s – 30s at night!) it is time to start making knitted hats again in the evenings while watching TV.

I love to wear my knitted hats (yes I only know one pattern) on brisk Fall and Winter walks!

As I mentioned in the post Not Working On What I am Supposed to be Working On, I love to wear my nearly finished hat around the house with the double pointed needles sticking out of the top, as a tradition right before I finished off the hat.

So here is another silly picture of me with my nearly finished hat!

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Terry the Quilting Husband puts up with me weirdness!

Oh and here is the full image of the featured photo – I would like to find fabric in this color:

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A Crafter's Life

Not working on what I’m supposed to be working on

My Intentions

Well here’s what I’m supposed to be working on today:

Reality

Here’s what I’m actually working on today:


It’s so cold and snowy today all I want to do is sit around under a quilt and knit.

I am almost to my favorite part of knitting a hat – switching to the double pointed needles. I love finishing off the top part of a hat – it’s kind of challenging but fun! (Plus I like being silly and walking around the house with my nearly completed hat and double pointed needles sticking out of the top – ha!)

Well back to watching the snow fall outside my front window…

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Postscript

Reminder – Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer now has her own blog schnauzersnips.wordpress.com.

You can sign up to follow her blog at schnauzersnips.wordpress.com/blog/

A Crafter's Life, tierneycreates

Knitting!

And now for something completely different…  – Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Let’s take a break from quilting and sewing and talk about KNITTING!

I have always wanted to learn to knit, I thought it was magical. My grandmother taught me how to crochet and crocheting is cool but there was something more austere and glamorous about knitting, not quite sure how to put it into words. Maybe it was because I did not know how to do it and it seemed so difficult that made it so ethereal…

15 years ago a I learned how to knit but I only learned how to make knitted scarves, I was scared to try anything beyond a scarf. After learning how to knit I became completely enamored with wool yarns. As a crocheter I had made numerous afghans with inexpensive acrylic blend yarns. I could not imagine buying expensive yarn for crocheting.

One of my first exposures to “high-end” yarns was at a yarn shop in British Columbia on a trip to Victoria. When we lived in Seattle, WA, Canada was not that far away and we would frequently go to Vancouver, BC. Every couple of years we would take the ferry from Northern Washington State to Victoria, BC for the weekend.

One trip to Victoria, we stopped at the Beehive Wool Shop. My first time to a yarn speciality shop, I was overwhelmed – so many colors and textures, and yarn options, and patterns, and, and, and (I nearly get short of breath and dizzy just thinking of that first experience).

They were so friendly and welcoming at the Beehive Wool Shop, especially when I told them I was a new knitter. It was as if I had joined a new family – The Knitting Family.

Displayed at the shop I saw the most beautiful scarf – a ribbed knit scarf made with this beautiful burnt orange yarn (I seem to have always had a thing for orange, see my posts Embracing Orange and Orange). I figured this scarf was way too advanced for me – I had only mastered straight knitting and straight purling, no combinations!

The kind and very encouraging shopkeeper at the Beehive Wool Shop told me that I could do it, found me the yarn, then gave me an impromptu lesson on how to create ribbing. She also wrote down the simple pattern for me.

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Here is the completed scarf – it is my most favorite scarf of all time (and I made it – yay)!

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Having conquered a semi difficult scarf, I set my dreams on someday knitting my own cap/hat.

Then 9 years later, while living in Central Oregon, my friend who is a very experienced knitter, knitted me my first handmade cap! Oh my goodness – I was so in love with this hat that his hat became my “security blanket” (remember when you were young and you had a “bankie” that you took everywhere with you?) and once the weather got slightly cold enough it was time to wear my hat!

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Me in my “security blanket”
My love for my hat grew to the point that I had to learn how to make such a hat, even if this sounded scary and beyond my reach. My friend Pam agreed to teach me how to knit a hat and she was very patient (very patient) as I made it through my first hat.

There are no photos to share of my first hat. It was wonderful to make a hat but it was rather small for my head, not sure what I was thinking.

I did not give up, the best thing after learning to do something is to try again, especially on your own, to cement your learning. I have made two more knitted hats since that time (same pattern) and I am currently working on a third. Eventually I would like one in every color of my wardrobe!

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My knitted hat collection (from the top): I made the olive green hat, my friend Pam made the purple variegated one, I made the blue one, the maroon one is in progress.
I may not work on it all the time but my knitting is very special to me. I like to take it on trips or to events where I will just be sitting around. I carry my knitting in a special bag – one that I picked up when I went on a trip with my father (who is no longer with us) to Williamsburg, VA. This bag reminds of the fun day I had, about 18 years ago, wandering around Colonial Williamsburg with my Dad.

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Every time I go to knit it reconnects me with that special trip.

Happy Crafting!