Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I breathed...

Well...I managed to get through the terrible awful.

And I have to say I did it through the encouragement and love of good friends and loving family and an inner strength that continues to amaze me.

Everything is now final.  And I have to say that my anxiety levels which I would have put at a 7 or 8 on Saturday and they remained that through the hearing on Monday have dropped to a 2.  I'm so calm and relaxed and just feel at peace.

I do not, for one moment, like HOW things were done, but I do have to say that they were right.

It's still incredibly sad and I still have moments of huge sorrow and grief.  It's all tangled up with the loss of my dad, uncle and husband in such a short period of time.

But, I will instead discover a new me that had been hiding and is so ready to come out and play and love life and live and enjoy what's happening all around her.


I knitted on this sock yesterday on the flights and at the airport.  The yarn is Allegria by Manos del Uruguay.  Yummy yummy yummy.  I can't wait for them to be finished so I can wear them and everyone will see me coming from a mile away :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

One day, 6 minutes, and one breath

When I was a little girl, my mom's cousin used to sing at church sometimes and she had an amazing voice.  Pure beautiful and amazing.  She could have been a star if she'd wanted to.

One of her favorite songs to sing was called "one day at a time" and I can still hear the "Sweet Jesus" part of the chorus in my head.  I don't remember all the words, but the general message was to take things in perspective, stay focused on the now, and look to the higher power to help you get through much of what I'm trying to do right now to get healthy and take care of myself.

I talked with Sandy who showed up for our meeting yesterday.  She wished me luck on my upcoming trip (more on that in a second) and said, "My friend said sometimes you have to take it 6 minutes at a time...just do what you have to to get through the next breath and eventually it'll be over."

So, that's what I'm doing.  On Monday the divorce will be final and I have to fly to Mississippi to be present for the hearing.  I really don't want to do this for many many reasons, but I will...and I'll get through it...and I'll be on the other side of all this and back in my apartment in just 5 days...and then THIS part of this process will be behind me.

And when I get back, watch out...I'm feeling the creative juices flowing.  They're inspiring me in so many many happy things to make and do and feel.  It's going to be wonderful when this anxiety has been day, one minute or one breath at at time.  Whatever it takes.


I promised to take you through the design phase of some of my work.  I am making a set of towels for my aunt to give my cousin and she sent me this picture to use as inspiration.

The one I'm focusing on is in the upper right of the picture, the orange, cream and blue one.  I've picked my colors and will show them to you when I'm on next...maybe Wednesday, maybe Tuesday.


Until then, send happy loving thoughts my way and remind me to breathe.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's the Little Things

It really is the little things in life that call to attention the awesome beauty and amazing potential we have.  Little things like a kitty kiss, or making the green light, or catching the elevator.

Little things like seeing a leaf on the ground and crunching it.

Little things like feeling the wind in your hair.

Or seeing clouds in the sky.

Or eating a healthy supper.

Or buying yourself flowers because you've done well.

Or hearing someone say "you're doing such a good job of taking care of yourself" when that's really become the theme of things around here...validation is pretty amazing.


I like knitting, weaving, and crocheting with little things skeins, samples or whatever you want to call them.  We sell them at work, but I was buying the Tosh Tea Cakes well before I started working here.

I have finally collected enough to start on my scrap afghan(s).  I'm making a hexagon crochet afghan to start and am currently about 1/2 finished with the tiny centers.  So cute...and so fun...and so little.

See, it's the little things.

People at work have asked me how I "manage" the mini skeins.  I wind them into cakes. I just tie the ends together and keep going.  I try to make them random but they don't really have to be because I choose random balls and only work from the outside yarn.  When I get to the join, I cut, and grab another ball and keep going.

I also like to bring in all my extras from the sock yarns I have so I make a little ball of them and use them up during all of this too.  It's really quite fun...

Little things.  Stop and look around and appreciate them because they are awesome.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2 Months ago today

Two months ago today I left Mississippi to move to Reno.  I drove in the car for 4 days straight with just my kitty cats and my music and my audiobooks...and I made it here and have grown so much in the past two months that I hardly recognize myself from who I was back then.

I'm so much more confident.  I know that I can manage things and do them and even if I don't like them getting them done is so much better than not.  I am fearful sometimes, but that's not lack of confidence, it's more lack of planning or strategies.

I'm so much more grateful.  I know that I have things in my life that are wonderful.  Even though I've been mostly alone for the past 2 months, I've been able to read, and weave, and knit, and crochet and see amazing sunsets and play with beautiful yarn and meet some pretty amazing people.

And you know who one of those people I've met is?


Surprising isn't it?

I'm funny and smart and kind and really a pretty neat person to be around.  I'm talented and creative and fun.  I make people laugh and I really do not care about whether things are perfect or not (this surprises me...).

I really like myself, and that's a pretty cool thing to accomplish.  44 years, 2 months, ever.  However you manage it, finding yourself, loving's the pathway.  To wherever you want to go.


Today's pictures are a set...and a progression in the act of vulnerability.  I present to you Pearl's Belly.

Friday, October 17, 2014

What's Friday for the rest of you... "Tuesday" for me.  I started my work week yesterday and will work through Monday.  I don't mind, really, but it IS a tad odd being so off of the rest of the world's schedule.

In some ways it's good, though.  Like going to the grocery store, or taking time on my days off to do things like get driver's license or mail stuff.

Mind you I still haven't gotten my driver's license, but I'm going to some day...not likely this Tuesday as I already have overcommitted, and next week I'm going to Mississippi for three days so it won't happen then, so maybe I'll do it for my birthday in November. that sounds good doesn't it?

I had the opportunity to work in retail today and found it to be wonderful.  There's a retreat going on in Tahoe this weekend and many of the ladies made a pilgrimage to Jimmy Beans to shop in the "real store" and then, if they were lucky, take a tour of the warehouse.  I just love it when people walk in the warehouse.  They always look up, then look out, then say "wow."



One of the really amazing things about living alone is that there aren't any rules of common behavior.  For instance, if I want to drink wine out of coffee cup who's to tell me that it's not ok.  No one because I've decided that it's totally ok to drink wine out of a coffee cup.

And then one day I found this coffee cup on line and it arrived in the mail at the same exact time as my 2 skeins of yarn club yarn.  What a happy day that was...sometime last week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A spectacular sunset...and retrospective

Tonight I went outside for the sunset.  I sat on the curb at the edge of our parking lot and just allowed myself to be mesmerized.

It was truly beautiful.  Not as stunning as the sunset yesterday which looked like the clouds erupted from the mountain and were flowing over my head, but still...that gorgeous glow in the middle was red red.

Takes my breath away.

And makes me realize that I've come a long long way in the 3 months since the "bomb dropped" and my world shattered.

I found beauty...remember that it was my path to healing... and it comes to me for free every day.

And you know what?  Within beauty resides love.  Or maybe within love resides beauty.

I can't help but see this beauty and love what I've become.  Love who I have always been.  Love what decisions I've made and the mistakes I've made.  My imperfections, flaws, inconsistencies...those are beautiful and lovable too.

I can't help but see this beauty and be thankful that I'm ABLE to see the beauty.  That I didn't let myself get poisoned and drug under by the dark (it was there, it was calling to me, and I told it to go the hell away).

I can't help but see this beauty and not be calm and know that I'm on the right path and that I just need to trust.

I won't worry about tomorrow, but I WILL make a date with myself to get out and see the sunset at 6:15 because that, my friends, is the greatest show on earth.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


That's about how many steps I took today.  I'm exhausted.

But this was the sunrise that I saw when I went into the retail store to pick up something.  What a special treat.

Now, I'm off to knit some more on that gorgeous shawl.  And fall asleep fairly soon even though it's only 7:30 because...that's how I roll these days.

Friday, October 10, 2014


It's fine and good to think about how to improve your life or your situation or whatever needs improving, but until you take action it's just potential...and while potential can be good, results are better.

Today I put into action some of the things I'm learning about functioning healthily...primarily I reminded myself on a very regular basis that I really love my job and I love talking to people on the phone AND I enjoy moving around all day.  I reminded myself also that I'm only one person and I can't answer the phone AND pull yarn out of a box.  I reminded myself when I messed up something that I'm still learning...and that there are complicated processes and when I forget a step and someone tells me they're just letting me know...not criticizing me.  Apologizing for making a mistake doesn't need to happen.  Just put it into my head what I didn't do correctly and fix it for next time.

And you know what?  I had an awesome day.  One lady from Oklahoma who I talked to last week about the French Can Can shawl called to ask about something else, and that was cool because she was excited to talk to me...we shared progress on our shawls.  Another sent an email saying that she really enjoyed my assistance picking out her colors for the Kaffe Fasset MKAL (and oh my I can't wait to see these come to life!)...and in between all these wonderful kudos, I got to handle yarn, help people make decisions about the next projects they want to do, talk to my coworkers and walk almost 5 miles.

It was a glorious day...and now I'm home, weaving and knitting and playing with the kitties.

I really do truly believe this place is magical!


Today's picture is of that French Can Can shawl.  I started the border last night and would have kept going but darn if I wasn't tired.  I'm off to it right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Today I went for a walk, shopped, and cooked

It may sound trivial, going for a walk, shopping and cooking.  It's what people all over the world do everyday, but it felt amazing to go for a walk, go shopping and cook some soup (the rest of it will be cooked in a bit...some chicken with brussel sprouts and butternut squash (couldn't find pre-chopped sweet potatoes and I don't have a proper knife for cutting something as significant as a sweet potato)....and maybe some strawberry pasta for a treat if I feel like it...which I think I probably will.

The walk...let me tell you about the walk.  Hidden Valley Regional Park is just down the street from my work and I pass the sign for it on a regular basis, so I decided this morning that I was going to get up and go, so I did.  I didn't go on any major hike because I don't have proper boots, and in the lot where I parked there was  a ranger showing off a "pet" rattle snake...I got the message and stayed in the well-tended areas.  I sat on a boulder and stared out into the mountains.  It's just so gorgeous here.

The little white buildings in the middle of the picture are downtown Reno.  I live just off of the picture on the right side--or to the north.  It's just so gorgeous.  I love all the blues in the sky out here.  It reminds me of that scene in Girl with a Pearl Earring where she's asked to describe the clouds and the painter says, "no, really describe all the colors you see" and it isn't just grey but white and blue and green and gold.  that's the sky here.  I think this picture does such a good job of showing how it is really ombre...from pale pale blue to really does look like that.  It's magical.

I'm so overcome everytime I look at the sky here.  I have never been one to cry easily but I do now...I know it's all the turmoil I've been through, all the loss, all the change and just overwhelming differences.  And today I could see that some of them (those changes and differences) are good and I'm going to sparkle out here.

And that's pretty magical, too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Once you're all tied on it's time to start weaving.  The process of weaving involves throwing the shuttle back and forth and beating the weft into place.  It requires tightening of the warp threads and stamina.  You "tromp" a treadle to lift the shed in a pattern.  In the process the weft threads go under some threads and over other threads and once beat into place create a solid cloth with durability and beauty.

There are so many places to go with the weaving analogy, but today I'm going to focus on beating and tightening because that's where I am...maybe tomorrow I'll dig a little deeper.

The process of "beating" the weft sounds so violent, but it really isn't.  You don't beat hard because if you do you'll end up with a really tight fabric that won't be good for much--maybe a rug, but that's debatable.  You can actually "beat" really softly and create light diaphanous fabric...something that has more air to it than heft.  I like to do this with scarves. I challenge myself to beat softly and evenly and see if I can do it...create beauty and structure.

I'm trying to do that with my life right now.  I'm beating all the pieces into place...not violently but in order to create structure.  I'm not beating hard as that would mean there would be places that wouldn't look right, that would feel uncomfortable and wouldn't function properly in the finished me.  So, I'm being gentle but even and working on getting something that has structure and boundaries and beauty in the end.

And tightening the warp...well...without a tight warp your end woven fabric would look shabby at best and may not work at all if it's truly awful.  The warp has to be retensioned every several beats early in a project.  This takes out the looseness that inevitably happens when you're winding on and creates a fabric that is even throughout the entire length.  It's important to keep retensioning even when you feel like you've over tightened already.  You don't want to go crazy and break the warp threads, but if you pay attention, the fabric will tell you what's tight enough and you'll get a fabric that is even throughout and truly wonderful.

In my life I liken this retensioning the warp to holding myself responsible.  For all things--taking care of myself, being vulnerable, learning this process of being healthy (mentally and physically), going easy on myself (not tightening too much and breaking my threads!), but also trying to maintain some structure underneath that will look good throughout the whole length of me--staying true to myself in other words.

The warp threads of our life are the ones that we have throughout the whole part of being us.  They're the ones that make up our core values and if we take care of them, keep them lined up, properly tensioned and carefully tended, we'll create a fabric that will be recognizable throughout despite different weft threads we weave in.  And the beauty that is us is truly unique because of it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tying On

The next step in preparing to weave is "Tying on"...It really involves two parts--tying on and the winding on.  The tying part happens at the front and back end of the warp.

What you see here is the back beam with the warp wound on.  First you tie all those loose ends that you saw yesterday around  a rod, then roll it on straightening and tidying the ends as they go through the reed and the heddles.  

This part can be tricky, but if you've wound your warp well, sleyed and threaded accurately (i.e. no crossed threads) it should "shake out" and get even as you go. 

I kind of think of it as carefully untangling really really long unruly hair (since I have rather unruly hair I guess that's why I think of it that way).

One thing about the Harrisville loom that I like a lot is that the shafts are not stable front to back.  They'll give a little when the warp is winding on and that protects from breaking warp threads.


And that's where I'm going with today's analogy.  In so many things with my life right now, I'm realigning the threads as I know them.  Sometimes this makes me very anxious and insecure.  I'm learning that while I may have expressed some emotions I kept others (the "bad" ones) hidden away.  I'm letting them out now because I'm learning that you can't really build appropriate boundaries and have healthy relationships unless you're willing to recognize when things aren't perfect.

Ummm...that's really hard...and it scares me...and it makes me want to run and hide and then I get all tangled shake myself, let myself cry if I need to, hug the cats (Zora participates with this better than Pearl) and get back to winding on.  

It's a good thing because what I'm going to show you tomorrow, the prepared loom, is that thing that I'm striving for.  I'm not near there threads have gotten very unruly but nothing is unmanageable.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


The next step after you have sleyed the reed is to thread the heddles.  A heddle is a metal (sometimes it's made of plastic or nylon, but mine are metal) object with a hole in the middle.  It holds the threads onto a shaft so that you can weave patterns.   This part of the design process is for me very tedious.  I enjoy doing patterns, so know it's a necessary part of the overall effect, but sometimes it can be overwhelming.  Threading the loom takes almost as long as weaving the project (this depends on the thickness of thread and how many threads you have in a project of course, but roughly...about 1/2 the time is spent "dressing" the loom and half "weaving.")

To thread you take a single thread from the warp and place it through the eye of the heddle on the appropriate shaft.  You need to keep from crossing the warp threads and every thread needs to come to the back at its place.  One thing that is really cool about a threaded loom is that when its finished it reminds me of little soldiers lining up for inventory.

Here is the loom threaded for the towel project I'm currently working on.


To continue using the weaving analogy for the process of healing and self-discovery, threading represents that necessary step in life to put all the individual pieces of everything that makes up the beauty of your life in alignment.  To assign them to their proper place, and then secure them so that they all know where they belong.  It can be tedious work, but in the end (and tomorrow you'll see how the threading is so worth it) having everything where it belongs makes everything else run more smoothly.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


I like the homophonic nature of the word "sley"...because to be honest, I feel like I've been slaying some demons this week.  Of all the weeks since I've been in Nevada, this has probably been the most difficult emotionally.  I'm not exactly sure why, though I have been feeling a tad lonely (ok a lot lonely)...but I know this too shall pass.

One day I'll have a passel of friends and it'll all be good.  But I was sad and lonely.

Those demons I'm slaying?  Well, they have to do with the ones that burrowed under my skin at some point in my life and said it was ok for people to control or take advantage of me.  In a way those demons gave me a lot of protection and as I slay them, they go away and I'm feeling rather exposed and vulnerable.

BUT, I'm learning.  And acknowledging emotions, being vulnerable, all of that is part of being human and making connections and being able to develop strong healthy relationships.  And I'm all over that.  So, I'll be lonely for a bit and learn about myself and figure this out.  Because this whole journey has opened my heart to the realization that this is totally worth it.


so, what the heck is sleying, then?

See the picture below.  It is of a sleyed reed in my loom.

The first step in dressing the loom is to take the wound warp (I'll go through the process of planning a project with my next set of towels...planning the project culminates in winding the warp and that was already done with this project before I got to NV) and separate groups of the threads so that they lay evenly across the loom.  During this particular project, I took two threads and "sleyed" them through the "dent" in my reed which sits in the beater of the loom.  I love watching the warp get laid out as I'm working on it.  It shows me the beauty of the projects and allows me to see how the colors play together and whether my idea worked (usually it does, I'm happy to say).


Sleying, slaying...I'm doing a good bit of both these days.  I'm happy to say that both are necessary to making the next steps in my life or weaving possible...and just like the warp that gets laid out for me to view, slaying these demons is allowing me to see the beauty of the life I'm laying out before me too.  Deep breaths and trusting in myself...and plunging ahead!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Shop Knits

One of the cool things about working in a yarn store is that you get to do shop knits.  I'm making the St. Stephens Hat using Classic Elite's Fresco yarn.  I've used Fresco before and knew I'd love it and I wanted the challenge of actually doing stripes without the big jogs.  I managed pretty well with this one:

There are actually 2 patterns with this pattern.  The one I've finished and the one I'm working on.  The one I'm working on is colorwork.  The pattern says that you can get 4 hats out of the five balls of yarn you buy.  I'm going to get the two, let the shop show them off for a while, and then when winter has set in really cold and strong, I'll have two yummy alpaca, silk and angora hats to wear.  Life could be worse...

And speaking of needing to wear hats...y'all remember that I haven't lived any place really cold in a long time, right?  I mean Kentucky was really cold, right?  I'm told that it gets cold here...and I know my wardrobe isn't ready for it.  I don't think I am either, but I'll just have to chug ahead and make more hats!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


It's no secret that I love yarn.  In fact, those of you who have been to my place know just how much I love yarn and the rest of you can simply guess based on your own love of yarn or whatever other artistic pursuits you follow.

Yarn does it for me.  I love to look at it, feel it and then make things from it.  If the things I make are useful, more the better. If they're pretty AND useful, awesomeness.  If they're pretty, useful, and soft and luxurious...well...that's a match made in heaven.

Meet Honor by Lorna's Laces:

The color way is one that JBW is featuring while Sandy is undergoing her chemotherapy.  It's called "Go Sandy Go" and 100% of the profits are going to the SD Ireland Cancer Research Fund.

Honor is 70% alpaca and 30% silk and is just pure heaven.  I love knitting with this yarn, and garter stitch is perfect because it's showcasing the color and making the yarn squishy soft.  The pattern I'm using is French Cancan Shawl.  I have enough yarn to make the entire shawl from this color but I may combine with it the Fraser Colorway...we'll see how I feel when I get to that awesome lace and cable border.

This shawl will definitely meet the match made in heaven category.  I'm impatient to finish it up because it's so lovely and wonderful to touch...but that would mean I was done with it and that would be sad too.