Posts filed under ‘Faith and Family’
For the past week, I have been turning that yummy yarn that I bought from Creatively Dyed Yarns at last year’s Maryland Sheep & Wool (MDSW) into a fun and comfy sweater that I can show off at this year’s MDSW. I have been super stressed and had some extra time on my hands since we traveled by car to Florida (from Virginia!) for the funeral of a close family member. Honestly, this yarn has kept me sane over the past week. I am so pleased with my progress too….as I posted a couple of weeks ago, this yarn will be a sweater someday – and, hopefully, sooner rather than later since MDSW is less than one month away. Can’t wait! I already have my wish list in mind.
Today, I found a true treasure trove of needlework. My mom is remodeling my old childhood home and we are in the process of clearing out my grandparents things, both of whom have long gone on to heaven. My parents, knowing how sentimental I am, gave me my grandmother’s hope chest. You know, the kind that women would receive when they got married and keep filled with their cherished items for decades to come. Well, guess what I found….my dad’s baby clothes from the 1940′s. Several of the items were handmade by my grandmother. I couldn’t believe it! There were hand knit and crochet booties and bonnets; a goreous knit sweater; 6 hand smocked and embroidered outfits; and the most adorable hand embroidered bids. I couldn’t wait to share……honestly, these items brought tears to my eyes. I feel so blessed to have in my hands things that my grandmother made while she waited for her baby boy to be born.
I always imagine where the items that I spend hours (sometimes months) making will end up generations from now. I hope my granddaughter will love needlework as much as I do and cherish her great-great grandmother’s items as well as mine.
Happy Stitching! Enjoy the eye-candy!
It is so easy for Christians to get discouraged these days. To be honest, I find myself getting discouraged a lot – it seems as if we have lost battle after battle in this new age, “do whatever feels good” time in which we are living. In fact, I often find myself meditating on the life of the early Christians – when the penalty for practicing one’s faith was death. But, I am so happy to report that my soul has been renewed and encouraged over the past few weeks. I have been sick lately (spent 5 days in the hospital) and I can not tell you how full my heart is from the outpouring of love that I have felt from those around me. Yes, my friends and family have been phenomenal. However, it is the kindness of absolute strangers that has shaken me to my core. And, I can only come to the conclusion that Christ is among us. There is no doubt that He is still here fighting along side us, drying our tears, and even working miracles.
Today, although I am supposed to be resting at home and recuperating, I had a deep yearning to get to Mass. I had to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. But, I was not well. I pushed myself to get ready and by the time we arrived at our parish, I was exhausted. I sent my family in ahead of me while I sat in the car to get my bearings. With only a few minutes before Mass would begin, I pushed myself to get out of the car and to walk inside. When I got to the narthex, I almost passed out. And, sure enough, someone was there to catch me. I barely recognized the face at first, but it was my friend and she walked me in side. It was almost is if Christ knew how desperately I wanted to be in His presence and He sent her to help me at the very moment I needed it.
Well, it seemed as if we were walking miles. When we stepped inside the Sanctuary, I saw my family seated near the front and I thought to myself, “Can I make it that far?” My friend whispered in my ear, “The Father has us now.” Those words touched my heart like you would not believe and I thought about the woman who had to touch the hem of His garment as we slowly made it to the pew.
I am so grateful for each person who has shown me Christ through them. And, I pray, that I am able to show others Christ through my actions.
Happy Stitching! God Bless!
As a Catholic American who fully believes what the Church teaches, yesterday’s election left me wondering if there is actually a place for me and my faith in the New America. Without a doubt, it is time to embrace the fact that the Catholic Church in America has been pushed over a threshold which will make it more difficult to live out our mission and to spread the Gospel. It is clear that America has decided to turn away from God by voting no to life, no to the family, and no to religious liberty. We, the faithful, must come to terms with what this means for us and recognize that “practice as usual” will not work anymore.
This past Sunday during Mass, I felt God whisper to my heart. I had been so restless with anxiety and had not really slept for days (maybe weeks). After the Eucharist, I began to reflect upon the period of time after the crucifixion but before the resurrection. For those 3 days (which could have easily felt like 8 years!), the faithful must have felt so alone, sad and rejected – just as the 2 disciples felt on the road to Emmaus. Yet, hope in Christ’s resurrection lay ahead. The disciples could not take comfort in the whims of the populace, for they had shouted “Crucify Him!”, nor in the actions of their governing officials, who were complicit and had turned the other way. All that remained was hope and comfort in Christ and His message of truth.
As Sunday turned into Monday and I still was not sleeping, I began to reflect upon Esther, who was called to be in the right place, at the right time so that she would “be ready for such a time as this.” There is a reason why we are living through this dark day and why our children, the next generation of leaders in the Church, are being called to stand-up and guide the faithful through the “Red Sea” before us. Some battles are not always won, but God’s goodness always prevails.
Before closing, I would like to leave you with some words of hope. I remember after the 2008 election, I was struck by how many people were putting their hope in a man. In quiet defiance, I started carrying around a bag that read, “My HOPE is in the Lord.” And, never has that been more true than today.
Well, I am positive that I will lose some of my needle arts-centric readers and my left-leaning Twitter followers with this message. However, we do not live in a vacuum filled with yummy yarn and fabulous fabrics alone. Sometimes we have to take a stand for what is right. I also recognize that God must form every one of my decisions and that truly, all of my pearls of needlework wisdom and inspiration are gifts from Him. Besides, as I told my 7-year-old daughter this morning who was concerned about losing friends at school because of our family’s values – it is never wrong to stand with truth and goodness, no matter the consequences.
Happy Stitching! Viva Cristo Rey!
My hook is finally back in full gear again. Yesterday, we were given our Secret Santa’s for our team’s Christmas party in December. Of all things, my Secret Santa asked for hand-made “tall” socks. It was like divine providence stepped in since these were randomly assigned and I am the only yarn-addict on our team. After spending a good hour searching online for the perfect yarn, I realized that I already HAD the perfect yarn in my stash! YIPPEE! It took a while to find it, but I finally got my hands on my Cherry Tree Hill, Supersock yarn (100% superwash merino). It is so cuddly soft and I can’t wait to see the look on her face.
I picked what I hope to be a fast and easy pattern – Crochet Hear & Sole Socks, designed by Alison Grenier. I do have to make a few modifications for the “tall” version, but I am hoping that won’t be too major. My oldest daughter saw what I was planning and her eyes turned green with envy, so now I have to make 2 pairs before Christmas…..not to mention finish all of the other WIPs dormant in my yarn corner by New Year’s Day 2013.
Dare I even ask Santa for more yarn?
A little bit of yarn therapy is the best balm for the weary crocheter’s soul – especially when you feel stressed and overextended, like I currently do. This week I turned to truly the most decadent yarn ever to find calm and inner peace – a merino/cashmere/nylon blend called MCN Worsted by Indigodragonfly. Trust me, it is better than anything you could imagine! It’s pure ecstasy.
The color shown here is “Also, I Can Kill You With My Brain” and it will be featured in my latest design. Most of you know that I have been working on a couple of pieces for the new Fresh Designs Crochet series by Cooperative Press. So, fortunately, that means that I get to play with this exquisite yarn while trying my hook at menswear. It’s like someone paying you to open presents on Christmas morning!
In fact, I actually love designing for my boys – my husband and my son. Unfortunately, though, the industry keeps telling me that there is no real market for menswear patterns. I’d like to prove them wrong one day!
So, to wet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek at my upcoming menswear design….And, thank you Indigodragonfly for allowing me to play with this incredible yarn!
Pop Quiz: Can you guess which Tunisian crochet stitch is featured here?
Well, I have good news – crochet is no longer making me fat. In fact, it’s become just the opposite. I have been so wrapped up in getting all my designs out of the door on time that I have not been eating (or sleeping!) much. I finally got on the scale after about 6 weeks and I have lost 10 pounds. Now I know why all of my pants have been falling off….it seemed strange, but it did not dawn on me that I had actually lost weight. YIPEE – I think this calls for a celebration…..more hook time it is!
Yesterday, my six-year-old introduced me to one of her friend’s mom – “This is my mom. She’s a yarn person.”
I couldn’t resist chuckling. And, I replied, “Yes, I am a yarn person. I am in love with yarn.” I guess my kiddos know me after all and what makes me tick. It sure is nice to be understood by your family.
I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately – but, my hooks have been working over time. I am preparing for the CGOA conference in Greensboro, NC, which is in 10 days, and I am finishing up my latest design. Not to mention, the tech editing work that I have been doing in my “spare time” and the book proposal that I am determined to finish. Yikes! I am in crochet heaven!
Registration for the CGOA conference, Chain Link, is still open. There are some great classes available to pump up your crochet skills to the next level and it’s a wonderful opportunity to bond with fellow crochet enthusiasts. I have dreamed of going to this for years and this year, my dream is coming to fruition.
Happy Stitching! I hope to see some of you all at Chain Link!
It’s no secret that I like to make pretty things with a hook and yarn. I do it because it makes me happy; I’m pretty good at it; and, it let’s me show others how much I love them or have been thinking of them. It’s also a creative conduit for me – it allows me to release a bit of energy and all of the ideas flooding through my brain.
However, while sitting in the movie theatre tonight, watching The Help, I started to wonder if crochet had the power to make difference. Certainly crochet
- makes people warm
- makes people smile
- makes people feel loved
- makes people feel pretty, sophisticated, etc.
But, do a few stitches have the power to change the world….or at least a country….like a few words can? I am always encouraged when I see or hear stories about ordinary women doing something extraordinary. And, I started thinking about all of those women, going back for generations, doing the seemingly simple task of stitching layettes and sweaters and dresses and sofa coverings and blankets and tablecloths and you name it, and what that meant for their family and for themselves. And, I started thinking about the women who have touched the lives of people they will never meet because they have taken time to crochet for someone in need. And then, I started thinking about the women who fed their families, and even those that fed a nation during the potato famine, from stitching….and then I concluded that YES, crochet can make a difference.
So, when I stitch, it is not some pointless exercise, it is an opportunity to touch the lives of those around me in a positive way. Sometimes, it is an opportunity to feed my family while doing something I love. I may not inspire a nation to change course with my handiwork, but I can spread a bit of the antidote for all of life’s evils because it’s made with love.
I started this shawl in early August 2010 as a birthday present for myself. My birthday, which is in late August, has come and gone. I must admit, though, the finished product was worth the wait. I LOVE it and I can’t wait to wear it tomorrow to my son’s piano concerto. He’s playing Haydn Concerto in C with full orchestra accompaniment – his first of such performances. I am extremely proud of him. He is so talented, at only 8 and with only two years of studying the piano, he is playing music that is well beyond his years. I have no idea where all of that comes from, except as a gift from above.
Okay – I digressed down “proud mamma” lane…back to my latest crochet adventure. It took two days to block this baby, because I had to do it in two parts. Honestly, I was afraid to post pictures of the process, as it was not pretty. My pilates mat and regular sewing pins did not hold up very well when blocking lace. It actually looked like a strange contraption with both ends of the mat curling against the strain of me stretching the lace. So, I have resolved to invest in a proper blocking set-up soon, especially before my next lace project is ready to be blocked.
So, here is more of the finished shawl. Thanks to Bessie, my model, and a gorgeous spring day!