comfort knitting

Winter always feels like the most difficult season. The dark and rainy days blend into one another and the mud is excessive. The kids feel cooped up and want nothing more than sunshine. I feel much the same and often find myself longing for the sunny spring days that allow us more opportunities to get outside and explore. This winter felt especially challenging. No outings to ballet, the pool or the library. No reprieve from home life. But spring is finally here and I can now see that we managed just fine. Sometimes, if the rain wasn’t coming down, we’d escape to a nearby deserted parking lot and let the kids ride bikes uninhibited while we walked alongside them and breathed the cool, fresh air. We discovered shows like The Great Pottery Throw Down that we enjoyed watching as a family, and we read an excess of books whenever time allowed.
I didn’t knit very much this past winter. After a mad rush to knit a sweater for each of the kids in December, I set my needles down on Christmas Eve and let my hands rest for a few weeks. I spent that time going through works in progress and made a list of projects I hope to make next. Most are sweaters for myself, although I’m sure that will change as the year progresses. After little progress in January, I decided to cast on multiple projects throughout February, only to hit a wall. My creative energy was low and even more encumbered by so many projects on my needles at once.

After some thought, I frogged a few of those impulsive cast-ons, and although I want to start creating a collection of hand knit sweaters for myself this year, I’ve yet to work on any. Instead, I’m slowly knitting a beautiful, dark gray garter stitch shawl and a brightly colored throw, both with yarn that has been in my stash for years. They’re the epitome of comfort knitting. The shawl is deliciously simple. I’m using the Hidden Gems Shawl Recipe written by Lindsey of Artifacts of Appreciation. It’s a kite shaped shawl that was originally knit in her beautiful handspun yarn. Since I’ve yet to produce any usable yarn with my own spinning wheel, I decided the next best thing would be to use some luxuriously soft Aviary by Abundant Earth Fiber. It’s a blend of alpaca and merino, and in garter stitch it is supremely squishy. The knit itself is simple and easy to memorize; I can already tell this is a pattern I will return to again and again.

The blanket, although not as simple as endless garter stitch, is still a comforting knit. When I first purchased the yarn (a limited edition colorway of Wisconsin Woolen Spun), I intended to knit it into a sweater for my then six-year-old son. Once it arrived, however, the bold teal was a little too bright for his liking. The wool was soft and beautiful though, so I set it aside with the intention of knitting it into a blanket someday. It’s been sitting in my stash for years now and every time I see it, I consider setting aside my other projects to cast on, but never do. As I was organizing my stash recently, however, I decided now was finally the time to wind it up and cast-on a Woodcut Blanket by Purl Soho. Their blankets always grab my attention and this one was no different. As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with the simple but effective relief pattern and knew it’d be fun to knit while homeschooling the kids. Just enough to keep me engaged, but not complicated and attention demanding. The kids are already talking about who gets it when I’m done, but my hope is to make it large enough to keep on our couch. With three young kids who love to snuggle under blankets while they’re reading or watching movies, I’m certain it’ll be well loved.

new beginnings

November and December came and went faster than I had hoped. The holidays are usually a bit of a whirlwind, but they looked different this year. Our busy days were replaced with quiet rest and finding joy in the simple things. The days blurred into one another and we spent time enjoying each other’s company, baking, decorating the house in the kids’ paper creations, and watching copious amounts of Christmas movies. Before I knew it, the holidays were over and now here we are beginning a new year.

Throughout the holidays, I furiously knit away on sweaters for each of the kids. There are so many lovely patterns that I wanted to make, but we all agreed that in the interest of time and practicality, simple was better. The goal was to knit them sweaters that would keep them cozy while riding bikes, climbing trees and playing in the mud. Nothing too precious, but special nonetheless. Miraculously, the sweaters were all finished with days to spare and tucked under the tree in time for Christmas. The kids have worn them nonstop, only taking them off to bathe or sleep. They’re full of pride that I made the sweaters with my own two hands and it makes my heart happy to see them finding so much comfort in my handiwork. At 8, 6 and 4, they are knitworthy, to be sure.

I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past year. It was full of challenges and stress, but joy too. More than anything, I am incredibly grateful for all the time we’ve had together as a family. We’ve been homeschooling for a couple of years now, so that part of life didn’t look new or different. Although we didn’t have swimming lessons or ballet to attend this year, we were still home every day learning together. What has been different, however, is the fact that my husband has been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic. No long commutes or brief moments with him before the bedtime rush. Instead, we’ve enjoyed almost daily lunches together, earlier dinners, and random hours where work was slow and we could take the kids bike riding together. Moments we wouldn’t have had otherwise, for which I am forever grateful.

Another thing I’ve spent time reflecting on the last few months is my social media usage. It is too frequent and the curated snippet format often leaves me longing to read blogs from the creatives that I find inspiring – reading their stories, details about their projects, and enjoying more than just a tiny, single snapshot. I also miss having a blog myself.

Years ago, I kept a blog that I’ve since archived. It was something I found joy in and used as a way to journal, albeit in a public way. It was mostly read by family and friends as my husband and I started our life together. By the time our youngest was born and I was raising three kids under 3.5, however, I stopped writing regularly because I simply didn’t have the time. Now that our youngest is 4, life feels easier and far less chaotic. My time to write and knit, learn new skills and develop my personal interests has increased and I find myself drawn to this space once again. With that, my goal this year is to return to this site. Write more, share photos taken with my camera, and keep this digital journal of my knitting, baking, and all that fulfills me.

On that note, I’ll be back to share more soon. Happy new year, friends. May it be a year full of restoration, creativity and warmth.