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A Series of Thoughts: Growing upOpen in a New Window

This is very random but it's my current series of thoughts.  Enjoy and be kind.

I am 34...34 and in a couple months I'll be 35 but most the time when I visualize myself I still feel like the scared motherless child, who was fighting to find herself in this world.  Then one day I looked up and here I find myself a married woman and mother of 2 little girls. How did that happen?

It's amazing how time and growing up works.  Internally, I feel like I'm a child raising children but I know that I'm not a child.  Did my parent feel like this when they had 5 girls and a boy to raise?  Did they look around them and think that they were children just like those they were raising?  My mother started having kids in her mid 20s...I didn't have my first daughter until I was 30 and yet I don't feel grow up yet.  Will I ever feel grown up? Now the big question...do I want to feel grown up?

Life has a funny way of just moving forward whether you are ready or not.  Thankfully, God knows what he's doing and what you can do with his help because sometimes I look at what I've been through and what I have accomplished and wonder...how did I make it and what was I thinking?  We often move through life from one event to the next but when you are living your day to day life, it feels like you are just passing the time.  How does all this life happen when you are just passing the time?
My mother passed away 28 year ago today and I miss her every day.  It's strange to think that I have lived on this earth 22 years longer without her than with her.  I know she is with me everyday and I'm reminded of her through my sisters and my daughters.  God knew what he was doing when he gave my parents 5 girls.  He knew what he was doing when he gave me daughters.  He knows what we need more than we do because he sees the bigger picture that we do not.

I often struggle with my longing for my mother.  I'm the person I am today because I lost her when I did.  I had to grow up without her and I gained her influences through the lessons and influences she left in those that knew her.  I know her through pictures and stories that others tell me.  I was the youngest of many and I was spoiled rotten before she passed.  After she passed, people came into my life that changed that.

I often wonder if my sisters and I would be so close if we had not lost her when we did.  Would we need each other as much as we do now?  I can't imagine my life without each of my sisters.  We are all so different yet we are all so similar.  We fight like all siblings but there is something different about how we relate.  It's like there is this magnet that pulls us to each other and you can't see it but it's there.  Is that magnet our mother's spirit?  Will my girls have that magnet too?

My husband and I in the last year have talked several times about moving to live near his family up north.  I want to say I could do it because despite how I see myself, I'm not a child and I would pull on my big girl boots and find a new path but when I think about not living near 4 of my 5 sisters...it makes me crumble.  I just can't imagine not being able to see them all the time.  I know that he is close to his mother and sister that live up north too and I know it's hard for them to live apart but I just don't know if I am ready to spread my wings again.

I grew up with my sisters out of the house.  By the time my mother passed away, the youngest of the older sisters was a senior in high school and soon left the nest.  That left my brother and soon my step-sister and step-brother.  I love them and need them but it's different...that magnet isn't there.  When I left home to go to college, the first 2 years I spent in Tampa and spent almost every weekend with my sisters and their families in St. Pete. Then I needed to find myself...so I went off to college in San Fransisco.  I knew nobody and I wasn't were I didn't want to be.  It was 4 and a half years of incredible growth personally.  Then I just missed having family around so much I made my way back here.  It's sort of a long story so we'll just say it took about 9 months for me to finally make my way back to living by my sisters here.

Since then I have been happy living near them.  My pups found me, my husband found me, and we had 2 amazing little girls.  Through it all, my sisters were my rock.  They were my constant.  I know wherever I go they will always be my rock but it's not the same when they are a walk or very short car ride away.  They have helped me in so many ways become the mother I am and are constantly helping me be the person I am whether they know it or not.

I know this has been random but to sum it up.  I feel like a child.  I miss my mother.  My sisters are my rock and I will keep trusting God knows what he's doing and his big plan for us is bigger than I can ever dream of.

Hope you enjoyed this series of thoughts.

Do you feel "grown" up?

 

Masterpiece: My Hitofude CardiganOpen in a New Window

One of my goals this year, as you may have read from yesterday's post is to love my wardrobe. Part of that is to increase the lightweight handknit work appropriate cardigans. My work is pretty loose with what we can wear but I'd like to put more effort into looking nice. Don't get me wrong...there will be days I will still go to work in jeans, flip-flops, and a t-shirt but you get the idea. The first one of these cardigans I already had been knitting...and now it's complete! yay!! 
Project details
Ravelry Project link
Pattern: Hitofude Cardiganby Hiroko Fukatsu
Yarn: The Fiber Seed Sprout Solids in Elephant
Cast on: September 13th, 2014
Finished: January 4th, 2015
Notes: When I first saw this cardigan, I wasn't sure how it would look on my body frame.  I loved it but just couldn't visualize it.  A friend in my knit group happened to finish hers so I asked if I could try it on and instantly fell in love with it!  It fit nicely and I thought would be a great addition to my wardrobe.
The pattern is all knit in one stroke or strand of yarn...so essentially no seaming.  I liked that idea.  The cast on is a bit confusing but you really just have to trust the pattern and it works out.  Same goes for when you are doing the sleeve join.  I read through the pattern completely but I just couldn't see what I was expected to do until I was actually doing that step.  In the end it worked and I'm so happy I knit this up!  I might make another one but using a yarn that has silk in it as I think this will drape nicely!

Happy Knitting!

 

Natalie 2015: Simplify and StreamlineOpen in a New Window

I love the idea of having a theme to focus on each year.  I am not sure I really follow it throughout the whole year but it's always fun to start of the year with a focus.  I'm also a big fan of lists...so I'm going to combine these for this year's resolutions post.

This year my theme is going to be: Simplify and Streamline.

Not all of my goals below fit nicely into this theme but that's ok with me...
Crafting:
1. Organize my stash so that it's visually pleasing and not just stored away.
2. SPIN MORE!  This is big.  I really want to give Pilar some love this year and spin spin spin!  It's been a while since I spun and I just need to get back to it.
3. Take more classes. This coming year, I hope to take more workshops and crafting classes.  I want to learn more techniques but mostly I want to learn from those teaching.
4. Teach more classes.
5. Travel to a fiber festival!!  This is huge!  I REALLY REALLY want to make it to a festival this year.  We have plans in the works but hope it works out as well as we are planning.

Personal:
1. I'd like to simplify our home by purging all the things that are not used/played with or don't have a place in our home.  This especially goes for clothes that don't fit and trinkets that don't hold emotional attachments or have a place to live.
2. I'd like to purge my wardrobe into a smaller one that only has clothes that I love and make me feel good. Sadly, I still have "maternity" clothes that get worn here and there.  They must all GO!
3. Make it through the construction that is about to begin on our home and really decorate our living room and rest of the house with pictures and more.

Parental:
1. Focus less on bedtime routine and more on enjoying the time with my girls.  NOT saying I'm going to get rid of bedtime routine but often at night I feel like it's this race to get them to bed before it becomes a meltdown battle of over tired girls.  This stresses me out and I end up not enjoying the time we have together as much.  I really would like to focus more on enjoying the time and less on racing through the time.
2. Start having dates with each of my children.  My girls love to be together but I also feel they need some alone time with me.  I would like to start having fun outings with just one of them at a time.  We'll see how this goes.

Relationships:
1. Schedule monthly date nights with my husband.  We are good about doing date nights but we often realize we haven't had one in a while and then plan one.  I would love to do this monthly in the new year.
2. Focus more on what I'm bringing to my marriage than what I'm getting.  I feel this is such a better way to love and helps to curb the tit for tat mentality that can often cause grief.
3. Plan more time with my sisters.  We always love going to brunch together but do not do it often enough.  Downton Abbey is starting soon and we always watch that together on Sunday nights and it's nice to be with them.

And to finish off I would like to cut out the excess in our life and focus on the good and what truly matters.  Focus on our family and our home.  Give our journey to God and know that he has big plans for us and enjoy the ride that he takes us on.

Wishing your family a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Love the Barknknit family!

What are your resolutions/themes for the new year?

 

Masterpiece: My stocking completed!Open in a New Window

So much has happened in the last almost month since I posted!  The girls had their first trip to Disney, they had their Christmas concert, we celebrated Christmas with family, and packed up our minivan and drove the 16 hrs to visit family!  I have lots of pictures to share but first I wanted to share this VERY special finished project!  Enjoy!

My stocking was completed in time for Christmas!!!!!!  I seriously wanted to shout this from the rooftops!  I already knew that I would be knitting it on the drive up to OH and I was right!  I managed to get all the colorwork done before it got dark and I spent most the overnight drive, that I was awake and not attending to the needs of the others in the car, knitting the stockinette flap.  I knit the icord up quickly before meeting Alicia at a knit group on Saturday morning!  I was so excited to show it off and to be done with it!  It came out lovely!  Still needs to be blocked but am too excited not to share it with you all.

Project details
Ravelry Project link
Pattern: A NEW Family Portrait - A Collection of Three Christmas Stockingsby Dorene Delaney Giordano
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220® Sport in white and burgundy
Cast on: July 20th, 2014
Finished: December 20th, 2014
Notes:  I am so excited to be done with these stockings! I really enjoyed knitting them and so glad I have learned colorwork.  I still have some technique refining to do but I will have plenty of practice next year.  The yarn worked up nicely for these stockings and I really like the pattern.  She does a great job with giving you plenty of details to help you along.  This was knit relatively quickly but I took a break from it for a while to finish up other stuff so that is why it looks like I took a LONG time to knit this one.

Here are all the stockings laid out at my husband's grandma's house ready for Santa to fill them!
Love these!!

Happy Color-work Knitting!!

 

Birthday girl and her new Frozen bikeOpen in a New Window

This past Saturday we celebrated my big girl turning 4 with family and friends.  It was of course Frozen themed and we all had a blast!!  I thought I would take more pictures but honestly I was too distracted and had a bad blogger moment and forgot to take pics for the blog.  I also don't like to post picture of other people's kids on my blog so you'll have to do with this cute picture of the birthday girl with her new bike!

This awesome Frozen bike was sent to us by Kohl's as part of their promotion!  I had not realized until they contacted me how much Frozen stuff they were carrying.  I have to admit I fell down a rabbit hole when I started looking at the items and trying to select which one I wanted.  Click here to check out all their Frozen merchandise.  There are so many things I knew my girls would love but when I saw the bike it was just too perfect. 
Carmen was so excited about her new bike. It's a great next bike for her and one that she will be able to grow with for a bit. My husband put it together easily and it was all set and ready to go on her birthday.  The cute little pouch on the front is perfect for her to put her doll of choice for the trip or to pick up little treasures on the way.  Thank you again Kohl's!

The helmet was a separate gift from her grandpa to go with her new bike.  This girl is now set for some serious bike rides!

Happy Bike riding and Birthday Celebrating!

 

This moment - A birthday girl and her daddyOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

 

Masterpiece: Alicia's Wedding ShawlOpen in a New Window

When my friend and podcasting co-host announced that she was engaged, I immediately told her I was knitting her wedding shawl.  We worked together over the course of a couple months to figure out what yarn and pattern she wanted. Originally we picked a different pattern but it just wasn't working out so we went back to the drawing board and I could not be happier with how this turned out! 
Project details
Ravelry Project link
Pattern: Aphroditeby Sivia Harding
Yarn: Juniper Moon Farm Findley
Cast on: February 8th, 2014
Finished: April 26th, 2014
Notes: This is one of those projects that is so special!  I really wanted it to be perfect!  I took my time with figuring out the pattern and once it clicked I was able to knit this relatively quickly.  There are beads in the edging that you can't really tell are there but add to the weight and helps with the drape.  So glad I was able to knit this for such a very special day!

Alicia surprised me by actually walking down the isle in the shawl!  I freaked out because I had been following the wedding through her instagram tag and I saw her walking down the isle in the shawl and was just floored!  It was so awesome and made me feel like I was there. 

For her bridesmaids, Alicia knit them beautiful Traveling Woman shawls.  This is my favorite picture of all the shawls because you can tell a Knitter was getting married!  Love this so much!
Hope you enjoyed these pictures!  Alicia was such a beautiful bride and I'm so thankful to be her friend.

Happy Knitting!

 

Happy 4th Birthday to my big girl!Open in a New Window

My big girl turns 4 today!  This precious blessing made us parents 4 years ago today at 6:36 in the afternoon.  So glad she chose us to be her parents!!   Her birthday party is this weekend so I'll share more about it after it happens.
This Halloween...
3rd Birthday girl...
2nd birthday tinkerbell girl
1st Birthday girl...
When she came home from hospital...  
We are so blessed with this smart, kind, silly, loving girl!  So thankful she chose us to be her parents.

Happy Birthday sweet Carmen!


 

Masterpieces: Her first sewn pillowOpen in a New Window

As many of you with small children know, they want to do everything you do normally!  I was recently handed down a sewing machine and I couldn't be more excited about it...and now so is Miss Carmen.  With my sister's help, I was able to figure out the new machine as well as teach Carmen how to sew. 

The first night we just let her sew on some scraps of yarn but she wanted to make something.  We decided that a small pillow would be a good way to start.  The first step was to shop for the fabric and she of course picked princess themed fabric.  Then I washed the fabric and my sister came over and taught her what to do.

She seemed to have a good time with sewing the pillow.  Our table is a counter height table so we had to get creative with how to set her up to sew but it worked out.  She is never left alone with the sewing machine on and I think I might get her some gloves so that she doesn't get poked by the needle.  I'm so glad she likes to craft and looking forward to teaching her how to make lots more things!
And another fun part...the stuffing!

Some day we'll tackle knitting but for now she's just happy with her pillow!  Her Aunt G also sewed one for Ria so they both have matching little pillows.

Happy Sewing!

What age did you learn to sew or knit?  Have you taught your children how?  What trick do you have to teach a 4 year old how to knit?

 

Embracing the Christmas season early!Open in a New Window

As I mentioned before, my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I know most people think that Christmas season shouldn't start until the day after Thanksgiving but I don't quite follow that.  I listen to Christmas music all year long if I'm doing something like dishes or cleaning where I need a pick me up.  It's my happy place music!  And this year for the first time, I have put up our Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving and I am very happy about it.  It might just be a new tradition in our house. 

Saturday during Ria's nap, Carmen and I decorated the bigger tree!  She was so excited about the lights and checked out every ornament!  It was so much fun to tell her about each one and show her the ones she made last year for our tree.
After Ria woke up from her nap, I had wrapped two new ornaments for them to open and put on the tree. I don't have close ups but Carmen got Elsa and Ria got Anna from Frozen. Yes, if you notice my stocking is not completed yet!  It's in a project bag and about 2/3rds done.  I actually decided last night that I was going to put away the hitofude cardigan I've been working on and finish up the stocking first before I go back to knitting on the cardigan.  I also have a secret project I'm knitting for the girls that I'm very excited about and will share with you as soon as I'm done!  I'm almost 50% done with it.
My step-sister came over after we were done with the tree and helped me and Carmen with some crafts during Ria's nap!  I found two pins on pinterest that I wanted to do this year.  First was the ornament wreath seen below and pin found here.  To make this, we took all the ornaments that I bought at the dollar tree and hot glued the tops to them.  Then we strung them on a wire hanger and closed up the wire hanger and hung it up.  The burlap garland I made using this pin and hot glued the ornaments on to it.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this came out and it makes me so happy to see it!
I love how it looks from my kitchen too!  I was cooking dinner and was just so happy to see it!  I also hung up some new pictures in the corner there too!  We are repainting the living room and changing out those curtains in the new year but I couldn't wait any longer to put some stuff up.  You can also see my small nativity scene in this picture.  I still haven't found a safe place for my willow tree nativity scene but some day it will come back out.

One of the crafts I did last year was this nativity scene that my sister printed and laminated for me!  I put magnets on the back and Carmen loved playing with it last year.  This year it's been a bit hit too!  The pin for that can be found here so you can print your own.

After a busy day of crafting, cleaning, and toddler/child wrangling, I was so happy to sit with some hot cocoa, my knitting, and Love Actually with all the Christmas decorations up!  It was so nice to get some time to enjoy it at the end of a busy day!
I hope you enjoyed my Christmas decorations!  I have some more ideas but most are going to have to wait until next year.  There is one more decoration I have left to finish that is already half way completed and then I'm getting back to knitting and baking!

Happy Christmas Decorating!!!

When do you plan to put up your decorations?  Have you already?  Any new decorations you have for this year?

 

This moment - teach them young.Open in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

 

Sock Masterpieces and a published pattern.Open in a New Window

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there has been knitting and quite a bit of it.  Masterpieces are what we call finished objects in our podcast and so I figured I'd start with the socks I've finished so far.  I had planned to knit a pair a month but as usually life happens.  I did get I think 8 pair this year so that's a good number.

Recently, I taught my first toe-up sock knitting class at my local yarn store Stash - a place for yarn.  I was so nervous before the class because I had never taught a technique class.  I've taught plenty of people how to knit but never has someone paid me to teach them.  Yes, I was a middle school teacher for 3 years, so not saying I haven't been paid to teach but not paid to teach outside of that.  Anyway, the class went really well!  I got some great feedback and we've already scheduled my next teaching gig at the shop! 

While I was planning for the class, I decided that I really wanted them to leave the class with a pattern for the socks.  During the class we created tiny socks but here is a download link for you for the adult size socks that I published.  The socks have links to YouTube video tutorials within the pattern for your reference.  Since this is the pattern I have been using most lately, I had plenty of test knits for it!  Below are the 2 that I used as a reference to create this pattern.

Project details
Pattern: One More Row socks by Natalie Rush
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks Ragg Shades in the blue stripped Ragg colorway
Cast on date: June 9th, 2014
Finished date: August 13th, 2014
Notes: I love this colorway!  These were the 2nd of this colorway that I knit because I put the heel in the wrong place the first time but those first sock now live with my niece SurferGirl.  She has bigger feet than I do so it worked out perfectly!  I just got a picture of her wearing them and there is nothing that I love more than getting pictures of my hand knits in use!


Project details
Pattern: One More Row socks by Natalie Rush
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks Ragg Shades in the Grey Brown Marl colowary
Cast on date: August 13th, 2014
Finished date: August 25th, 2014
Notes: I cast these on the night I finished the previous pair.  Always socks on the needles, always!  These were knit during the time I was waiting for my surgery date, waiting to go into surgery, and while I recovered.  They came out so well and are so warm and comfy!  They were perfect to knit during a very stressful time in my life.

Happy Sock Knitting!! 

What is your go to sock pattern?  Please let me know if you use this pattern and you have any questions about it. 

 

Currently: my blogging voice, family, knitting, holidaysOpen in a New Window

Hi long lost bloggy friends!  I miss you all and I miss this space.  Some how over the last couple months I have lost my blogging voice and I'm not sure how to get it back.  I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to write a blog post and just get lost.  It always comes back to where do I start and what do I say.  I've been blogging at this space for over 7 years and in that time I've had one podcast, which has been put to rest, and now doing another.  I realize this space isn't the same as my podcast but for some reason I can't figure out what I want this space to be.  As I work this all out, I still want to share what's going on in my life as I always have.  So today we are going to start with a Currently post.  Hope you enjoy!

Currently:

I'm FRUSTRATED with my lack of voice on this blog.  As my life has changed, this blog has changed and I love going back and reading old post about what I was focusing on or thinking about.  I don't want to let this space go quite yet. I need to turn the frustration into planning and organizing the blog posts that are swirling around my brain.

I'm RELIEVED that my girls, hubby, and I have been managing our newish schedule well.  The change happened over 90 days ago and I don't really want to share lots of details but my hubby got a different job with different hours. This change has changed everything about our work week so it was a bit of a transition.  I was happy for my husband because the job change is so good for him but at the start I was very stressed about how it would effect our family.  We've had some difficult times of lack of sleep but overall I think everyone is doing well with the it.

I'm THANKFUL for my local family, who always steps in to help whenever we need them.  When our schedule first changed, I had to have surgery but it was not the greatest timing.  My family was very supportive of me getting the surgery as soon as possible as the doctors were suggesting and they all pulled together and helped me in every way they could.  Without them there, I'm not sure it would have gone as smoothly nor would I have healed as well.
I'm DELIGHTED that I have been able to knit quite a bit lately.  I don't feel like I've had all that much progress because of the lack of finished objects but I have actually been getting a lot done!  As I've said many times, knitting is my therapy and my mind is a better place when I have time to knit.  I have some very pretty things to share with you all soon!!
I'm EAGER to start decorating my home for CHRISTmas this weekend!  I love our home with the Christmas tree lit and my nativity scenes out.  It just makes our home feel so warm and full of holiday cheer!  We won't be in town for the week of Christmas this year but my sister is going to be staying at the house for the week with the pups!  I figured why not get my Christmas decorations up early so we can enjoy them longer and she will then get to enjoy them the week she's staying at the house.  My sister's family across the street will also get to enjoy our outdoor lights so it's worth it.   Picture is from last year.
I'm BEWILDERED how my first daughter is about to turn 4 on Dec 1st!  How is she already 4?  The time has flown by but she is just blossomed into this smart, kind, and loving child that fills this mama with pride!  I can't wait to celebrate her birthday with our family and friends on Dec 6th!  Someone got her a pretty awesome experience gift for the following day that I can't wait to experience with her!!!
I'm EXCITED about all that is coming in the next couple weeks.  My favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love spending time with family and give me a turkey dinner and this momma is happy!  I also love Christmas traditions!  This year we are road tripping up to spend the week with Special K's family and I'm so excited about it!  We haven't been up there in 2 years and I am looking forward to the girls getting time with their cousins, Grandma, Aunt, Graunt, and more! I can't wait for them to all meet Miss Maria and get to know her.  Will be an adventure as it's our first LONG road trip with them but I'm so very excited! 
 
I feel LOVED.  With our new schedule, my husband and I don't have lots of time together but the time we do have is spent focusing on family and quality time.  I'm so grateful for everything he does every day for our family.  He works so hard and loves us so much.  I can't express how much he means to me but I look forward to celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary next month and many many more in the future.

Thank you for reading!

How are you currently feeling?


 

This moment - Happy Halloween! My frozen girls.Open in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.




Carmen requested to be Elsa like so many other little girls out there! Her Aunt G sewed both of these costumes from this pattern and did an amazing job!  Maria was SO excited about getting to be Anna! She loves Frozen like her big sister! 

Hope you all have an AMAZING Halloween!  Looking forward to spending lots of time with family and trick or treating with our girls!

 

This moment - my girlsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.












 

This moment - Silly in motion.Open in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.


 

FO alert: Special K's Christmas StockingOpen in a New Window

Two years ago at Christmas time, I realized that if you looked at my house with our Christmas decorations you wouldn't know that I was a Knitter.  That prompted me to begin my scheming so that one day when the holiday's came around, knitting would literally throw up all over our home!  Each year I plan to knit something new for holiday decorations.  The first step in this plan was to knit stockings.  I was only able to complete the ones for my daughters last year before Christmas came so this year my goal is to have the Dad and Mom ones completed.

Here are the ones I completed for the girls last year.  I used the same pattern and yarn for these as the details below for Special K's but if you want to see the specifics of these you can check out the project pages for Carmen's and Maria's on ravelry.  As you can tell, I opted to stray from the typical green and red Christmas colors.
And here is Special K's stocking all ready for this Christmas!  After my sister gave him the idea, he wanted Michigan colors as he's a big fan! Ignore the wall design...it is not my favorite but we haven't started redoing the living room since we moved in.
Project details
Ravelry Project link
Pattern: A NEW Family Portrait - A Collection of Three Christmas Stockingsby Dorene Delaney Giordano
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Cascade 220® Sport
Cast on: May 19th, 2014
Finished: July 18, 2014
Notes:  I am so happy with how this came out!  The stocking for Carmen was my first colorwork and I was so nervous.  Color work is actually easier than I had anticipated but it is so potato chipy!  That means that I just can't do one row and want to just knit the next line to see where the pattern goes.  It's so fun to knit and I can't wait to see them all up and making my house festive. 

My only real struggle with these was getting the tension of the floats correct on the sides where the loops of the needles are.  I knit these using the magic loop method.   I think my tension is still a bit tight although Maria's was knit a little looser as I was more comfortable with it then.

I was so excited to have completed his stocking this weekend that I immediately wound yarn and cast mine on Sunday night!  It's not going to count for big points in the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup but I think I'll have to just live with that.  UNLESS I can finish mine in 10 days and then it will be lots of class points.
All in all, I'm so glad I picked this pattern, which is very well written.  She has a ton of other similar patterns to choose from so if you want to have different patterns for all your family you can.   The last step for all of these will be to line them but I'm waiting until they are all complete before I do that.

Happy Knitting!

What holiday decorations have you knit or crocheted for your house?  Are you planning to craft some this year?

 

This moment - Holding HandsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

 

FO alert: Brickless for StashOpen in a New Window

St. Petersburg, FL recently got a new yarn shop Stash - A place for Yarn!  It's so very exciting because we haven't had an LYS for a while now.  The closest yarn shops were across bridges or at least a 30-45 min drive.  This new yarn store is only 10-15 mins from both my work and home...can't really beat that! 

Kristin, the shop owner, asked me to knit a sample for the shop as she was preparing to open.  I was more than eager to step up to the challenge.  She handed me this beautiful skein of Malabrigo Sock in the archangel colorway.  I had never used Malabrigo sock but have wanted to for sometime.  Picking the pattern was not hard as I have been wanting to knit a Martina Behm pattern and the sock yarn screamed that it needed to be a Brickless. So here it is all set up in the shop and looking so beautiful! 
Project details
Pattern: Bricklessby Martina Behm
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock colorway Archangel
Cast on: July 1, 2014
Finished: July 14, 2014
Notes: The yarn knit up so nicely and the pattern is so well written.  I had several long drives when we went out of town for a weekend and some low key evening knitting time so this knit up very quickly.  Since it's a shop sample, I don't get to keep it so another one of these will be on my needles soon.

If you find yourself visiting St. Pete, FL anytime soon, check out our new LYS Stash - A place for yarn downtown and check this beauty out for yourself.  Let her know Barknknit sent you!

Happy Knitting!

What are you knitting?  What is your latest finished object?

 

This moment - randomnessOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo (or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

 

This moment - Happy 4th of JulyOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo (or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

 

FO report: Miss Abbey for my girlsOpen in a New Window

Technically this is a throwback Thursday post as well since these projects were finished last year but I never blogged about them.

One of the things that excited me about having another girl was being able to knit them matching things!  Last year, I bought this cotton yarn on extreme sale!  I can't remember how much I paid for it but it was less than $10 for a full bag of it!  I wasn't sure what I was going to knit with it however was excited when I found the perfect pattern.  So here I present to you two Miss Abbey tops for my girls.
Project details
Pattern: Miss Abbeyby Terri Kruse
Yarn: Laines du Nord Papiro
Cast on date for Carmen's: June  9 2013
Finished date for Carmen's: July 14 2013
Cast on date for Maria's: July 16 2013
Finished date for Maria's: September  1 2013
Notes: I love how these came out!  I was worried about how I would like knitting with cotton because usually I'm not a fan.  The way this yarn is constructed made it have a little bit of stretch and that helped with the knitting process.   The pattern is knit from the top down, is easy to follow and a quick knit.  I would definitely recommend the pattern to anyone who wants something simple or is new to knitting garments. I still have some more of it so I hope to make something else as well.

Happy Knitting!

 

This moment - dimples and holding handsOpen in a New Window

{this moment} – A Friday ritual from Soule Mama.  A single photo(or several)  – no words – capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see.

 

Masterpiece: Sockhead had for my dad's 80th!Open in a New Window

Let's catch up with some of my finished objects from this past 6 months...

The first finished object or as we call them in our podcast "Masterpieces" I'd like to share with you is the Sockhead hat. I made this my dad for his 80th birthday, which was on May 32nd, 2014!  He requested a thin hat for nights in Panama when it gets cooler a while back but it took me a bit to find the perfect yarn/pattern/inspiration to get this project started and completed.  I'm so excited how it came out and I love love love this picture of him in it.
I also love these 2 pictures of my first model in it.
 

Project details
Pattern: Sockhead Hatby Kelly McClure
Yarn: The Unique Sheep Verve in the insecta gradiance colorway
Cast on date: May 16th, 2014
Finished date: May 28th, 2014 Just in time for his birthday!
Notes: This pattern says to knit for a bit longer than I did.  I didn't want it to be slouchy on my father and after I finished it I was worried it wouldn't fit it.  I was so glad when he tried it on and it fit perfectly!  I enjoyed this pattern as it was simple and quicker than I thought.  I love knitting with sock yarn so I may have to make a couple more of these for others in my family.

Happy Knitting!

Have you finished any knitting projects lately?

 

Garden Love: Flowers, tomatoes, and plants.Open in a New Window

Flowers...colorful...full of life...love...potential...flowers!

Cheating with the picture above...this is actually a flower growing in front of my sister Fleas house, who lives across the street. It's just so beautiful I had to share. Now let's begin...

My all time favorite flowers are Gerber Daisies but I'm not brave enough to grow them yet...it's coming.  Over the years, I have had potted plants that have survived my care but having moved 10 times in a year between 2004-2005 I stopped dragging them with me.  When we were renting, Special K always persuaded me not to buy plants and flowers because he knew we would just have to move them.  Pretty sure if I had been willing to part with more of my books, he might have not stood his ground on this one.

When we finally closed on our house last year, I wanted to get busy planting new things!  I wrote about my first attempt with 2 of the planters attached to our house in this post.  It's fun to see what we were doing then and to see the little we began with. 

One of the planters did really well through the Florida winter without much care.  The crotons we planted at the end of last year didn't grow much but they weren't dieing.   The surprising thing is plants that we had tried to plant and things I threw into this planter because they were dieing in pots all of a sudden popped out of the ground in late winter!  So below is what it looked like back in early April at the start of Spring. (please ignore the wood covering that window...that was a little accident the doggies did while we were at work.  Neither of them were injured when they broke the window. It has since been replaced with some plexiglass so that they can't do that again. Can't wait until we replace that whole window!)
The picture below is what it looked like last week.  The vinca that is growing out of this planter was never planted there but I love how it looks.  Although out of place, I refuse to move it since it's doing so well.  I may transplant it eventually but for now I am enjoying all the flowers it produces.
Right behind the vinca is one of the pentas that I attempted to plant last year that had completely died but I didn't remove.  After the winter, it just popped right up and is doing great!
Then there is this tomato plant, which I forgot I had dumped there and really held no hope for it growing.  Early this year, I saw it pop up and I asked a couple people what they thought it was and most said it was a weed...until the day I ripped it out of the ground and my husband smelled it and told me it was a tomato plant.  Why I hadn't asked him before, I'm not sure.  Lesson learned.  I kicked myself several times for pulling out that tomato plant and was not expecting a new one to grow but surprisingly enough here I have a new tomato plant!  Special K put a dowel in so that we can have it vine up. It is doing very well with daily watering even with the summer heat in FL.
 So excited to see those little yellow flowers!  YAY!
The other planter never was mulched so by the end of winter it was over-run with weeds, grass and needed lots of care. Wish I had a picture of what it looked like before I did all the work.  There is also a small black snake that is living inside the left part of this planter but I've only seen twice and never with the girls with me. I usually make noise as they get close to give the snake some time to go back into it's hiding place before we get there.  When I was digging right by the opening to his home, I never once saw him.  I did talk to him about not bothering me while I garden in there.
On the Saturday before Father's Day, the girls, Special K, my sister Fleas, and I all ventured to Home Depot where we bought some mulch and plants.  I let Carmen pick some and I wasn't paying too close attention so I came home with 3 crown of thorns...those were dug up the next day and I tested out Home Depots plant return/exchange policy and came back home with some vincas.
Before I planted anything, I inspected what was there and decided I would keep several of the vincas that were doing well.  I then proceeded to rip everything else out and transplanted one of the vincas that seemed to be doing ok but wasn't where I wanted it.  It's fun to have all these fresh flower and too see all the potential beauty they will bring to this area of my home.
It makes me so happy to see colorful flowers begin to grow around our home.  When we moved in, we had lovely trees and green bushes but no color.  I have some fun ideas that I can't wait to make happen...Special K doesn't know about my idea for him to build a window box planter under our long window in the front. I don't think he doesn't read the blog so I'm safe. hehe! In the picture above, it's the far window on the other side of the front steps.  We plan to work on a flower bed between this planter and the front steps eventually.  Special K also would like small palm trees in that flower bed.  So much potential... 

Happy Gardening!

Have you done any gardening this Spring?  What has been your favorite plant to see grow in your garden?  Have you planted any fruit or veggies?
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