Friday, March 21, 2008

Jelly Beans

I want to share one of the happiest patterns I have knit in a very long time...probably since my own Coffee Cup sock ~ LOL!


The pattern for these socks and the yarn come from a shepherd all the way up in Saskatchewan, Canada! When I followed the link to Val's ebay page, Wooly Wool of The West and saw the yarn titled "Jelly Beans" I knew I had to have it for Easter knitting. Of course I have yarn of my own and patterns of my own, but I love supporting other farmers, too, so I ordered my kit. How could I resist Jelly Bean yarn just a few weeks before Easter?

The customer service was flawless! I received a note back from Val immediately and my purchase was shipped the very next day. Of course, mail from Canada to the United States is kind of slow (grin) but it arrived in good time and what a treat to open the envelope and find carefully prepared yarn, a very clearly written pattern and a little fact sheet about their farm.

Since ordering, I had been reading Val's blog, Life With Sheep (be sure to check it out, you will enjoy it...And you can find a link to her shop so you can buy a kit of your own!) Holding her yarn in my hands, I couldn't help but feel the connection to another shepherd caring for her flock so many miles from me, but kindred in spirit.

This pattern knit up so quickly and was easy to memorize but with just enough change that it was not boring at all. I finished this pair, with a few yards of yarn to spare, in just two days of short knitting time and have already cast on for another pair in some of my own hand spun.

Thank you, Val, for such a treat! And thank the sheep, too ;) I am wishing I had ordered more of your yarn!

The Greatest of These....

(Written for Thursday, March 20th....our anniversary!)

(daughter Patty made this beautiful card for us)

Today was our anniversary ~ and the first day of Spring!

I'm not sure if you can read the words on the Anniversary card in the photo above. It is the scripture, I Corinthians 13:13, and says "Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" I like to meditate on this same verse from the Amplified Bible:

"And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love"

Bill and I have been married for fifteen years now. A year ago, I asked God for a miracle. Not to spare my husbands life (though I did ask that one, you can be sure!) No, for a different miracle....I remember the conversation with God so clearly, alone in my car, driving the highway between home and hospital. I asked Him to restore my marriage. I knew that marriage is part of God's plan. I knew the state of our marriage. And I had an idea of what lay before us if it were God's plan to keep Bill here with us. And I knew, that it would take faith and hope and most of all, love. I asked God for those things that day.

And He answered my prayer. I spent a good bit of the day, and many of my days, thanking Him for that answer. I was reminded of how grateful I am to Him for that answer as we celebrated, Bill and I. Traveling in the car together now, to pay visits to a few special friends who mean so much to us and who are facing their own adversities in life. As we drove along, we sang hymns. Blessed Assurance and 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus and What A Friend We Have In Jesus and I Love To Tell The Story. It was like praying together, with music ;)

Yes, these three remain ~ faith, hope and love. And today, we celebrated.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

All The Way To The Woods


Just a few days ago, I shared a wonderful afternoon with my five year old grandson. The sun was shining and the temperatures had warmed a bit, so we bundled up and while I skirted fleece on the back porch, he played around the barn and spent time climbing the magnolia tree ~ a nice sized tree for a small boy to climb.

"Grandma, Grandma!" he exclaimed "I can see the WHOLE WORLD....all the way to the woods!"

My heart caught in my throat and I closed my eyes, to commit this moment to memory. What meaningful this little boy, who's whole world is what he can see and know here on this farm. On the other side of those woods, across the pasture fields and hay fields, at our adjoining property, is his home. When he is a bit older, God willing, he will ride his horse or walk the trails through that woods when he wants to come to visit Grandma and Grandpa.


His whole world. And I stopped for another moment to say a prayer that God protect all of our grandchildrens tender hearts, and ask that they always feel that the center of their world here on earth can be here at this place.

Farming At The Kitchen Table

I have always loved that saying ~ I'm not sure why ;) I guess it invokes images of Dad, Grandpa, Uncles or in more recent years Husband, Nephews, Neighbors sitting at the kitchen table discussing the farm plans for the day or week or season.

Saturday was that kind of day..of farming, shepherding and fellowshiping around the various "kitchen tables" of my life.

It started out as it usually does with morning coffee with my husband. Then off to Sip 'n Knit for our Middle of the Mitten Fiber Group meeting...a monthly get together of friends who spin, knit, crochet and raise animals. I was especially excited to think that I might be meeting a long lost friend, of sorts, a fiber friend and fellow shepherd met via the Internet, on a sheep list. This friend had lived through the kind of unplanned events of life that change all of us forever and now, years later, through what could only be called the working of unseen Hands, I might actually be meeting him for the first time in person! (we had only ever spoken via computer or Internet) Also planning a visit were fellow shepherds from here in Michigan, Tom and Margaret.

And it happened. It all came together, and in a wonderful place full of creative energy....with crochet and fiber and felting at one corner of the building....spinning and knitting in another, by the fireplace....and the usual fare of delicious food and out of this world coffee in another!

(Above, class in session with instructor Cathy Adams)

There was so much that I can't even begin to name it all! I almost feel like I was riding a wonderful carousel ride of lights and music and magically painted colors, full of laughter and breathlessness ~ that is the way the day spun around for me. It was a day of feeling the laughter catch in your throat, of sitting at a table with Tom, friend Hilda, Harry and me discussing sheep raising experiences. Of discussing with Margaret her trip to Orkney Island with Liz Lovick (okay, I told Margaret, now I can't be your friend because I am so envious of you taking that trip!!!) Of making plans for an upcoming day of Spa and Spinning. And of visiting as we often do, the "regular" friends who make each of these days so special...I won't name them all, but the Sip 'n Knit group know who you are!

I left that part of my day to hurry home and share my excitement with my husband, again over coffee at the kitchen table, when another of our dear friends arrived to discuss future plans for haying and planting time....I am going to have corn stubble to turn my ewes in to this fall and a new seeding of hay, too! Talk of changes to my pasture fences to better utilize what I have now (are you ready for all the work, Dad? LOL!)

And finally, after I finished my night chores, I came to the house and stopped to look around the farm with a sense of joy and gratitude for the many blessings God bestows on me every day.

And this is what I saw in the sunset ~


It seemed to me that the clouds gathered beneath the sun were wings and I thought of some verses from Psalms "To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because Thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee...Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice"....Psalms 63


It was a good day around the table.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stained Glass Window...or Mitten

The mittens I made for the No More Humdrum Mittens 2 swap are finished. What fun they were to knit and I already have another pair planned for myself. I don't really like this shot (below) but it does show the different colors pretty well:


I much prefer this picture of the mittens making a snowball before getting ready for their trip to my swap partner in a different wintery state:


In the photo above, the mitten on the left is turned inside out because I think it looks pretty cool that way, too! Details:

Pattern: Honeycomb Mittens by Jean Newsted, from the book Homespun ~ Handknit (love that book!)
Yarn: Mostly Cascade Yarns Bollicine, 100% extrafine shrink resistant Merino wool in various colors. There is also just a little bit of a special handspun in one mitten that I won't talk about here...until after my partner receives the gift ;)
Needles: Size 4 Addi Turbo (knit Magic Loop style)

Though the pattern is called Honeycomb, I think that in this colorway (which includes most of my partners favorite colors!) it looks more like stained glass.

This was such a fun, no-stress knit a long...if there is a third, I would really like to be a part of it ;)