Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Day of Winter

Here in mid-Michigan, we welcome the official first day of winter with an Alberta Clipper.

This on the heels of a massive storm that gave us over a foot of heavy snow two days ago. The bitter winds associated with today's storm is having a grand time blowing the earlier snow into monster drifts across the landscape. Its funny, Friday's storm blew in from the north east. Today it's coming straight out of the west. So the house and outbuildings are surrounded with the drifts and it is beautiful.

We are content, here at Serenity Farms, and thankful. We have food, hot coffee, warm woolen socks. I let the old mares inside to eat in comfort while above and around them (and the sheep and chickens and barn cats), the old barn groans and creaks but holds its own. Hmmm....much like my creaky bones! They protest, but thankfully they still manage to get me around ;D

I've got several little projects I have been anxious to share with you. First of all, my Bittersweet Serene Hands Mittens were sent and have been received my spoilee in the No More Hum Drum Mitten Swap 3. I love how these turned out! The pattern is my own entrelec mitten pattern but the color is what really made these, I think! Cascade 220 superwash wool is the main red, with some Orchard Hill Skinny Skeins as the contrasts.

(Sorry for the slightly fuzzy photo...but I kind of like the warm glow look of it) This is the third pair of mittens I have made from this (my own) pattern. It has also been knit by two other "test knitters" (Okay, they are friends from my knitting group, but they did knit and let me know of problems!) I am working on a pair now that I want to put a lining in, and am thinking I will add that feature to the pattern...what do you think? A bit more tweaking and then I will consider offering it to others. I have had requests, but hate to send it out into the world full of errors!

Now, here is another small finished object that has already been gifted and so can be shown...

This is a wonderful little project from a pattern I have completely fallen in love with! The Cabled Neck Warmer is available from my friend Joanne through her etsy store, Terrific Creations. I highly recommend this pattern, and Joanne offers wonderful customer service. It uses only 100 yards (or less in the case of my project) and has just enough to it to keep you interested, but easily enough memorized to work in busy situations. This was my second one, made over the course of two evenings but probably only a total of four hours. The first one I made was a bit to loose and floppy for my taste, so I went down a needle size for this rendition, using the same yarn (Serenity Farms blend of Corriedale wool and Alpaca from North Star Alpacas) and working one extra pattern repeat. It is perfect and the recipient of the gift seems to agree (it looks great on her, too, but I didn't get a photo of her modeling it) I am hoping to cast on another in a different yarn this afternoon. Or take a nap, I'm not sure....

The UPS man knocked on my door in the middle of Friday's storm. A small package was left behind. I quickly grabbed it up, thinking it might be MY mittens from the swap (which I still haven't received....nor have I heard from my spoiler....hmmmm) Anyway, the return address was California and I opened the box to reveal - not mittens - but YARN!!! Yummy, delicious, soft, lovely, beautifully spun yarn! Four skeins worth! A bit over six hundred yards worth! With a very sweet note from my across the country friend and "fiber partner", Tina at Take Heart Farm

This fiber is a blend we made from one of her angora goats, Jasper - his kid fleece. A beautiful strawberry blonde that blended so perfectly with our Violet's multicolored Corriedale fleece. I loved the results so much that it has never been offered for sale (keeping it all myself) and I even offered to buy Tina's portion from her. I understood why she declined, wanting to have some of Jasper's fiber for herself. Then, along comes the fiber back to me in this sweet gift of yarn! Could anything touch a fiber person's heart more than that?!? Thank you, thank you Tina!

In the note Tina included with the yarn surprise, she encouraged me to make something wonderful from it. Oh yes, surely I will!!! But what? I was thinking of more mittens (for myself this time) A scarf...but then I discovered just what it will be! I'm sure you are dieing to know what, aren't you? How about this:

"This" is the Trinity vest from the fabulous, fabulous, fabulous new book by Lisa Lloyd "A Fine Fleece". Do you have this book yet? Have you seen this book yet? Quick, put it on your last minute Christmas wish list! Or if you receive a gift certificate to a book supplier of any kind, treat yourself to it! I didn't take any chances, I got a copy for myself that arrived just a week or so ago. I can't put it down! I can't (or couldn't, till now) decide what I wanted to make first! I just keep drooling and dreaming (this is all fueled by the Ravelry group devoted to the projects in the book) Anyway, Trinity only requires 600 yards to make the smallest size of the vest and though I am definitely not the smallest size, my dear daughter is! So, the plan is for a lovely vest for her.

But not to be cast on for until the first of the year. I am still finishing a pair of special socks for a special friend (hope to deliver them in time for Christmas) and then I want to finish my Fiddlehead Mittens and my lined Entrelec Mittens. I would like to pick up my Wrap Me Up Shawl and get that finished (so close on that one, too!) And trying to find time for some spinning. I'm looking forward to Christmas, and am keeping myself immersed in God's Word as the winds of the world swirl around me, and finding Peace there. Peace and Joy ~ oh such Joy! How can so many Christians walk around with sour faces and sour attitudes, petulant and defeated? I'm not trying to be judgemental, I just don't understand how. We serve a living, loving, all-mighty triumphant Lord!!! What about that is there to be defeated about? And if you are feeling that way, turn to Him! Tell Him how you are feeling, draw near to Him, let the winds of His Mighty Spirit lift you!

My prayer for my Christian friends this year.

And if you don't know this wonderful living Saviour of mine, please offer Him a place in your heart this Christmas. Just offer Him the chance to show you what His love is all about! Even if you have tried before, and thought it not for you...give Him another chance. He has not turned His back on you...He is waiting. If you have been to a church, and didn't find Jesus there (only groups, and social networking and rules and disapproval) then try another church and another until you find Him! Or maybe, sit down in a quiet place all by yourself and speak to Him. He will be there. You will find Him. (Now, you won't usually find a call to salvation here on my blog, though I would never hide my Christian beliefs. But I just felt the joy in my heart to much not to share!)

Last of all, a final finished project to show, this one created by my daughter.

The wonderful Heartstrings pattern, Cascading Hearts Faroese Shawl. She made it for her grandmother, my mother, and many of you know that Mom has been ill this year. We have many afghans and quilts between us, gifts crafted from Mom's hands. Nakia wanted this one to be a gift back to her Grandma, a hug for those times when she couldn't be there to offer one in person.

From one heart to another, looking forward to Christmas!


Joyce said...

Your post is such a blessing to me. I am blessed by your creativity and also for your thankfulness to the Lord for all His blessings.

I have never learned to knit or spin. The closest I come to fiber arts is sewing and embroidery, though I haven't done either for some time. Most of my creativity happens in the kitchen, I suppose.

Thank you for being a shining, cheerful light during the dark, cold winter times. :)

Tina at Take Heart said...

Yeah, Cary! I think the vest sounds like the perfect thing to make! I'm so glad you like the yarn. You're always such a blessing to me, my friend. Have a lovely, blessed Christmas. Isn't it a joyous season? What a precious gift God gave us in His son, Jesus. I've been praising God for His amazing goodness and mercy to us, too. :o}

Margaret at Heritage Yarns said...

Cary, your writing is always such a delight as is your spirit. I hope you and Bill have a wonderful Christmas celebrating our Savior's birth.


Carissa said...

Beautiful, as always! And you know that I have a soft spot for the Cascading hearts shawl!

Anonymous said...


I too am loving your writing. It is so good to read that you have a positive outlook but no one can have that truely without knowing Jesus. I love the yarn and Nakia's knitting. It is like a hug from you to read your inspiring words. love to you
Lynn in NJ

Alpaca Granny said...

Cary, you are such a loving inspirtation. I am blessed that we are friends.

Deborah said...

Such lovely knitting. I love your mittens and your daughter's shawl is so pretty.

woolies said...

Beautiful work!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the cabled neck warmer. I haven't done any cable knitting, but that is so beautiful, it inspires me to!
Thanks for posting on the spin list! I love your blog. We have LOTS in common!
Serenity Sheep Farm