Spruce Shawl Release (Boo-Yah!)

Spruce Shawl Release (Boo-Yah!)

It's here! It's here! 

It's finally freaking here! 

The Spruce Shawl is the companion to the Forestry Cowl. It's difficult to remember back to the motivations for this shawl. It's taken me way too long to get this pattern out of my hands. With that said, it's one of my favorite garments to wear and use when it's chilly out. It's a warm hug when I am stressed and it's just a joy to be wrapped up in. I've spent many nights cuddling this thing, so I know. 

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The Spruce Shawl is a triangular shawl with two sections of tree lace separated by garter rows. It makes for an easy knit on a cold winter day. The way the pattern is written, it is also easily customizable. You can continue in the pattern to make the shawl larger. (This one is a medium size) You can also use DK or worsted weight yarn to make a big and cozy shawl that will be sure to keep you warm on the coldest night. It would look amazing with some tassels too. 

For this week, because I love you, I am offering the pattern up for free on my Ravelry store. Just follow the link and you'll see the savings when you check out. Afterwards a portion of the proceeds are going to go to the Natural Resource Defense Counsel--who seek to find ways to save our natural spaces and species. 

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The Spruce Shawl is inspired by my need for nature. I have a lot of love for forests. There is a lot of folk lore about how dark and scary forests are. I've never understood it. They offer more in protection and security than they do in secrets and shadows. Trees are so amazing. They can stand up to almost anything, and they still offer us air to breathe. 

Thanks for being a part of this journey with me. Thanks for listening, and allowing me to go at my own pace. This life is beautiful; this world is beautiful; let's show the world some love and knit some good. 

Trying for a More Simple Life.

Trying for a More Simple Life.

Hello friends!  

I’ve been busy. Not so busy that I can’t blog, but it is what it is. I want to work harder to keep up my online presence. I feel like I have so much to share and so much creativity that needs to come out. Right now, I’m looking at my personal and professional habits and I am realizing that there’s so much about myself that I want to work on. Woah. It feels like the task is Everest and I’m at sea level. Oh man. Deep. Breaths. It inspires anxiety. 

I can do this.  

Here goes. 

One task on my personal growth list is being content with a simple life. What is a simple life, really? I guess what I am looking for is contentment with myself and what I have and what I do in the moment. That life goes slowly in many ways. That delayed gratification is a good thing and dang it I don’t need that dang apple watch. I think that living simply is different for everyone. For me, right now, it’s the idea of slowing down and letting go of the hustle. 

My stage of life, as a mother and aspiring writer and designer, it’s difficult to find the time, money, and resources to be good at anything. With a toddler and an infant it’s an accomplishment if I can find time to take a shower, let alone sit down at a computer and write and design. I’m not even allowed to be in my phone without my son wanting to look at pictures of his cousins. (There’s a chance this has been partially written while I’m on the toilet—how about that for a visual?) I love my kids, I love being a mom, and I want to spend more time engaged in their lives while they’re little. I also want to spend more time nurturing my creativity. 

In order to achieve both, I have to work on a few things. First I have to accept the fact that sometimes being creative is a slow process. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t painted in a night. My life isn’t Instagram perfect. No one’s life is. Secondly, I have to realize that consumerism won’t help me. I am the person they make ads for, and I have the credit card to prove it. Instead of drowning my sorrows in stuff, I need to be more mindful of my spending and make sure what I spend on is useful in my life. Thirdly, I have to be healthy for my babies, both mentally and physically if I want to keep up with them and be an active part of their lives. None of this requires much of me, except for the excruciating self discovery of why I feel I need to live the hustle.  

Slowing down has always been difficult for me. I hope my little experiment here helps me see why.  

 

a boy and his train

a boy and his train

The Intentional Weekend

The Intentional Weekend

How do you slow down when life feels so quick? Join me in taking some time over the weekend to fully appreciate life, and allow ourselves to just be for a little while. 

Grow. Explore. Advocate. Part 3

This is going to be a difficult post to write. If you're familiar with me personally, I tend to post my political beliefs in the vague way that everyone else does on Facebook: I read articles then repost them if I feel they're important. So actually spelling them out here feels a little forceful. A little more solidifiying to others, even though I am sure all of you know where I stand. However, it's putting a side of myself out into the world that I am mostly silent about day to day and in real conversations with others. I am a social and eco justice warrior. Soon, I would like to see myself as an Ally, but I have a lot more work to do to achieve that title. 

I am a person who, at my core, believes that everyone deserves to be treated with human decency.

When my son was born and I experienced postpartum depression it was like all of the feelings of the world were magnified. I felt everything that was happening around me. The Syrian refugee crisis was in full swing. Humans of New York was posting from Greece, highlighting people who risked their lives to escape war. These were people who saw the risk and decided that risk was better than staying in Syria. Then I saw the horrible treatment that these people were getting from Europe. The ugly side of humanity was in my face right then, it's all I could see and I had this little infant who was lucky enough to be born with us and still completely depended on me for life. The breaking point for me was when the little boy washed up on the shore in Greece. My pain and anger at the injustices of the world wouldn't be silenced anymore. That was the day to open myself up and be more vocal about what I believe we, as humans sharing this world together, should be doing. 

I am a person who, at my core, believes that everyone deserves to be treated with human decency. In some ways, I've always been an advocate for those who have been oppressed and marginalized, it just took motherhood for me to find my courage and spell it out. My life and education has brought me to this point. When I was a christian, I went to other countries to help out the poor. When I was in college, I learned how people exploit others for profit and gain. When I was poor, I learned exactly how expensive being poor was. When I lived in the mountains, I learned how important being outside and keeping our air and land clean was. As a mother and military wife, I see where our daily actions are taking us and what that means for our children.

My pain and anger at the injustices of the world wouldn’t be silenced anymore.

I advocate for the people that I would have likely become if I hadn't gotten really lucky in life. People who work extremely hard, but can't seem to find a way out of poverty or depression. People who live with fear and anxiety. People who aren't accepted based on their race, gender identity, sexual identity, and social class can have a space and a voice. I advocate so that one day my sons will be able to embrace nature without for profit corporations getting in the way. I advocate for fresh air. I advocate for universal love. It's time we start letting people have the chance to be people, whole and free. It's time we realize that we are making a mess and we need to clean it up. 

Spruce Knits was made to give light to people who are doing good work in our country and our world. A part of the proceeds from every pattern I sell goes to certain charities, some are personal for me, some are more global in scale. Each one is doing it's best to do it's part to create a healthy and safe environment for our future selves. Know that this is where your money is going if you don't share my beliefs, know that I hold no ill will toward you and know that you are free to take your money elsewhere. It's a part of the game. I am a person with a strong value center, so you wont hurt my feelings. My cause is bigger than my feelings. 

Here are my stances: 
I stand with Women: As a woman in the world, I see the systemic frustrations that we face every single day. I stand with the idea that we are the autonomous leaders of our bodies. I stand for the right to choose. I stand for the right to say no. I stand for equal pay for equal work. I stand for intersectional feminism, all women deserve equal rights. 

I stand with the Marginalized: LGBTQ people should be free to live the life that they identify with, without hate and condemnation, without their fundamental rights being taken away from them. I stand with immigrants (not aliens- they're human beings for god sakes) and minorities and refugees. I stand for the homeless and mentally ill. These people continue to fight an uphill battle for basic dignity. It's time we stop and lend a neighborly hand to those who need it. 

I stand with Science: Global warming is not a hoax y'all. Greenland's ice cap has melted beyond the point of no return, and it's still winter. Heat waves in north Canada are also troubling. Each year the Earth gets warmer and warmer. This is our fault. It's only going to get worse if we don't do something. I stand with scientific research, cancer can be cured, Huntington's disease can be treated. 

Most importantly, I stand with Love: One of the greatest things we can do is love one another. It's as simple as that. Look at your neighbor and ask yourself if your political actions are going to hurt that person. Look at the beggar on the street as a human being, rather than a drug addict. Look at the person who prays to a different God than you as a brother/sister without thinking that they need to change faiths for you to accept them. Kindness is courageous. Hatred is the coward's way out. 

Spruce Knits was made to give light to people who are doing good work in our country and our world. A part of the proceeds from every pattern I sell goes to certain charities, some are personal for me, some are more global in scale.

Every day, I try to find the kindness and love in my heart... every day I work for the betterment of our society. It's especially important in times like these. Hold tight to the love you have, it may be the very thing that get's us through this. If you're still with me after reading this giant of a post, thank you. Whether you agree with me or disagree, I love you. 

Grow. Explore. Advocate. Part 2

Grow. Explore. Advocate. Part 2

A large part of my life is about Exploration, I want to embrace it more and find my way out of the general comfort zones that I’ve fallen into.

As a person who grew up in the literal middle of nowhere, I have a special place in my heart for nature. One of the things I love about living in California is that there are so many opportunities to explore. Maybe not right outside my front door like the olden days of my youth, but they're within a reasonable driving distance. And if I am honest, I kind of want to get out of my house before things get to "round" around here. (Looking at you belly) I also want my son to be able to experience the natural world while the air is still clean and the water is still fresh. (More on that in Advocate) 

As a kid, I had a tree that I would go to when I needed to get away from my family for a few quiet moments. Sometimes that was a lot. I had some tumultuous teenage years thanks to some severe health issues going on in my family. It was a time where I felt as though no one could, or wanted to, understand my stress. When life got to be too much I went outside. I would hike up to my tree and sit underneath it, take in the smell of the pine needles, listen to the wind flow through the valley, maybe see a hawk or hear the far away sound of a semi-truck go down the highway. It was grounding. I felt connected to something that was bigger than myself. In those moments my problems seemed smaller. This feeling continues as I get older. When life, inevitably, gets difficult I desire to be outside. 

I... want my son to be able to experience the natural world while the air is still clean and the water is still fresh.

I am lucky that I found a life partner that feels similarly about nature. (Now if I could just get him to slow down on hikes, ha) That's probably the benefit of finding love in Colorado though. We have dreams of going on long hikes with our kids when they get older. We love just being outside. 

This love for nature has also found it's way into my design work. It's difficult for me to make a design that isn't inspired by something from the Earth. It was even the inspiration for this website and business. I have to be true to myself, and a large part of that is nature. 

For the Explore portion of my goals this year I hope to: 

~Get out and get into nature more. It could be difficult with a baby coming in August, but I am going to do what I have to do. I also have a toddler, so it's not like I am going to be hiking to mountain summits any time soon. It's amazing what a small nature trail and some fresh air will do to the soul though. 

~Find my tribe. I know that I am not the only knitter out there who feels similarly about nature. Look at all the designers who use nature to inspire their work. It's a part of the fabric of our DNA. I want to look for people who understand the need to be outside by searching out knitting groups, and more local yarn stores. 

~Seek out instruction. We all need mentors. Lord knows I could use one in my life. (He just rolled his eyes and said, "Yes, find this woman a guru... stat" at least I think he did) I want this business to go somewhere, and I am not going to be able to do that on my own. As much as I love being a quiet loner. 

~Experiment with new patterns and techniques. This sounds a lot like growing. Sorry. Some of the ideas bleed over into each other. But a part of exploration is experimentation and growth. I want to try patterns that I've been afraid to in the past. Or look for new techniques that help streamline the pattern making/ knitting processes. 

A large part of my life is about Exploration, I want to embrace it more and find my way out of the general comfort zones that I've fallen into. They're lonely, and I miss my people. 

Part 3 is a post you won't want to miss. Keep your eyes out for my post about Advocating.