Friday, May 15, 2020

Color Craze for a Rainy Day

Today I want to share a comforting knit I finished  a few months ago. It was the kind of project you pick up on a rainy, cold day and work on it for hours until you must reluctantly set it down to feed your resentful family. This is Tamy Gore's Color Craze and is my new favorite shawl. It's a good weight for our winters.

All of her patterns have the perfect mix of elements to keep a knitter interested while still being a chill knit. With Color Craze it is brioche, striping, eyelets, and garter. It's all in there but not daunting. It was totally enjoyable. There was no fretting or worrying about fixing mistakes because the pattern camouflaged them really well.

This pattern sat in my library a while as I pondered what mini skeins I would get in the right yardage to match the sample. Then I saw Molly of A Homespun House talking about hers and how she simply used one of her 10 gram mini sets in place of the four varying amounts of contrast colors recommended in the pattern. Rather than worrying about starting a new contrast color where indicated in the pattern, she just worked the first mini skein in her set for any section that required a contrast color until it was used up, then tied in the next mini in the set to use as the CC until it was used up, etc. She did this through the whole set and it looked fine, even where their was a mini skein color change mid-brioche section.

This is my kind of laid back knitting. So I wound up a magic cake of my Rustic Mini set, using magic knots to tie one skein to the next. Can I just say that making a magic cake is a special kind of satisfying. I paired it with some Knit Picks Hawthorne Tonal in Silverton from stash and began knitting.

At first I planned to pair it with some lace weight  mohair/ silk yarn, but I felt it muted the depth of these tonals too much, so I ripped the bit I'd knit back and omitted the lace weight yarn. This let the subtle variance of each mini skein and the Silverton shine. Silverton is one of my favorite colorways from Knit Picks, but I pretty much love everything in the tonal Hawthorne line.

Details: I used a US size 3 needle and about 1 1/3 skeins of Knit Picks Hand Painted Tonal Hawthorne in the Silverton colorway along with a set of ten 10g Rustic mini skeins from A Homespun House.

This photo sums up how I feel about my yarn/ pattern combo. It makes me think of a rainbow on a drizzly day: calm and subdued, but comforting.

I did finish my last mini skein just a few rows shy of the end of the shawl, so I just used the main color yarn as a border edge. I actually like the way that looks, so it was all good.
I also was super responsible and wove in my ends as I worked for my #EndweavingParty. 

What I love about Color Craze: 
I like the fact that you can be flexible about where to change your contrast colors and the shawl still looks great. I also love that it has the right balance of brioche and garter for conversation knitting. Another plus is that I can wear it upside down (my preference) or wrong side out and it still looks good.

In my last podcast episode I talked about the significance of Tamy's business name, Narrow Path Designs and how meaningful it is to me. You can find the episode here. But, in short, I'll just say I've never been disappointed by anything I've found along the way on the Narrow Path, either figuratively or literally, and it's cool to make something with that in mind.  Below is an example of one such rewarding, literal narrow path we took in the Grand Tetons. The other type is visible in positive changes I see in myself and a growing love for other people.

Which of Tamy's patterns have you knit? 

I can't decide which one I want to do next. I've had my heart set on Milu for some time but it would be a very vibrant color combo, whereas right now I'm liking the idea of some soft spring colors from Six and Seven Fiber mixed with all of the texture and lace of Ashbrook. This would also leave me with some leftovers to add to my scrappy granny stripe blanket, which I've pulled out again because... quarantine netflix with subtitles.

You can find more about my Color Craze in My So-Called Handmade Life Podcast: 
Episode 37: Totally Baked
Episode 48: Summer Knits Roundup

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Episode 48: Summer Knits Roundup

I edited and edited to make my jumble of thoughts more coherent. Then I gave up. Have fun decoding, friends. Also, I look just a bit disheveled, but consider it quarantine fashion.

on my blog:
on Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife
on Ravelry as mamatronic

My questions for you: 1) How has your thinking changed due to quarantine, any lifestyle changes you've made or want to make?
2) Have you experienced Imposter Syndrome or something similar? How did/ do you work through it?

Article on Imposter Syndrome:
One of my vintage bikes:
Carson Demers Knitting Comfortably:
@Blueshineart instagram painting challenge:
Lovely Bicycle:

LB Handknits:
Song and Dance:
Fisherman's Muse:

#NutidenFuse KAL

My Color Craze by Tamy Gore:
in A Homespun House Rustic Minis:
and Hawthorne Silverton:
Also by Tamy Gore -Milu:
Minis and Me:
Sweet Soul:

The Endless:
Movie knitting- Smooth Operator socks in Wood Pigeon:
in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature  4 Ply from Woolly Thistle:

Woolly Thistle 52 Weeks of Socks KAL

Doomsday Knits by Alex Tinsley:
Fennec by Sharon Fuller:
Ditch the Tech by Jennette Cross:
Bulletproof by Alexandra Virgiel:
Oryx by Jennifer Dassau:

Summer Tops:
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle":
knit in Berroco Remix Light:
Zelda Crop by Handmade Closet:
A Summer weight Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits:
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel:
Argil by Clare Lakewood:
Ginkgophyte by Emily Greene:
DanDoh patterns:
like Shaina by Yumiko Alexander:
Elemental Dolman:

Golden Willow by Lesley Anne Robinson:
in Stroll Tonal colors- Inverness, Thunderhead, and Eucalyptus:
Float Tote by Knitty Natty:
in Lion Brand Re-Up yarn:
Yarn Cozy Lite:

Fun TikToks cause what else are we gonna do?:

Friday, May 1, 2020

Kia Socks Love Fest

These are my Kia Socks by Dawn Henderson. They are a free pattern that was offered at a time when all of the knitters online were starting to confront racism in their virtual and real lives. Not that the movement began then, just that January of 2019 seems to be the moment it really broke through to everyone.

See how the raised purl ridges form a an equal sign (=) and serve as a reminder that we're all valid, deserving of respect, and a voice. It was a meaningful design and also something beyond a vanilla sock to accompany all of the reading and soul searching so many of us were doing.

I have strong feelings about this design, the time it was released, the designer, and even the yarn dyers who dyed up this beautiful colorway.

I'm not sure when I first saw Dawn's feed on instagram, but I knew her as a photographer, stay-at-home mom, and sometimes knitter. Her family was younger than mine, so her snapshots of family life moved me and brought me back to a time when the walls of our home, and the circle of family members within it, constituted our world. All of my memories from that time have a golden, dreamlike glow about them. I still get bits of that world when we can all be together, but I dream about it constantly.

Dawn was in the thick of it, making the most of those tender family years and relating some of her everyday joys on instagram. I loved her for that. Sometimes her feed made me just a little heartsick for those days, but mostly it made me smile.

Seeing her thoughts about possibly trying to design /do something creative and challenging for herself touched me because I could identify. I have lived a life very focused on other people the last several years and I've often thought about doing something, just for me, with this blog or with knitting but would then think, "Oh that ship sailed while you were focused on your kids graduating." "Or if this were 8 years ago, yeah, sure, you'd be relevant, but now? Nah." There were loads of other phrases and cliches like "saturated market" or "You're kind of wrung out now." and "Aren't most blogs just ads now anyway?" that come to mind.

You get the point. I wonder if Dawn had similar thoughts to combat when she released this first design? When I look at her designer page on Ravelry, I see how much work she has produced in such a short time! It is completely inspiring. And this little sock pattern seems to be where it all started. Thank you Dawn for sharing it with everyone for free and thank you for sharing that this new creative endeavor was an intimidating, emotional effort. It was a choice you made to challenge yourself through self expression, despite discomfort. These are things I always seem to need to hear.

The love fest doesn't end there. The yarn I used for this pair of socks came from the Friends Yarn Club by Mockingbird Fiber Co, two sisters that have become very dear to my heart due to our shared love of making and shared family experiences. Did I mention that their yarn is incredible? I love every colorway I have seen and I have more finished objects in it to show you as soon as I can catch up on posts.

This colorway is Monica's Apartment. Can you picture it from the set of Friends? Purple with little blue accents. In this post the production designer talks about his color choices for the walls, if you're a nerd and like that sort of thing.

The funny thing is when I told my husband the colors were based on Monica's apartment, he immediately said, "Yeah, and the yellow is like the little frame she had around the peephole." That was weirdly accurate.

Monica's windows and funky kitchen were what I remember from the show. You can see where the blue speckles in the yarn came from. When the show first aired, I often thought how ridiculous it was that she had such a great apartment at her age and with her lifestyle. This article in Scene Therapy talks about what an apartment like that would cost per month.

Details: So I used US size 0s and magic loop to knit these up. The yarn base from Mockingbird Fiber Co is called Scrummy sock, which is 80% super wash merino and 20% nylon. The colorway is Monica's Apartment, with a bright yellow contrasting mini skein for heels and toes. This yarn is soft and easy to work with. I gotta say it was hard to put these down because I was subconsciously waiting for another blue speckle and would just keep going and going.

This is my favorite length of sock leg, but it is really hard to make myself stop when I have quite a bit left of a color I enjoy looking at. I do, however, now have a little ball of Monica's Apartment to add to my Scrappy Granny Stripe Blanket, so that's cool.

(more on ravelry, instagram, flickr)

I talk about my Kia Socks on lots of Podcast Episodes. From 26: That DIY Mixtape Ethos all the way thru Episode 34: A Beach Tee, where they were completed.  

Have you tried Mockingbird Fiber Co yarn yet? They are hosting a sock KAL at the moment on instagram.

And which of Dawn's patterns have you worked up? I think her Lyne socks may be my next knit to try, but I also love Bembe from 52 Weeks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Episode 47: So Much Drama

Hope you are all doing well! I am back after a little quarantining, a little soul searching, and some drama, as you will see. I talk all about my Love Note from March and way too much tv knitting. Theres even some crochet in there!

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog:
On Ravelry:
Our Ravelry group:
On instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife:
On flickr:
Stuff I mention on Episode 47:

Love Note by Tin Can Knits:
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Wildwood color way:

Travelers Loop by Dawn Barker:
in Chasing Rabbits Fern, Joy and Violet Vale:

Crossbody Canteen Bag by Alexander Tavel:
crocheted in Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton with a Lion Brand strap:

My Wood Pigeon Socks:
knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply Self-Striping, Wood Pigeon:

Wall Hanging on Ravelry:
knit in Berroco Macro:

Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure:
Mockingbird Fiber Rustic Sock base in Delta Dawn:

Summer Tops:
Sweetpea Top by Rachel Misner:
Callisto by Nasja Hornby:
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel:
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle" by Olga Grishina:
Pomelo Bag by Claire Lakewood:
to knit in Willow Field Yarn, in Lobster and Warmth:

Craft Book Suggestions:
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman:
Stitch N Bitch by Debbie Stoller:
includes The Manly Sweater by Kate Wisson:
Skully by Samantha Bliss:
and Under the Hoodie by Kristin Spurkland:
Peppermint Twist by Becky Delgado:
The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller:

includes: Doris Daymat by Faith Landsman:
Granny's No Square by Diana Rupp:
Jolly Roger by Lynn Zykowski:
Short and Sweet by Angela Best:
Prepster by Fay Lin:
Bedfellows by Camilla Engman:

Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer:
includes: Chanel-ish Cardigan by Mary Heather Browne:
Classic Sweater for Guys:
Lacy Skirt with Bows by Kat Coyle:
Judy's Grandmother's Baby Sweater by Judy Spector:
Slouchy Cardigan by Helene Roux:
WEHO Bikini by Julia Trice:
Canyon Hiking Socks by Julia Trice:
Red Carpet Gown by SweaterBabe:

Strangebrew by Tin Can Knits:
includes Cartography:

52 Weeks of Socks by Laine:
includes: Heartichoke by Josephine & the Seeds:
Unity by Nina Tanskanen:
Imker by Apella.Knits:
Stone by Tatiana Kolikova:
Turning Point by Zyaparova Masha:

Too much TV:
The Decline:
Killing Eve:
The Iliad- It's free!:
Attack on Titan:
Fetch the Boltcutters by Fiona Apple:

Fun links:
Depression Era Cooking with Clara:
Y-Yo Ma and his sister's first performance in the US:
The Queen's Green Dress:

Other new and/or free patterns:
Pangolin by Anna and Heidi Pickles:
Social Distancing by Lucinda Iglesias:
Perfect-Pockets Shawl: Sonja Hood:
From Anna Johanna's Shop
Surprise Stripes:
Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar:

Love Note to Me

Do you have an old, worn box of love notes stashed somewhere in your house? Maybe it's folded, construction paper cards your kids made or a quick note your spouse scrawled on a napkin left by the coffeepot. It could be positive thoughts you sticky-noted to your bathroom mirror or the end of your yoga mat. Possibly they're elaborately folded pieces of faded college rule paper from someone whose name you might could almost forget, were it not for the fact that it's signed in No. 2 pencil at the bottom.

I get what Tin Can Knits is trying to evoke with the name they gave this design. It is soft mohair, delicate lace, and a quick jot of a project. When I wanted something special to bring to the Knitting in the Hills Retreat in March, I set aside my gift knitting for a week and chose to make a Love Note for myself.

In the same way I have laid out a pen and the perfect card or notebook many times in the past to write for someone else, I now sifted through my stash and picked a favorite colorway from one of my favorite dyers, Chasing Rabbits Fiber. Wildwood is a rich, earthy color that I was immediately drawn to the first time I saw it. This is saying a lot because it was at Hill Country Weavers, who have an almost overwhelming selection to choose from.

Like the really good love note, there's a little risk involved in the composition. If you only repeat the same old things and play it safe with your thoughts, it's not likely it will make it into the rumpled box of letters in the back of the closet. So I took a chance on my own behalf and used mohair held with fingering weight for the first time on a sweater. I know, it's like a warm hug and you've all done it, but I live in a warmer climate and have never wanted to gamble on it before. Risks for love, my friends.

And like the best of letters, I let the inspiration hit me on the spur of the moment, beginning it with only ten days until the retreat and sacrificing a little sleep while making it for someone I love.

The result was one of my favorite makes to date. It is the perfect combination of color, fiber, and style to be a gift to myself.  One of the big gifts being that I didn't have to knit full sleeves or body in stockinette. That's fortunate because I only had two skeins of the fingering weight Fern base. And it was dry at exactly the time I would need to be wearing it to head to the retreat.

Just to prove, love is worth taking chances, I'll tell you it was very cool that weekend and I was quite comfortable in my sweater.

Are you bored with my letter writing analogy yet? Okay, here are the details:

I knit a size medium, at a slightly tighter gauge ( 4.5 stitches, 7 rows per inch) using sizes US 5 and 8 needles. It only required 2 skeins of the Fern base from Chasing Rabbits Fiber, but I did use every but of it. I did have quite a bit left over from my 2 skeins of Gossamer silk/mohair lace weight. Both yarns were in the Wildwood colorway.

I thought the mohair/ silk might tone down the richness of the colorway too much, but I'm pleased to say it didn't. However, I'd really like to knit something out of Wildwood in just the Fern base, to compare the two in color depth.

I did knit the body to the longer size indicated in the pattern, but it is still very cropped due to my gauge difference. I made my sleeves a longer 3/4 length, also.

What I loved about this knit: The yarn!!! I also loved the lace yoke and how clear the motif is even with the mohair yarn. It's just the right amount of intricate. I also like the cropped high/lo hem.

So do I feel special because I made something luxe for myself? Um, yeah! I needed a little boost. It is laying folded in the cherished sweater wardrobe waiting for next Fall. This isn't like some crumpled napkin note...and I'm back to making something special for someone else :)

More on Love Note can be found on My So-Called HandMade Life Podcast episode 46, which talks about the retreat, and Episode 47.

(more images on Ravelry, instagram, and Flickr)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Episode 46: No Worries!

This is where I record the eleventh billionth knitting podcast.
On Ravelry:
The blog:
On instagram:

Digital Wellness Journal by Christie Archer Design with Coupon Code HANDMADE50:

My questions for you: How are you coping with semi or full quarantine? How are you filling your time?

Stuff I mention in Episode 46:

Movies: Finding Vivian Maier, Chasing Ice, #Chicacogirl, The Good Lie, The Dropbox, Dark Waters
TV: Black Spot

Current WIPs:
Sockhead by Kelly McClure:
Aquarian Baby Blanket by Lavanya Patricella:

Retreat inspired pattern mentions:
Hill country Rain by Caitlin Hunter: not on revelry yet
SoCo State of Mind by Lori Olfers:
 Seismic by Romi Hill:
Lanes by Julie Hoover: not online yet
On the Fence- Kennedy Berry: not online yet
Fairlight Shawl by Dawn Barker:
Studio Sampler by Lesley Anne Robinson:
Soka'pii by Farmer Daughter Fibers:
Archive Loop by Dawn Barker:
to knit in Serenade on Fern and Indigo on Gossamer:
Traveler's Loop by Dawn Barker:
The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Mara Nicole:
Kuffel by Alexis Winslow:
to knit in Julie Asselin Leizu Dk:
Engle by Caitlin Hunter:
Golden Willow by Lesley Anne Robinson:
Emi's Shawl by Lesley Anne Robinson:
or Coffee at the Grand also by Lesley:
to be knit in LITLG, Autumn, Wheat, and Andisol:

 Lovenote by Tin Can Knits:
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Fern and Gossamer in Wildwood:
Campfire Blanket Scarf by Alexandra Tavel:
knit in Fisherman's Wool in Oatmeal, Brown, and Oak Tweed:
Cholla Cowl by Dawn Barker:
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Dk and Gossamer in Olivine:
Wall Hanging by Jill Lehrmen in Berroco Macro:

Your upcoming or current knits:
Anu by Junko Okamoto:
X Factor Cowl by  Isabell Kraemer:
Garri Sweater by Védís Jóndóttir for Istex:

Free or discounted pattern  resources:
Two of Wands Blog:
free ravelry patterns
Espace Tricot:
Eksperimentet- Pia Trans:
Anna Lange's sock and cowl patterns:
Atenea Midnight Top by Elsye Machon (1/2 off with code in link at top of notes):
Regia Yarns:
Opal Yarns:
All free knitting:
Purl Soho patterns:
like Elementary Wrap:
keep an eye out for Joji's sweater pattern in Lion Brand Wool Ease:
Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand:
On the Porch by Tracie Millar:
Solidarity by Shireen Nadir:
Andi Satterlund pattern free with code:
Xandy Peters discount on instagram:
Bristol Ivy 25% off discount thru March:
Christina Danaee 36th birthday discount:
Bohochicfiberco all patterns discounted:
Els Machon discount in her Episode 4 for Atenae Midnight Top:
Knitty Natty Coupon code:
Knitty Natty Float Tote:
Caitlin Hunter 4 Year Anniversary discount:
Dawn Henderson's patterns free for a time:
Alicia Plummer discounted Knotted Pine Hat:
And mitts:
Horus shawl by Courtney Spainhower:
Jenise Hope free pattern with code VIRUS:
Whitney Hayward's patterns with Harrisvillle are free for a time:

Ways to help other people's burdens:
Children's Adult Friends in Denmark
Big Brothers and Big Sisters:
Refugees Welcome:
Open Homes:
Warm Hands Network:
Operation Stand Down (look up your local chapter):
8 Practical Ways to help refugees article:
Nobody Left Outside:
St Vincent De Paul Conference:
How you can help during the outbreak:

Fun Stuff:
@blueshineart instagram art challenge:
Dog serenade:
PA man captures all types of on log bridge:
Best way to get rid of people:
Pearl Bodean's yodeling, lol starting at 4:04 and 9:10:
You can't stop Debbie Downer:
Accidental Motivational speaker (cue to 7:30):
Phil Hartman and Chris Farley:
The IT Crowd Season 2, Episode e The Dinner Party:
Some of my favorite Crazy Ex Girlfriend Songs:
Josh and his feelings:

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Warning: Gonna get pretty personal with this post. Of course, because it's about socks(?). I started writing it over a year ago to discuss this yarn, named after me, and thoughts about myself as I knit with it. However, I was working on it in the hospital at the end of my dad's life and I found it difficult at that time to untangle thoughts about myself with my feelings about his passing. I mean, life, death...socks? Didn't seem appropriate. For a year the post just sat in my drafts, until it almost seemed ridiculous to post it at all. And you may well find it overly spiritual or ridiculous. But a project named after me seemed to deserve a peek into my thoughts at that time in my life, however messy they may be. Besides, a blog isn't really a journal unless you let it be, right? Pattern notes are at the bottom if you want to skip the weighty, spiritual stuff.

Julianne of Lovebird Lane Yarns has a collection of yarns based on some of her favorite podcasters and, believe me, you cannot be more surprised than I was to see I was among them. I was delighted with the Michelle colorway and how well she "got me."

The lightweight part of feeling shy is the awkwardness. I love this colorway, yet feel so awkward that my name is on it. I love Julianne! And I love when someone really sees me, but I still have trouble with the actually being seen part. I feel such temptation to water my thoughts down here, to just talk about the pretty colors and not show any intensity of personality. I used to call it shyness but my kids' would probably call it social anxiety. That's a little formal for me. I'd prefer cat lady.

Why do I feel shy because someone is "claiming me" publicly?
This is after twenty- something (now forty-something) podcast episodes of myself talking online about knitting, death, cheesy shows, and dogs, all with a zit somewhere on my face.

There's always a zit on podcast day.

I think it's because I don't feel worth claiming. I haven't felt worth claiming most of my life. I always felt a little out of place in every social situation. That's the heavy part of being shy. I wasn't born that way. I was born outspoken, if cross. Somewhere along the way, in the dysfunction of family life after a parent dies, I internalized everything. Felt responsible for everything. And felt joy never.

My solution, when I was my kids' age was to think of what a normally adjusted person would do in a situation, then force myself to do that, trusting that eventually the feelings of self-worth, or normality, would come. Usually these endeavors were to benefit someone else. If I was using valuable space in this world, I could at least be of service. I often wondered if I was doing it right, because I only felt something on the spectrum of shame: from mildly awkward to complete loser. I now am mid-forties. Though I care a whole lot less about how I am perceived, the discomfort can still be there. Still! I don't want to fake it 'til I make it anymore. How did this even happen to me?

My dad said he was so shy as a boy that when visitors came to their house, he would hide behind the couch...the whole time. I imagine trying to sit still, while cramping with the dust or dog hair behind our couch during one of my parents longest of visits with a neighbor. That's pretty intense. Of course, he grew out of that. By the time I was born, he led hundreds of workers in organized labor strikes. So I knew there was hope for me.

...Now I'm just thinking about Dad again. But he was a part of this strange time in my life. Being there for him, at the end of his, required being around another person who had hurt me when I was young. I was leaning over Dad's hospital bed, holding his hand and praying, without realizing my bent back may have looked like an old, familiar target to them. We are creatures of habit and where one perceives weakness, their habit may be to exploit it. I didn't fully understand what was happening around me until I went home one night to pray and gather my thoughts.

It's like I took some of the darkness that was in that room home with me. A cloud of shame I hadn't worn in many years, covered my shoulders again like it had always been a part of me.
As I lay down to sleep that night, I saw it. Really saw it. And all the emotions and beliefs that came with the shame imposed on me (pain, sorrow, unworthiness, guilt) hit me as forcefully as it did when I was a kid. I'm thinking- what is going on? Are my emotions just all over the place because my dad may die?  I hadn't felt this way in years. But as I lay in bed just feeling those exact same things I felt and thought as a teenager, I realized  this wasn't me. It wasn't a natural part of my coming of age back then. All those nights and days I sat in my room feeling paralyzed, afraid to come out and draw criticism, wasn't my overly emotional nature. The belief that I should never have been and every dark thought it produced was not just teen angst. It wasn't just because my mother had died. It was a particular influence, or presence, in my life that I believed was correct because I was a child and they were an adult.

I tend to think we make our own problems for ourselves, until it comes to someones problems around me, then I tend to wonder if I caused them. That sound you hear is me laughing at my double standard. But, in general, I am cautious about assigning blame for our shortcomings to some other entity. A lot of Christians do. Do you have any Christian friends like this? Do you see them as "eccentrics" who talk to nothing? Sometimes they entreat the good nothing and sometimes they cast out a bad nothing? Well, this was not nothing. It was real. The hair on the back of my neck was raised, which is saying a lot for someone as tired as I was. But being tired and grieving so much, I had nothing of myself to give to this nonsense. I saw it for what it was. Sure, it was the lies that smothered my joy from the time I was 14, delivered through one person's ugly looks and cruel slights. But it was beyond this one person's actions. It was the spiritual and universal shame I think so many people experience. It is a force in opposition to life. I sat up in bed and said, literally out loud, "You can't have me. I'm His. I will follow Him no matter how hard things get, even if it makes me miserable. You can't have me. Go away." With that, I put my head on my pillow and slept, hard. My husband, I imagine, laid there wide awake in bewilderment.

I can't believe I'm even trying to talk about this. But it was a big deal to clearly see how the  destructive lies entered my life and how powerfully I let them shape me. It was an even bigger deal to see that I no longer believed them. Not really. I still have hard days where I feel "shy" but those old thoughts rolling around in my head don't define me anymore. I have felt a tender, gentle love from God that has soothed those hurting places.

And let me say, time does help heal to an extent. Beyond spiritual changes in myself, just seeing the effects of time on the person I once viewed as an extension of God's harsh judgment (either a sign of His pleasure with their smile or a conduit of His rage with their own) put it into perspective. Abusers get old. I think it all began to lose its hold on me years ago, when I left home and fully committed myself to Christ's teaching. Still, it was important that I now see the proof of it.

One last ramble. It was humbling to see the strength I have received over the years. It was also sobering to fully consider the power my words could hold over someone else's head. We do tend to believe what we hear. Just as my replaying someone else's unnecessarily critical words over and over in my mind can destroy, so might my bitter response to those words. I suppose I can verbally shred someone with the best of them, but I don't want to add to the hate. I want to quick to listen and slow to speak, to think and pray. I want to recognize the hurting child inside of the people around me and soothe them. I want to encourage them to overcome their burdens, when I can, even if their burdens are the guilt of what they have done to another. I want everyone to know the gentle comfort I have found. I would like to mirror my creator that way, root for people lend strength to them. But that's all "want to's."

As far as who I actually am today, I am not completely sure. I'm no longer shaped by the lies I heard as a girl, though the experience still tempers my thoughts. I do know, really truly know, I am loved by a good Father. I belong with someone, someone I can identify myself with and who identifies with me. Out of this place of confidence,  I think I am equipped to live a loving life, if I choose to.

Details: Er, so let's talk socks. This was basically Susan B. Anderson's Smooth Operator pattern again. It feels like part of my brain now because I have worked it so many times, but no it is Susan's idea. This is my favorite afterthought heel directions, though I have some socks ready to try the Kirby Wirby method.

I used a size 0 circular and Lovebird Lane's Merino sock yarn in the Michelle colorway. It was such a pleasure to work with. Soft and easy on my hands. The heels and toes were just some off white scrap yarn that I thought went well with the stripes.  They have been much worn and loved this winter!

(more on ravelry, instagram, flickr, and my podcast )

You can find more on this project here.
And on the podcast : yarn details in Episodes 19, 20, 22, and more of the personal reflections in Episode 23)