Friday, May 1, 2015

Midnight Fiber and Fabric Podcast, Episode 28: Unfinished



The Necessary Vest by Samantha Kirby
Lara Neel {instagram} author of Sock Architecture


Share your favorite Indie dyers in the ravelry thread for this episode!


Sarah MacKenzie at Amongst Lovely Things 

Our current reads:

George Washington by the D’Aulaires 
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgleish 

My reading goal for May is to get 60 minutes every day in May. Want to set your own May reading goal and check in with everyone in a thread on Ravelry? Let me know here.

Upcoming Event: Maker’s Faire Kansas City on June 27-28 at Union Station 



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Monday, April 6, 2015

Chronic Life



A few years ago this space went quiet. My mother-in-law received a terminal diagnosis- from nothing to diagnosis in 1 appointment, to talking about "time left" with an oncologist just a few days later. I wrote just a bit about it in this space (here, here, and here). She passed away 6 months after the diagnosis and we spent her last month essentially at the hospital and then moving her to hospice. Our boys were so little then and it was hard to decide what to share and what to keep back for when they were older. It led me to a major block creatively. I couldn't write, I couldn't knit, I couldn't make anything because everything I had was trying to hold everything together for myself and my family


That is basically what has happened here again minus the cancer. Since my autoimmune diagnosis over a year ago, I constantly weigh what to share, what to hold back and the result has been dead space for you and stagnation for me creatively.



 {Purple toes are VERY important when you are almost 3.}


I know that a part of this problem is my own preference to hold this space as a place for happy things. Laundry doesn't exist here, nor dishes or piles of sports gear or the fact that chronic illness is taking up all my brain space.


This space is a virtual representation of my creative life both in thought and deed, where I choose to celebrate the work I do with my family and beautiful fibers, editing out the forgettable things like sleep and quick meals and time spent chauffeuring kids to one activity or another. (And laundry. I totally edit out the laundry.)


With those goals in mind, chronic illness has no place on these pages, but I need to be able to write again and get all the backlogged words out so that I can start to process forward instead of sitting in one place. This post is made out of things that don't generally fit here, some ugly and raw, but a definite part of my story.





I am tired y'all. I want to do all the things. I have known for a long time that I am NOT superwoman, nor do I want to be, but I want to still do the things I love. I want to continue my creative work, my music career, writing, podcasting, and homeschooling, but... the energy.


Oh, the energy.


I spend much of my week borrowing. I borrow spoons on Monday which leaves me deficient for Tuesday, so I borrow more and by Thursday night when my work/school week is done I crash for the next 3 days. My "off" days are being spent on useless things like sleep and recovery instead of all the cool things we used to do all together.


That recovery is even needed is an insult to my old life.


I cannot go out for a run anymore. A lot of favorite foods are off the table because of how much inflammation they cause in my body. My hands swell and ache and I can't knit or spin or braid my daughter's hair. My alarm goes off 20 minutes early in the morning because that's how long it takes to get my stiff body out of bed. My evenings are built around my med schedule, and I have to leave knit night early to get home in time for my box of pills.


I built my life quite purposefully over the last  many years around God and music and books and homeschooling and creative things, and it is hard to see much of it being dismantled.




So now I've hit a reconstruction phase. Navigating a path that gives me creative space with enough rest built into my day but also the ability to work is tricky and full of misdirects. I'm knitting whenever I can knit and I've been overwhelmed with the feeling that every stitch is precious.


So there will be an occasional series here called Chronic Life. I'll label the posts that way and if you aren't interested in posts about life with chronic illness you can skip that particular read. This is a thing I need to do in this space- bring it all out and put it in words.



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Monday, March 2, 2015

Doing it All is for Amateurs



I had some emails and Rav PMs after the last podcast and I answered them all. But then I saw people at Stitches West, and I decided to answer it here, because everyone keeps asking: How is this working? How are you DOING IT ALL? I mean, I'm working and homeschooling the boys and going to school myself, then there's the health stuff and the regular house and family life things that go into just plain living- how is it all coming together?


The answer is: The "Doing it All" myth is for amateurs, and I know at this point in my life that it's just not possible. And I'm totally okay with that.


There are a lot of factors that make this work. I'll talk about many of them in a moment, but you have to know before this post really gets going that there is one secret weapon. One BIG thing that pulls together all the little details.


Little things first:

1) This is not a long term situation. Knowing that makes all the difference in my psyche. This one semester is really tough schedule wise, but after this everything about our schedule gets a little looser and knowing that life is only like this through the first week of May is a short term projection I can deal with.

2) We are schooling on a way alternative schedule. Math, latin, grammar and all the other school things are being covered in the appropriate amount of hours, just not like a normal school schedule and not at all like we used to do it. Saturdays have become a bigger school day for us and Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday are like "maintenance" days. They have a selection of their work to get done on their own in the morning and then I check it all with them after I'm finished with my work or school. School may go all the way to the end of June to finish our hours, but that's fine too.

3) My creative time has been slimmed down in a way, but I'm cranking through some things during class. Knitting while listening to lecture really helps me keep my focus- I know that may not be true for some people, but keeping my hands busy lets my brain concentrate on what I'm hearing. I'm going to call it a side effect of listening to many audiobooks while knitting and doing housework over the past several years.

4) I am more organized than I was before. I went back to a paper planner so that as I think of tasks that need to be completed I can dump it into the correct day on the planner to make sure it gets done and free up my brain space for what is right in front of me. Homework assignments, readings, work -related projects, kid stuff- it all goes into the planner and I'm doing really well with this system. I look through the week's worth of things to do on Sundays to get myself organized for the week, and my florescent pink planner is the workhorse of this semester's schedule. 

5) Taking care of my body is more important than ever before. Between the schedule and the autoimmune disease sleep is the most specific priority and I am making sure that happens every single night. I don't include inflammatory foods in my diet and I'm making sure to get my steps in every day (which is super easy now that I leave the house more frequently- working from home has it's perks, but incidental exercise isn't one of them).


But I told you earlier- it really all comes down to one BIG secret weapon.

See, back when I was first considering the whole "Back to School" thing, I looked at the math of the situation and threw my hands in the air. There was no way it was possible. And thinking about all the back and forth of the situation was dizzying. It seemed right to say no, and I did. It was my husband who looked at it all, and promised me that he would help make it work, and he has been true to his word.

He helps the boys with their math lessons and supervises the evening madness of dinner and showers and bedtimes on the nights I'm working late or escape to a knit night. He finishes laundry I started earlier in the day, and makes sure the kids help around the house. Really, he's the reason I can even do this at all.

I have family (most specifically my mom) who are willing to help out on a regular basis by watching kids and getting them to trampoline or gymnastics or whatever when I have class or doctor's appointments.


It's all about support.


I had to let go of a few things too. The dishes are not always done, I'm *always* behind on laundry, and "free time" is spent plate balancing- what needs attention right now so that nothing crashes into a firey explosion? But I'm not the only one plate balancing- Brian is right here with me, asking what he can take over, taking the kids to the park for an hour or two so I can take a quiz online, all amidst his own work and commitments.

So there may not be really cool craft projects (my kids are kind of awesome at making up their own anyway) and not as many field trips. There may not even be a garden this year (Okay, there will probably be one, but it will be small. Miniscule. Probably.) But, it's a thing. A thing for just right now to get me to somewhere I need to go, and it's going to be a good place.

If only I can pass Anatomy and Physiology. That would be great.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Midnight Fiber and Fabric Podcast Episode 26: A Delicate Ballet




I finished the Lookin’ Jadey socksHermione’s Everyday Socks and the Long Mitt Envy fingerless gloves. I also cast on NEON vanilla socks 


Cable love: Rocky Coast Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, Baroque by Janice Kang, and Zombie ViXen by Susan Claudino.


I set some fiber-y goals for the new year and tried out some new needles over the past several weeks, including HiyaHiya Sharps, Knitter's Pride Nova Platina and Chiaogoo RED.


We've been reading: 

Ellie's Favorites: (age 2) Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney 

The boys: (ages 7 and 9)  
My Side of theMountain by Jean Craighead George
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl 
SarahPlain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan 
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

My reading: 

Drums ofAutumn by Diana Gabaldon
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell 
The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell
The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer 


I will be heading to Stitches West February 19-22 and would love to meet up with you! 


You can join in on the podcast conversation on:




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