A Labor of Love


I  can get inspired so very easily, I guess I am lucky like that. I see something on Facebook or Pinterest and think, “I want to do that.” “ I can make that!”  Then-I dive in headfirst probably without doing much research. I did just that with this such project. The #Gigantoblanket from http://nocturnalknits.com/2011/03/giganto-blanket-pattern-now-available/

I bought the pattern on Etsy and ordered my wool roving from http://www.thesheepshedstudio.com/

I read and re-read the pattern and decided that instead of washing and drying the wool I would use my steamer. I emailed Laura at nocturnalknits and asked her why we must wash or steam the wool. ( I am new to using wool roving) She told me it is to clean and strengthen the fibers of the wool and also to double your yield of wool. I purchased 7lbs of roving and after steaming that 7 lbs I did indeed get twice the amount of wool! My house smelled like a barn after each session of steaming but I am an animal lover so I didn’t mind. Let’s get back to that word “session”. This project, for me, turned into “sessions” because it took A LOT of my time! I would sit each night for an hour or two and steam my wool, let it dry overnight, then split it and roll it into balls. I would guess it took me 6-7 hours to steam all of my 7lbs of wool!


There is all of my wool! Now it is time to knit! Now I am a basic level knitter. I can make scarves and I have made a hat and fingerless gloves but that was pushing my ability level a bit! lol But this pattern was basically K2 P2-that I can do pretty easily!

Let’s talk about my knitting needles. The pattern called for homemade 1.5 inch pvc pipe. That sounded easy enough right? My son picked up the pipe for me and cut it. Initially, it was way to long! He bought me 10 ft pvc pipe so 5 ft long needles was just way too hard to handle! I cut about 2 ft off of each one. I then wrapped duct tape around the “tips” and found it too “sticky” to work with so I cut the toes off of a pair of panty hose and covered the duct tape and wrapped an elastic around them to held them in place and wrapped smooth clear tape over the elastic part so the wool would move over it smoothly. (I am so smart sometimes, I impress myself!) I worried I would loose my “work” off the ends so I ripped a rag into about a 2 inch diameter and tied it at the end of the needle and then wrapped in duct tape. The finished needles is this!


They certainly aren’t pretty, but they worked! However, I had no idea how hard knitting with these big, heavy “needles” would be- hence which brings as back to the “sessions”. I physically could only knit 3-4 rows at a time because my hands and arms would get very tired and cramped! My dining room table became the safe place for this baby while I slowly worked on it. Inevitably, every time I sat to knit, my black lab  would sit at my feet with this beautiful, fluffy, white wool draping at my feet. *sigh*14890494_10208801247363132_8025725778198747583_o

I am not exactly sure but I would guess it took me at least 6 hours to knit the blanket. I understand now why the creator of this pattern sells these blankets on Etsy by commission for $699.00!  It was hard work!

This finished product is gorgeous though! That is why is was a Labor of Love for sure! My only dilemma is that I cannot use it downstairs because it will be destroyed by my kids and dogs! So upstairs it will live on by bed in my newly renovated bedroom!




Finding a Passion

Sometimes passions find us and sometimes we find them. But either way, when you are at it, making it, living it-The Passion is what makes us feel alive. It is the essence and meaning to our being. It is the “good stuff.”  When we can witness it, it is also the “good stuff” and quite a blessing.


An Open Letter To My Mom

May 10, 2014
The Eve of Mother’s Day
An Open Letter To My Mom,
It will be 15 years at the end of June since you have left your worldly body. I know some might say things like: “my heart aches each day for the emptiness and lack I feel each year she is not here to celebrate Mother’s day” or “it feels just like yesterday that you were here, I miss you so!”
In 15 years a lot has happened in my life. My children have grown into teenagers, they eat a lot. They drive me nuts at times, not turning their jeans” inside right” before they throw them into the wash! My husband and I are still married, who d’a thought! He is my best friend. I have been challenged in more ways than I ever thought possible-Yes, even more than losing You when I was 29 and you were 50. I’ve gotten fat, we have another dog.
But perhaps the reason my heart doesn’t ache every day, every holiday, ever sad Mother’s Day without you is because… well, I guess I made a choice a long time ago, not to let it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, through the years I have had my moments, my wailing cries, asking God “Why Me?” Why MY Mom?! I have been pissed when I can’t just call you up to ask you about that recipe or where those pictures are? I want so badly to tell you about what Mimi did or how well she is doing! I have been envious when I see my friends with their Moms still in their life and feel angry that you are not.
But you know all this, don’t you? You know about the times I have wept and felt furious at the loss of You. You know about the pool we put in and that my “real” father died. You know my life is blessed, but far from easy.
I know you don’t wonder how I know this and it isn’t our little secret. I feel you Mom. I feel you in the wind on a warm summer’s day. I see you in the Tiger Lily’s on the side of the road. I smell you from the fragrance of an old worn book. I hear you in a song on the radio, and I SEE you at night in my dreams….
Mom, I wish you were still here in your body to share Mother’s Day with me. But alas, I know you were tired and it was time to shed that old skin and stretch your wings into lightness and love, where there would no longer be pain.
So tomorrow I shall celebrate you, My Mother, with my own Motherhood. I will be grateful for my sons and my husband, and one day where maybe, just maybe I won’t have to do laundry! I will feel the warm breeze of spring on my face and smile with lightness in my heart! I will listen for songs on the radio that spark a memory or a feeling that reminds me of you. I won’t be sad, or sorry for the loss of you, I will feel gratitude for having you as MY Mother for as long as did. I certainly wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for you.
But you already know all this, don’t you? Happy Mother’s Day Mom! May you continue to be ever present in my life until we meet again someday!

172048_1701493691800_2654571_oShirley Ann Woodward

My Mom