I’m back to teaching aerial on the weekends again.  Last Spring, I posted a picture of something we did in class so you could enjoy the experience virtually.  This time around, it’s a bit more difficult.  I’m in the studio for 6 hours every day, and by the end I’m tired and can only think of getting home.  I have a hungry and tired youngling to drag home, feed and bath before bedtime, and I end up massaging my muscles and zoning out on the couch before finally stumbling into my own comfy bed.


This past weekend, I did remember to take a picture for you, but forgot to post yesterday.  So, here it is.  This is a double straddle that I taught my daughter yesterday.  She’s very brave, and remarkably compliant to my strange requests (“Ellette, I need you to stand on my shoulders and untie this” or “Hey Ellette, let’s learn a new doubles trick in the air”).  I am excited to see where she will end up with all of this training.

A New Technique

It’s like a knitting needle and crochet hook went out and got drunk, and nine months later this weird thing came into the world and no one quite knew what it was.  Is it crochet?  Is it knitting?  It’s more like pick up a row of stitches with a knitting needle, and casting them off, then picking up the row again, and casting off, but the process is streamlined if you use a hook and don’t turn your work.


Tunisian Crochet, shown here in the “afghan stitch” – it creates a dense waffle texture that I think will be perfect for washcloths.  I am merely getting frustrated that it doesn’t seem to grow as quickly as the crafts of it’s parents do.


I’ve seen some really beautiful things come from this hook though.  Like this and this.  I also want to learn Broomstick lace, but I think that may happen post-holidays.

The End of Clue 2

I was really eager to get through this clue, for absolutely no other reason than I wanted to get ahead.  I feel like the rest of the week can now be spent on holiday projects and catching up on housework.  Although, I do eagerly await the next clue on Friday.  I really love the mystery of it – knowing I’m making a shawl but not what the end product will be.  Stephen West is also kind of genius.  He’s teaching new techniques and changing directions so no one can really predict what happens next.  (My prediction for what was going to happen with clue was way off.)


Of course, the late nights knitting mean I have lowered my immune system, and this morning I woke up with a migraine and flu symptoms, and now I have to miss my circus class tonight and can’t fathom attacking the dust kitties rolling all over my apartment.  Tonight calls for Rest, Yarn, and Dr. Who, I think.

Blogversary – I’m Turning 3!

Today marks that day that I started this blog 3 years ago.  It also marks the time when I was just moving into my place in Chicago and the start of this adventure.  It’s been an interesting one – lots of heartbreak and distress defined the beginning, followed by a discovery of strength and happiness, and the pursuit of something I am very passionate about.  And, if I play my cards right in the next year, will see me embark on an even greater adventure.  it’s always strange looking back through the posts and being able to see where I grew and expanded, when passions took hold and plans were made.  it’s hard to believe that so much can happen in such a short time.

For the time being, I am knitting and crocheting through the holiday gifts and Mystery KAL.  These little projects are fun, refreshing, and inspiring.  I have switched from knitting to crochet for the moment, because the knitted one I was working on was driving me crazy.  The crochet has been much more relaxing.


As a ball, the yarn wasn’t the impressive to me.  I was struggling to find something to make from it.  But here, worked up like this, the crochet really works with the odd splashes of color.  I really like it, and I hope the recipient does, as well.

The Right Motivation

A couple of nights ago, I found myself sucked into the Ravelry black hole – that one where you keep finding new designers and patterns and variations of patterns, which leads you to forums and blogs and chatting with random knitters/crocheters/crafters on the internet until the wee hours of the morning.  In this particular instance, I found someone’s blog about an afghan they crocheted, which led me to their Ravelry page, which led me to a designer’s page, and it spiraled from there.  Before I knew it, a couple dozen projects had been added to my queue and I was wiping drool from my chin.

It was successful, however, in that I discovered the perfect holiday gift for Ellette.  She has been on a My Little Pony craze – which I guess is normal for girls her age, but I don’t recall being that interested in My Little Ponies when I was 8 (I was hung up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and maybe The Little Mermaid – I’m girly somewhere in my being).


She has a friend’s birthday party this weekend and has been bugging me incessantly about finding a particular Pony for this girl.  Out of curiosity, I showed Ellette this pattern.  Her eyes lit up and enlarged as she looked through the projects that had been made already.

“Mom!” She said excitedly. “Will you teach me how to crochet so I can make one, too?”

I have tried to teach her how to knit and crochet, as have the lovely ladies at knit night.  She showed interest in the project that slowly waned until she meandered away to draw.  It warms my heart to know that even after trying it, she doesn’t feel discouraged and bored with the craft, but recognizes that it is something that requires practice and patience, and if she has those two things, she can learn.  Whereas most kids (and even adults) will see a project that is obviously knit or crocheted and ask “Will you make that for me?”  she saw the project and said “I could make that” even though she doesn’t know how to hold the needles/hook or work the stitches.  I couldn’t be more proud of her ambition and self-confidence.

I was debating asking her what her favorite character was, afraid that it would give away my desire to make her one for the holidays, when she piped up and said “If I make one for myself, I would make Rainbow Dash.  She’s my favorite.”


Now, I just have to make sure I have the right colors in my stash.

Spoiler Alert!

Ok, I couldn’t resist posting pictures of the mystery shawl in progress – it is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever knit.  The cast-on was unlike anything I had to work before, and was pulled out after a couple of rows, which allowed the fabric to separate to show off this strange spinal column forming down the center of this shawl.  I love it!


I was really hesitant with my color choices.  I needed about 350 yards of three different colors in fingering weight.  I thought I could stash dive for it, and it would be easy and helpful and the quote&quote responsible thing to do.  I tore apart my stash (literally) to find all of my fingering weight, and then started combining them to find a good match.  Nothing seemed to work, and I was really upset.  And then I thought about going to the yarn store for one skein to tie two others together, and I was really excited.

Later that day, I turned on all of the lights in my stash room and compared a few skeins again.  I ended up deciding that three of them actually do go together in a peculiar fashion.  Knowing how Stephen West likes to combine colors, I thought I would give it a shot to see where it ended up.  What’s the third color, you ask?

I can be mysterious, too.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

There are two projects I am working on consistently these days: Holiday knitting (as pictured here) and the WestKnits Mystery Shawl KAL.  I’m hesitant to post pictures of that one in case someone else is in the KAL and doesn’t want spoilers.


Anyway, holiday knitting.  I figured – if I start now, I don’t have to go crazy with it, and that will allow me to add projects like the Mystery Shawl, which is purely for entertainment value since I have never done a mystery knit-along before.

Don’t get me wrong – the holiday knitting is also rather entertaining.  Currently, the projects are short and sweet.  At the same time, they allow me to try out different stitch patterns and get inspiration.  For instance, this weird bubble thing I’ve got going on has given me inspiration for the vest I will be knitting Ellette.  I kind of want to cast on everything I have planned, just so it’s an easier grab-and-go project.  Unfortunately, I don’t have enough sets of needles in the right sizes for this to work.  Also, with my tendency to loose works-in-progress, that may turn out worse in the end.

So It Begins

I started holiday knitting last night. I feel accomplished.


That Time of Year

I cast off the blanket today.  I am unsure if it needs a block or not – maybe a quick steam and pin.  So, I’m looking around now and what’s on the needles and thinking about what I want to start next, and then it hit me. 

We’re halfway through September.  I have only three months to prep for the gift-giving holidays.  And, following my 2013 resolutions – it’s all from stash, because I haven’t even cracked the surface of my hoard yet.

So, I made a spreadsheet and this afternoon began slowly filling it in.  Who is getting a knitted gift this year?  What do I want to make them?  What yarn am I going to use?

Over the next few days, I’ll put yarn with needles and pattern, and map out a schedule so I can get everything done in an orderly fashion.

And maybe, just maybe, I won’t be running around crazy at the end of the year.

Those are famous last words if I ever heard them.

Have you started holiday prep yet?

It Simply Was

I’ve been mulling over what could be said about the trip; what needs to be said, what I want to say.  I’ve been trying to think of what to write about, what to dwell on, what to remember, and what I would do again.

As I said before, when people ask me about it, I have a hard time saying anything.  How was it, really? What did I gain from it?  What did I love about it? I hesitated to answer just as I’ve been hesitating writing about it.  Then, this past weekend, I went to a wedding with my family.  As my brother and I were sitting in the car together on the way, I suddenly realized that he would enjoy going to Burning Man, and I told him such, going on to explain why I think that is true.  Some of the reasons were the same as mine – the travel, the community, the art – oh, the art!  And some were different, that we seek out different qualities in people and react differently to large groups, constant interaction, etc.

I thought about this more, recalling the times I had felt compelled to tell someone about the trip.  I noticed it all came down to that statement: “You would have liked it.”

After writing the post about Decompressing, a friend of mine told me about Experiential Truth, that some things cannot be summed up with words.  Period.  Really, in this situation, I can’t tell you what it was like, nor do I honestly want to.  Everyone experiences Burning Man differently, and for me it was deeply emotional and intimate.  It gives to you the realizations, emotions, and entertainment that you need most.  And, what you need is not necessarily going to match what I need.  My daughter and I did almost exactly the same things that week and walked away from those instances with completely different perspectives on what happened, and a different sense of peace than each other.  She was happy to spend her afternoon in a net hanging over a dance floor inside of a giant blue whale.  I joined her for 5 or 10 minutes before growing bored and wanting to move.  She spent close to an hour content in her nest, chatting away with whoever else decided to rest there next to her as I meandered through the bowels of the whale, chatting with the bartender, finding a pile of free henna and making art on our bodies, climbing scaffolding and engaging in conversation elsewhere.

When it comes to the experiential truth, all I can say is there are good and bad, and the degree of each depends on your personal priorities.  Next time, I will have the awareness to take time to myself so I don’t shut down mentally and emotionally before the end.   Separating myself from the crowd is not only ok, but it is necessary for my experience to continue being fun.  Next time, I will adventure with Ellette for a day with the purpose being to hop on every single art car we see because for her, the art cars are what make the experience exciting.

So, how was Burning Man?  It simply was.

It was jumping on the playa with people we just met:



It was exploring art:




(Yes, that is a giant mustache teeter-totter.)

It was challenging ourselves:




It was giant:



It was illuminated:




It was spiritual:


It was circus:




It was adventure:


It was solitude:


It was faith:




It was making friends:



It was community:


It was breathtaking:



And most importantly, it was this:



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