hello? is this thing on?

Not quite six months since I last logged in here.  I wasn't sure if I would come back, or what. I won't make apologies or explanations, or excuses. As has been said in countless places, blogging is kind of a dying phenomenon, although I still think there is so much that is valuable to be found and said in this medium. I was scrolling through my archives today and found I missed it, at least a little. At least enough to pop back in. I am pretty sure no one is reading at this point, and that's ok. 

My husband is working again, full-time, as a teacher. It was a rather circuitous route for him to find his way back into teaching after two years, but he is teaching general music and choir in a Catholic grade school and it's really wonderful in so many ways. Finances are still quite rough as he makes approximately half of what he would in a public school (which would still not be a lot of money by today's standards). As I'm typing this, I'm remembering the first time I ever wrote about his job woes on my blog; it was my blog's previous incarnation and it was in April of 2007. It seems that job stability is just not part of the game for this guy of mine. But I love him and we work it out somehow. 

These two years have been so very hard. I'm not sure I have the words to describe what it's been like. There has been so much ordinary goodness and just living life in there, that it's very hard to explain the feeling of loss and grief and dread that was always in the back of my mind, just all the time. And how even now, it's hard to recover. It feels like trying to jump onto something that's already moving. Disorienting and weird and scary. Closing the door on two years of unemployment, fear, and depression is very hard. One year ago was probably the lowest time for me; I really thought we were about to be homeless. And it's hard to process the fact that now we're not, and it's only a year on, and will the rug be yanked out from under us again? And do we deserve this period of relative peace? Hard stuff, even harder to find the words.

I'm trying to put some of this down, though, because it explains a little of where my head has been. Having four children has been a great gift during this time, because I was able to focus on them and their world. Keeping things stable for them was my full-time existence. I did not feel like making or doing other things. I have yarn here for sweaters for all four of my children, for a sweater for me, a granny square blanket barely begun. When I was in the hospital with baby John after my c-section and during his unexpected long NICU stay, my sister told my mom to find my knitting and bring it to me. But I found I couldn't knit. I couldn't make myself pick it up. It might have been good for me to do it. I know it's meditative and calming and overall a healthy thing to do. But that time in the hospital when I couldn't knit was the beginning of two years of not wanting to pick up any projects. I did knit a few stitches here and there; I completed one baby sweater for John, a couple of gifts for a new nephew and one or two friends' babies. But mostly, I had too much to process for even knitting to help. 

Today I wound a skein of the yarn I have had set aside for a sweater for myself. John, who at nearly two-and-a-half is not really "BabyJohn" anymore, but instead a delightful curly-haired imp of a toddler, squealed with glee as the swift spun jauntily on the table. I realized that he has never seen me wind yarn before. In his two short years of life, he has had a very different mama than the one his older siblings have known. It was surprising to me. Not sad, just surprising. 

Anyway, I don't know if I will get this sweater knit with any speed. I am not sure I'll even cast it on for another month or two. But I'm reminded of things that have mattered to me in the past, and things that matter to me still, if I listen quietly to my heart. Creating beautiful things is an important part of me. Maybe a part that's been resting quietly while the rest of me has been doing battle. But it's in there still. 



Lately I've been bitten by the crochet bug. Although I've been struggling to learn crochet for about seven years, it only finally clicked for me this year, with all these granny squares I've been crocheting. (I'm using this pattern.) My goal has been to have a completed blanket by this fall, and I don't know if I'll quite make that goal, but I might be close. 

Even though I'd still describe knitting as my first love in the world of yarn crafts, I haven't been spending any time knitting at all. Crochet has just captured my fancy, I guess! I was going to say that it's because it's so easy to pick up and set down, but knitting is just as easy in that regard. So it's probably just that I'm really excited about my grannies. 

In fact, I've been so excited about them, that I also made some coasters out of granny squares! I recently realized that they were just the right size and are also a solution to the condensation issue that most coasters don't handle very well. 

I made these using a 4" granny square attached to two layers of fabric—one layer of Flea Market Fancy, which I've been holding onto for a long time, and one layer of Kona Cotton. I decided not to add any type of batting between the fabrics because the granny square itself is pretty fluffy and absorbent. The yarn I used on these is Knit Picks Swish Worsted, because it's a nice soft superwash and I'll probably machine wash these. 

I've decided that I don't think there can be too many granny squares in life. Some may disagree on this point, but I'm sticking to it. Plus, my coffee table thanks me.