28 October 2014

boo ~ Melissa

A sombre yet beautiful and peaceful gloom here pervaded all things ... the shade of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element with darkness.
- Edgar Allan Poe :: from 'The Island of the Fay'
Still making an effort to enjoy the little things.  The Halloween decorations are out for the first time in years.  I even have a pumpkin that I plan on carving, if only to have the seeds inside for roasting.
I did get my leaves waxed, remember these from last week? 
 They're not strung yet and I may just leave them scattered around the house.  They are stunning, each and every one of them (the paraffin worked just fine, don't you agree?).
  I find myself picking them up and looking at them often.  I think I'll enjoy them more if they're down where I can touch them instead of hung out of reach.  I'm not sure yet.

I've chosen my reads for the next few weeks : Stephen King's The Shining and some of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories.  Nothing like a little Poe when the wind is howling and the lights are flickering ~ thanks, Mother Nature, for setting the perfect mood this time of year to enjoy a scary story!
I'm just about done with my October monthly sock challenge socks and I've got yarn and pattern picked out for November.  I'll share next week...I'm really excited about this pair!
Happy Halloween everybody!
~ Melissa

21 October 2014

inhale ~ Melissa

...and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.                  
- Ray Bradbury :: Something Wicked This Way Comes


Last autumn is a blur ~ my favorite time of year came and went unnoticed and uncelebrated.  I'm making an effort this season to take in the things around me that I love so much.  The damp earthy smell of the air, the crunchy kaleidoscope foliage underfoot, seasonal baking with local produce - my favorite apple cake can be found here (best right out of the oven with a cool spoon of homemade whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon), weekends filled with snuggling under a blanket and watching football and the World Series, listening to the blustery winds and the spate of daily rain showers that are part of October and November in the northwest.  I spent an hour today gathering fallen leaves in the hopes of following Ginny's lead ~ I'm finally going to wax and string a garland for our house after bookmarking this post four years ago.  I didn't plan ahead well enough so I don't have beeswax ~ I'm hoping paraffin will work just as well.  I'll let you know.
I'm just finishing a perfect book for this time of year, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, a favorite from childhood.  I'm also skimming through a new Martha Stewart magazine ~ I was taken in by the cover at the market and it somehow ended up in my basket.  I haven't bought one of her magazines in years but her October and November issues were always my favorites.
And I've been knitting.  Alot.  I'm so behind on getting things up on Ravelry - so not like me - but I'll get everything posted one of these days.  I've got three new finished projects:
and the Shale Baby Blanket (link here) that I finished last weekend while at retreat (posted here) .
I'm getting really close to finishing up the Hemlock Ring Blanket (link here) that I'm making for our second Goddaughter who will be here in just another month or so.  And I'm just casting on the second of my By the Seine River Socks (link here) that are my October set for Liesl's monthly sock challenge over at Buckaloo View (link here)
I'm so glad to be joining Ginny and everyone again for Yarn Along (link).  It's been awhile!  Looking forward to seeing what you all are up to since the last time I visited!
~ Melissa
(ack..sorry about all the links - I should have put them all at the end but I'm too lazy to go back and fix it all now! my post is a bit of a mess!)

18 October 2014

I would have missed... ~ Melissa

God how we get our fingers in each other's clay.  That's friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of each other.  - Ray Bradbury :: Something Wicked This Way Comes





an Orenburg shawl made by Sirkku ~ sent to a daughter in Europe to wear in her wedding and now back in the states for another daughter to wear

Diane's hands...

a pillowcase stitched by Diane at eight years old...

and a sampler also worked by Diane, some 50 years later, and finished at retreat


Kristi working on a Sue Spargo quilt...

an applique stitched square being worked by Kristi

needlepoint worked by Sandi, my new football buddy

...amazing craftsmanship...
the view from our outing to the country club to watch Sunday football
there is so much beauty in pattern and order
I was minutes away from cancelling my part in the retreat this year.  My husband did a bit of arm twisting and insisted that I needed to go.  He's a smart man.  I was feeling low and unsociable and I was running on empty.  I spent 3 days listening to stories and laughing like I've not laughed in months.  Laughter to that point of tears where you don't feel like you can take another breathe.  I did need this weekend, much more than I knew.
I watched a group of amazing women interacting with each other while they stitched and appliqued, knitted and crocheted, and there was even a spinning wheel whirring this year.
There was an auction, our sixth I believe, to raise money for Friendship House.  We donated our unwanted stash as well as some handcrafts (there were beaded shawls, hand woven baskets, handmade wooden needle holders and holiday ornaments) and then purchased each other's donations...new treasures for everyone and a final tally of $2,265.75 to donate.  An incredible gift from an incredible group of ladies.
We celebrated a birthday with specialty chocolates, saw a grandpa sweater for a first child completed, and took walks in the damp autumn woods.  I came upon a sleeping doe that I did not see until I was right upon her.  She stood startled, so close I could see my amazed reflection in her eye.  We stared at each other for what seemed like days, until she decided that I was of no consequence and folded her legs back under her, lowered herself back to the ground and returned to slumber.  I stood statue still for a lifetime in disbelief.  I almost felt that I could have touched her if I had been brave enough.
There were stories told of cruises and castles and far away places, grand hotels and lego kingdoms, grandchildren and new puppies, basket caskets and wee bears, jackalopes and shouts of HEIDI-HO!  There were twice told tales ~ where's mother? ~ and brand new ~ Joanne, what's new pussycat?  Notes were compared by type A personalities ~ yes, there is a right way to eat m & m's ~ with affirmation that we must be sane if there are so many of us!
I cannot wait for next year and I'm so glad that I went since I'll have these memories and many more to get me by until then.  And yes, Fran, you may have the cot next year...I won't fight you for it.
Thanks to everyone who was there this year for making the weekend such a special time.  Thank you, Linda, for being the organizer-extraordinaire once again.  I feel so lucky to be counted among this incredible group of women.  Thank you all so much for including me in this amazing fellowship.
See you all next October!
~ Melissa
(and yes, if you're wondering, there was some knitting done by me...I finished my Jared Flood 'Shale Baby Blanket' (ravelry link here)...pictures soon to follow!)

16 October 2014

what do you see? ~ Melissa

Who would have guessed that inside this unassuming building...

in the midst of a tall stand of evergreens...

could be found this seemingly chaotic cacophonous clutter?

 It might be hard to convince the untrained eye that what you see before you...
is creativity and kinship like you've never imagined.

An annual gathering of friends together under one roof...

doing all the things they love best and doing them oh, so well!
Reconnecting & rejuvenating, teaching & learning, laughing to the point of tears.  Creating artwork and friendships that will last a lifetime and beyond.

We also took a break from all the fun to catch the Seahawks game ~ of course we did!

I came home to the mess I left behind ~ the housework undone, the laundry piled up, the heavy dose of turmoil that our life has been for 13 months now with no end in site.
But I came home feeling like the mess I was when I left had been cleaned up and purged.  Ready to tackle our struggles with a lighter heart and the many memories of love and friends and the joy  these three short days brought to fall back on when I need to take a deep breathe and hit 'refresh'.
I've got so much to catch up on at home, including full email boxes in both my personal and Ravelry accounts (I promise to get back to each and everyone that has sent me mail...please be patient!) and I will get a better post up about the retreat as soon as I finish getting all my thoughts in order and my photos processed.  Until then, cheers!
~ Melissa

15 October 2014

Time For Enjoyment & Laughter ~ a post from Kelli

The Firs ~ Knitting Retreat 2014

30 retreaters, 4 days, 9 prizes, tons of stash auctioned, over 2,200.00 dollars
raised/donated for the Friendship House, 2 besties catching up,
and 1 Seahawk loss :(

                      We get to be apart of some phenomenal women. Listen to stories about lives, a new perspective about life, meet a new friend,  catch up with an old friend, to grow compassion,  or receive compassion, to share our lives concerns, to listen, to be listened to, be renewed, restored, joy,  sorrow, giggling at night before going to sleep at 40++, completing an on going project, to repair a mistake among friends, to donate with hope of healing~ and laughter to help last the next time we meet.    That's what this retreat offers. I write with a grateful heart~  can't wait to go again.

02 October 2014

Doing a bit O' Basket Weaving ~ a post from Kelli

I drive around the block of 8th and J several times, every fall, gazing in a side window. 
In that large side window (of my friend Jane's house) sits the most darling
pumpkin basket!  I watch for it to be displayed.  Never fails to be put out for show.
One of the talents of Jane is basket weaving and she teaches, she designed this one.
Since I wanted one of my own, her September class this year was the pumpkin! I had to take the class.

Maybe she thinks I won't circle her home?  Where's the fun in that?

Happy October everyone~