July {yarnalong}

I must confess that the photos I stole from my Instagram while the house sleeps are from June and not July. Our five kids and two wee visitors, hubby, the two dogs and the cat are all still, amazingly, asleep. So I type with the phone held above my head in the dim morning light now, unable and unwilling to fetch all my projects and find some lighting and a spot to take real July pictures. My apologies.

I was doing that thing I do in the early hours of the day where I slide my phone from the night stand / desk and check all the places that I check before the world around here gets moving too fast. Email. Facebook. Instagram. Bible App for the verse of the day etc. I saw that Ginny had posted on Instagram her July Yarnalong was up and I felt I should join her.

I have been slow with the blogposts this past Spring. Weeks of sickness and then recovery left me unwilling to do more than the basics in life. I’ve been fairly productive on the crafting side of things though now that I’m feeling more myself. So here goes it.

I finished The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile and picked up (again) Becoming by Michelle Obama. Both are tremendously good books of differing sorts and I recommend them to you and to everyone.

I’m knitting socks (not pictured here) that I started in the Spring. I might add a picture later. I’m also knitting a sweater which is pictured that I started several years ago. Recently I decided that finishing things long left unfinished might be a good practice for me, a doing repressed four on the enneagram. We. Will. See. So far just working on the long neglected things feels really good. Feels like needed progress.

I did also start a wee hand quilted… something. I started out thinking it was a baby’s Summer quit. I’m not too sure of that anymore. As I work with the fabric bunched up in my hand and move the needle up down and over with my other hand I feel such deep joy in it’s making.

When the fabric is pulled taut in my quilters hoop and my eyes and fingers can run over the stitches in their varying lengths and colors, it feels less like a quilt and more like art. I wish every project felt this way. Maybe this is just because it’s a new kind of project for me, I don’t really know yet. It really is so lovely to work on though.

Thanks for stopping by and happy knitting or crocheting or crafting and reading!

Lessons and Lists {This Year and Last}

Lessons

Last year I took a year off of buying yarn. I think that it changed the way I shop for yarn. The old way impulsive and unorganized.  I’m visual so, images in my Instagram feed were like the impulse buy section at the grocery store filled with my favorite sweets in pretty wrappers- so dangerous for me.

My first purchase this year was this beautiful set perfect for a Christmas Eve cast on. A selfish knit just at the end of my Holiday Knitting sounded perfect. Funny thing is, when the yarn arrived, I knew it wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for someone else. I won’t lie, I resisted. I really liked that yarn! After a fight and some whining and then of course repentance, I knit the mitts, praying for the heart of the one they were meant for as I went and they were gifted on Christmas morning with the message that God loved the recipient so much.

That is how Father works sometimes. Of course, I had a choice. Of course, He loves me too. His gifts to me (money for hand-dyed yarn and the love of knitting) and then leading me to not hold on tight to either but to give the gifts away and to bless someone else- that is just like Him. It hurt a little for reasons that I don’t need to share but it wasn’t (this time) the prying open of hands and the taking away of something that I thought that I needed. It was a simple nudge. A whisper in the ear. A suggestion. He gave me the choice.

“Hey what about them?”
“Oh, but I wanted this for me? I’ve been waiting a while.”
“I know.”
No pressure but a leading.
“OK.” Reluctant I was. Defiant even. Then I avoided the cast on for as long a possible. After a time I decided that He didn’t want me to give the gift feeling some sort of way about it- frustrated. Angry. Irritated. Disappointed.

He wanted a willing heart, a pure heart, and obedience. He wanted me to – do the work- with joy. To give the gift with Joy- with love. Chosen Joy and chosen love- before I felt them. And That bit sums it up for me.
Chosen Joy.
Chosen Love.
Before it is felt- and if it never is felt- can still be chosen.
Can still be given.
My heart like the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes.

The lesson of the last year for me really and perhaps the lesson for the next.

New Year’s resolutions: 

1. Get healthy
2. Read whole books (yes, that’s right- finish them!)
3. Write
4. Sing ( Reminder: you love this!)
5. Knit a cardigan for myself I like this one (oh it’s the coolest) or this one  (it’s so lovely) but then again, perhaps this one with a Cherry Little Bird Shawl Pin to hold it closed from here? Oh, but there is this one as well. 🙂
6. Be a friend and support to another (local) foster / adoptive mom (family).
7. Really focus on this years Mission Trip to Asia. Prayer, meetings, training, fundraising.

These last two added January 1, 2018, Happy New Year!

8. Engage with the kids more- because I tend to be very busy and I often miss the connection.

9. Give up all alcohol for the year.

As lists go, this year’s is not too bad. I think I’ve managed to set attainable goals. We. Will. See.

Do you have a New Years resolutions list? Or a lesson you have been learning from the last?

Many Blessings Friends,<
Tina

Verse for last year – and perhaps for this year. ❤️

Wee Heart Christmas Ornament -a free pattern-

Since Hubby and I were married it has been our tradition to buy a new Christmas ornament every Christmas Season. We have continued that tradition with every new baby birthed to us, foster kiddos living with us and now with our adopted one. Our collection has grown and is very eclectic (just like us)!! But this year I wanted to make our ornaments rather than purchase them.

So in honor of one finalized adoption this year and another set to finalize in the the Spring of 2018 I made these wee heart Christmas Ornaments for each of us. You know, because Love Makes A Family. ❤️💙💙💗💗💗❤️

I tried several variations but the one I liked most is written out for you here, a gift of sorts. Merry Christmas and Happiest of Holidays to you!!

Yarn
Opal sock yarn or any fingering weight yarn. These 15 gram balls gave me 5 wee hearts!

Needles
Size 0-1 US (2.0 MM -2.5 MM) Set of DPNs

Materials:
Scissors
darning needle
Stitch marker or progress keeper
Ribbon (optional)

I prefer a lightweight progress keeper after a few rounds rather than a stitch maker but either works just fine for telling one where the start is.

Abbreviations
K
Knit
P Purl
M1 Make 1 increase knit into the bar between stitches (Make 1 explanations here).
KFB
Knit in the front and back of the same stitch
Row
Sl1 Slip 1 stitch
SSK Slip Slip Knit
K2tog Knit 2 together
St(s) Stitch(es)
DPN(s) Double pointed needles

Filling Your choice of filling
Suggestions: Poly-fil, yarn scraps, fabric cutting or felt scraps. I used acrylic yarn scraps that I had from a crochet blanket I made last year.

The Pattern

Body Of Heart
Part A

Cast On 4 and divide over two needles.
Row 1: K all (4 sts)
Row 2: Kfb, Kfb (8sts)
Row 3: K all
Row 4: K1, M1, K to the last stitch, M1, K1- needle 2: K1, M1, K to the last stitch, M1, K1
Row 6: K all (12 sts)
Repeat Row 5 and 6 until you have 44 total stitches and spread them over four needles.
Note: When the knitting gets tight or uncomfortable on my hands I added another two needles dividing the stitches evenly across four needles.

Top Of The Heart (Left Side)
Part B
Row 1: K1, M1, K9 (right front needle)
Row 2: K9, M1, K1 (left front needle)
Row 3: K1, M1, K9 (left back needle)

Turn your work
Row 4: Purl all (22 sts)
note: Now you will be working on the two left-hand needles only.

Turn your work
Row 5: Sl1, SSK, K5, K2tog, M1, K1 (10 sts)
Row 6: K1, M1, SSK, K5, K2tog,K1 (10 sts)

Turn your work
Row 4: Purl all (20 sts)

Turn your work
Row 7: Sl1, SSK, K4, K2tog, M1, K1 (9 sts)
Row 8: K1, M1, SSK, K4, K2tog, K1 (9sts)

Continue in this manner until front and back left needles have 8 stitches each- then go to Part D for the right top of heart or for continued instructions for the body continue with Part C.

Part C
Turn your work
Row 4: Purl all (18 sts)

Turn your work
Row 7: Sl1, SSK, K4, K2tog, M1, K1 (8 sts)
Row 8: K1, M1, SSK, K4, K2tog, K1 (8sts)
Turn your work
Row 4: Purl all (16 sts)

Part D
Holding both left hand side needles together Kitchener stitch the left hand side top of your heart closed -doing your set up in reverse since yarn is at the front rather than the back – I am calling this the Backwards Kitchener Stitch because I couldn’t find a tutorial for it. If you know what it is please feel free to comment or leave a link in the comments. 😉

Reverse Set Up
– So rather than the set up starting in front when doing kitchener stitch-
1. Insert darning needle as if to knit on the first stitch on the back needle and pull yarn through leaving that stitch on the needle.
2. Insert darning needle as if to purl into the first stitch on the front needle and pull yarn through leaving that stitch on the needle.

Backwards Kitchener Stitch

1. Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl and pull the yarn through letting that stitch fall off the needle- pull snug.
2. Insert darning needle into the next stitch on the back needle as if to knit and pull yarn through leaving that stitch on the needle.
3. Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit and pull the yarn through letting that stitch fall off the needle- pull snug.
4. Insert darning needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl and pull yarn through leaving that stitch on the needle.

Continue until all stitches are off needles and sew the end into the top of the heart and weave ends into the inside of the heart.

Top Of The Heart (Right Side)
Part E
Turn your heart around and begin on the inside of the back needle.
Row 1: Purl all (22 sts)
note: Now you will be working on the two right-hand needles only.

Turn your work
Row 2: Sl1, SSK, K5, K2tog, M1, K1 (10 sts)
Row 3: K1, M1, SSK, K5, K2tog, K1 (10 sts)

Turn your work
Row 4: Purl all (20 sts)

Turn your work
Row 5: Sl1, SSK, K4, K2tog, M1, K1 (9 sts)
Row 6: K1, M1, SSK, K4, K2tog, K1 (9 sts)

Turn your work
Row 7: Purl all (18 sts)

Turn your work
Row 8: Sl1, SSK, K3, K2tog, M1, K1 (8 sts)
Row 9: K1, M1, SSK, K3, K2tog, K1 (8 sts)

Turn your work
Row 4: Purl all (16 sts)

Backwards Kitchener Stitch these stitches together (see Part D)

Fill your heart and sew it up closed with an invisible seem.

To finish:
With a crochet hook make a chain
pull the yarn through the middle top of the heart and tie a knot
cut the yarn and weave the remaining yarn in to make a loop to hang your ornament.
You could also use pretty ribbon to hang your ornament!

Feel free to use this pattern as much as you like but please be kind enough to link your projects here. Thank you!

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