Sewing for a Bride On-the-Go

Bridal Gift Bags

 

I imagine that when most people receive an invitation to a bridal shower the words that come to mind are something along the lines of “registry” or “mimosas” or “party games.” Sound about right, yes? Not me though.

When I got an invitation to my lovely friend Amanda’s bridal shower, the first word (ok, words) that popped into my mind were “fabric shopping!”

Hmmm, now that I type that out it sounds a little self-serving….oops. But I digress.

Amanda is a woman very dedicated to her career in social justice (really, I am humbled by her, as is everyone else I know) and she just accepted a new job that requires her to travel a fair amount. She’s also very dedicated to her workouts, so I sensed an opportunity there. What if I made her some travel bags to help keep her suitcase organized, or better yet, to hold her wet workout clothes on those days she hit the gym but also had to fly home? Because who wants to stuff stinky wet cotton and lycra into their suitcase?  Ewwww.

 

Liberty Wet Bag

 

Inspired by a wet bag that someone made me that I absolutely LOVE (In fact I love it so much I don’t dare put my bathing suit inside it – it’s embroidered Liberty for goodness sake! Instead I use it for toting my crochet projects around.), I decided to make one of the same for her, along with some shoe bags and a cosmetics pouch.

I was lucky because a year or so ago Amanda had commissioned me to make her a zippered bag to keep her purse organized, so I had a good idea of the colors and patterns that she liked. So with that in mind, I shopped for fabrics.

 

Fabric Pile

 

The lining of the wet bag is called PUL (polyurethane laminate) and it’s generally used for lining cloth diapers. It’s widely available online or at JoAnns, but it doesn’t come in a large range of colors, which is why I ended up using the exact same fabric that my bag is made from. But happily, the hot pink color worked fine with the outer fabric I chose.

Full Wet Bag Folded Wet Bag

 

I used the gold print fabric to make two shoe bags, which have a neat twist. I made the drawstring out of the same print as the wet bag, and the drawstring has a fabric slider on it to keep the bag securely closed. I loved that little extra touch because it allowed me to use three different fabrics on the bag, giving the set a more coordinated look without having to piece the main bag.

 

Shoe Bags

 

The final piece in the set is a quilted and monogrammed bag. I played and played and played around with the design on the front until it finally occurred to me to tilt the oval diagonally.

 

Quilting Back

 

I love how the angle of the oval corresponds with the curly tail on the letter A (I’ll admit that took me a while to figure out – I couldn’t get the oval to look right and it didn’t immediately occur to me to slant it). I used the same waterproof pink lining in the bag as well.

 

Pouch Front

 

All together I think they make a great gift, and I’m happy to say that Amanda loved it.

 

Finished Bags

 

And even better, everything, including the card I made her, totally coordinated with her wedding theme – teal!

 

Card with Gifts Cupcakes

 

I call that a win on all accounts!

If you’re interested in making any of these bags yourself, here are the tutorials I used, all of which are beginner-friendly:

Wet bag 
Shoe bag
Zippered pouch

 

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Learning On Demand: A Review of the Top Five Websites for Craft and DIY Classes

Learning On Demand

 

Wayyyyy back when I was in graduate school at Syracuse University, I heard a lot about this new thing called “distance learning.” I was getting my Masters degree in Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation (and this pre-dated the internet by a good 5 years) and I had a graduate assistant position, so I spent a lot of time in the department office with professors who were working on big, prestigious projects overseas.

Much of the research and development of distance learning took place in Indonesia – a country bound by water, frequently ravaged by storms, and in need of a way to educate its huge population. At the time, distance learning was defined by remote classrooms connected by video feed and although I appreciated how the arrangement solved logistical issues, it still seemed so disconnected in my opinion. I didn’t see why anyone would ever choose distance learning if they had the option to sit in a classroom with a real, live teacher.

Little did I know!

I never would have predicted that today, 25 years later, distance learning would be one of the main methods my kids learn. And I don’t say that just because they’re homeschooled, though online courses do factor heavily into their curriculum, as they do for my college student (some courses in her program are taught exclusively online).

Besides schoolwork, they, like nearly every other kid in America, learn more than their share from YouTube and Periscope, among plenty of other sites. And of course, so do I, and thank goodness for that! Where would the craft and DIY community be today without the internet (which has basically replaced the whole concept of “distance learning”)? I can’t even imagine, nor do I want to!

So today I thought I’d give you a comparison between five of the biggest online learning sites for crafters. These sites are not all limited to crafts, and certainly there are other websites out there that have craft classes. But I chose these five because crafting and DIY make up a significant portion (or in some cases, all) of their offerings. All of them are self-paced learning sites, meaning that you can start and stop on your own schedule.

I hope you find this helpful and if you have feedback on any of these sites, or you have other sites to add to the list, please leave a comment below!

 

In alphabetical order:

 

Atly.com

Atly is a pay-per-class site with no monthly fee – you pay for only the classes you take. Once you purchase a class, you have access for life and class fees range from $5 to $150.

New this year, all Atly classes now have an extended, live workshop version of every class several times a year. These workshops include interactive webinars, Facebook groups, group chats, and personal feedback from the class instructor or teaching assistants. The cost of these workshops is higher than the usual classes, but offer a much more personalized and interactive format.

The course topics at Atly range from calligraphy, self-improvement, interior design, blogging, diet and exercise, and more.

Check out the course offerings at Atly.com.

 

Craftsy

Craftsy is also a pay-per-class site with no monthly fees – you purchase the classes you want and have lifetime access. The cost of classes range from $14.99 to $39.99, but Crafty often runs sales where many classes are discounted or even free.

The production values of Craftsy classes are consistently high because every class is recorded in Craftsy’s dedicated studio and the course format is consistent across all classes. Classes also have a dedicated message board for asking questions and sharing results and class instructors do monitor and reply on these boards.

Craftsy offers over 600 different classes and the topics range from sewing, drawing, photography, jewelry, paper crafts and more. Craftsy also has an extensive online shop that offers a huge range of supplies, including kits designed to go with their classes.

Check out the course offerings at Craftsy.com.

 

Creativebug

Creativebug is a membership site, so rather than paying for every individual class, you pay one flat monthly fee of $4.95 that allows you to take as many courses as you like. While you have unlimited access to classes while you’re a member, once you terminate your membership, you can no longer access them.

Like Craftsy, Creativebug’s classes are limited to crafts and DIY but in addition to knitting/crochet, art and design, paper arts, and sewing, Creativebug also offers a selection of classes for kids.

There are over 600 classes on the Creativebug site with more made available each week. Previews of the upcoming classes are on the site and much like Craftsy, the video production is consistently high-end.

Check out the course offerings at Creativebug.com.

 

Creative Live

Creative Live is perhaps best characterized by its big-name instructors (Anne Geddes teaches photography, James Victore teaches illustration, Tim Ferriss teaches business) and as the name of the site implies, live audiences in some of the classes. While some classes are recorded with just the instructor, others are made in front of a live audience.

Creative Live is also unique in that every day, several of its classes are playing live on the website and viewers can tune into for free and interact with the instructor through the chat function. Theoretically you can take the entire class for free, but because many classes run a full day or more, it’s hard to tune in without missing something. Creative Live does offer a couple of free replays of its class broadcasts, or you can purchase a full recording of the class to access at your own convenience.

The topics offered at Creative Live range from very technical (digital rendering for designers, producing electronic music with Logic Pro) to DIY (improvisational quilting, drawing, and paper crafting), along with business, financial, and software classes. The price per class ranges from $39 for a half-day to $150 or more for a workshop spanning several days. There are currently over 700 classes listed for sale and many of them come with downloadable e-books or materials.

Check out the course offerings at CreativeLive.com.

 

Skillshare

Skillshare is the largest of this group of online education sites, offering over 1,000 different classes. Like Creative Bug, it’s a membership site so for a monthly fee of $9.95 (a yearly discount is available), you can access as many of their classes as you’d like. They offer some classes for free so you can get a feel for their style.

Skillshare is characterized by classes organized into multiple short lessons that are project-based, so you can learn and apply the basics of the class while watching. Some lessons are only a few minutes long, making it easy to fit in a bit of learning between other tasks (and the site remembers where you left off if you don’t finish a lesson or a course in one sitting).

The classes offered span a wide range of topics including graphic design, photography, marketing, technology, gaming, DIY/crafts, writing, and more. Because many of the Skillshare’s classes are filmed in the instructor’s home or office and because of the sheer volume of classes, the production value can vary widely from a beautiful, brightly lit studio set up to a poorly-lit corner of someone’s bedroom.

Check out the course offerings at Skillshare.com.

 

I hope you’ve found this information helpful. It’s important to remember that most sites run periodic promotional specials, so if you’re interested in some of their offerings but aren’t quite ready to commit, sign up for their emails and see what deals they offer you.

Happy crafting and learning!

 

Craftsy Box

 

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Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and although we’re not a go-all-out-and-celebrate kind of family, I do like to make a special treat for dessert. I know there are plenty of folks who shun Valentine’s Day as a useless, manufactured holiday, but I’m not one of them. I just can’t object to the idea of celebrating love. And a bit of pink and red and chocolate to break up the winter doldrums? I’m all in.

When my 17-year old whiz-in-the-kitchen son Caton came up with this winning recipe several weeks ago, I knew it was too good not to share. And it’s easy, starting with a brownie mix (you could probably substitute your own homemade brownie recipe if you’d like, just be sure to add in the extra flour). And the cherry buttercream on top? It’s sublime. It gives the frosting a nice, bright flavor with out being overpowering. So yummy!

These brownie cups are fancy enough for a special occasion but simple enough for every day – the hardest part is getting the frosting on the brownies. I like to pipe it on with a disposable piping bag and metal tip, but you could use a Ziploc bag with the tip snipped off in a pinch. You won’t get the rippled effect on the icing, but you can still make nice swirls if you want a fancy presentation.

Besides, you can cover up a less-than-stellar icing job with sprinkles. Because sprinkles make everything better!

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

Makes 12 brownie cups

 

For the brownies

1 16oz brownie mix

2 eggs

6 Tablespoons of oil (I’ve used coconut and canola oil successfully)

¼ cup flour

2 Tablespoons water

¼ cup chocolate chips (optional, but when are chocolate chips a bad thing?!?)

 

For the frosting

½ cup (one stick) butter, softened

1 lb (or 3 ¾ cups) powdered sugar

4 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (take it from your jar of cherries)

½ teaspoon of almond extract (optional but it really heightens the cherry flavor)

1-2 Tablespoons cream half-and-half, or milk (use the richest you have)

Cherries or sprinkles (or both!) for decoration

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in middle position.

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Line muffin pan with paper cupcake liners and then grease the liners well with cooking spray (don’t skip this step or your brownies will stick to the papers!).

Combine all of the brownie ingredients in a bowl and stir until just mixed – don’t overmix.

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Divide brownie mix evenly between 12 muffin cups and bake for 30-35 minutes, until tops are dry and cracked. Let brownie cups cool completely, at least one hour.

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Once brownies are completely cool, make the frosting.

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Using a mixer, cream butter until soft and smooth.

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Beat in powdered sugar, one cup at a time. The frosting will be stiff!

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Beat in almond extract and maraschino cherry juice, one tablespoon at a time. Once all the cherry juice has been mixed in, add half and half, one tablespoon at a time, until it’s a smooth spreading consistency.

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

Frost and decorate brownie cups as desired.

Enjoy!

 

Cherry Cream Brownie Cups

 

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Talking about All Things Birth on the Birthful Podcast

Birthful Podcast Susan Fuller

 

There are few things I love more than talking about birth, which shouldn’t surprise anyone in the least if you’ve been around my blog for any length of time. So when I found the Birthful podcast, I couldn’t get enough of it – there are so many great guests and stories and the host, Adriana Lozado is just lovely.

Imagine my excitement then when I had the chance to speak with Adriana herself as a guest on the Birthful podcast! We had an-depth conversation about – as you can imagine – all things birth. Given that my own birth history includes:

12 children

11 births

9 vaginal births

5 vbacs

5 unmedicated births

4 inductions

4 epidural births

3 water births

2 sets of twins

2 c-sections

2 homebirths

2 miscarriages

1 stillbirth

Clearly we had a lot to talk about!

Not only do we talk about my experience giving birth to my own children, we get into how and why birth as a surrogate mother is just different by nature, and why I made some of the decisions I did specifically because I was a carrying someone else’s child.

It’s an episode full of information and if you haven’t heard the podcast before, you won’t be disappointed (and fair warning, if you enjoy birth-related chat, you might get hooked!).

You can find the episode on the Birthful website along with all of the previous, equally fascinating episodes. And thanks so much to Adriana Lozada for having me!

 

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An Unlikely Meeting in the Grocery Store

Grocery

 

The first thing I noticed when I got to the grocery store was that the vegetable section was depleted. And he noticed too.

“I’m looking for squash. Can you believe this squash? This is not squash,” he said, pointing to the few anemic-looking vegetables stacked up in the cooler.

His face was familiar and so was his voice, though I couldn’t place him. He was probably in his mid-40s, dressed in a white karate outfit, and he was wearing no coat, even though it was a chilly January day. But that wasn’t how I knew him – I’d never taken karate before and neither had my kids.

He flagged down a store employee to ask about the squash. I kept shopping, pushing my cart around the produce aisles, unable to find any green onions or kale myself.

Which was unusual, given this particular grocery store. It was no Whole Foods, but it was in the nicest part of town and the shelves were usually brimming with stock. And unlike the store near my house, it was never hard to find someone to help you when you needed it.

This store oozed the aura of white privilege and I was acutely aware of it. And I felt shitty for still wanting to shop there. But I knew this store like the back of my hand – it was built when I lived in this section of town twenty years ago, when most of the land was still just fields and a few minor roads crossing through.

Now it was the upscale neighborhood, full of McMansions and a nice elementary school and plenty of quiet roads and trees and tennis courts – clearly catering to the upper class – and the grocery store reflected that.

So I was perplexed to not find any green onions or kale on a Saturday afternoon.

As I switched my attention to the fruit it hit me why this grocery store stranger seemed so familiar – it was because he looked remarkably like Pharrell Williams. He was taller than Pharrell (by quite a bit) and his skin was just a hint darker – he was not quite as exotic looking as I’d describe Pharrell Williams to be. But the strong resemblance was definitely there.

My cart neared his again and he made another offhand comment about the sad state of the squash. His tone, his inflection, the cadence of his words felt oddly familiar to me, but he didn’t sound a bit like Pharrell Williams, even though he looked like him.

A moment later it hit me – he sounded remarkably like Barack Obama. So apparently there was a Pharrell Williams look-alike, Barack Obama sound-alike, karate-dressed man roaming the usually-well-stocked-but-not-today grocery store in suburban Virginia, in search of yellow squash.

I commiserated with him about not being able to find the green onions or the kale. But instead of responding to me about vegetables, as I expected, he looked me in the eyes, paused for a moment, and said to me “You’re a pretty girl.”

What the hell??? I thought to myself as I hastily pushed my cart to the left, heading toward the dairy section. I did not acknowledge his comment…I was speechless… What the hell had just happened?

He’d said it as I was moving past him, so I responded to him with neither a “thank you” nor a “screw you, jackass,” either of which seemed appropriate to the situation. I just kept walking and shopping.

But his words would not leave my head. I was angry. What was he thinking, saying that to me? I was a stranger in a grocery store in a nice part of town. The words “You’re a pretty girl” echoed loudly over and over in my head, bouncing around relentlessly as I tried to make sense of them while filling my cart with bread and shrimp and coffee.

I’m a 47-year old woman, thankyouverymuch, you may not call me a girl. And I sure as hell am not pretty.

I was out on errands that day; the grocery store was my last stop. After I loaded up my car outside the previous store, I glanced at myself in the rear view mirror and quite frankly didn’t like what I saw. My hair looked thin and frizzy, it was too flat and had a weird limp curl on one side. I’d put on the minimal amount of makeup to exit the house – just enough to feel like I could go someplace other than the gym.

My glasses didn’t seem flattering – instead of the modern hipster look I hoped for, they just seemed big and thick. I didn’t like the way they made my eyes look that day, but they were the best glasses I had for driving, so I wore them. It was function over fashion.

So excuse me, Mr. I-Say-What-I-Think-in-the-Grocery-Store, I am not pretty today and you may not call me pretty any day.

I kept shopping, focusing on crossing things off my list, but this guy’s words overtook my thoughts and I could not shake them.

I was angry at him for saying that.

But I was also angry at myself for ruminating about it.

And at one point, I found myself feeling guilty for chastising him in my mind. “He paid you a compliment, Susan, why are you bent out of shape?” I actually asked myself if I myself was the one at fault. “Am I the one taking this the wrong way?” I couldn’t help but wonder.

Who am I really mad at here, I asked myself. Am I annoyed and taken aback by his out-of-place comment? Or am I annoyed at myself for not responding to him? Or am I annoyed that I’m dwelling on some stupid two-second offhand compliment by a grocery store stranger who lacks a social filter?

Or am I annoyed that I disagree with him? That I was thinking thoughts exactly opposite to his just a half an hour earlier?

Probably the latter.

By this time I was steamed at him but even more steamed at myself.

I headed to the last section in the grocery store and Bill Cosby came to mind. I thought of him and the women who allege that he violated them. Now I want to make it clear than in no way, shape or form do I think this stranger’s random comment to me compares even a teeny, tiny fraction to what those women claim to have gone through (and I believe them, because there are so many of them and their stories are so similar, but we’ll see what comes to pass in the coming months).

However, it frightened me to observe in myself just how quickly my thoughts could spiral from “What a creep” indignation to self-doubt. “Susan, you’re a jerk for thinking bad thoughts about guy who was just trying to be nice, what’s wrong with you anyway? Get a grip!

It’s scary shit and it’s a slippery slope, that’s for sure.

I shocked myself with the lightning speed that I grew to doubt myself, questioning my own thoughts, feelings, and intentions, and allowing a random stranger to undermine my self-esteem.

And surely he thought he was doing me a favor.

I can see how condescending, bigoted, and misogynistic politicians get voted into office. God help us from Trump and everyone else.

I wrapped up my shopping and pushed my cart to the check out line. Unlike most grocery stores, this one has excellent service almost every time (of course it does, given the demographics of the people who shop there) so I knew I’d be out with minimum hassle, no matter which register I chose.

I just happened to pick the one with the Pharrell-Obama karate guy finishing paying for his groceries.

I considered switching lines, but he was so close to being done that I didn’t bother. I started to unload my groceries onto the belt.

He thanked the checker, then saw me behind him, gave me a smile (a natural smile, not a lecherous one, in case you’re wondering) and said with a tone that could have come directly from Barack Obama’s mouth “Have a nice day!” It had that rhythmic, staccato delivery and a punchy, upward inflection on the final word in the phrase, “day,” that was so familiar, just as Obama would say it.

I replied to him “You too,” and tried not to think too much more about it, giving him and his intentions the benefit of the doubt.

He turned away from me and the back of his karate uniform was fully visible. In the middle of his back was embroidered a large snake, the bottom portion of its body curled up but the top portion of the snake reaching ominously upward as if to pounce. It occurred to me that the whole image was rather phallic, with the snake’s bulbous head protruding from its coiled body below, its tongue suggestively bulging from its mouth (or was that my imagination?!?), but what the hell do I know about karate uniforms anyway? Maybe that’s not so unusual to see on the back of a karate uniform.

Underneath the snake there were some words, embroidered in that asian-style of printing – the kind you see on paper placemats in a Chinese restaurant. And the two big words embroidered in red, right under the phallic snake, said “MASTER THIS.”

And right then and there, in the middle of an uppity suburban grocery store with a week’s worth of groceries spread out in front of me, I had a feeling that I’d just been schlonged.

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Why You Shouldn’t Always Make the Most of Your Time

Books

 

You know when all of a sudden you realize that you’re doing something useless, and maybe even to your surprise you’ve been doing it for a good long while? Or maybe not exactly useless, but something that doesn’t seem to be a very good use of your time?

Yeah, that.

That’s been me a lot lately.

The holidays always bring on a big crush of activities – shopping, cooking, baking, crafting, wrapping, mailing, visiting, etc. In the weeks that precede the celebration, there’s very little quiet time in the margins of life. It’s all about getting things done.

But once Christmas has come and gone and the new year hasn’t gotten up and running yet, there are some wide-open stretches of time. The space between, I like to call it. Prior to Christmas, I thought for sure that this time would be filled with enjoyable projects – the ones I want to do for no reason but pleasure and exploration, but had no time for because of holiday obligations. That’s how I saw myself filling my space between.

Somehow, though, my unconscious mind had other ideas. Because not only did I not touch any of the fun, enticing projects that awaited me in my craft room, I actually avoided them with all my might.

Oh, I didn’t try to avoid them, quite the contrary in fact. I tried to get myself to work on them. Every day I’d sit down at my table, survey the projects laid out before me with eager eyes (this was after I managed to at least somewhat straighten up from the proverbial holiday bomb that went off in my workspace), and try to decide which one to pick up.

But none of them enticed me, not one little bit. The only thing that captured my interest was books, and maybe a little bit of crochet. But mostly books.

And so I read. A lot.

And I crocheted. A little.

I didn’t get one bit of sewing done, not one bit of embroidery, not one bit of quilting, though I tried mightily to get myself to do all three – pulling out the supplies, reading through instructions, washing fabric, measuring. But yet, I made nothing.

It just wasn’t gonna happen.

But reading? That’s what happened.

Now you have to understand that I usually don’t get a ton of reading done, not because I don’t like to read – I do. But I rarely have time to fit reading into my days. It’s only after climbing into bed at night that I manage to pick up a book, and let’s be honest, that lasts for somewhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes before I’m passed out asleep.

So getting complete books finished? Not one of my strong suits.

But when I set my goals for 2016, yet again (because it was also my goal in 2015) one of them was to finish more books. And another goal was to write more, and another was to crochet more.

So if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, somehow those goals just don’t add up. I can’t read while I crochet, or write while I read, or crochet while I write. And no one gave me a magic time-generating machine for Christmas this year, so how can pursuing these three goals this year be possible in the least?

I don’t have an answer to that question.

But I can tell you that when I was overcome with the urge to read last week, even though the time seemed perfect to work on personal crafting projects, I read. And I read and I read and I read.

I finished one book I’d been reading for about a month (Eat, Pray, Love – don’t judge – yes I know I’m coming like 9 years late to that party), I finished two others (Scary Close by Donald Miller – it was fine – I like his writing but the topic didn’t really resonate with me, and If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother by Julia Sweeney – a memoir about the early years with her adopted daughter Mulan), and I started one more (Lit by Mary Karr – whoa – quite a jump in literary quality from anything I’ve read lately – it’s good but slooooow reading).

So basically that’s four books in four days, and nothing handmade.

But I ended up with something better, much to my surprise.

By reading Eat, Pray, Love I learned that it’s very possible to write a compelling memoir in bits and pieces – that a reader does not have to know exactly how the main character got from Point A to Point B. Which was enormously helpful and illustrative to me as I’m writing the bits and pieces of my own memoir.

And from If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother (yes it’s by the same Julia Sweeney of SNL fame) I learned that a series of memoir essays does not have to be chronological, which was a bit of a revelation to me. I don’t think she did a seamless job of organizing her essays (or probably more accurately, her editor didn’t do a seamless job of organizing Sweeney’s essays) – it seemed a little clunky in places. But on the whole, the structure of the book worked. The story was interesting enough but the real gold for me was getting a clear view of the architecture of an essay-based memoir.

I can assure you that was not my goal when I sat down to read any of these books – all I really wanted to do was read a few good books. And I let myself get sucked in, which ended up being the key piece of the whole experience.

Because sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get something much, much better than just a good story, if you allow yourself.

And as for crochet, well, I’ll be honest by saying that I’m a little bit concerned about my latest obsession. I mean honestly, I am in no way in a season of my life that I can sit around by choice for any length of time and twiddle yarn through a metal hook.

And yet that’s what I’m compelled to do these days.

To be more specific, it’s scarves that I’m drawn to making. I love the size, the rhythm, the changes in color, and the texture. I love that the materials are soft and warm in my hands. And I love the portability of it, because I also happen to be in a season of my life where I’m out and about a lot, sitting and waiting for an hour or more. So blessed crochet is my mental and physical companion during these times.

And scarves are useful (at least at this time of year) and scarves are very satisfying for me to make. Will I branch out and try something else? Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Because right now, crocheting scarves just feels like exactly what I should be doing. And I surprised even myself with how much I’ve learned – I’m getting better at reading patterns, at regulating my tension, at matching patterns with yarns and colors, at understanding how different kinds of yarn are appropriate for different stitches.

Each little discovery I make along the way feels almost magical – as if there’s an actual spark of understanding that brightens inside my brain when I figure something new out.

“Oooooohhhhhh, NOW I get it!” I find myself thinking to myself a lot lately.

And “Ah ha! Now that makes sense. I can see where I need to go from here.”

Which is a pretty amazing thing, that feeling of discovery and recognition and understanding. You’d think that we’d find more of that – more discovery and recognition and understanding – by doing more, and thinking more, and trying more.

But sometimes it’s in the space between – the time and place that we least expect to find something meaningful – that ends up being most valuable to us after all.

 

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