Wednesday, 3 April 2013

until next winter, Wool-Ease Thick & Quick

So, even though part of me will miss this past winter, the sunshine and bright evenings are getting me excited for spring. So, I am trying to rearrange some of my routines and activities to usher springtime into my life and welcome the new season. For crafting, specifically knitting, that means saying goodbye to some of my favorite thick, bulky yarns that I used to make some pretty warm, wind-resistant scarves. These colorful pieces were made by doubling up the Wool- Ease Thick & Quick yarn by Lion’s Brand (which came in the coolest vintage colors) and were designed as either outerwear or to compliment an outfit while staying cozy warm.
In saying goodbye to one of my favorite seasonal yarns, I am posting my simple knitting pattern, transferrable to any yarn used, and to keep creative juices flowing for good Christmas gift projects that can be started extra early in the year!
Cozy Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Scarves
3 balls of Lion’s Branch Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn, your color of choice
Size 15 knitting needles
Double up yarn by casting on both at the same time onto the needle and work from both balls of yarn.
Cast on 17 stitches.
Knit stitch until both balls of yarns are used.
Divide third ball of yarn in half by cutting midway and creating two piles of yarn to work from (this is to continue working the doubled yarn and avoiding having to buy a fourth ball).
Knit until desired scarf length (I knitted mine until they reach my belly area).
Cast off at desired length.
Cut36 pieces of 3 inch pieces of yarn (18 for each end of scarf) to create tassels.
Create 12 groups of yarn, 3 strings per group.
Double knot each 3-piece group of yarn around the bottom holes of the scarf until there are tassels around the entire ends of both sides to the scarf.
Enjoy these last days of wintery cold!

Friday, 29 March 2013

reflections on this past winter.

I get a little sad that everyone seems to despise winter. Sure, the bitter cold temps seep straight to the bone and the dark evenings contribute to the whole “winter blues” thing, but within the past couple years I have grown more and more attached to my winters and all that is associated with them- hot beverages, cozy blankets, layered outfits, and, well let’s face it, the months that can be spent feeling guilt-free when it’s socially acceptable to spend evening after evening in your jammies (in front of the TV, with a book, hot tea in hand, knitting project in your lap, etc.).
 I think I truly discovered myself this past winter, in many ways. It was my first winter out on my own after college and in my own cozy apartment as a real, working adult. There are things I have had to learn, like waking up early enough before work to scrape the snow off my car (because dad wasn’t there to do it!), budgeting my expenses to accommodate the outrageous heating bill (because you just don’t think that heat costs actual money when you’re young), and finding happiness within myself and in my life- apart from what the world enforces.
To be honest, I think it took being out on my own alone to force myself to cultivate myself and my own feelings, rather than on rely others’. There are times when I would cry myself to sleep, unable to bear the loneliness, but I began to surround myself with and doing things that made me happy and whole. Things like knitting, Zen literature, writing and art. And of course, some favorite TV series. J It’s funny how all these interests blossomed at the same time, a perfect harmonious blend that contributed to an overall sense of balance and wholeness in my life.
My friend at work got me back into knitting, which had just been a craft I barely learned as a high school camper at a summer church camp. This past winter she really took off with her knitted creations and I am so thankful she brought me along with her. I found myself knitting again, and making the most beautiful boutique scarves. We even held a class at work where we taught employees how to make their first ruffle scarf. While Tiffany far surpassed me in the number and type of scarves we made over the winter (it was hard finding the time with my multiple jobs!), I began gravitating towards the actual process of knitting- the time spent weaving the yarn back and forth, the repetition of the yarn being looped, passed… back and forth… it became my meditation. A way to clear my mind and focus on the present being created, knitted together right at that very moment.
Like Zen practice, which is simply being tuned into your life at this very moment, stripping it down to the basics, knitting helps me to focus on the present and clear my mind of all but the movement of my fingers, the feel of the yarn, the sound of the needles clinking. It helps me find clarity and simplicity in knowing that my sole purpose on earth is to just be-right here, right now. Everything is perfect how it is.
So, I am going to miss the winter and all the coziness it brought to my first year out on my own. There’s just something about being safely tucked away on the night a winter storm passes, cherishing the time spent creating and reflecting. Here’s to an even more balanced, peaceful springtime and may the lessons of this winter hold fast for many more to come.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

i am here and it's now.

"little flowers you have sown showed people you have known that i am love..." -denison witmer

In life, we often find that it’s the culmination of the little things making up our days that inspire our happiness, our creativity… our love for life. As I look back through the past 25 year s of my life, I see my first pair of ballet slippers, my stuffed animal, Snuggles, the moments spent laughing until my sides hurt with my best friend, making up  dance routines to my sister’s and I’s favorite songs, my grandmother teaching me to crochet….
And then there are the bigger moments in life where we have fallen in love, or created a masterpiece work of art- moments in time that bind all things big and small together to reaffirm our journey in life and inspire us to live more fully. As humans, we all share basic desires and needs and it is important for us to return to the basics of life- inspiring, creating, loving- to rekindle our passion for living the everyday, taking joy in every creation we make, every person we love, every breath we take.
While constantly seeking for the next big thing in our lives, we tend to forget those little things that make us happy, don’t we? Like the first sip of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, or the meditative peacefulness that comes with each knitted stitch.  Not fully engaging in every single thing we do with awareness and appreciation begins to negatively affect the quality of our lives, from how we express ourselves creatively to our view of the world, our relationships and our happiness. I am convinced that each of us is uniquely created to create - that our purpose here on earth is to…
inspire | create | love.
So, I want to share what makes me happy with others. I am a writer, a knitter, an art journalist, a reader, a philosopher, an organizer, a spiritualist, a naturalist,  and am trying to be a more adventurous cook. The ways in which I live my life in these roles and how I creatively express myself while doing the things I love everyday is how I make my own happiness and engage in the here and now as my own contribution, my own act of worship…
And I want you to join me in my journey.
little flowers’ mission is to inspire, create and love life while teaching others to do the same through daily creative expression. By connecting with all who take an interest in the creative life-whether that’s DIY crafting, art, cooking, music, design, natural living, holistic self-care, spirituality, etc- and all who appreciate those quarky, loveable moments in life, little flowers’ objective is to inspire, create and love life through many creative outlets, and share that with the world.