This is 40

This month I turn 40.

As this notable birthday approached, I kept waiting to feel some sort of feelings about it all. An impending and overwhelming sense of mortality, perhaps. Maybe a surge of youthful recklessness, an irresponsible spending spree, or the desire to become a yoga teacher. I was ready for anything.

Instead, I decided to close my business, learn about WWII, and start investing in higher quality clothing items, particularly those with elastic waistbands.

Not bad for a going over the hill journey.

As the big day got closer and closer, offers for parties and gatherings to celebrate came my way, but none of it felt right. I’ve never loved big celebrations where I’m the focus of attention. What I was craving was quite the opposite: Alone time. Quiet. Vast open space and a bed to cocoon in, alone.

Yes, a solo weekend away at the Oregon Coast is what I wanted for my birthday!

Luckily, my wife understands these introverted needs of mine and doesn’t take it personally. I’m certain this in one of the contributing factors to our 16 years together. That and our uncanny ability to get all of each other’s jokes, however dry or cryptic.

My weekend away arrived, and with it a flurry of excitement mixed with a bit of anxiety. Would this time away in fact be relaxing and rejuvenating, I wondered. Or would I feel unsettled, unsure of what to do when I got there, missing my family or feeling guilty for having this gift of time to myself?

I eagerly packed my hiking clothes, yoga clothes, bathing suit for the hotel hot tub, pajamas, slippers, a knitting project, two books and as many journals, tarot cards, colored pencils, markers, my DIY pedicure supplies, and enough toiletries to do skincare treatments for a gaggle of 30-somethings. I had no idea what I would end up doing all weekend, but I wanted to set myself up for some of my favorite pastimes.

The first few hours I was at the coast did feel unsettling. The possibility of doing anything I wanted felt daunting. With the absence of dependents or an outside schedule to guide me, I was literally unmoored. So I did what I usually do when uncertainty strikes: I walked.

I took to the beach and meandered over rocks and chunks of shell-studded sand. I peered into briny tide pools glistening with clusters of mussels and the pastel-colored tentacles of dozens of sea anemones. I watched wave after wave roll toward the shore and crash into the rocky coastline. I scanned the surface of the water for whale spouts. I took deep, unhurried mouthfuls of sea air and kept moving, one foot in front of the other. Eventually my shoulders relaxed and my mind stopped spiraling. By the time I headed back to my hotel, my head felt clear and open.

I could do whatever I wanted, But I didn’t have to do it all. Now and moving forward into the next decade of life.

Over the next 24 hours, I settled into an intuitive schedule of resting, eating, walking, reading, soaking, writing, and sleeping. Thoughts of the outside world mostly faded away and it was just me, listening to the waves.

I didn’t have any huge revelations or breakthroughs on my weekend away. But what I did experience felt far more powerful. I felt affirmed in my path and content with myself.

This is the true gift of turing 40.

On the needles : Spring update

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It’s full on Spring in Oregon now.  The crocus and daffodils have come and gone, the tulips have peaked, and now we’re eagerly anticipating the first unfurling of a peony bud.  With the help of a friend, I’ve recently prepared our raised garden beds for planting.  We’ve already got broccoli starts happily nestled in their new homes, and the pea seeds G planted last month are rapidly growing.

My knitting has also been growing quite quickly.  I’ve kept it to two projects for the past month or so, and it’s remarkable to see them grow at a steady pace.  Especially since they’re both in fingering weight yarn!

I’ve always loved color and pattern, and am not one to shy away from either in my knitting.  And yet this year something has inspired me to work a bit more in neutrals, especially when it comes to garments.  This will give me some new pieces that I can mix and match with all the store bought color and pattern in my wardrobe.

IMG_1447IMG_1314So when perusing the stash for options for True Friend, a newish sweater pattern by Veera Välimäki, I was drawn to the many shades of grey I’ve been stashing.  These hand-dyed yarns have so many lovely transitions between light and dark, I think they work really well together. {Ravelry notes here}

This pattern has a bit of an unusual construction, but it’s simple at the same time.  Which makes this the perfect knit for my still slightly baby-fogged brain!  The stripes make up the body and sleeves at the same time, with every other row adding stitches.  I’m well over 600 stitches per round now!  The end of this section is in sight, which is thrilling.

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That is my at-home knitting.  When I’m out and about, I have this pair of socks tucked into my bag.  Neutral black and white that I’m popping with neon accents on the cuff, heel and toe.  I’m loving knitting with the Victory Sock by Knitted Wit. It’s soft and sturdy, with just the right amount of sproing! for socks.  I’m about halfway down the foot of the second sock, so these will be off the needles very soon.  Time to start thinking about my next on-the-go project!

{as much as I’m absolutely loving knitting with all this grey and black, I think it’s time to cast on a new project with some color…}

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Speaking of next projects, I just cast on for the Stash Spring Linen knit along.  In the spirit of working with neutrals, I chose this sumptuous silver grey linen by Quince & Co (colorway Porpoise).  Togue Pond is a sleeveless top with a high-low hem and some subtle shaping details that make it very special.  I’m looking forward to working with a new to me yarn on huge needles (10.5, whoa)!

What’s on your needles this Spring?

Also, I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of my knitting with cups of coffee and tea. If you’re often stitching with a cup of something nearby, consider sharing over on Instagram with the hashtag #knitsandsips.  I’d love to see what you’re making and drinking!

Yarn Along:: Getting Settled

From Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.

We’ve lived in our new home for just over a week now.  It was a relatively low-key move within our same community, so that has really helped ease the transition.  In some ways it feels as if we’ve lived here a lot longer than a week; we are all very comfortable here and have settled in to somewhat of a new daily routine.  Of course, we’ve had houseguests already, and Sweetie started a new job on Monday, so there’s definitely more settling to be done.  For now I’m choosing to ignore the boxes in the garage and guest room closet, or the fact that we’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and focus instead on organizing the art supplies in our new craft room (!!!) and daydreaming about next summer’s garden.

In times of change and stress, I turn to simple knits in cheerful colors and books rich with their own characters’ drama.  This is the Show-Off Stranded sock, a free pattern that I’ve knit once before.  It does wonders for a variegated yarn, letting the colors play and comingle.  I remember the pattern having some interesting heel options, so I’m looking forward to that bit of juicy knitting in another couple of inches or so.  In the meantime, my other knitting is in a time out and I have been working on seaming up my Tidal cardigan.  Then it’s time to knit a button band and pick out buttons, something simple I can handle while gazing out the window of my new living room.  There’s mountains out those windows, I say, mountains!

So what is on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

Snow Days

We don’t get much snow around here. When it does make an appearance, things slow way down around town as people are challenged to enjoy it while it’s here. This weekend we got to enjoy our first snow hike.

 

Some moments I’d like to remember:

Thick, fresh snow and first footprints

Impromptu snow angels

Family picnic in the snow

Piping hot cocoa, cooled down with the addition of small handfuls of snow

Feeling the warmth of all those handknits, and seeing my loves kept warm in them

Stomping, shimmying, sliding, tasting, and throwing of the snow.

A few hours of knitting and napping in the car as Sweetie drove there and home again.

First Chills & Thrills

Where we live in Oregon it is just beginning to feel like fall is over and early winter is settling in.  We’ve gotten the first couple of frosts, turning damp piles of leaves into crisp, glittering mounds.  The grass glows like frosted emeralds, and there is usually a fog that hovers near the ground all morning.  Yesterday we decided to venture out in the chilly, frosty morning and have an adventure with PB’s new trike.  She is loving the speed and repeatedly asks us to “go faster” and to “do more zooming.” She also likes to hop off unexpectedly to gather rocks and walking sticks. It’s pretty great.

I knit PB and her friend OP not-so-matchy matching handwarmers.  Using leftover bits of green, purple and white yarn, I knit up simple ribbed tubes with a button/thumb hole.  Easy peasy, and so fun!  Now I need a pair as I can’t seem to find any of the mitts I’ve knit in years past… What’s your favorite glove/mitten/handwarmer pattern right now?

Sweet Treats

 

Halloween morning found me wielding a glue gun on the floor of my office, quickly putting together PB’s Halloween costume.  I knew for a while that I wanted to utilize one of her granny-gifted tutu’s and make a butterfly costume, but had yet to implement my design ideas.  Funny how we wait for inspiration to strike, and then all of a sudden it’s a race to the finish!  I embellished this thrifted set of glittery pink butterfly wings with felt and rick-a-rack, then made some yarn- wrapped pipe cleaners for antennae.  I think it came together okay, and PB certainly looked sweet.

Turns out she really liked trick-or-treating around town, and had to pause to eat each piece of candy as it was collected.  Seeing as how she never really eats candy, we let her have her moments (and the resulting highs and lows).  A fun and sweet Halloween.