By Lisa Huddleston
Last Saturday, I made plans to meet my husband after the Vandy football game and do a little Christmas shopping. After he left, I started thinking about making a quick run to my favorite yarn store, Haus of Yarn, before meeting him. I had an idea for a birthday present for my daughter that required a yarn purchase, and it just made good sense to make the most of the long drive into town.
I arrived at Haus with only about 30 minutes to shop so I felt pushed, but I could do it. I knew I wanted something gray and chunky and soft so I gave those specifics to a kind lady working there, and she led me right to something perfect: baby alpaca, soft and squishy and in several (no, not 50) shades of gray. Great! I paid for the yarn, jumped in the car, and headed to Vandy to meet Chuck just in time.
The afternoon was very enjoyable: a late lunch at Ted’s, shopping in Green Hills, and people watching over a cup of Starbucks. Lots of fun, but that soft yarn was calling my name the whole time, and I couldn’t wait to get it on my needles when I got home.
That evening I cast on the required number of stitches that the pattern called for and got right down to business. The yarn looked beautiful, and the diagonal ribbing was working out just right. I was feeling pretty proud of the great, hand-made gift I’d be giving my daughter. And, hey, I was really getting good at this knitting stuff! (Insert a lot of back patting here.)
The following day was pretty full so I didn’t get to knit until late in the evening, and I was too tired to work on it then for fear of making a mistake. After knitting just a few rows, I put it down for the next day. It was nearly finished so it took very little time to wrap it up on Monday. I carefully measured the length–yep, exactly nine inches as specified. I couldn’t see any mistakes, and I proudly began binding off the cowl. I was excited to see how it looked on so I immediately pulled it over my head. Wait! It was really tight. Not what I’d hoped for at all. More of a rogue turtleneck without the turtle than a true cowl. What the heck??
I went back to the picture I’d seen on Ravelry.com … hmmm, my friend had adjusted the pattern by casting on 80 stitches instead of the specified 60. And I looked at the last cowl I had made–I had cast on 100 stitches for that. Man! I wanted to give up and cry, “Everything I do just turns out terribly! Waaaaaa! I really suck!” So that’s just what I did.
But after my short pity-party, I dried my tears and moved on. And lo and behold, some good lessons were learned:
1. I loved the yarn I used and will give it another try for a cowl.
2. A little more research will help me to avoid future disasters like this one. Yes, I will spend more time reading the notes other knitters have added to their projects on Rav.
3. Experience is the best teacher. I love my 100 stitches-diameter cowl so that may become my go-to number.
4. You don’t always get what you expect, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw the whole thing out. The soft, gray, turtleneck-sans-turtle will still be great on a very cold day, and it is still very pretty.
5. The next one will be better because of my time spent learning on this project. Not perfect–but better!
Good life lessons, good knitting lessons, and all in all, a good yarn to tell.
By Lisa Huddleston
I had tentative plans for today, but last evening I sent my friend a text saying that I was wrung out and needed a mental health day. So here I sit, thankful for a friend who knows and understands me and thankful for a whole, blessedly empty day and various ideas about how to spend it well so that tomorrow I can get back into the traffic.
First I hope to clean up the house (although I guess that really is third on the list–I’ve already read 1 Peter and now I am writing). It’s really a mess here where I sit. Multiple fires have burned since Wednesday when I last ran the vacuum cleaner, and everything is covered in dust and wood fibers. We have also had a lot of people pass through the house over the Thanksgiving weekend. Food (way too much of it) has fallen here and there, and although the dog tried her best to keep it all cleaned up, the kitchen floor could really use a good mopping. Also, decorating has been started but not completely finished so there’s that to tie up (pared down this year to limit the chaos–just a few nativities and some greenery. Hallelujah!). I will feel much better when order is restored.
There is also some knitting to tend to (some for Christmas presents and some just for me), some research for tomorrow’s book club meeting to complete, and I must spend at least an hour in the basement exercising either on the treadmill or with a DVD–or both. I will feel better when these things are done; I know I will. At least, I hope I will.
And hope is what this time of year should be about. A living hope, an eternal inheritance, a blessed assurance that Jesus Christ has come, is here, and will come again soon.
Here’s hoping I make it through my list today and find the peace I know is hiding under all the ashes and crumbs. Here’s hoping you do, too.
The menu is ready, most of the grocery shopping is done, and the out-of-town guests will be arriving on the farm sometime Wednesday. Yes, the holidays are fast upon us, and with the food, family, and large gatherings often comes guilt. Some want dinner at noon, but others can’t come until evening. Young couples have to juggle two or more family gatherings and stretch their stomachs to eat multiple meals. And some family members can’t come at all, because they live far away or even have to work.
It can be hard, but one thing I hereby declare–no guilt will be served for the holidays here at Hudfarm!
I remember what it’s like to balance family gatherings and am thankful to be in the happy situation of having folks come here to our house to celebrate. Yes, I truly will miss those who won’t be around our tables this Thanksgiving, but I understand and rejoice that they feel free to do whatever they need to–completely guilt free–and I’ll look forward to the next holiday when it will be our turn to have them here.
Yes, the planning for our feast is almost finished: turkey, ham, green beans, carrots, cranberries, potatoes, Yankee and Rebel dressings, pickles, and sweet potato pies. Hmmm … I still need Panko bread crumbs to top the mashed potato casserole along with a few other random items. But absolutely, positively, guilt is one item that will not be on my list. Today, on Thanksgiving, and for the rest of this holiday season–no guilt served here.
Now go be thankful and make merry!
By Lisa Huddleston
I don’t know about you, but it’s very unusual for me to have things this together this early in the day. Okay, it’s not that early for many of you. Ten o’clock may be late in your day, but for me, it’s amazing!
What’s so amazing? I not only know what we are having for dinner tonight, but I have already cooked the chicken and boiled the eggs that will be the primary ingredients in the “Baked Chicken and Dumplins” recipe that my daughter, Sarah, left in my recipe box when she married and moved into her own apartment.
Unheard of! I usually have no idea what I will make for dinner until at least late afternoon–and then only after I scour through the pantry and freezer for items that will come together in a recognizable dinner entrée. Oh yeah, I am way ahead of the game today.
This good feeling I have reminds me of the benefits of being more intentional in other areas of my life. This afternoon, I should write out my menu for Thanksgiving Dinner (only a week away) and make a master list of the presents I have already purchased for Christmas along with a “Gifts Still Needed” list. Oh baby, I’m on a roll now. And not only does intentionality help me, it helps my family and friends who have to live with me. This really is an awesome idea!
Yes, I’m feeling pretty great still sitting at the kitchen table in my nightgown and slippers … oops! Well, I never said I was perfect.
Wonder what other areas of my life would benefit from a little more intentionality? Exercise, yes. Housecleaning, always. Hmmm … Advent begins immediately following Thanksgiving this year.
Intentionality–not just good intentions. What a wonderful feeling!
The dry leaves gather in the corners around my house, up against the garage doors, under the porch and patio furniture, and across the driveway that was finally completed just this past summer. Although there are still cheerful pumpkins on our porches, it is nearly time to throw them in the garden as seed for next year’s crop. In just a week, much of the family will gather here for Thanksgiving dinner, and in the days after that, green and red will replace the warm browns and golds of Autumn.
And like the seasons, our family tree also shows its own circles of growth. This year I am thankful for the older generation, Granddaddy and Gran and Grammy Sue, who will be here to root us to the past with rich memories and treasured stories of those who have already passed away and provide rich soil for our tree. I am also thankful for the new nests that have been carefully tucked into our branches through marriages, new relationships, and for the saplings of new family units. And I am especially thankful for the man who has been my solid, tree trunk for 29 years standing firm through all the seasons we have weathered. In just another few blinks, I know it will be our turn to root this tree. Not yet, but very soon, and then now — we will see the spring blossoms of the next generation and rejoice in the blessing of own grandchildren (probably fruits and nuts like the rest of us!)
But today there are dry leaves around my feet, reminders of this most recent summer and its rich blessings. And I am thankful.
Adapted by Lisa Huddleston
This morning I rise to lift my eyes to You,
the One who sits on the throne of Heaven.
Like my dog whose eyes watch and wait for me to stir in my bed signalling that I am awake,
Like my cat whose ears listen just outside my door for a whispered, ”Good morning” to exhale from my lips,
Let me keep my eyes and ears fixed on You,
Looking for your favor, Listening for your voice.
Show me your favor, Lord, let me hear sweet favor from your lips, O Lord.
For I have more than enough contempt in my life,
More than enough scorn and arrogance and contempt and pride.
Show me your favor, Lord.
By Lisa Huddleston
Brrrrr! It’s a chilly November morning here at Hudfarm. Well, I don’t actually know that yet, because all I’ve done so far is walk to the bathroom and back to my bed where I am now lying under the covers wearing my slippers and robe and typing this post on my raised knees. Lazy, you say? Hey, I did walk all the way to the bathroom … oh, never mind.
But it’s Friday! That always makes everyone a little more laid back. And I do have some fun, more ambitious plans for this weekend: a concert at Trevecca (where I’ll listen in amazement as my son rocks the house), another yarn adventure with some fiber friends tomorrow, and Sunday’s usual: church and family time. Okay, not the most ambitious plans, but more than what I’m doing right this minute–I really do love weekends!
So c’mon ya’ll. All together now, “Thank Goodness It’s Friday!”
Ok … time to make some coffee and get this show on the road.
P.S. I actually got out of bed and got something accomplished: a handwoven wall hanging using my very first hand spun yarn with navy accents of the roving that came in my “Intro to Spinning” class kit. Hope to hang it in my studio one day. Fabulous Friday fun!