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The Art of Slow Knitting

Photo by Caroline Feelgood on Pexels.com

Ahh…. winter is on its slow way out and I’m still working on several knitting projects for winter-time wearing…. The Art of Slow Knitting is really a thing for me. I am admittedly a slow knitter… because I enjoy the process of knitting. Especially when its a pattern I’ve done before and can knit without even watching what I’m doing. Which means I can watch a knitting podcast or get deep into a good audio book.

I see no negative to knitting slowly… I enjoy the feel of fiber in my fingers, I enjoy watching the item imerge from nothing. There are so many positives to breathing through the process of knitting an item. I brings my mind back to writing/painting icons at church. Each brush stroke inhabits a prayer…. that’s what we were taught during iconography class. So when I’m knitting, every stitch has deep thought and prayer built in. I like to think about who will be wearing this item, in what circumstance will it be worn? Will it be a gift for a new baby? A pair a socks for a loved one?

During the winter I had my finished items for sale at a local artisan market space. I feel like you get a better sense of a knitted item when you can touch it, and then the spark of imaging what it would be like to wear it…. than buying it online. But with covid, online is our go-to right now.

I miss the days of sitting down with coffee and my girlfriends knitting and chatting the afternoon away. I really hope that we can get back to that soon.. until then, there virtual gatherings which will have to do, though its very much not the same.

What will be the first thing you do when you are welcomed to venture farther than your front door? For me… its coffee & knitting with friends.

Stay safe and sane my friends!

Till then love….

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Knitting & Coffee

Since the outbreak… I’m missing sitting at my local coffee shop knitting, drinking tons of coffee, & chatting the day away….

How about you? How are you holding up during this pandemic?

I read a recent article in Bella Grace Magazine…. is it a magazine? Or a book really? I love having it around, to read when I’m having a cup of coffee or tea….

The article was about 5 ways coffee can help you embrace the slow life… I think knitting also fits this purpose as well.

The five was were Brewing your own drip coffee from home, sharing coffee with someone, painting with coffee, reading about coffee, and mixing coffee into other intentional living practices.

I like the one about sharing coffee with someone…. my fellow knit squad….I encourage you to grab a copy, a coffee, and sink right in.

Coffee, whether warm or cold, is a comforting beverage that only gets better when we share it. One we drink because it just feels soulful.

Michelle Noel
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How to Clear your Head Space

How full is your head space? How do you unwind? To answer these questions, I spent three days with nature…come join me!

My husband and our family tribe took a 3-hour drive to Pennsylvania to the Allegheny National Forest, near my hometown (who knew this was essentially in my back yard!) We camped for 4 days and 3 nights spending most of our time on the Allegheny Reservoir kayaking.

The thought of getting to our camp site, setting up, and relaxing in nature was such a mood booster! We got to camp, and it was very humid and sticky….but that meant the smells of the forest were right there in your face, crisp and clean! The smell of the forest and pine trees are glorious!

Clear your Head Space tip #1…… Go to the park and take a deep inhale!

The smells really do quiet the mind and help me to relax and I know they will you too! It’s refreshing and clears the mind!

You can literally smell the forest in this pic! Photo Credit: Candee Brown

I can’t believe how refreshing the forest can smell… the earth, the dampness…. that alone helps ease away any stress that your holding up in your head!

Clear your Head Space tip #2…… Become one with the water!

We decided to get up before dawn, to head out to the water and watch the sunrise from our kayaks…. Boy, it didn’t disappoint!! The actual act of getting up early on vacation did kinda suck… but the payoff was HUGE! Since I was the first one in the water at 6:58 am… it was complete solitude. The water was as warm as a bath and the fog was spectacular! I had for a brief moment, the entire river to myself, alone, no other sounds, just my kayak breaking the water…. I put my hands in the water and became one with my surroundings. I took a deep breath and smelled the foggy mist…. AMAZING! It was so spectacular that I really wanted to cry because of all the beauty of nature.

As the rest of my tribe joined me on the water, we sent the remaining morning & afternoon kayaking the reservoir. In total I kayaked about 7 miles that day. It was just the perfect day watching the sunrise and the fog lift…. I highly recommend you find a way to get yourself on the water and enjoy it… it really does make you forget about work, bills, cleaning… all the crap I stress about.

My tribe joining in the early fun!

There’s no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this…

-Anonymous

So after being on the water all day, we headed back to the campsite for much needed lunch and rest. I got some knitting in while we all relaxed. I’m working on socks for myself. The pattern is My Favourite Sock Recipe from Mandarine’s YouTube Channel… it’s knit top down. I’m using super-wash merino wool that is machine washable. These could become my next hiking & camping socks. I also worked on a camping hat during the drive down… I’ll have photos of that available soon on my Instagram page and details for my patrons on my Patreon page. Please consider becoming a patron today!

Clear your Head Space tip #3…… Relax around a campfire!

Sock Knitting time!

On Saturday morning we decided to head back out just before sunrise and do some more kayaking… this is when we saw a bald eagle trying to steal a fish in mid-air from an osprey! The fish got dropped and almost landed directly on my husband’s kayak!! What a thing to see!

Clear your Head Space tip #4…… Watch animals in their natural habitat!

We saw a group of little ducks on the water, they swam around each of our kayaks! We hoped some would hop on Candee’s SUP, but no…. We had a loon follow us a bit around the reservoir and we saw tons of fish jumping around! Back at our campsite were squirrels and chipmunks….little cuties! Animals are so lively and entertaining….definitely not thinking about work now!

We adventured back out on the reservoir later in the morning and spent the rest of the afternoon, kayaking in total for me about 9.35 miles. A thunderstorm was rolling in and we had to really book-it to get back to the dock.. all in all a fabulous, de-stressing weekend! I highly recommend you all get out there and commune with nature! It really does detoxify your head space!

Candee & I enjoying the sunrise from the water!
Morning Fog awaiting the sunrise

I hope you enjoy my photos and tales from the weekend, but I really hope you get out there and enjoy some nature for yourself! Remember to keep our wilderness clean and leave no trace!

Till then Love…

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Stressing Out…

In the midst of quarantine…I went back to work…. I really enjoyed my quite, peaceful mornings, sitting at my kitchen table, listening to the birds outside the window…. and working feverishly to implement a new EMR (Electronic Medical Records) software program for the medical practice I work for… to say I’ve been stressed is an understatement. When the world around us came to a screeching halt… my life was a frantic, rushed, overtime ridden rollercoaster. Not only did the office reduce hours and staff (except mine), but implementing a new, COMPLETELY new, software system has been very stressful. All staff needs to be trained – at home, via google meets with poor connection, and set to a deadline that the physician/owner wants implemented RIGHT NOW… thus putting the cart before the horse, so I have to figure out how to set up said new software without having any idea how to navigate it! At work, I am the go-to person, the workhorse… but this…. this had me secretly crying after my husband left for work and I could be alone to cry out my stress….this project was more work than any one person should be subjected to… and working days off and weekends to get it all up and running…..well… I’m tired. So tired that my knitting had to take a back seat…. so tired I didn’t want to work out… so tired I just wanted to sit and stare at the wall… my brain is FRIED.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

I worked from home the entire month of April, before being called back this month. During the month of April, I celebrated my birthday, alone (my husband was on night shift), and in the basement waiting out a tornado…. My thoughts were that this tornado is exactly how my emotions are…. I had been moody, tired, stressed and overall just wanted to throw things and scream at people, but I can’t do that, because I’m social distancing….. I think mother nature picked up on my mood, and brought out the tornado. I quickly realized, that this tornado, at 11:30pm, was in fact, a direct reflection on my attitude and I’m stuck in the basement, on my birthday, alone, getting ready to kiss my ass goodbye….

My home office

Needless to say, being the relatively work organized person I am, I was able to find a way to get everything set up and ready to go, without loosing my mind. Thankfully, going back to the office this month, I could spread out all my To-Do lists in my office vs the kitchen table… and my stress came down and I was able to spend some evening time working on my Navelli sweater – just in time for spring/summer wearing!

How are you coping during the global pandemic? Did you stress cry like I did? Did you exercise the stress away? Or work on home improvement projects like a lot of my friends were able to do?

KNITTING

So… my knitting! Yes, I finally finished the Navelli sweater that I started with The Knitters Are Here for our New Year’s Eve cast-on… I didn’t work on it for hours every night, just when I could and when I had the mental facilities’ to do so…

Details about my first colorwork sweater – The Navelli by Caitlin Hunter

As I stated, I started on December 31st 2019 and finished May 15th 2020…. just in time for spring/summer. I really enjoyed the colorwork section and reading a chart for the first time, I really didn’t think I would, and was super knitter-stressed about it… but it actually reminded me a lot of doing counted-cross stitch so I found myself really enjoying it.. but it did take some uber-concentration though… and not having a death grip on the yarn causing the knitting to be to tight…but I blew threw that and then went on the to main body, rotating skeins of yarn to avoid color pooling… I searched YouTube and watched numerous videos about alternating skeins in the round to decide on how I wanted to tackle that part…. and it worked beautifully! Head over to my Ravelry page (DarcillaAnn) to see info about my project and over to Instagram to see pictures of the process.

Just finishing the colorwork and starting the main body

Well.. more work to be done around the house, more knitting for the shop… and of course, more crazy software implementation to complete….

Till then Love…

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Spring Thoughts

So is it winter or is it spring??

Will we stay healthy in the Covid pandemic??

Will there be baseball?

What about my knitting adventures??

Can I still go outside?

I don’t know about you, but March is usually the month I start planning for warmer weather and all the projects I want to do….. I’m still working, but from home, and part-time since the stay at home order in Ohio… what about you??

My home office set up

Our knitting group, The Knitters Are Here, did get some quality time in and did some interviewing at Black Locust Farm Yarn Shop before we had to stay at home….

working on my mohair shawl

My husband and I got to Mohican State Park for a long weekend, and got some backpack training time in while we were there… before hiding at home…

I hope you are staying safe, staying home, and getting some knitting done! Let me know what you’ve been up to this month…

Til Then Love,

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Saying goodbye…

This month has been a whirlwind of emotions. It didn’t start out very well as we had to say goodbye to our baby, our puppy, of 17 years. Old age has finally caught up with him and we had to say goodbye to Monty, our sweet Jack Russell. This is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do, was to watch him in his final days and Say Goodbye knowing I’d never get to see him or hear him or pet him again.

It’s funny there’s a lot of emotion wrapped around a pet, a dog… who would have thought…

Frank and I got Monty after we’d gone through a period in our marriage of not being able to have children and then going for fertility testing only to find out that we were unable to have children. At the time my husband worked second shift and I was home alone in the evenings and was feeling really alone. And that’s when we talked about getting a dog, a lappdog, someone to stay with me at night, someone for me to take care of and mother in the light of knowing we wouldn’t be having children.


Monty was so much more than just a dog… he went everywhere with us… he went backpacking, 15 + mile hikes, camping, traveling to New York, car rides, runs, he even slept in our bed with us just like a kid would. I remember he always liked to bury himself underneath the covers at night and I would think doesn’t he get hot under there that’s crazy he’s got to be sweating to death… but he loved it. He loved to burrow underneath blankets and pillows and that was just his thing. He Loved to have his nose covered up and I’d… think how can you breathe your own hot breath! I can’t stand that but he was happy and content that way.



We spent a lot of time with him in the last days preparing for his final time with us. It was worse than I could ever have imagined. We both said I can’t believe any pet owner can handle this. It was and is the worst thing thus far.

We have a special place for him in our yard and in the spring and summer we plan on making it a little sanctuary. He loved to go to that spot and hide from us all the time so it was fitting that that would be final resting place. We miss so much to see his little face.

The day after he passed away I already had plans and reservations made to go with the girls on a knitting retreat and couldn’t break my promise to be with them so for me it was helpful to have my mind occupied hidden in the wake of Monty being newly gone. But now the days are lingering on and I’m back into my normal routine of times I’m home alone it would just be Monty and I while Frank was at work… are harder than I expected.

People ask if we’ll get another dog and I, at this point… and Frank agrees… can’t imagine having another pet as nobody can replace Monty. I also don’t think that I could handle going through an elderly dog again as that was very rough and I sure as s*** cannot deal with the death of another pet because he was so much more than a pet… it’s like losing my child.

I didn’t want to make this a sad post but quite honestly I am sad… I’ll always be sad and I always miss him but life Must Go On and I just wanted to share with all of my followers what happened this month and why I’ve been very quiet on social media because my mind has been somewhere else.

Thank you so much for all your thoughts and your prayers and words of comfort that you’ve given us through social media it really has helped us go through.


I have started a patron account and ask anyone who wishes to see behind-the-scenes information about Peacocks and Purls and wishes to support me and my company to head on over to http://www.patreon.com/peacocksandpurls.com and follow me there

Till then love…

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Goal setting in the new year

 

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe that were this far into January! The month has flown by! Still waiting on that major snow storm to roll through, but I’m happy to report that it’s been a very nice winter so far and I’ll take it!

Since it’s a new year I’ve gotten out my passion planner and am trying to brainstorm and think of the goals that I want to achieve this year, and not only knitting goals but also the get healthy fitness goals, as everyone always thinks about at the beginning of a new year.  I also have been listening to the podcast from Rachel Hollis regarding the ‘Start Your Today’ Journal, which is all about goal planning and dreaming big and words of gratitude and setting your intention for the day and just kind of taking a reflection of how you want to grow.

I’ve been thinking about this from my brand perspective for Peacocks and Purls and where I want to take that. Ya know, in dreaming big, I always talk about someday wanting to own a retail shop that’s not just a yarn shop but a knitting place, a boutique, maybe even coffee shop, someplace to gather and do all the things that I love.  Well… it being my own entrepreneurship.  Grow my own brand… having local Knitters contribute their talents, a place where they can showcase their hand knits. A place that non-knitters can buy hand-knit gifts for friends and love ones.   I noticed that this is the main dream… the main goal. I’d also have my website grow, a place that you could order online if you’re not local.  I just really got starting to dream and am sinking into it, trying to decide what my goals are for at least this year.  And like they say, you know, it’s a big big goal to take on, but how do you eat an elephant?… one bite at a time.  So I’m working really hard at trying to set goals, set intentions, you know.. and I’m wondering if you’re doing the same thing… and if you do that in January do you set your goals for the whole year? Do you even think about that? Is it something that you stick with it or do you, you know… Crash and Burn by June cause that’s kind of where I go… Just let me know in the comments what your goal planning is, if you goal plan for the whole year, and how you tackle that…I’m curious to know!

 

I’ve been joining with the girls to knit a lot the last couple of months… as you know we started a knitting podcast… we are The Knitters Are Here We get together just to sit and knit and chat and bullshit and have girl time.  I think we all need that.. don’t you agree??  Girl time it’s a great thing!

Speaking of girl time I just got together with my sisters-in-laws to celebrate a birthday and we had facials at our favorite place called Facial Impressions in Medina Ohio.. thank you Amber for the awesome facial! Then we went out and had dinner and it’s just a great time, again to get with your girlfriends and just chat and spend an hour or more just chatting and having a good time socializing with wine!

So I’ve been working on a few knitting projects… I took on two different test knit projects… both hats. One is a cabled hat called the ISE hat…you can catch more about that on the Knitters are here podcast or through my personal podcast PeacocksandPurls on YouTube… and then the other hat that I test knit is the City Lights hat for tifneilan_handknits on Instagram… it was such an easy  and fun knit with a beautiful outcome!

Both hats are available for purchase – there is only one of each. Scroll to the bottom to find purchasing options.

City Lights Hat
ISE Hat

There are the other knitting things that I’m working on…. our new years eve cast on sweater with the girls.  We’re all doing the same sweater but different colors obviously… the Navelli by Caitlin Hunter and it’s slow going… I’m at the bottom of the sweater still…. it’s a knit from the bottom up and the bottom part is all color work so it’s a little slow going… because I’m also working on sample knitting for the professional Knitters course that I’m taking through the Knitting Guild. 

Navelli Sweater
Navelli Sweater

It’s a course that you knit sample swatches and you turn them in and you have them graded by an instructor who then critiques and gives you feedback about your work and at the end of the course you get a certificate to be a professional knitter!  Which really doesn’t mean a whole lot other than you’ve had someone to look at your own hand knitting and tell you what you are or aren’t doing correctly and the certificate helps when you’re doing test knits to show that you can knit and you can put it on your knitting resume that you are a professional Knitter, you’ve learned the trade, you educated yourself, and you know what you’re doing… so the designer can be confident in hiring you as a test Knitter knowing that you’ll understand where they’re coming from.  I’ll include photos here of the two test knit hats that I did.  I cannot include photos of the sample swatches from the course because part of the criteria is that you’re not allowed to take pictures and share it via social media or anything like that… so sorry! When I finished the course I might be able to give you a little sneak peek but at this point it’s a no no….

I’m still working on getting my knitting Studio at the point where I like it… my studio is sort of like my walk in closet too, where I get dressed in the morning… so it’s a dual-purpose room and I’m really trying to make it into something that seems to be solely dedicated to my knitting, to my business… so the aesthetic I’m looking for is clean and white and I just feel like it’s very cluttered, because there is so much “stuff” in an itty bitty living space…. (I just watched Aladdin last night lol)….  I’ll try to include some pics of the studio here – but let’s be honest and upfront….its a mess!

If you are interested in purchasing either hat, you can find those options below…

Well… back to my knitting and my boring full-time job at the medical office……

Til then Love….

City Lights Hat

This is a child sized hand knit hat. For ages 3-6yrs Blues & Greens

$30.00

ISE Cabled Hat

This is my recent test knit hat with cables. Sized child/teen

$40.00

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Yearly Reflections

Hello All!

Ahhh…. the year is coming to an end…. Christmas is right around the corner….and I’m thinking of all the fun things I’ve done this year!  I can’t wait to see where 2020 takes Peacocks and Purls!

Since we spoke last… my knitting orders have soared!  Everyone has geared up for their Christmas giving of handmade goodies!  I have finally delivered my last order for Christmas!  I really hope to see some photos of everyone wearing their knitted items!

Baby hats and booties were a big hit this winter…. you can find some pics on my Instagram page too.

Our knitting podcast is going full swing…check us out!  theknittersarehere has become so fun to record and watch! We are gearing up for a giveaway since we’ve reached 100 subscribers!

My husband and I got kayaks this summer – I haven’t used mine as much as he did, but I can’t wait to use it more next year!

I’ve made some changes in my knitting studio – moving it into a spare room upstairs.. I’m slowly working on how to make the smaller space doable – hopefully soon you’ll see pictures of it on my YouTube VLOG……

I’ve done some test knitting this year and am currently working on another!  I love getting the opportunity to help a knitwear designer finalize their pattern by test knitting for them…

Test knitting is the phase in new pattern design in which the pattern draft (sometimes also called ‘beta pattern’) is sent to actual knitters to see if they’re able to produce the intended outcome following the designer’s instructions.

My dog Monty is aging and its heartbreaking… he’s 17yrs old now and you can totally see it… he’s blind and deaf….but he manages to get around, just slowly.

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I would love to bring you more knitting content in the new year… let me know what you are looking for and I’ll work on it for you!

Till then Love…

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Knitted Tiny Things

I worked on some baby sweaters for little Della… cause let’s be real, she won’t be little for long… and I wanted to get her something knitted.

I found a pattern for a cardigan style dress.  I modified the pattern to suit my needs by adjusting the sleeves a bit and shortening it from dress length, to sweater length.  I used some leftover hand-dyed yarn and finished it off with some buttons from great grandma’s button jar.  Its too cute for words!  I do not even care if Della wears it… I just wanted a picture of her in it!  It was such a fun project and it knit up so quickly that it was not a drag!  Win! Win!

I also finished making the hubby some camping cozy socks to wear this fall hiking!  They fit him like a glove!  I’m not sure why I do not make more socks… other than they are a time suck…and yeah, I work full-time…boo!

I tried Stand-up Paddle-boarding for the first time on Lake Erie!  I was scared to death!!!  Afraid that if I fell off, that I would not be able to climb back on… well… I was the only one who did NOT fall off!  I was happy but then, thinking on it later, wish I had fallen for the experience…. Guess that means I’ll be doing it again!

Yarny adventures are in store for the month on the Yarn Discovery Tour, and time get some podcasting done! Check us out on YouTube…. The Knitters Are Here!

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

Til Then Love…

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Summertime Fun

So summer has finally made it! Yay! Do I have any plans for vacationing this summer??…nope! Unless you count soaking up the sun, knitting on the deck, or swing, or hammock…family barbeques, knitting with the girls, and going to visit my niece for her 1st birthday!

We had our annual family bbq at our house just recently… the fabulous Leina took all the photos and they are amazing! We had a blast with the sparklers, played whiffle ball, and ate lots of yummy smoked meat!

I finally finished my Seasons of Love Shawl! Its more like a blanket than a shawl to be honest. Its huge, squishy, and I love it! It will make for the best winter wrap. I’ll get finished photos later for you to see!

I just started my next project… camping socks for my hubby! During the yarn discovery tour last year, we went to Cast On Yarn Shop in Vermillion, and he picked out this pattern! Totally cool camping/hiking socks! I let you know how it turns out!

Till then Love…