living after the death of a baby, living with Autism, living as a family of six, living on our organic homestead, living miserably, hopefully, and with joy, and somedays just living

Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category


Fear paralyses me. I’m introspective because I think a lot.  Thinking a lot means I imagine all the ways I might fail.

I’ve failed at maintaining this blog because of it.  Fear.  It occurred to that maybe this blog should have more focus, but what? Then it occurred to me that perhaps it’s getting too focused, on autism in particular.  Then I got to thinking what do I want this blog to be? Are all the autism posts going to expose me too much, will people stop reading, because I complain too much?  Will the people who follow me because of the autism connection stop reading because they couldn’t care less about my chickens?  So I stopped writing to think about it.  Now there’s a way to please everyone. Ooops, I guess not. Instead I’II go back to writing for me

I’ve also been really focused on a new Website.  I’m finally finding myself at a point in my life where I think I can build something for myself.  Become someone I want to be. Elijah is doing better than ever, and the baby, well… he isn’t much of one at all.  I have a passion for knitting, and I’m good at it, really good at it.

With a little coaxing from a friend, she and I submitted a knitting book proposal to an agent.  She loved it. She would represent it. Yay! But, it needed more polishing, and we needed a solid platform. Booo. We could have polished it, that would be easy. But as for building a platform, that was going to take some time and thought on how to do it.

Building a website could work. I’m fussy though, it couldn’t just be any generic site.  It would have to be polished, look clean, professional and be able to compete with other knitting sites. As a one income family with a kid in therapy, others in activities, a mortgage to pay, and Kyle’s unknown employment next year there was no money to pay anyone. Fear. Could I get it to look good enough? How would we do it?  It took us months to get the site up. It’s lovely in its simplicity. I think an expert likely could have done it in weeks. Thankfully, Kyle is a genius, and can figure just about anything out, given enough time.  We learned CSS and HTML, we figured out plugins. I worked on content while Kyle worked on the majority of the tech stuff.

There was no way I could come up with a handful of patterns to feature in a short amount of time.  So with my friend’s blessing we pulled our book, by choosing not to re-submit the proposal. Fear. I hope it was the right thing to do. I’m not sure, but it didn’t come without a lot of thought.  The idea is that in the future with a strong platform I will have the same opportunity. Only l’ll have a stronger platform and I’ll be a stronger designer. Walking away still scares me.

I’ve decided to actually pursue knitwear. Fear. What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m not ready? What if I suck?  What if knitters hate me? What if I’m wasting my family’s time on a pipe dream that will never happen?

Pushing past that fear, I continued to learn about web design and work on content. I submitted my designs to be test knit by other knitters. Test knitting proved that my first pattern…well… it sucked. Fear.  The design was good, but boy-o-boy did it have a lot of mistakes.  I am so lucky to have had an amazing tester who essentially took my hand and helped me make it right, she helped me do better, she helped me learn about proper pattern writing. Then she praised me, told me it was great, and lifted me up. She gave me confidence, and then said she couldn’t wait to work with me again. Praise God.

When I come up with an idea, it’s always big.  So…I have big ideas for my site.  It took me some time to accept that it wasn’t all going to be done when I first launched the website. Fear. I often fear that if I don’t do it all at once it won’t get done. I had to let it go. The site would never be ready if I kept waiting for perfection, so many of my big ideas are stuffed in my brain, waiting to roll out a little bit at a time.

I have a whole branding idea in mind, for that I needed a logo. As much as Kyle and I can figure things out, and as much as I have an idea in my mind, I stink at drawing, and the idea of trying to learn to use illustrator to come out with mediocre product was not going to be the best use of my time.  I know an amazing illustrator, but I don’t want to take advantage of my friends, I’d want to pay him full out, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t  afford it.  Instead I hired another graphic artist who had an affordable rate in the hopes of having a graphic ready for when my website went live.

It didn’t happen, it wasn’t ready, and I decided that instead of waiting, my website could go live and still be “good” enough.  It did well, I was pleased.  I continued to wait for my vector (graphic design image). In the end it didn’t work out, not for lack of trying by my designer, but because it wasn’t entirely what I had in mind.  I had already paid her, and I didn’t feel it was going in the right direction.  I felt she had worked for the money I did pay her, and at this point she was now working for free.  I wasn’t comfortable with that.  People deserve to be paid for their work.  It was a difficult decision to tell her to stop. Fear. I was stalled.  I was working in the direction of what I was going to do with this logo. Now what?

Plan B. Actually talk to the illustrator friend. Nervous, I did it.  After talking and emailing him I felt things were going to go in a really good direction I was excited. Then I got the cost. It was way too much for me right now.  We probably could have made it work. I really wanted to make it work, but the stress on our bank account was just going to be too much right now. Fear.  What the hell do you do when plan B doesn’t work out? And how do you settle for hiring someone with less vision when you think you’ve found the person you want to do it.  How do you reconcile that you can’t spend the money when you know it takes money to make money? Well…I re-wrote Plan A: after some clear thought, I had to decide that there are better places to put that money right now.  As much as I want a drop dead gorgeous website and clear direction for branding, working at improving my patterns, by paying a tech editor, test knitters, buying a dress form, yarn and perhaps taking some classes are all better uses for our money right now. My website looks good, and if that temporary photo needs to be temporary longer – it can be.  It’s content that needs to be strong, no one is coming back for the prettiness if the patterns are not worth it. Not that I didn’t sulk. I did. A lot.

And now we’re here… today. Everytime you saw fear, I wanted to quit, I could have quit, but the thing is: I want this more than the than the idea of quitting feels good at the time.  I’m scared I’ll fail. I’m scared people see me as a bit flaky, with several stay at home business attempts in my past. I’m scared I won’t be respected. I’m scared I won’t be loved. I’m scared it’s going to be harder than I think. I’m scared my luck is going to run out. I’m scared others are going to start later and get to the finish sooner. The thing is, now, here today,  time has already been invested, and it’s not just my own, it’s the time of many others, Kyle , my kids, test knitters ,and the tech editor I did hire after serious conversation with another designer about how necessary it really is. There’s no turning back, and I don’t want to.

I know that it is impossible to fail at something you don’t give up at. It might take more time, and you might have to work harder than some (talk about a huge lesson learned from Elijah!), but you can’t get worse at something, only better.  The only way to fail is to stop committing to its success.  I have talent, it’s there, I am an expert at the things I know.  These days I have office hours where we’ve made time in the week set aside for me to work.  I have plans. I have patterns written in my mind, and even though I don’t know the right path to my success right now. I’m blazing it. I am committed to my happiness, and this makes me happy. I will be more than self-published, you’ll see me in magazines eventually, and I can’t wait to do book signings.  It may seem overly ambitious, but I can’t dream small, it’s not who I am. I don’t expect to become a celebrity knitwear designer, but I do expect to become a knitwear designer. I want to be happy, and I want to be profitable. This is my beginning, it’s not everything I wanted it to be, but that’s what beginnings are for: starting, improving, a place to become more from. Now I just have to get over the fear of it not happening all at once, and the fear that I’m not ready.  I am. It will happen. I will make it. It will take time. Expect big things from me.

You want to know what else I’m fearful of? Saying this out loud/hitting publish. I should probably just stop thinking right now.



My first project: Eyelet Baby Blanket

In my precious spare time I love to knit.  I started while pregnant for Kate I taught my self using a booklet called 10*20*30 Minutes to Learn to Knit by Leisure Arts, a set of redheart circular needles, and two mega skeins of baby melting Bernat Softee Baby acrylic yarn in variegated baby pastels.  Then I gave it up, I couldn’t figure out tension, and I twisted my stitches all the time.  I knit so tightly I couldn’t slip the second needle into the loop to make a knit stitch.  Then one day while surfing around on the internet in Chicago, long after giving up knitting,I found Craftster. While there I saw a post about this bear.  I had to have it.  I had a friend teach me how to crochet and never made the bear, though I did make many other things.  Later I started a knit night to get some girlfriends together.  I wanted to teach how to make preemie hats to give as a donation, so I retaught myself how to knit, and did a not bad job.   After that I just kept on knitting.  Now I would say I could knit anything.


I’m a good technical knitter, I can drop stitches and fix mistakes that were made a few rows back, even in lace.  I’ve knit intarsia, stranded colourwork, cables, lace, and miles and miles of stockinette stitch (look at the sweater your wearing now, it’s probably stockinette)

Knitting is my art, I would say.  I’ve tried other things, I’ve acquired many residual supplies form various other art activities.  I own a lot of scrapbook stuff, but I don’t find the time to do it often enough.  I love it, but it quires a time commitment.  What I love about knitting is, I can pick it up knit a few rows if the baby cries I put it down.

If I have an hour I can knit, if I have five minutes I can knit.  It also is a repetitive activity for the most part,  as long as it’s not a complicated pattern, or stitch, I don’t have to think abut what I’m doing.  That kind of zone out is awesome.

I have knit all kinds of patterns.  Then I got a software package to help design patterns, and I wrote this pattern.

Lazy Bee's Baby Vest

Inspired by my friend Monica, who is an amazingly talented quilter and fiber artist, who does her own designs.  (Her blog is here: My Sweet Prairie.)  I figured I could write my own pattern from scratch, and get the perfect cardigan I have all made up in my head.  So I ordered a book ,that is well rated, on pattern design and I started the work.  And, oh my, is it work.  I’m being cautious and doing all of the math, and all of the measuring.  What I really want to do is knit the  cardigan.   I figure once I have all the raw data I’ll be able to change the measurements to a standard small, medium and large and might actually be able to publish a pattern.  How cool would that be?  I’ve seen some self published patterns where people have cut out the work, and snapped a picture with their camera phone, then sent out phishing posts with the information on were to buy the pattern for 6 bucks, yikes!  I want my pattern to be pretty, polished, test knit, and well photographed.  I don’t have anything difficult in mind.  A super simple stockinette tapered cardigan with a ruffle. I’ve got a clever name in mind, and I think it could be easy enough to be a persons first seemed project.  If I can pull this one off I have other, fiddlier, designs in mind.  Now to just knit the darn thing!

Prep work

Want to find me on Ravelry, the internet’s best site for knitters and crocheters?  Okay, here I am: Erron on Ravelry