Friday, November 11, 2016

Core Values and Natural Fibers

I've been crying a lot this week. The Hamilton soundtrack made me weep today.

Some of us are hurting right now. Many are afraid. This is not new. Though we live in a rich, free, country, there is so much pain and fear and it has been used to turn us on each other, to become increasingly divided over the past thirty years. Pain and fear created this year's election.

Easy for him to say.
Garrison Keillor suggests that liberals need not worry. We can quietly grow organic heirloom tomatoes and wait four years for the Republicans to screw things up, then elect our people again. As an old rich white guy, he can get away with it. I could too.

But I want to do more. I want to reduce the need, fear, and hate in our country.

America Needs You!
Dear Millennials, you are my hope. I have seen and heard so much that is intelligent and good-hearted from people of your generation. Don't give up. In addition to protesting and voting, get involved in the system. Both parties are in desperate need of strong young leadership. Notice that the candidates this time (even darling Bernie) are your grandparents' age. If your parents' generation isn't ready to lead and inspire, take over. Drag your slacker friends along with you. (It's time for the first man-bun in congress.)

We need to keep our loved ones close, while trying to reach out.
And let me know how I can help.

To guide our millennial sons, my husband has been teaching us about core values. These are basic pillars of our natures that we need to understand to set worthwhile goals and plan satisfying lives. Since my life has turned upside-down, I've been trying to figure out my own core values.

Ironically, the value I feel most clearly is independence. Not working for a living right now drives me crazy.

I worked hard for a college scholarship and studied with a clear career goal in mind. My teachers had great flexibility over what and how they taught. That independence and the illusion of summers off for travel attracted me to my life career.

I was the original stalker girlfriend.
Even my codependence is rooted in independence. When my first high school boyfriend broke my heart, I decided that I liked having a boyfriend, but wanted more control over the situation. I wasn't going to wait around for some guy to notice me and hope he was the right one. I found the boy I wanted, stalked, befriended, and snagged him. We've been married almost 26 years.

One of many wonderful things about my sweetheart is that he has never treated me like some fragile flower or alien being. From the start, He spoke to me the same way he talks to his friends. I've never felt like I needed to be anything or anyone other than myself. One of his key values is loyalty, so he sticks by me despite flaws and both mental and physical illness. Loving him feels like one of my key values, though apparently I'm not getting the concept yet.

My other values are fuzzier, harder to pin down. Introspection is not one of them.
This sheep from the British Channel Isles is also fuzzy and hard to pin down.

I don't have a word for it, but I have great respect for the complete process of how things are created.   In my world view, home grown, home made is always superior. For knitting, natural fibers, grown on animal or plant, are a must. I prefer to work through the whole creation as much as I can,  even though the yarn I process from scratch is not always as soft or ever as perfect as yarn I can buy.

When I buy yarn, or spinning fiber, I want to know where it comes from, who makes it. I also want to buy products created as close to home as possible.

As much as I drool over the British sheep in my Twitter feed and love to listen to accented podcasts. I believe it is better for me to buy fiber and yarn from America (including Canada and Mexico--though  I haven't found Mexican wool yet). Before I share the knitting I have nearly finished, Let me share what Santa is bringing to me via two great American creators and my favorite wool mill.

Warm colors are medicinal in January.

Jill Draper's work caught my attention on Twitter. So did her politics, which are similar to mine. She dyes wool beautifully and is also involved in its production. So far, I have three items from her shop under my tree.

(Metaphorically. I am not allowed to put the tree up before Thanksgiving.)
The notebook will be in my stocking, also not out yet.
This is so gorgeous and so soft. I don't know what I will make yet, but it will be started Christmas Day.

From my sweetheart I am a receiving a subscription for monthly spinning wool, dyed conveniently down the street in Orem.

The label didn't photograph well, but the wool is from Camino Kid ranch
I will start knitting this yarn before Christmas. These are the destined to be a sweater for the pattern I am developing. I bought this gorgeous yarn from The merino wool is bought directly from local ranchers, then milled and dyed in Buffalo,Wyoming. Every skein has a sticker telling whose wool it was made from.

I toured the mill with friends a couple years ago and was impressed with their efforts to be not only local, but as ecologically friendly as possible. If you are in the neighborhood, sign up for the free tour.

When I next have money, I will be buying some of their natural colored yarn for another baby-pattern sweater and a bunch of some manly shade to make to sweater I have long owed my youngest son.

Salt Lake Locals: I need babies. (You don't have to marry my sons, though I wouldn't mind.) I actually just need to borrow babies.

I will need a few babies to be photographed for my sweater patterns. I have no money, but would be glad to give you to sweater in exchange for good pictures you take of your kiddo in them. The plan is to make sweaters in sizes 1-4 and then to write and publish the pattern.

 If you are interested, PM me through Facebook or email me at


My main knitting accomplishment is finishing my not-quite-Icelandic Lopi sweater. Except it's not finished. Scandinavian patterns often include the crazy concept of steeking, which involves CUTTING UP WHAT YOU JUST FINISHED KNITTING.

If you look closely, there is a line down the middle of the sweater. That is where I may or may not cut it to make a cardigan. I have detailed instructions but have yet to even work up the courage to watch them yet,

I have enough of these natural colors left over to make a child's sweater, so I have started my size 4 Inca sweater. I am adding detail to my written pattern and hope to have two sweaters to show for it next week.

As you may notice in my pictures, we are having bright blue skies (except for smog) and warm temperatures. But I promise it won't last. Knitwear weather will return, maybe in time for Christmas. Check out my shop to keep yourself and your loved ones fashionably cozy.

I don't like to wear hats as much as I like to knit them. Scarves that double as hoods save my poor ears. 

Notice the hose and sprinkler key--bad photography or a tribute to suburban gardening?
Both of these scarves are machine washable. They can be worn a lot if it ever gets cold enough.
It will get cold enough. This is Utah. We will pray for snow!


  1. Beautiful items. Stalker girlfriend, I love it.

  2. My suggestion for first time steeking is to make a cowl in the round, enforce fabric with your chosen method ( hand or machine) . Then you can cut a small item. ( Eeckhaute the scared feeling diminishes��) Pick up stitches equivalent to the button band with button band. Then you knit your border as you would for the sweater. You will have gained confidence to steek and also have a cowl that compliments your sweater