Theme from 2019

No, that’s not a typo. I don’t like to start a year by giving myself a word or theme. I prefer to end a year with reflection on what word or theme God presented me again and again.


That is the theme that echoed throughout 2019 for me. It came to me in conversations with Nate, friends, family members. It came to me during those late night, should-be-sleeping moments of reflection. It came to me as I cleaned the house and bathed the kids and cooked the meals.

It is true, there are some extremes in life. One set of extremes is given by Christ Himself.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

– Matthew 12:30

There is no balance, no middle ground in His words. He is The Way, not one of the ways.

But in daily life, in those small decisions we make, we must strike a balance. It is not good to be extreme. I’ve found a lot of balance in my life the past year. And God has encouraged me to recognize it as a good thing, not the temporary fault I was seeing before.

When I had to strike a balance, I saw it as the result of a failure. For example,

  • taking a break from cloth diapers was a failure to be a “cloth diapering family.”
  • planning all easy meals for a week was a failure to be creative.
  • supplementing breast milk with formula for my baby was a failure to be an “exclusively breastfeeding mom.”
  • focusing on surface weekly cleaning and taking a pass on deep cleaning was a failure to be motivated.

But God showed me that none of those extremes are necessary. And the reason is…

My identity is not dependent on the things I do for others, but on who God made me to be.

I am not a “cloth diapering mom” or “exclusively breastfeeding mom” or good housekeeper or excellent meal planner.

I am God’s child. I am Nate’s wife. I am the mother to 4 extraordinary souls. I am a daughter and sister and friend.

That realization allowed me to let go of the extreme expectations and find balance. When I need a break from the excess laundry, the cloth diapers get put away for a week. When my baby isn’t getting enough to eat, I break out the bottles and formula. When I’m out of exciting meal ideas or need to get caught up on housework, I rely on our old, easy favorites. When I get overwhelmed with the cleaning and cooking and childcare, I focus on the essentials and ask for help. When I get lost in my role as a mother, I take time for myself.

Balance. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t try. It’s unhealthy to expect it of yourself.

I’m curious what theme and lessons 2020 will bring to me.

A Year of Crafting: 2019

Another busy, busy year. LW joined our family in May. We gardened, cut down trees and moved firewood, visited with family and friends, and I’ve caught up on all the kids’ baby books. Busy, yes. But very good.

Project Totals

Projects – 18

crochet – 2 (11%)
knit – 16 (89%)

gifted – 6 (33%)
designed – 1 (6%)

I did less variety of crafts this year. Knitting and crochet I can easily do with kids around. That trend will likely continue for a while yet. 🙂

Yarn Totals

Total yardage – 5,764.1 yards (That’s 3.275 miles of yarn!)

acrylic – 1,240.1 yds (22%)
bamboo – 102.3 yds (2%)
cotton – 514.7 yds (9%)
nylon – 777.4 yds (13%)
wool – 3,129.6 yds (54%)

Interestingly, I used a similar amount of yarn as last year and a similar quantity of fiber types. I didn’t use any new fiber types this year, but enjoyed what I did work with.

Looking Back

I finished two of the WIPs I had going into this new year (blanket for LW and speckled socks). The third, a cowl, I ended up ripping out. I knit the chroma socks with that yarn instead. I also finished the book I was working on before LW was born. I’m not a “reader,” so that felt like an accomplishment.

I didn’t have any other goals going into 2019. I didn’t expect to knit much, so I did surprise myself. 🙂 All of the kids had mittens and hats and sweaters for this year. I knit myself three pairs of socks.

I did something new – I knit on commission. Well, I knit for a friend who bought the yarn and paid me in a yarn store gift card. So it wasn’t a formal commission, per se. I did enjoy that, especially because my friend was so thrilled with the result.

I was generous with my crafting time, which is something I do aim for regularly. I like crafting for other people, so I look for opportunities to do that. An entire third of my projects were gifted this year.

Into the New Year

I have one WIP going into the new year and plans for 1-2 more that will make a set for an expectant friend.

I have a huge box of old shirts, sweatshirts, etc from a friend’s deceased relative that I’ll be making a quilt and some pillows and maybe other things from. That will all be done and mailed back before Mother’s Day, ideally.

I just ordered a new cross-stitch design today. That will begin after the memory quilt is finished.

Those are the only firm crafting plans I have for the new year. It’ll be interesting to me to see what all I end up making. 🙂

Foxley Cardigan for Mom

I made my mom a cardigan years and years ago. I was a new knitter, so it didn’t come out as well as I had hoped. But still, she wore it. A lot. It has become shaggy and pilly and way, way stretched out from use.

I figured it was time for a new one. I hope this one will get 9+ years of use, too.

Progression Info

Started – October 24
Completed – December 15
Duration – about 7.5 weeks

I took a break at the start of this to knit the Heim baby set. But I finished it in time to take it to my mom for Christmas.

Pattern Info

Foxley Cardigan by Laura Chau
Size – finished 51.75″ bust

I chose this size, which gives about 2″ positive ease for my mom. It fits perfectly!

Yarn Info

Berroco Weekend
75% acrylic, 25% cotton
Raspberry – 7.61 skeins = 1560.1 yds used

This yarn has a nice feel to it. It’s kind of splitty, which was sometimes annoying in the lace sections. But the stitch definition is excellent. I only hope that it doesn’t stretch out as much as her old sweater did. It’s quite heavy. However, this one is shorter in length and also not quite so big around, I think.


Heim Set for a Friend

A friend-acquaintance of mine had her newest baby prematurely. I wanted to give something, but don’t have much wiggle room in the budget right now. So I knit something from stash yarn.

Progression Info

Sweater started – October 27
Sweater completed – November 1
Hat started – November 2
Hat completed – November 3
Duration – about a week

Pattern Info

Heim by Signe Strømgaard
Size – big preemie

This is an adorably sweet set. I almost couldn’t believe the pattern was free. I knit just the sweater and cap from the pattern in the “big preemie” size. The baby was born at just 27 weeks gestation and would be in the hospital through at least most of the winter. So I wanted a size he could grow into and wear through spring and maybe even into the air-conditioned summer months.

I chose sweet little wooden buttons for the sweater.

Yarn Info

Cascade Yarns Heritage Fingering
75% superwash merino wool, 25% nylon
Blood orange – 292.8 yards
Cerulean – 21.9 yards

I had this machine-washable yarn leftover in my stash and it was perfect. I like deep, saturated colors for babies. And this wool is also extremely soft.