Saturday, May 31, 2014

five year celebration: a yarn giveaway!

I started this blog five years ago. Five years. Oh my! That's a long time. I've met a lot of friends through blogging who have changed my life in both subtle and substantial ways. It's amazing how much inspiration and influence can come from people I've never met in person, yet whom I've spent countless hours with online.

I've changed in these five years. I married my college sweetheart, earned a graduate degree, found a career, discovered a love of knitting, bought a house, planted gardens, baked countless cakes, and became a mother to the most wonderful little boy.

As much as I've changed, it's funny to look back and see how I've remained the same. I started this blog with a quote from "Apples and Oranges," a short story by Alice Munro: "The list of things that Barbara doesn't want to do is as long as your arm. Apparently she wants to do what she does--read, and go for walks, eat and drink with pleasure, tolerate some company." I planned to write this blog as long as it was something I wanted to do.

I've been wrestling with what to do here on field wonderful. I love writing and crafting, sharing my life with you, and reading about yours. But I've been feeling uninspired lately. It's hard to find time to write here while taking care of a toddler all day and working at night.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post to quit my blog. It was a fond farewell, but it also felt like I was breaking up with someone I still loved. I hit the save button and wanted to cry.

I lived with the idea of seriously ending my blog for a few days before deciding that field wonderful is still a place I want to be, still a place I want to come together and share with you all, but that I want it to change to fit me. I want to give myself the time and space to sit down and be creative here.

The blogs I love are the ones where writers share their personal narratives. I want to get to know people through their words in addition to their photos, which is why I shy away from other social media platforms. I know, I know, I feel like a Luddite saying all this. Deep down I'm an old lady stuck in her ways. Maybe I just need to collect addresses and send each of you a nice handwritten letter. To hell with all these screens.  

In the end, I decided to take a little time away and return refreshed and ready to write.

But before I go, let's have a giveaway. Shall we? Oh yes. To celebrate the time I've spent writing this blog and the time you've spent reading it, I have a small giveaway for you. It's a skein of Shetland wool yarn from Ballyhoo Farm that's made from the fleeces of a mother and daughter sheep: Thistle and Shamrock. It's 250 yards of worsted weight and smells wonderfully sheepy, if you like that sort of thing (I do!).

To win, simply leave a comment on this post telling me your thoughts on blogging. Why do you read blogs? Why do you write a blog (if you do)? Make sure I have a way of contacting you if you win.

The contest is open to anyone. I'll ship to the far reaches of the world if that's where the winner lives. I'll close the contest on June 14, 2014.

Be well, my friends, and thank you so much for reading!

Monday, May 19, 2014

summer crafting + links

The warm days have me reaching for lighter weight yarn and thread. I've got a linen Hitofude cardigan on the needles right now. It is slowgoing work for me. I have to keep myself from looking at the pattern in its entirety or else I might throw my hands up in defeat. This one is going to take forever. At least the lace pattern is emerging now, instead of just looking like I spilled oatmeal on my knitting needles.

I've also been crocheting daisies when the urge strikes. I hope in a week or two I'll have enough for a delicate daisy chain to decorate my mantel. I found the pattern on Her Library Adventures (via Moose and Bird).

And I decided I've become a little too precious with my handknitted socks; I rarely wear them because I don't want to ruin them. That's just silly and not why I made them at all. I'm making an effort to wear them more (or I will, come fall). I figure they'll last longer if I have more socks in rotation, so I cast on a pair of after-thought heel socks. I really like how the solid blue toe and cuff (and eventually, heel) tone down the variegated yarn.

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I hope your week is off to a great start. Here are some links to inspire more good days:

I want to make mini fudge popsicles for my boy and me.

I started saving avocado pits and skins as soon as I saw Liesl's amazing natural-dyed yarn. It seems like a fun project for a summer afternoon.

I wish I could smell Melody's latest blog post. I love the delicate scent of lilacs!

Joanna has me thinking about vacation. Where would you go? I've been dreaming of San Francisco and Yosemite.

If you're local, you should go to the Starlight Strawberry Festival this weekend. It's one of my favorite festivals of the year. Get there early for the best berries!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

i'll have another (pair of pajama shorts, that is)

I was so smitten with my first pair of pajama shorts that I immediately sewed another pair. This time I made a size medium, which is a fantastic fit (Liesl said she up-sizes too for a comfier fit--something to keep in mind if you decide to make a pair for yourself). I went very von Trapp family with this pair because I used a vintage curtain I bought at the flea market a few years back. I love the fabric and have been saving it for something special. I hesitated to use it on pajama shorts, thinking maybe I should save it for something I'll actually wear out of the house, but decided that I'll get tons of wear out of these shorts and having this fabric in my daily life will make me happy. Really, can you look at that flowery pattern and not smile? I can't. It's a riot of color, and it brings whimsy to my days. That's a pretty big feat for a humble pair of pajama shorts.

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P.S. You know I've got another pair already in the works, right? I can't stop. I'm not sure how many pairs of pajama shorts is enough, but I haven't reached my limit yet. If you'd like to make your own, I wholeheartedly recommend Liesl's free pattern and tutorial.

P.P.S. I've found my crafting has shifted with the seasons more than ever this year. Now that it's warming up, I only want to knit with fingering weight yarn, particularly linen, I've been spending evenings at the sewing machine, and I've even picked up my crochet hook and thread again. Have your habits shifted much with the seasons this year?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

carefree pajama shorts

The other day I sewed a pair of pajama shorts from a vintage sheet. The fabric is funky in a good way; it makes me feel like I just fell out of a childhood summer circa 1970. They're a pretty carefree pair of shorts, and if I were younger they would be the perfect pair to wear while riding my banana-seat bicycle around the block or maybe walking to the ice cream parlor a couple streets over. Instead, they're my new favorite pajama shorts, definitely too loud and colorful to wear in public.

The other night was a perfect spring night--warm enough to wear these shorts to sit outside and watch the stars come out, but cool enough that a cup of hot tea made a cozy companion. Summer is coming mighty fast, but I'm enjoying the spring nights while they last, soaking in the stars and mosquito-free breezes, bare-legged except for a pair of handmade pajama shorts.

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I've already got another pair cut out and ready to sew, a size medium this time. The size small fit, but I think the mediums will be comfier. If you want to make a pair of your own, pop on over to Liesl's blog for the excellent tutorial

Monday, May 5, 2014


Outside has become a taboo word around our house, to be used only when a trip outdoors is imminent. Jude clambers for the door whenever he hears the word, and it's pretty heartbreaking (for everyone involved) if we aren't indeed going outside at that very moment. Luckily we've had some beautiful spring weather and have been able to spend lots of time outdoors. 

We go for daily walks and check out our neighbors' front yard garden. They're growing strawberries, kale, beans, and other things that I can't identify yet. It's a beautiful garden with trellises, raised beds, and a flower-lined path, the kind of garden I'd love to have but know that I couldn't maintain right now. Maybe someday.

We've also been stopping by some neighborhood pocket parks. They've got wide open meadows and so many trees. The dogwoods bloomed over the last couple weeks, so everywhere we went we saw pink and white blossoms, and now the petals rain down with every gust of wind. Sometimes I forget just how much I like spring.

This morning we worked in the garden. Jude keeps himself busy carrying around clumps of dirt and rocks that he finds. I finally planted lamb's ear and pinks, and we got some zinnia and sunflower seeds in the ground. I hope they grow!

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Thanks for your suggestions on what to plant with a little one. I need to make another trip to the nursery to round out my garden plantings for the year.

What are you planting these days?



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