Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Dog Is Onto Something

mechita char3char mechita2

At night, the dog begs her way up onto the couch and sets her mouth on a little fleece pillow covered with cartoon Yodas. At times, her needs are straightforward: feed the dog at nine and six, let the dog out every four hours or so, make sure the dog has water before putting her to bed. Other times, her needs are more complex, almost human in their ambiguity: the time she takes to sniff around the yard, snapping dandelions off their stalks with winking teeth; the nights when she paces the floor and stops to press her nose into the crook of my thumb, only to turn away a moment later, unsatisfied. All of the unassailable, wordless needs of her tiny doggie heart.

At these moments, I wonder if her adolescent bewilderment is somewhat like my own.

Lately I've been struggling with the twin hydras of art and worth. When you make the one, does the other follow? Does the first contain the second, nested in its core like a matryoshka, or do you find yourself twisting the final doll open to find nothing inside but empty air? And at the end of it all, why does it feel like the measured worth of a job well done is as mysterious and changeable as currency?

I hope the answer is kinder than I believe it is, on my darker days. I hope that worth is something like the smack of air in your lungs on a cool spring day when you're walking across the freeway overpass and the wind starts to blow. I hope that it's something like the the feeling of dancing with your puppy on the kitchen floor while your husband is out of town, when she is looking at you with her mouth pulled up in a pointy little smile and her tongue is flapping like a ribbon and suddenly you feel so joyful you could shout.

I can only hope that much is true. I think the dog does.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Pattern Release: Lelia Mitts

Lelia Mitts (Release Front))

On Christmas day, 1899, my great-grandmother Lelia Rieth was given a book of poetry by her father. It's a beautiful volume: the cover brown and textured, the title and spine embossed with flourishes, the edges of each page leafed in gold. My grandfather passed it on to me on my twelfth birthday, my name inscribed in his blocky engineer's handwriting below Lelia's. The dates between us spanning an entire century.

I never met my great-grandmother, but through that book and through stories of her life, I felt like I knew her. Even her name sounded singularly beautiful to me, not only because of its pleasing cadence, but also because of the strength of the person she was: her creative spirit, her resilience, her optimism.

Lelia, abandoned by her husband to raise her children alone during the Great Depression. Lelia, mother of two boys who went to war, and only one who came back. And yet, still: Lelia who sang opera. Lelia who painted. Lelia, who kept a book of Longfellow given to her by her Papa for her whole life.

Lelia, who looked at the world through eyes the color of mine.

And so, these are for her.

lelia5 Lelia Mitts (Release Back)

The pattern is available for download for $5.00, or you can check out the details on Ravelry on the Lelia pattern page.

Big thanks to my test knitter and tech editor, and to everyone who has shared their kind words about this design both in person and online. This one has been in my noggin for a long time, and I'm so happy to be able to share it with you! <3

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Two Hats: The Same, But Different

sweetpea3 magiccreek7magiccreek2 sweetpea

These two hats - both recently knitted, finished, and photographed - illustrate a split in my recent style of dress. On one hand, you have the ├╝ber-feminine retro princess; on the other, you have the goofy, neon, punk-pop badass. Like an obnoxious baby of equal parts Megan Draper and Avril Lavigne.

Lately, I like to think that I channel both of these things to some degree. It's a part of being a human with a particular identity that I hadn't thought about much before now: that any given day, you might feel more one thing than the other; that it's okay to claim each as your own, and yet also express them differently (or not at all!) depending on how you feel at that moment.

Sometimes as I designer I put this pressure on myself to be one definable thing all the time - so that I might be more easily recognizable, maybe? - but at the end of the day, I enjoy the breathing room of not choosing. Some days I want to look soft and approachable, to wear pink and high heels and smile all the time. Some days I want to look like a neon sign that looks cool but also like it might fall on your head if you walk underneath it (but mostly in a friendly way?)

Is it possible to be strong and awesome and no-bullshit but also approachable and fun and nice? 'Cause gosh, I want to be that.

Oh well. Here's some hats.

Sweet Pea Cairn - more details on Ravelry here.
Magic Creek - more details on Ravelry here.

Happy Thursday, friends!

(I promise I will never be a neon sign that falls on your head. I was just kidding. Please don't run away.)