The Traffic Can Wait

I sit in a car. A lot.

It is not my favorite thing to do. At all.

On good days I can lay hold of the fact that all this driving around is actually due to great blessing in my life –

*an active, healthy,  involved-in-everything teenager.

*lots of classes in neighboring towns guiding women along their fiber journeys.

*errands to procure necessary provisions for a family.

But most of the time, in-between the grumbling, huffing and occasional involuntary expletive, I’m hunkered down, eyes-to-road, thinking where-to-next?

Unless I stop.

I have drawn before (as in the above drawing), these little aberrations of sight and wonder when I happen to turn my head left, out the driver’s side window and look. I don’t do it on purpose usually. It is often with a sigh and a desire to get off this flippin’ traffic-filled road and get on with the real stuff of life, that I turn my head.

I’m not expecting this. At all. But somehow in the fog of my negative thoughts, as I’m stopped in that never-ending automotive line, I can see…

A lovely meandering line of tracks, leading from underneath the bridge I’m on, up into rolling hills where light is carving out distinct shapes on a winter-hued landscape. How I would love to hop out of the car and go. To get on that train and follow those tracks to other towns, states, see the world a bit.

I’m enchanted by the view beside me, right where I am, even as my reverie is broken both by the formidable cement railing barring my jump onto the train, but also by the honking behind me as the traffic has grown impatient with my imagined train trip.

I get back into gear and lurch froward, smiling at the gift of being forced to stop in the midst of what I loathe, and being offered a view, a spot of beauty along my daily highway.

I need to stop and look more often as I drive.

The traffic will just have to wait.

P.S. I do not sit there in traffic drawing. Although perhaps I should! 🙂  I snap a picture with my phone to draw from later, thus a second gift of insight for the day.

The Real Intent Behind an Art Show

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There are numerous reasons why artists want to have and be a part of Art Shows. One may be a very simple desire to recoup some of the cost that goes into the making of their creations. Another might be to go beyond that and actually make a profit. Some artists may wish to develop a following, extend their list of collectors. Others desire to receive favorable reviews of their technical expertise. But I have a feeling that most artists and creative folks have a desire and intent underlying all these things.

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I cannot speak for every artist. But as for me, my real intent in having an Art Show is so that you might see what I see. Regardless of whether you walk out of the show with anything in your hands, my desire is that you might get a glimpse of the beauty, joy and wonder that has been found in living an everyday life in an everyday town. Sharing what I make is not about “See what I can do”, but rather “See what I have seen”, and “Revel in the beauty that’s right under our feet.”

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(detail of larger Freeform Crochet Landscape)

Art Shows, museums, exhibits and galleries are meant to be reminders to us all that no matter how bleak life may seem, beauty still exists! If you find yourself fearful in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, weighed down with personal concerns, heavy hearted with unwelcome news…go find an art showing somewhere. Spend some time taking in how that artist sees his/her world. Let that art speak to you and remind you of what is true, good, and wise. You just might leave with a lighter step, a brighter countenance, and hope for what lies ahead.

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You Are Invited!

Jennifer Edwards

Annual Art Show & Book Signing

Saturday, November 21, 2015

4-7 pm

Southwinds Gallery

West Mountain Street. Kernersville, NC

*21 New Paintings *2 Embroidered Line Drawings *Freeform Crochet Landscape *New Card Sets *Book Signing *and more!

**NEW! Knitterly Cards and Prints!

Hip Hip Hooray!!

My Knitterly Arts ETSY Shop now has more than just patterns!

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I’m now offering cards and prints of my original watercolor artwork…drawings and paintings of all things yarn!

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Knitting Hands. 5″x5″ Matted Print. $12. Purchase here.

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Knitting Color. 5″x 5″ Matted Print. $12. Purchase here.

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Set of 6 Cards, 3 each of the above images. $14. Purchase here.

And a couple of Genevieve prints are also now available in my Knitterly Arts Shop…

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Drawn2Knit. 5″x7″ Matted Print. $15. Purchase here.

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Drawn2Crochet. 5″x7″ Matted Print. $15. Purchase here.

***More Cards & Prints with a Knitterly twist are coming soon!!

*****To celebrate this big day, I’m offering a discount code for 20% off any item in my Knitterly Arts ETSY shop: Just type in CELEBRATE, to receive your discount!

********Thanks to so many of you who are subscribing to my FREE monthly Knitterly Arts Newsletter!! Click here to sign up if you haven’t yet!

Sketch Journal Your Life in Yarn

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I have wanted to do this for a long time! Actually, I do it all the time, in separate journals, some for writing, some for drawing. But I have wanted them to be all in one sketchbook, instead of in and around all the other drawings I make on a daily basis.

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(Cover of newly begun SketchJournal for Yarn Projects)

Several months ago I attempted to designate one sketchbook for only drawings and writings about yarn projects, but then began adding in other sketches and drawings-landscapes, florals, home indoors, people and places I go. I’m determined to keep this sketchbook/journal reserved solely for drawings of my finished yarn works and write a bit around the drawings to describe each one.

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One of the things I love most about knitting is the story that gets knitted up into each piece. Things like: who is it for? why am I knitting/crocheting this? why are the specific colors chosen? Is there meaning in the stitch pattern, the color choices, the shape, the fiber, the overall piece being knitted?

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These are the things I want to preserve. Don’t you? Personally, I think every knitter should have a little book or binder somewhere to keep the patterns he/she has knitted, a bit of the actual yarn they used, any notes on how the pattern did or didn’t work, and best of all–a photograph or drawing of the finished item.

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This shawl, knitted as a commission for a friend, is a variation on Paula Emmons Fuessle’s Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. I love this pattern!!! This is my third of these shawls and I’m collecting sock yarns for another. This is quite possibly a fool-proof pattern!! No matter what leftover sock yarns (or other gauge yarns!) you have, somehow they always look super mixed and matched in one of these simple shawls.

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There’s really nothing difficult about it at all! It’s just the unbelievable amount of stitches you have by the time you get to the ruffle! But by then, you are so excited about all the color in your hands, you just keep going, high on color!!

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The final thing I want to do for this journal page is include some pieces of a few of the yarns used in it. Some of the yarns were leftovers of my socks and I used it all up. But I do have some left of the Zauberball yarn (used as the main base of colors, with the other leftovers mixed in here and there). I also have some of the shimmery yarns leftover, so I can add that on the page as well. I might punch two small holes and then thread the yarns through, tying them together. We shall see.

I’ll share more of these pages with you as I go along. There are several recently finished projects I want to add into my sketch journal…

Can’t wait!!

P.S. If you try this, PLEASE send me a pic or a leave a comment here to let me know if you are giving it a go! You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like! Just keep it fun!!

P.P.S. Did you get the word about my new FREE Knitterly Arts Newsletter?? My goal is to send it monthly (possibly more often:) to inspire you in your fiber journey…

Click Here to subscribe!

Picking Up Where I Left Off

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I’m not sure why we put some things down and leave them behind for a while. But when I return to them, it’s like a reunion of sorts. There’s “Oh I’m so glad to see you!” And things seem fresh and new and you find delight in them all over again. So it is with my poor neglected Knitterly Arts blog. And so it was with a blanket I pulled out of the place where yarny WIPS go. Oh joy! What fun! And the hooking began again in earnest, propelled this time by a desire to give it to my oldest daughter for her to take back with her after Thanksgiving weekend.

You see, I started this chevron blanket several years ago when she was in high school. I planned on giving it to her in time for her to go away to college. Meh. That didn’t happen and somewhere along the way it was tucked away. And I just pulled it out a few days before she came home for Thanksgiving this year. She is now a junior in college. Meh. Oh well. I think it still counts!!

While she was here, I kept having her hold the blanket up to her, asking her how long she wanted it to be. “Just a bit longer” mom, she said a couple of times. Yes, I’ll gladly do that to enjoy this blanket just a bit more. I was so close to the end when I packed it away…what was I thinking??

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But now she has it with her at school, keeping her warm at night or while she studies in her room. I like that thought. A little bit of me is there with her in her college world. Watching over her. Staying close. Is that a bit much to ask of a crocheted blanket? Perhaps. But I like the thought anyway.:)

And…I’ve now begun another crochet blanket! I’ll show you soon! Almost at the very moment I began to work on finishing this one, I had dreams of the colors and stitch pattern I wanted for the next one. Really and truly DREAMING of it!! Is that crazy? I do hope you do this too. For I don’t want to be the only one who is kept awake at night by thoughts of colors and yarns and stitch patterns and… Well. Meh.

I do wish I could reference for you the pattern I used for Catherine’s Chevron blanket. I know I got it out of a magazine and if I find it in future, I’ll let you know. It is a quite simple pattern, easy to follow and get into one’s head so that the pattern is long left behind and you can get into the hooking zone quite quickly. Here’s a close-up of the chevrons…aren’t they lovely?

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It truly is the season for blankets here in my southern part of the United States. I’m hoping I will finish this newly begun blanket THIS WINTER, for I fear I may put it away come spring and it will languish like this one did for who knows how long! So this is my goal! Finish the new one soon and keep up here on Knitterly Arts! I have so so many things to share with you I’ve made of late! Do stay tuned!

A Garden of Gratitude

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I’m feeling quite overwhelmed these days. The only way I can wrap my head around it is that we’re experiencing a harvest time in our family. With the goodness of a harvest, comes a lot of activity. It’s all good. But wow. It’s a lot.

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I’ve been moved and delighted by the response to Genevieve and the Kite. A few of you have already gotten your copies (I’m still waiting on my BIG box to land on my front stoop!:) and your comments have been so encouraging to me. Thank you. All of you, really and truly…thank you!  If you are so inclined, I would love for you to submit a simple review of the book on Amazon. You’ll see the words “customer review” highlighted in blue. Click on that and you can submit your thoughts on the book. That would be awesome! Thank you in advance! 🙂

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Another thing growing in our Garden is an EP of six original songs and retuned hymns, titled Songs of Grace, by three incredible musicians in our church. One of these guys is the fella who lets kids throw pies at him. 🙂 He’s pretty special to me.  Every time I listen to this CD, I’m amazed at his voice and all the talent these men have.  If you enjoy worship music, click here to go the BandCamp site where you can stream and listen (free!) to the songs, and/or purchase the digital downloads for so cheap! Also available there for free are the lead sheets to the music so that you or your church can incorporate these tunes into your worship experience. It truly is beautiful music.

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And…our son. Goodness me. As if the above two weren’t enough, our son William’s EP of original songs came out last week as well! We have watched (and listened) to him bloom into an amazing musician/singer songwriter. With the help and expertise of Michael Kuehn, a friend in our church and one of the guys featured on the Songs of Grace CD mentioned above, William was able to record six of his own songs and compile them onto a CD. When he asked me for artwork for the cover, I was happy to oblige. 🙂  (If I type any more of these smiley faces, it’s gonna be obnoxious!)  William plays guitar, banjo, and harmonica and sings, while Michael has added numerous other instruments to make for a marvelous listen. Randy and I are so proud of and excited for our 16 year old boy.

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Whew. Harvest time for a farming family is the busiest time of year. And the above three things are only just a few of the things going on in our family. Our oldest just performed in her Fall Concert at Wingate University and will be performing in the their fall opera in just a few weeks. And the JDRF Walk is coming up for Maddie and I.  Once again, we have been overwhelmed by your generosity in giving on her behalf for this wonderful organization. We can’t wait to walk on Saturday October 26th to represent Maddie and all of you who have supported her in finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes!!

I feel a bit like I’ve got the Kite by the tail and I’m soaring off into some pretty lovely, but unknown realms.  Thank you to all of you, dear readers, for your cheers, your encouragements in comments, your thoughts and prayers. We, the Edwards family, are so blessed by you!

P.S. The above watercolor is a recent sketch from the Ciener Botanical Gardens. In the midst of all that’s been happening, the Gardens are a lovely respite to the “fullness” of my life. Can you stand one more smiley face? 🙂

Birthday Reflections

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I awoke this morning, July 29th, to this image in my head. (Click on image to enlarge). Drawing it out onto the page has been good to start the day remembering just how lovely this life is that I’ve been granted. Sure, there have been difficult things to live through. Definitely there have been mundane, slog-it-out days. But as I’ve drawn the lines of my life over the past several years, I’ve been able to see that the lines have fallen in pleasant places.

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You see, it is through sketching and drawing my life that I’ve come to see the Grand Adventure of my life.  In June, as I reflected on my upcoming birthday, the above thought struck me. Can it be that we spend so much of our lives wanting to go on adventures that elude us, all the while living the Grandest Adventure of all? What will it take for us to finally realize this? I’m grateful that drawing has opened my eyes to the adventure of each and every moment. Perhaps it will for you too!

On this, my 48th birthday, I’m looking forward to what adventures lie ahead. Even as I type that, I tremble a bit. I know they won’t all be easy or fun adventures. Some will be agonizingly difficult and painful. But as long as I’m walking through them hand in hand with My Maker, while the other hand draws the lines, I’ll be okay. Won’t you join me?  Draw Your Life and let’s discover together the Grand Adventure we’ve been waiting for.

**sorry about the poor quality photos of these two pages…morning light is dreadful for photographing anything! But I just had to get this out to you, and then be off on my adventure filled birthday! Wheeee!!!

Bootie Love!

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There are so many fabulous baby bootie patterns available, that I get dizzy just trying to decide which one to make! When we have friends who are getting ready to have a little one, I love knitting or crocheting a pair of booties as a gift. Hmmm…should I crochet a pair of these as I’ve done before?  Or maybe I could try these or these or even this pair!

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So I loaded up my small project bag a friend quilted for me, and off I went…

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For the expected girl baby, I decided to go with a favorite knit pattern of mine. I got this from Susan B. Anderson’s blog a couple of years ago. I don’t see it now. But it’s a wonderfully simple origami-like pattern.

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For the expected boy baby, I found this pattern and fell in love! Crocheted in one piece, they could not have been easier! I loved the name of them: Elfin Baby Booties created by JoAnn Moser, otherwise known as the DIY Maven. I can’t wait to make another pair for a girl, perhaps in pink or orange!

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I even enjoy packaging them and giving one my Genevieve cards to celebrate with the parents. Gift making and giving is such a pleasure!

I also find pleasure in the structure of these little booties. I love figuring out how they’re constructed, how the shape is formed, and how the stitches bring about this overall shape. It’s fascinating to me. Maybe I’m nuts. They’re like little sculptures made out of yarn. I like that.:)

BTW…many of the above photos are Instagrammed. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, click here! Thanks as always for visiting this little patch of blogarden to see what’s growing here! I really do appreciate it!!

**AND…how DO you spell Tah-Dah? Is it Ta-Dah? or Ta-Da? Or…. Crikey!

Lovely at the End of the Lane

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Many of you know that I love to walk. Prior to my illness and surgery, I walked several times a week, 3-5 miles in and around my neighborhood. The first day I was home from the hospital, the outdoors called to me. But I was only able to make it to the stop sign at the corner of our property. 🙁

But each day I would try to walk a bit further. Hunched over and shuffling, I just didn’t care how feeble I looked. I took my husband or a friend with me, and breathed in the fresh air, drank in the lingering spring, enjoying moving my legs.

The last two days, I have ventured up to Silver Dapple Lane. My favorite lane in the whole world. My neighbor and I have gone down and back twice. And today, I even made it three times! Progress indeed! The lane is lined with wildflowers, especially over in Mr. Whicker’s field. At the end of the lane is the best view ever! One of Mr. Whicker’s pastures for his cows is burgeoning with buttercups! It looks positively dreamy!

So I came home today and tried to capture that dreamy field on paper with watercolor. I don’t know that I got it exactly…but it’s enough to remind me of this morning…a gift to start my day.

 

Not Enough Daffodils

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Before I landed in the hospital, colitis had progressed to where my everyday life was pretty miserable. I was rapidly losing strength and weight, due to 15-20 visits to the bathroom a day. I couldn’t go anywhere. And I couldn’t find the energy to do even the simplest of things, like make dinner for my family.

Several women in our church, sweet friends of mine, made a meal for my family. It was such a huge blessing to have dinner provided and not have to muster the energy to make it.  I got it in my head one day, that I wanted to do something to thank them for their generosity.

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A favorite blog of mine is Attic 24, whose author Lucy, is all about crochet! She had just posted a tutorial to make a wonderful crocheted daffodil. Though she was using the daffodils for a wreath, she also showed the pin option, and I knew this would be a fun gift for my friends who had made food for us.

You have to know, that all along the way, I kept thinking “I’m going to be better soon! I’m going to be better soon!” I had received the diagnosis, Ulcerative Colitis, and all the medications that were supposed to make me better.  I just wasn’t improving. But I held out hope. Making these little daffodil pins were part of that hope. In between runs to the bathroom, crocheting offered a distraction from how I was feeling, and gave me something to focus on. I could lounge in a chair and make something simple. Creativity is a wonderful gift when you’re sick.

When I had to go to the hospital for more potent meds to stop the colitis and to arrest my dehydration and lack of nutrition, the meals kept coming in for my family. It was so amazing. But I was unable to keep track of who all was bringing a meal OR to even make the daffodils. There comes a time when it becomes impossible to properly thank those who are selflessly giving of their time and lives to help.  This is all part of the lavish grace of God…you can’t repay it, you can’t thank Him enough for it, and will never be able to give thanks in equal measure to the outpouring of mercy you have received.

I am a recipient of grace and mercy.  Lavish, generous, overwhelming grace for which there is nothing to do but to cheerfully receive with gratitude!