Being Still

Lately I’ve had the sense that I’m supposed to be more still. There are several things in my life I’m trying to get started, to make happen, to hustle into being, and time and time again it seems the answer that comes back to me is this: Wait.

And I didn’t think this would be such a problem for me. I’m Miss Introvert Homebody (that’s Mrs. Introvert Homebody to you). Being still is my jam. Nothing makes me happier than knitting and watching Netflix (the above photo is Exhibit A). When my best friend and I plan a wild Friday night, it usually includes staying home and dancing like old ladies to rap and injuring a ligament and retiring before midnight. It’s a good system.

But apparently, I’m not as good at being still as I thought. while I crave a life of stillness, I often loathe myself for being still. It feels too lazy to be peaceful, to wait. It feels like a waste. And so when I sense stillness being imposed upon me, I get belligerent. “Do you have any idea how wasteful this is?” I grumble. Instead of enjoying the rest in waiting, I do busywork to feel more accomplished. Instead of having hope that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, I drown myself in guilt for not doing more.

And so I run around in circles, doing more, trying more, and when all I try to do falls through and the message comes back, louder, JUST WAIT! I get more frustrated and more exhausted, until I don’t have energy to even do what one is supposed to do when waiting: being faithful in the little things. I’ve bought into the culture-wide lie that the little things aren’t good enough, that if I want to be successful, I must hustle! werk it! believe it dream it do it! So let me work on all that while I’m waiting!

And still the answer comes back: Wait. Busywork does not count.

And there’s really nothing to say but, “Okay.”

So I’ve been trying to focus more on the little things, the daily tasks in front of me. And oddly enough, I see some of what I’ve strived so hard to hustle into being come together on its own, just a little bit. Almost as if it’s not really up to me at all.

Almost as if all I need to do, is wait.

 

 

 

New Name, Same Face

Happy Friday! Is anyone else utterly done with this week? We’re only two weeks into the semester and I have zero motivation. Okay, perhaps five. Five motivations.

  

This week has had it’s highs, though. I cleaned out my closet and drawers, which though it might not sound fun to you, was incredibly exciting to me. 

I found this revolutionary new way to purge: Instead of going through trying to figure out what will get nixed, agonizing over each item and remembering who got it for me (and then keeping a lot of unneccesary items out of guilt), I tried a new mindset. I acted like everything I owned was at a store, unattached to any person or memory. I simply picked what I would buy. 

It made it more fun, because I love shopping and I love pretending I have money, and it helped me act decisively, picking what I really wanted and detaching sentimental feelings from the items I didn’t want.

Now my drawer is a file cabinet of blue, gray, black, and stripes. It makes me so happy. Everything matches. And I have a huge Target bag full of clothes to donate to people who will wear them, clothes that were loved while I had them, but have served their purpose and can move on to another. Minimalism for the win.

There’s another (slightly less dorky) change this week. The name of this blog has changed! I started Pins and Needles when I wanted to get into blogging but was unsure what my niche would be. I chose a sewing theme because at the time I was trying to grow a sewing business. That didn’t really materialize, but I did learn more about blogging as a writer and decided to develop my freelancing skills. I also got really obsessed with knitting. Hm.

So the Pins have become the Pens to reflect a focus on writing, and the Needles remain because I will never escape the joy of woolen stitches on a stick of bamboo. 

Have a great weekend. Purge your closets. :) 

I Will Love Winter

Almost a year ago I wrote a post called “How to Survive Winter (in Eleven Easy Steps)“. While I appreciate the sentiment in which I wrote it, I feel I’ve matured in a year, and now I am ready to tackle the monumental task of actually loving winter.

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As a kid, I loved the cold, ice, and snow of Western PA’s longest season. My winter memories are filled with snow forts and snow men, pine trees, hot cocoa and bundling up on the couch to watch Peter Rabbit. These memories have left me with a deep-seated affinity for late-90s long wool coats and fluffy hats.

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(My oldest friend and I, before any consciousness of fashion.)

Unfortunately, I’m an adult now, which means I can drive. Winter’s no fun at all when you have to drive in it. I also have a tendency to be glum when the weather’s glum. So last year’s goal to simply survive winter was an attempt to not give into seasonal despair.

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But why should half the year serve as fodder for grumpiness? Why should we automatically kick into survival mode when snow starts to fly? Unfortunately, this is the Pennsylvania way. As a Pennsylvanian, I protest. This is not doing winter justice. It’s not doing nature justice. And, if you’re inclined to take it further, it’s not doing God justice either.

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Winter is beautiful, and yesterday was the perfect winter’s day. The sky was pearly, cloudy baby blue, and the snow fell in thick clumps, blanketing the trees and rooftops. It’s the kind of weather I used to spend watching Peter Rabbit after hours of cold, flushed sled-riding. Winter, I’ve found, in all its icy, cozy, wet and slushy glory, is a part of life. If we ignore or try to simply survive giant chunks of life because we deem them less than ideal, we miss out on the incredible beauty and blessing that can be in them.

Sometimes it’s genuinely, horribly, not fun to go through a winter, whether it be literal or figurative. (find me in March; I’ll be complaining then.) But when we approach our winters with an open mind and a determined heart, we find the beauty in the cold. And at the end we appreciate the season for what it was.

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I came across a Norwegian saying in my winter studies. Norway, as you know, is much colder than Western PA in the winter, but from what I’ve seen the Norwegian people are much less grumpy about it than Pennsylvanians. They say that “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing”. It sounds trite and quirky, but it’s actually an excellent game changer. When we actively prepare for and purpose to enjoy the colder season, we find we can focus on the glittering snow and stark tree branches instead of our wet toes and frozen ears.

The Norwegians (apparently) also value community, and winter means a chance to ski or toboggan and cozily socialize with friends and family. This year I’ve started an (admittedly nerdy) knitting group in my home, and this will keep me and my friends connected while the days are dark and cold.

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(these are not the friends to which I was referring.)

If you’re interested in joining me as I re-learn to love winter, take a look at my Pinterest board (if only to reassure yourself that winter is indeed pretty). If you find something that could contribute to the cause, suggest it to me! Together we will not just survive: we will take joy

 

 

Crafterday: Crocheted Coasters

Happy weekend! I’m so excited!! :o) This week has seemed to stretch into an overly long cacophony of busyness! So now I am going to sleep in, do lunch with a friend, and catch up on some reading.

Today I wanted to share my latest project. Surprisingly enough, it is not a knit (gasp!), but a crocheted creation. Crocheting is actually my first yarn-craft. My grandma taught it to me when I was very small, but somewhere along the line I took an affinity for knitting a little bit more. Every now and then, though, it’s fun to once again explore the simplicity and beauty of crochet.

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Oh, and by the way, for those of you who do not do these things, might I have a word? Let me give you a quick tutorial on how to tell knitting and crochet apart, so that when you are in the unfortunate situation of complementing someone’s yarnery, you will not inadvertently insult them. :o) Here it is, real quick:

Is the crafter using a hook? It’s crochet.

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Is he or she using two pointy sticks (needles)? It’s knitting.

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I am so good at tutorials, aren’t I? Don’t you feel smart? I need to do this for a living. ;)

Anyway, I digress. I made these cute coasters this week with 100% cotton yarn in a beautiful burgundy color. It was my first time working with cotton yarn, and I must say I love it! It’s soft and yet so sturdy, and perfect for keeping moisture off your favorite mahogany coffee table (or other woods. Whatever).

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And guess what else is cool? I am selling them as sets of four in my Etsy shop! Head on over and check them out!

Have a happy Saturday. Stay frosty my friends!

Crafterday: Mini Knitted Christmas Trees

Hello folks! Finals are done and now I can turn my attention to Christmas, Crafting, and Creating new blog posts! :o)

Today’s lovely little craft came to me courtesy of The Twisted Yarn. This delightful blog has been a constant source of whimsical inspiration for me! So, when I saw her post on Knitted Christmas Trees, I just knew I had to give it a whirl!

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My opportunity came yesterday when I surveyed some light leafy green yarn I had and thought “hm, this would make an interesting Christmas tree!” I didn’t have much left, so I made them small (only 3 inches long) and ended up cranking out six in a day!

Each tree took about half an hour for me. It’s so easy! You simply knit a square, roll into a cone shape, add some stuffing, and sew it up! I added little red ornaments by tying loose knots in some red yarn and threading it through the tree. I love the end result!

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Interested in making your own? The possibilities are endless and they make wonderful gifts and decorations. Head over to The Twisted Yarn!

Happy weekend! :o)

Crafterday: Knitted Headwraps

Happy Saturday folks! I realized just now that my Crafterday posts feature a bunch of knitting, and I know that that might get dull. But never fear; I have some non-knitted crafts in the works! With that being said, today I want to share something knitted :o)

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I found this headwrap pattern on Pinterest, and I love how easy it is. If you can do the knit stitch, you can make this headwrap. It’s the perfect project for my busy school days because it’s simple, quick, and lovely; I made two of these this week! They make great gifts and accessories because they are so warm and stylish!

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There you have it! I definitely recommend checking out the link above. You just might find this to be your next favorite project!

Hannah

Crafterday: Purple Bluebird

Happy Saturday! Can you believe that I am actually writing a Crafterday post when I should be? Astounding!

Today’s craft is the knitted bird I made for a friend. I used the “Bluebird of Happiness” tutorial by Sarah Elizabeth Kellner on Ravelry. (Click the picture below to find it!)

(from Ravelry)

It knits up quickly and rather easily and is so cute! I’d love to make some of these as Christmas Ornaments. Say, red or green with a silver ribbon? Totes.

(And you should know that I never say totes.)

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I used a slightly wavier, fuzzier yarn for my bird. This made it tricky to deal with, (especially, knitting in the round, with all those double-pointed needles!) but it was worth it because the bird is so soft and cuddly! :)

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So there is is folks! If any of you happen to try the pattern, show me! I’d love to see your creations!

Have a happy weekend!

Hannah

Crafterday: Knitted Hedgehog!

Gosh darn it; I’m calling it Crafterday. Life is short. Use bad puns.

This week’s featured craft is the knitted hedgehog I made for my boyfriend. That’s a bit of an odd gift, I’ll give you that, and even I was surprised when he showed interest as I was showing him my Pinterest knitting board. But interested he was, and so I knitted him a hedgehog. It’s the most cuddly thing ever.

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(Again, sorry for the bad pictures. It was late in a dimly-lit coffee shop.)

The pattern I used was from The Purl Bee. (Click the link to see the pattern!) I love how easy it was. If you are a beginning knitter who isn’t opposed to learning a few new tricks, this could be a very fun pattern to get your feet wet! It knitted up quickly (I finished in less than two days), and the end product is sooo cute! ^_^ The pattern called for the same thickness (but different colors) of yarn for both face/tummy and the body, but I used what I had on hand and ended up with a thinner, lighter yarn for the face and a thicker, darker yarn for the “prickles”. I used the same size needle for both (the pattern had you switch sizes), but this made the “prickly” part more dense. I actually liked it better!

So give it a try! And if you do, show me your creations, either in the comments below or by email. I’d love to see your hedgehogs, and maybe even feature them in an upcoming Crafterday post!

Happy Saturday everyone! :o)

Hannah