Happy Valentine's Day!

The Stratfords got crafty!

We blatently ripped this idea off of Design Mom from last year, and they came out so well (and were so easy!) we might do them every year from here on out.


The Scarf

I meant to do this post in December. But really, the fact that I got anything done in December, with all the Christmas madness, is remarkable. I spend January shoveling (post forthcoming). So I'm spending an icy Groundhog day doing what I should have done 2 months ago!

A year ago November, I was in a really bad place. My dad had just died. My youngest son was diagnosed as autistic (PDD-NOS) and I was barely surviving the constant feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety, grief... you can imagine. I wasn't functioning well.

I was talking to a lovely mom of one of Scout's friends, who has since become a dear friend of mine, and we were talking knitting. Barbara is an amazing knitter. Knitress? Whatever. She was wearing a very chic chevron striped scarf that was long and narrow and so cool. I admired it, and she encouraged me to knit one... even though I haven't knit much since my days as a Girl Scout, when I learned to knit for a badge.

She went one step further than encourage me... a few days later she dropped off a set needles, the pattern, and about 10 rows already knit to get me started. She suggested I could practice with her leftover yarn until I was ready to buy my own yarn. I was encouraged just enough to start, and found it soothing. I bought some yarn and on our long annual drive to DC for Thanksgiving, I was on my way... knitting a scarf that I planned to give my mom for Christmas that year. [Ironically my friend Barbara learned shortly after Thanksgiving that she had breast cancer, and she has spent the past year kicking its a**!].

Knitting that scarf took me a full year. I would work on it slowly, put it away for a month or so, pick it back up. It was hard. I made a ton of mistakes, and had to pull it out and reknit it. You get the point. I drug that thing all over the place with me. I finally finished it almost exactly 1 year later. Barbara blocked it for me and I mailed it out to my mom, 1 year late!

I still had two half skeins of the very expensive yarn left, so I decided to knit another one. I could not believe how much easier it was the 2nd time. I got nearly 1/4 finished by the end of Thanksgiving break, only to discover that it was impossible to buy more of the yarn in the same colors, so I pulled it out and started a new pattern.

The thing is, I couldn't get past the parallels to the scarf and my own life. Last year was so hard. And getting through it seemed to take forever. I made mistakes; I had to do things differently and start over a few times. But as this new year begins, I'm realizing that this year is going to be like the 2nd scarf. A lot easier. Not easy by a long shot, but easier than the year before. I know what I'm doing now... or know MORE of what I'm doing. I'm slowly but surely figuring out Crosby... and he is making slow but steady progress. I miss my dad like crazy, but I am able to remember him now without constantly thinking about the painful end he endured. I was so worried about my mom and how she would cope... she has surpassed all our expectations in the many ways she has navigated this year. She is a rock. I'm so thankful that last year is finished (and the scarf is finished too!) and am hoping this year will be better for us all.

And I'm proud of myself for finishing the scarf!