Yarn Along, Turn the Pages

A bit ago, a friend gave me the words to describe myself as a knitter:  process knitter.  It was after I’d written about this shawl, how on Father’s Day I unraveled the piece as my family slept.  Yes, I was just about done but there were dropped stitches from knitting in the darkness and mistakes beyond repair.  I mourned the loss of the almost-done but knew in my heart I didn’t want to introduce this around my neck as the shawl I sort of fixed.  I wanted this to be seamless, start to finish.  I wanted to look back on knitting it with smiles instead of naughty words whispered as needles clanked together to try to fix it.  In many ways, I’m better for having unraveled the entire piece.  There’s a familiarity in the pattern which leaves my mind at ease. My fingers repeat and repeat at beachside, atop grass and in ferry lanes.  For me, this shawl is all about busy fingers, still mind.  I’m on the cusp on the 233 stitches required for the decorative, lace-patterend edging.  I want to make sure I’m at a good place when I start the end work.  We’re camping this weekend, so beachside-campside sounds pretty perfect.
The sun falls late behind our island this time of year.  The sky paints itself sherbet way past bedtime and for a while we been letting it happen, pushing back bedtime for sunset views and a few more giggles in our days.  We think of winter and her dark hours before six and it’s with those cold, dark memories we open ourselves up to letting go of looking at clocks.


Olive’s favorite book lately has been the Little Fur Family.  She recites the story, and I can say it from memory.  There’s a little bear who plays in the wild wood, where wild grass of the wild wood tickles his nose.  It’s a place where wild flowers grow throughout the wild wood, and where there’s wild wind in the air.  On a long path to a beach last month Olive asked, Mama, is this a wild wood?
So it’s only natural we would wonder if the writer/illustrator/creators of Wildwood loved Little Fur Family.
I picked up Wildwood in Portland, just down the street from where Colin Meloy lives.  He’s the lead singer of the Decemberists, a locally grown indie-folk band.  His wife, Carson Ellis, has mad illustrator skills and together they’ve created what I bet will be the next big series.  The book feels amazing in my hands, rough cut and tiny enough for the hands of a seven-year-old.


The story starts with Prue in a Portland, OR park with her one-year-old brother.  It’s rainy and the scene is familiar.  Suddenly, a murder of crows carries her brother away into the horizon, into the area referred to as the Impassible Wilderness.  There’s a bike chase scene reminiscent of E.T. and bridges and roads that in my mind lead to Mt. Tabor.  And so Prue descends into the woods where no one goes.  I don’t want to give anything else away.  Read it, but aloud to the ones you love.
I love family read aloud, I love how each one of my girls listens and asks questions about the story to make sense of it.  The girls practice making pictures with their mind and predict what will happen next. The other night, I was feeling like I’d given our five-year-old the keys to comprehension and was feeling super cool for her gettin’ it.  Lucy said, So, this is not a true life story.  This is fiction.  My heart beamed.  A few pages later, But, where do the coyotes get their uniforms?  Do they shop where we shop?  And so she goes in and out of understanding, just as our two-year-old says, But what is the baby brother doing all this time?  Let’s hope they rewrite the story from his perspective.
I just heard about Book II.  Can.  Not.  Wait.  And I’m thinking of making little felt dolls, little felt crows for a little play set to stuff in Christmas Stockings.
Oh, my dirty little secret:  I am obsessed with this children’s chapter book.  Our middle girl keeps it at her bedside.  So after our nightly chapter read alouds, I’ve downloaded it on my Kindle so I can read ahead to find out what’s going on. I mean, I’ve got to know it isn’t too scary, right?  Shh, don’t tell.  I really do know what’s going to happen when I tell my girls in each chapter, Let’s read and find out!
joining Ginny for yarn along.


  • ~ko says:

    Busy hands, calm mind 🙂 Yes, I know exactly what that feels like and to combine that with being beachside/campside sounds like complete perfection! The Little Fur Family was a childhood favorite of mine, and it's a favorite for my boys too. Thankfully my mom passed her book down to us, the cover is completely covered in “fur” and the pages are just a little “loved” 🙂 It feels like home every time I open it.

  • i'm a process knitter, too. i figure if i'm going to put that much time into something, i want it to be the best it can be, you know? and we LOVED wildwood! anxiously awaiting book 2!

  • jenletts says:

    Oh my goodness! Wildwood looks amazing! I think I'd be a tad obsessed too.

    Regarding process handwork, I used to work in a weaving studio in college and my instructor would talk of the Navaho's and their famous blankets. Each had a mistake in it because only God is perfect. Besides, no one but the maker generally sees the mistakes!

  • swanski says:

    If I know there is a mistake I undo do and redo. It is very rare that I let it go. Glad you are happy now and your at the best part-lace!!!!

  • Erin says:

    This all sounds so familiar. I too am a process knitter. If it's not right, I don't wear it. It has to be near to perfect or it's just not done. I have to read wildwood… your review made it come alive for me!

  • Lori ann says:

    dear baby,
    there are blogs you read, and then there are blogs you fall into. i loved this post so much i had to read it through two times before commenting.
    you write beautifully. that is such a gift. i felt i was nodding my head all through your knitting experiance. i am process and product knitter. i love and appreciate it all, i want to wear what i make (or hope that if it's a gift it will be worn or used as well). and even if it's perfect, nothings perfect, in knitting i believe, but i still like to try.

    thank you for reminding me of little bear in the little fur family. i have to be honest and tell you it brought tears to my eyes, it was my childrens favorite too. and especially my middle son who is moving in two weeks to nyc. sometimes reading blogs is emotional especially since i have an empty nest now…

    and wildwood. omg. oh my gosh. i wrote a review when it first came out. i LOVE the decemberists and i LOVE this book. your review was brilliant, and it made me want to read it again (while i wait too for the second installment). did you know you can download the wildwood soundtrack, well, songs that colin felt reflected the feeling of the book? the first song is ramble on by led zeppelin.
    find it here:

    thank you for a most enjoyable read dear.xxx lori

  • Lori ann says:

    p.s. i'm your newest follower. 🙂

  • knitting occupies the part of my mind that can't stay still and likes to wander – it becomes all absorbing and I stop blogging, the bare minimum of housework happens, life goes on hold while I finish the piece . Then I start it all again when I cast on something else – definately love the process , the final product just an added bonus. You might like the book “sweater quest- my year of knitting dangerously” by Adrienne martini.
    Ps love your beach photos from this weeks moment

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