Happiness is Handmade…
…at least it is for me. This may sound a little like a greeting card sentiment to some folks, but for me, it is a fairly accurate summarization of my worldview. Believe me, I still spend plenty of time shopping. Don’t trust me in a yarn store or bookstore with any extra money or a debit card. My willpower may not withstand the challenge.
That being said, for me, making things is far more than a hobby. There is something indefinable but soul-satisfying about making things rather than buying them. Whether it is cooking spaghetti sauce from scratch rather than buying it (not judging people who love their store-bought spaghetti sauce) or knitting socks rather than buying a pack of 6 pairs at the store. Ok, I may get slightly judgy there, not because someone can’t knit socks, but if they teasingly tell me how cheaply I can buy socks instead of making them, in my head, they are instantly identified as not knit worthy. I’ll give them some strawberry jam instead.
I like being more directly involved in the things that I use in my daily life. I feel it makes me more appreciative of the skill, work, and time that goes into them. I’m far less wasteful of food I’ve grown myself or an item I have made. I recently misplaced a favorite project bag that I had sewn (see the bag in Sew…..how’s it going?) and went crazy trying to find it. After a couple of weeks passed my son pulled it from deep within the black hole of the couch when he was looking for his phone. I screamed ecstatically! I don’t think I would do that over a bag I had picked up at a store. So, yes, making things makes me creative, resourceful, less wasteful and consumeristic and it makes me very, very happy.
So this past week when I gave my daughter some hand knit, personally designed socks for her birthday and a dozen fresh eggs from my chickens, I was just as happy as she was.
I’ve definitely been bitten by the sock knitting bug. Almost the minute the birthday socks were cast off, I was deciding on the next pair I was going to make. I have cast on the Flying North sock pattern, designed by the clever and creative Maria Montzka of the Stitched in Sweden podcast. I decided on some Malabrigo yarn I had in my stash that I have been wanting to use for some time. It’s a beautiful autumnal colorway and although I’m only about two inches into this pair, I’m already in love with how they are knitting up. They are too small to show off yet, but I will include a picture of my progress next week.
I’ve also been working making my squares for my Coziest Memories Blanket, a pattern written by Kemper Ray of the Junkyarn podcast. (Yes, I do love knitting podcasts and can lose large amounts of time watching them. ) I have, of course, been using the leftover yarn from the socks I’ve been making, but I have found that after I have created a square, I still have a fair bit of yarn left. I will probably do some additional squares, but I have also decided to do a journal scarf or cowl, with some of the bits of yarn. That is a project that will be completed more quickly I feel and, with any luck, I will have it ready to wear by the time cool weather returns.
Speaking of weather, ours has been beautiful lately and at long last, we are making some progress on some of our homesteading projects. My husband works full time and I work away from home part-time, so we have to do what we can when we can. This past week we both had a day at home together and so declared a Homesteading Day. This meant we just tackled as much as we could of projects that had been waiting and waiting and…
The old well-house that we have converted into a microbarn for our chickens and rabbits got a thorough reorganizing. We (finally!!!) began getting seeds in the ground. I thought this would have been done weeks ago and the ground was prepared, but the weather just would not permit it. Perhaps I am just overeager. Maybe 🙂
We also cleaned up the lavender bed and mulched it. And now that the chicken fence has been moved, I have my eye on the herb garden spot with a shovel in my hand and a glint in my eye. I want to get that done quickly because this weekend is the annual Master Gardener plant sale, a local event, and held literally across the road from me. I already have the veggie seeds I ordered either in the ground or about to be, but I still pick up some herbs from this sale every year and I’m ready to get my herbal juju going. Next year I hope to have a spot set up to start my own seeds indoors. I have love and respect for the Master Gardener event, but this is just one more thing I want to start doing myself.
One thing that happens when we are outside working is, that for every project we are working on, I start thinking of 6 more I want to do. Something about getting rolling on a project makes me eager for all the other things I want to do. I have had to learn to pace myself on this. For example, I have two sets of circular needles that I use for my sock knitting and I sternly restrain myself from getting more. This way I am limited to only two pairs of socks on the needles at a time rather than the dozen that might otherwise be scattered around my house.
For my final thoughts today I want to give a mini film review.
Once I became interested in homesteading and began reading and researching on the subject, it wasn’t long at all before I came across the name Wendell Berry. He is a well-known writer and poet who is a strong voice for the ideas of stewardship of the earth we live on. He is a man who was ahead of his time in his recognition of the dangers of some of the changes being made in the name of progress and profit.
A screening of the film Look and See was held at my local library. I can highly recommend this film as a bittersweet look farming and the changes that have happened in the US specifically and the impact it has had. Fortunately, this film is on Netflix right now, I hope you’ll take a look.
My wish for you this week is to find some time to make yourself some happy.
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