Around here lately...

Since it's been quiet here on the website, I thought I'd update you on what's been going on at KnitOasis HQ. 

Plans have been mulled for workshops and retreats, socks have been finished, swatches for new projects have been knit and re-knit. The hubby and I took a couple of lovely days off for our anniversary and went to watch sunsets at a lake.

Another year of homeschooling finished for one kid brought the realization that he only has two more years of this before I will retire my title of Homeschool Mom. When that happens I will have performed that job with varying measures of success for 18 years, and leave that position with no severance and no future prospects for a job in the same field. This may be the point where some would think of forming a union...

With the help of an awesome friend I conducted a very fun indigo dyeing demo at the Georgetown County Museum, during which I dyed, among other things, a hank of wool a gorgeous blue to use at a later date (neck warmer? hat?).

I had some minor surgery which kept me from doing much besides knitting for a couple of weeks. Well, that and watching a lot of movies and TV programs based on Victorian literature.

Then, just as I was returning to normal, it rained a lot at our house and the storm drains backed up and our house flooded again. It was not as bad as last time, but it was a pretty sad thing to watch your pretty, 6-month old flooring get removed and thrown out because it was ruined by floodwater. We didn't lose walls or contents, only floors and baseboards, so despite the mess and inconvenience we are able to live in our home while we wait for new floors and some storm drain maintenance.

In the meantime...classes, events (Charleston Knit in Public Day!) and knitting will continue. We picked out some lovely floors that will, we hope, get installed before the summer is over and last for many, many years to come.

Stay tuned for pics of restoration and new fun knitting patterns, since it seems need to do both simultaneously. Again.

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Do the next thing

Yesterday I finally managed to (somewhat) organize my office. Today, as if by magic, I now feel like writing again!

Surviving a natural disaster is as life-changing as you've heard everyone say it is. For several weeks over the last 4 months I even questioned THIS. Should I keep teaching? Should I keep writing about knitting? Should I just go find a hostess job at one of my favorite restaurants instead? I gotta tell ya, it can get pretty lonely around here while waiting around for contractors to show up, or watching them rip the doors out by the frames, leaving more mess to clean up in the process of finally tackling the last really big replacement job. My life has revolved around putting the house back together, a job I did not sign up for!

So what happens then, once they miraculously return and finish the 5 little, but messy, jobs that remain for them to do? Then I clean out the garage (again). I find the boxes (still packed) of stuff that goes on the walls, and decide what gets hung back up and what doesn't. I clear enough room in the garage to stain and finish five pieces of furniture (what was I thinking??) so I can unpack the last of the books/photo albums/knitting notebooks. I send hubby downtown to Port City Glass to have them put in a replacement for the glass that got shattered on our (sort of) antique China hutch when it was being evacuated to dry ground back in October. I call back the floor guys to redo the trim around the fireplace that snags us if we walk by in socks (handknitted ones, even!).

In short, I will...


Years ago I read this advice somewhere and it has helped me greatly. I can easily become immobilized when faced with bigger than normal challenges. When I can't figure out how to get through the next month, it helps to focus on getting through the next week. Or the next day. Or the next hour. To just do the next thing.

In doing the next thing, over and over, I have managed to regain a sense of equilibrium and focus. I have found again the joy in my job that was sadly missing for a while. I have accomplished much by doing the next thing.

I've spent this week getting ready to teach at the SC Knitting Guild's annual Knit Inn, and while there are some knitting samples that have been lost since the flood (and may turn up the week after I no longer need them), it has felt good.

When challenges come in life, and they will, remember to do the next thing and then the next and then the next. Before you know it, you will have survived and when you come up for air, you'll have something to show for all your struggle.


I'll be teaching stranded Fair Isle this weekend--featuring the Mr. Deeds hat, worn here by my beautiful daughter. Dog was indeed spoiled in the taking of this picture.

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Happy New Year!


I can tell by the fact that my 2015 wall calendar is all used up that a New Year is upon us. For the first time in a very long time, as I set goals for the new year, they did not include a specific list of knitting plans. I'll be honest--this freaked me out a bit.  Then I had a nice long chat with a very wise man (my hubby, who has now officially survived two natural disasters: Hurricane Hugo and the Thousand Year Flood). He told me that it's normal to go through what we did and find yourself taking stock of your life in unexpected ways. That, combined with the unsure life of a family rebuilding their home, can make it almost impossible to see very far ahead. Take this week for example: I made out a schedule that would enable my homeschooler to get back to his studies and my other teen to get back to her work and dance classes, fitting in things like cleaning and grocery runs around sharing a vehicle and getting people where they needed to be and still making it to Monday Morning Knitters. Sounds good of course until you throw in a work crew measuring to replace flood-damaged doors and (hopefully) painting all the new baseboards (which means moving all the stuff we have been so diligently organizing to make our home, well, organized). I can't even begin to describe how hard it is to concentrate with the possibility of a work crew, much less the actuality of one.

So here I sit, first week of January, trying to be "normal" when, 3 months now since the flood, "normal" is still not something we can readily lay our hands on (like the yarn bowl and the ironing board, which were missing for 10 weeks).  I can't really give you a bullet point list of What I Plan to Accomplish This Year for KnitOasis. Y'all, I'm not even sure I'll be able to finish cooking dinner today! What I can give you is this: a rough idea, my hopes, what might happen if they can finish installing the kitchen cabinets by the end of the month...

Classes--I promised some folks a Beginning Knit and an Intarsia, and the rough plan for this will be February, after I have taught at the SC Knitting Guild's Knit Inn, of course!

Charity blanket sew-up party--Hoping for February, and might have to have more than one. We have a lot of squares to sew together! Yay!

Indigo--Between the wacky weather and the half-finished home, this workshop has been put off for months, so it won't mind being put off again for a bit. After all, one of the lessons of indigo is patience....

Knitting Patterns--I have a new blanket pattern I'm working on, plus a few things I want to send to yarn companies, and a seemingly endless supply of ideas. I really enjoyed coming up with new afghan blocks last year, so I might see what I can do along that line again. And of course, I want to design a new Red Scarf Project scarf.

As you can see, it's not a tidy list, it doesn't ooze confidence and it won't make a Buzzfeed Knitting Resolutions Top 10. But, you know what? If knitting has taught me anything it's that we all get there at our own pace. Sometimes we have to go easy on people and let go of expectations we might have had to see things turn out a certain way, and very often those "people" are us.

So Happy New Year, knitting friends! Thanks for being along for the journey. You make the world a better place, and that is no small accomplishment!

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When life REALLY gets in the way...

For years I've been encouraging my students and fellow knitters to knit a little bit every day, no matter what is going on in life. I have lived by this motto through tough times, through busy times, through boring days and days with a little too much excitement. I will continue to live by this for years to come, and I will continue to encourage other knitters to do the same. Here's why:

flood pic.JPG

On Saturday night, October 3, we had a bit of trouble at our house. Despite being a mile from the beautiful Ashley River, our house flooded with water that came from the opposite direction. It came fast and hard and by the time it had stopped rising, we had 3-4" inches of brown water in every room of our one-story house. Now, weeks later, the shock is just wearing off. It's difficult to look at the photos of the night our lives were changed by the "1000 year flood." The pic above is of our driveway and the tree next to it, and no, we don't usually have waterfront property.

As we await having our house rebuilt (when you go through a flood, they rip out your floors and at least 4 feet of wall in every room. It's not pretty.), we are beyond grateful to have so many friends who have come forward to help with a place to stay, with food, with gift cards, cash, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, help packing....the list is endless.

For several days after the flood I couldn't bring myself to knit; I was just so overwhelmed with all that was going on. When I finally managed to pick up the needles again to knit for a few minutes, it was nice to be doing something that felt somewhat normal, because normal had been in short supply for a long time. I even bought yarn to make "displacement socks"--KnitPicks Stroll Tonal in Canopy. I love sock knitting.


I was also able to follow through with the Felted Bag Workshop I had been planning. We needed a new venue and I changed the menu a bit (home cooking needs, well, a home!) but it was so nice to spend time with some friends, to knit and to feel normal. It has also spurred a knit-a-long (a race, actually) between some of us working on the project, which is fun. The act of doing something, something meditative, constructive, and enjoyable, has been so healing for me.

Eventually life will again have the rhythm and routines that gave us meaning and structure and purpose. I am told it will be a lovely thing to have a "new" house, but I'm having a hard time coming to grips with that, since honestly, I liked the "old" one. We are diverting ourselves as best we can, staying busy with looking for contractors and deciding on paint colors and trying to remember which of our friends ended up with the box of books that had been on the bedside table...

And I am knitting. Sometimes with friends, sometimes with Hulu (currently working through "Whitechapel"), and sometimes in the car while riding back and forth to our house to check on the progress of ours lives being put back together---but knitting is happening and knitting is helping. Everyday.


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