A few weeks ago I got an email from the Sow’s Ear knitting cafe that they were having a special evening with Clara Parkes and Meg Swanson for a book release, reading and signing for Clara’s latest book A Stash of One’s Own. This is about two hours from where I live, but it’s Madison and it’s a cool place to visit so we made arrangements for our two older daughters to stay with my parents and took our little guy Ethan with us. He was the perfect travel companion along with my supportive and awesome husband. Here he is at the cafe.
Such a sweetie!!! 💙💙💙
I attended the event by myself and didn’t know what to expect. That being said, everything about it was perfection.
Meg read her excerpt from the book:
I got my book signed by both, chatted briefly, bought a skein of yarn that made me think of my daughter, Lily then went back to the hotel and crashed. It was worth the drive and my heart was full.
I’ve been working the same job for five years. A part of me loves it and a part of me has changed passions. When I first started working here (we’ll leave the where private) I had an adorable 18 month old toddler, Lily, and was a single mom trying to stay true to my passion of helping people and supporting my tiny family. A couple years later I was married and had Evynne (pronounced Evan, Evie for short), and 22 months after she arrived, Ethan was born. My life is fuller and busier and more amazing than I ever thought it could be. I started knitting when I was pregnant with Evie and although I was super confused and clumsy at first, I had this image of myself being a “knitter” and I was hooked on the beauty of wool and needles in my hands.
I got into graduate school while pregnant with Ethan and absolutely loved the one class I took, but decided I could not work fulltime, have three kids, a husband and so many other interests (knitting!) and function properly. As an introvert I require quite a bit of downtime to recharge after working with people and then my kids all day, and I decided to shelf the master’s program indefinitely.
It was a couple of months ago when I had an honest moment with myself. What would my “dream job” be? What kind of work could I do that spoke to me and brought me to life? At my core it all made sense when I let myself dream of owning a knitting shop. Some place with creaky hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, potted plants and gorgeous displays of yarn wall to wall … and a giant wooden work table for classes and events. Ever since that day of my dream taking form in my mind, my knitting has so much more purpose. I feel like I know who I am and where I am going. Even if I never actually have the keys to my own yarn store, the dream itself has made me feel more grounded and whole.
I know I need to work on technical aspects of knitting and push my knowledge and skills, but all of that is a labor of pure love. I feel privileged and blessed every time I pick up my needles and work on a project. I feel like I have also become more of a “student” of this craft and have immersed myself in books (both hard copy and Audible) about knitting, sheep, alpacas, dyeing and spinning yarn, etc. I created a knitting-only gmail account to sign up for newsletters from knitting designers, writers and teachers and it seems like every day my eyes are opened a little wider to this fantastic, gorgeous world of knitting. Similar to how it felt when I met my husband, Chris, and had my three kids, I feel home.
Here is one of my favorite places to sit and knit, our screened in front porch.
I travel all around Northeast Wisconsin for work and if I get some spare time while on the road, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit a yarn store. In this case, a woolen mill and yarn store. Hidden Valley is true to its title – there’s just a small sign on the side of the road indicating you’re there.
I just happened to arrive on a day when the staff was at a wool festival and took just about every skein of yarn. This did save me some money, but I was disappointed. The farm has several pastures for the sheep to roam and they sell meat and yarn from their two story barn. Their mill includes this machine from the early 1900’s – it is still running and spins their yarn.
Although I didn’t get to make any purchases, these hides were impressive to touch.
My drive home was gorgeous. The storm blew over and I got to enjoy the landscape.
Overall, a really great day.