Thursday, October 31, 2013

When Interest Fades

When Interest Fades

We gather simple pleasures like daisies along the way. 
                                                               Louisa May Alcott

     As soon as the air took on the chill of autumn a certain squirrel took on the habit of hopping passed the window. The Lady-of-the-House couldn’t distinguish what it carried in its mouth. Sometimes the food was an untraditional green. Anyway, she was entertained as she washed the dishes.

     Nutritious nuts are buried by squirrels. Enthusiasm gets buried, too. This is understandable. Busy homemakers and home teachers hoard ideas for another time because the day’s demands are varied. The hours seem short.

     All is not lost, however. Enthusiasm can be revived. You can uncover enthusiasm where you left it.  Dig it up. Take a few bites. You can be, once again, fed by the kind of thing that once struck your fancy. 

     Recently, the Lady-of-the-House enjoyed making and sending a card to her son’s nurse. It was on her mind for a week. It isn’t often that she takes out the basket of rubber stamps. Once in a while she has a craving to color. And she likes to make cheery things. Such seeds to color must have been sown way back in her coloring-book days - again, in the early days of home teaching.

     Creative stamping eludes the Lady-of-the-House. Perhaps she lacks confidence for arrangements and trimmings. Anyway, she is happy enough with:  stamp and color.

     The stamp she chose depicts an autumn illustration by Tasha Tudor. She bought what the seller had, ten years ago in a shop in Maine – a small collection, actually. She is glad she splurged then, as stamps are less available now.

“[Laura] was knitting [Manly] a whole long-sleeved undershirt of fine, soft, Shetland wool yarn for a Christmas surprise. It was difficult to keep it hidden from him and get it finished . . .” Laura Ingalls Wilder, The First Four Years

     A faded interest in knitting left every needle untouched for most of the summer. Until . . . the Lady-of-the-House felt a chill in the air . . . and . . . she spied some yarn at Landis Valley. She swooned over all the colors, secretly. After making the painstaking decision, she chose two. The wool is sheared, dyed and spun locally.

     She knit a raspberry cap, a pair of socks and mittens - each from a separate pattern. Because she was able to use the same yarn it ended up making a set – a gift for a two-year-old.

     Has your enthusiasm been sleepy?  Perhaps an idea from a coffee table book out of the library - or the simple pleasure of a leafy, leisure stroll outdoors - for instance - might clear the air and awaken a personal interest.


     Easy-to-read-at-night, the Lady-of-the-House fed her soul with The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Have you read it? When she got to page 85 she scribbled down the knitting quote. Hope, persistence, hard work, and love “runneth over” its pages. 

Post Script - Knitting Lingo

      I doubled the size of the pattern’s bumps on the raspberry hat. In the heel of the sock I changed all the K2TogTBL to SSK. I prefer a SSK decrease. It gives a smoother appearance. I also continued the ribbing along the top of the sock for a more elastic fit. Did I do any tweaking to my trusty plain and oft-referred-to mitten pattern? Yes. I improvised with “little shells” edging. I couldn’t wait to try it on something so why not a cuff? I had to rip out the “little shells” and start over a couple of times before I was happy with it. Now I wish I had put this edging on the socks, too.
     The roses are from my daughter Yolanda's garden.

Hope you had a cheery visit,
Karen Andreola 


  1. Greetings Dear Karen,
    Such lovely knitting. I love the vibrant and lively colors:-) I, too, picked up the needles again as soon as the chill set in. It's so pleasant to knit by the woodstove. I have been having health issues for a couple of months and have been away mostly from blogland,but hope to visit more often and write more too.

  2. I did have a cheery visit. Thank you for giving hope for some lost enthusiasm to be revived. Your knitting and creativity is lovely.

  3. Karen, I've been reviving my interest in weaving lately. No projects done but getting my enthusiasm and confidence up to get something going. Such a sweet knitted set you made for a fortunate little always spark my interest in knitting. I have recently made a little girl's hat too.
    Sue R.

  4. The fall chill always revives my enthusiasm for more focused hospitality. I have a simmering quilting project and two ruffled scarves to knit before Christmas.

    My most pressing project at the moment is a son who is suffering from Strep. He managed to drive home late Tuesday evening from college, and is still with us. The poor kid is fairly miserable.

    I like how a lovely book can revive waning enthusiasm!


  5. Dear Karen,
    What a lovely post! I love(!!!!) your card that you made for Nigel's nurse. I have some Holly Pond Hill stamps that are similar to yours that I love to pull out and color.
    Knitting has been slow going for me lately. Just not enough brain power. I am slowly trying to knit some acorns for our autumn nature display. They are knit on 0's, so it is very slow. ;o)
    In hope you have a very lovely day!

  6. I forgot to say that I love the little set that you knit. It is so very cute! ;o) I just finished reading the entire Little House series.It is always such a delight. ;o)

  7. Love your new header! Perfect for the coming chilly months and the change of season. A Tasha Tudor stamp? Slightly jealous here - I would agree that was a good splurge. Your coloring job is great - I thought at first it was a T.T. card, authentic.
    The squirrel analogy is good - a reminder to dig up some of those things we "squirreled away" for another day - to make it that day, now. Thanks!

  8. Oh my goodness you have some talent my friend. The card is lovely and the knit set is just beautiful. I do have some creative seeds begging me to dig them up :) Thanks for the inspiration ....blessings

  9. Prayers for Nigel and his nurse. How lovely that you made a
    card for her. You are indeed a kind and thoughtful soul.

  10. Oh, that yarn is so yummy!! The colors are just perfect. I too got out a knitting project after no knitting for months. My 19 month old needs slippers/house socks. Her little feet are chilly. Tiny socks don't take long!

  11. Good morning, dear Karen. :)

    Such a thoughtful thing to do, coloring a notecard for your son's nurse. I pray he's doing well. I'm dropping a note in the mail to you today, so be watching for it. :) It's funny that you shared a quote from Mrs. Wilder in this post as I've recently picked up the Little House series to read for myself. My AnnaLynn read through them last year, and as you might remember, we visited Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri in July. I've found myself in need of some simple pleasure reading, and I know the Little House books will provide encouragement, as well, in persevering in industriousness. Sometimes the homeschooling mom does grow weary. I, just this morning, feel as though I'm resurfacing after many long months of uber-busyness.

    Thank you for continuing to provide refreshment and encouragement here in this place! Such a balm to this weary soul...

    In HIM, Lisa :)

    PS: Your knits are adorable; I'm sure that special 2 year old will love them!

  12. Thank you for this lovely post! Your knitted creations are just beautiful. I love your is comforting and such a blessing. I always leave here encouraged. :) Love, Cheryl

  13. Card making is a favorite handicraft of mine. Your stamp is perfect!

    And now that I'm familiar with Tasha Tudor, I adore it all the more.

    Coloring is fun too.

    A cheery visit indeed. And rest for my soul, as always.