lessons learned

Sunday, June 28, 2009

i have been thinking a great deal about creativity and grief, specifically how doing something creative can help you heal. i am sure that this idea is not new and there are probably books that have been written about it, and research to back the theory.

i have been knitting for about 8 years and i taught myself how to knit because i needed a hobby, something to do in my free time. i had no idea that it would provide me with my creative voice, one i didn't think i had, or that it would be a part of the very essence of who i am. but what i could not foresee eight years ago is that it would save me and keep me from going into a deep dark hole and never coming out. in the hours and days after coopers death, i wanted to go into that hole. it seemed like the only place that i could make the pain go away, and in those immediate days it was my precious husband, family and friends that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

when i think back to that time, i wasn't able to knit, not at first. i think it seemed too normal and we were living in a time that was anything but normal. but eventually, i was able to knit again and the moment that it happened, was when the numbness wore off and i needed something to do with my hands, something to keep my mind occupied. it was a return to the basics, to where i started, a scarf. i had this beautiful yarn that i bought from a woman in france in my stash and it spoke to me, along with a soft ivory merino. i cast on without thinking and immediately my hands took over, intuitively knowing what to do, giving my mind a break from the heartache and pain, and nourishing my wounded soul. after i finished the scarf, i worked on our blanket. i knit things without a pattern, there was something about endless knitting, without following directions that was healing or maybe it was so i didn't have to think, i could just knit.

when this simple knitting was no longer enough to distract me from my thoughts, i came up with the idea for coopers flock, using knitting to heal my heart, create a legacy for cooper and help others. i was consumed with knitting birds. i could knit a bird in less than two hours which gave me a sense of accomplishment. and there was also a purpose to my knitting. one day i just stopped knitting birds, i cant recall when it was that i stopped knitting them. i had knit about 50 birds for coopers flock and they were arriving daily in the mail. it was at this time that i started seeing designs in my head and i saw this as a positive sign.

despite my progress, my thoughts would still consume me and knitting alone was not able to keep them at bay. i wanted so desperately to be pregnant, so if i wasn't thinking about cooper, i was obsessing about having another baby. this led to the idea of sewing. if i learned something new, i would have to concentrate because it would be foreign to me, not intuitive like knitting. so i jumped in with both feet and have been consumed by sewing and fabric ever since. there is something about the hum of the sewing machine that is comforting, and surprisingly i am able to think while i am sewing, but i cant get consumed by my thoughts or i will have a big mess of fabric and thread on my hands.

what has ensued is a balance of knitting and sewing, yarn and fabric, patterns of all kinds, inspiration and most importantly healing. i spend most days moving from the sewing machine in the dining room ( i sew standing up) to the couch in the living room with my knitting, projects in various states of progress. i sketch and plan my next knitting project. i dream about fabric and my next quilt. my mind is so full of creative ideas i think its going to explode and i cant get them out fast enough. and for the first time in months, i feel like myself. no my heart is not back together, but it is healing, the ache for cooper is not as raw and the thought of crawling in a deep dark hole is nothing more than a faint memory.

friday knitting

Friday, June 26, 2009

dear knitting needles,

i want you to know that you are still my favorite, that there is nothing better than sitting on the couch with you in my hands, making something. i know you are probably feeling a little neglected and replaced because i am spending so much time with the sewing machine, looking at fabric and sewing patterns.

but dont worry, i have a big order of spud and chloe coming any day and have some big design ideas for that yarn, so you and i will be creating together very soon.

no sewing machine, or amount of fabric could ever replace you, dear knitting needles.


a whimsical decision

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

it is time to make a color decision on the whimsy quilt and i need your help. i am trying to decide on background colors for the front of the quilt. the walls of our bedroom are creamsicle orange and the quilt that we have in their now, that i spent WAY to much money on from anthropologie, has alot of the same colors as the quilt i am making.

i am leaning towards the lime green for the front and the rosy and the ecru (which is a light tan) for the back. i think the blush is too pale. what do you think? please let me know.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

as you know, on the 6 month anniversary of coopers death i delivered the first mini flock of birds to the hospital. you may also recall that it was much more difficult than i imagined.

last friday i received this email from jen, the cardiac social worker, who is helping make coopers flock a reality.


I wanted to drop an email to let you know the tremendous smiles your birds have brought to families here at the hospital. It has been so wonderful to have something tangible to give to families that is bright and non-hospital (for lack of a better word!). Families have been touched and seem happy to have something to hold on to while waiting. I've had no actual questions yet about the birds from the families but will keep you posted. I just wanted you to know that the birds are touching lives of families here! Thinking of you--
this news from jen just made my heart soar!

fathers day

Sunday, June 21, 2009

i know its not the fathers day you imagined, but i wanted you to know that cooper was lucky to have you as his father. watching you with our son made me fall in love with you all over again. i know we will be parents again and i look forward to seeing you with our next child. i love you with all my heart.
happy fathers day.

pillow talk

Saturday, June 20, 2009

it was time for a change. so, during a recent fabric buying frenzy, i selected 3 fabric to make pillow cases for the pillows in our tv room. i searched for a pattern, but couldn't find any that i liked ( they all required hand stitching which had NO appeal to me). i could see the pillow case in my head; sewn on all 4 sides, with an opening in the back to stuff the pillow in, and the fabric would over lap once stuffed. since i am very visual, yesterday i got out blank paper, tape and scissors and set about making what was in my mind( see image below). and today our pillows got a modern makeover.

i am pretty happy with how they turned out, especially since it was my first attempt at creating something that was in my head. the first one was perfect, the second two were a little smaller, not sure how that happened, so there is a small gap in the back. but in an attempt to be less of a perfectionist, i am trying to embrace that small imperfection. they are after all pillows, and i can always make more.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

because we all need a little whimsy.....

my little sparrow

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

yesterday afternoon while i was taking some pictures outside of fabric, knitting and flowers, a little sparrow flew in the open back door into the house. i walked into the study to put my camera away and turned around to see him sitting on the stairs going into the kitchen. it startled me so, and i blurted out "cooper what are you doing in here?"

the next few moments were quite comical, me trying to coax my little birdie to go back outside, without the dogs catching wind that there was a bird in the house. he eventually flew out the door off the dining room. i guess he wanted to stop in and say hello.

i love those moments when i know without a doubt that cooper is never far from his mama.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

when i was little, i spent hours at the barn with my horses. it was during those hot west texas afternoons that i learned how to burp. you see i didnt know how to burb loudly, and hillary, one of the older girls was always burping loudly and i wanted to do whatever she did. so, one day after my riding lesson and a cold dr pepper, i finally burped very loudly.

cooper did not take after me. he was a natural born burper. i was constantly amazed that such a loud sound could come from such a small baby. and as with most babies, spit up accompanied those loud burps. it was the cloth diapers that my mother in law had embroidered that worked the best. they were the perfect burp cloth; big, absorbant, soft, old fashioned gerber cloth diapers. one could last the entire day and they served double duty as a changing pad while we were out of the house.

today, i made my own version. it was great practice for sewing in a straight line. and i think they are just the cutest thing, with all the amazing fabric available the possibilities are endless. they are also a great way to use up scraps in your fabric stash. i have a feeling they are going to be my new favorite shower gift.

burp away little babies, burp away.......

friday knitting

Friday, June 12, 2009

today i give you the botancial medallion cardi, made with blue sky alpaca skinny cotton in color zinc. this cardi is full of cables, texture and drape. the design is brilliant and i am very pleased with how it turned out. i have a sneaking suspicion that when my mom sees it, she is going to tell me she "must" have it.

please enjoy....

dear cooper

Thursday, June 11, 2009

my dear sweet precious cooper.

today would have marked your 7th month of life. where has the time gone?

sunday, we went to visit your garden. it looks amazing and all the plants have really grown in the last few weeks. while we were walking the dogs on the trails behind your garden, we felt you, then we heard you singing. your dad and i both looked up and there you were in a tree, talking away to us. it gave us such comfort as we watched you follow us along the path.

later that afternoon, we went to ella's first birthday party and we were constantly aware of your absence. that there would be no first birthday celebration for you, only the reminder of how old you would have been, if things had turned out the way we so desperately wanted. your dad and i were very aware of the gaping hole in our hearts that day, despite the festivities surrounding us.

we are trying very hard to give you a sibling to watch over. i had such a sense of purpose when i was pregnant and in those days after you were born, i need to feel that again. there are days cooper, that i feel so lost without you. i am good at filling up my day, seeing friends, working a little, and being creative, but its not the same sense of fulfillment that i had taking care of you and being your mother. no baby will ever replace you, but we ache to be parents again.

i am trying to learn how to sew, but at the moment it is more frustrating than gratifying. but the good news is that i am feeling creative for the first time since your death. i will take this as a sign that i am healing, even if its in small ways.

loving and missing you always



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the following were waiting for me in the mailbox, all of which are nourishment for the soul.

trust the process

Monday, June 8, 2009

during my years at the yarn shop, i was always telling customers to "trust the process" when it came to their knitting. needless to say, i am not very good at taking my own advice, but i have been repeating that mantra to my myself since saturday.

saturday was my sewing class and i found to myself face to face with the fact that i am a perfectionist. now, this is not new news to me, but i had forgotten that fun little fact about myself. class was ok. i learned some basics, but i am the type of learner who needs to know why and to really understand the process. and the instructor was not that type of learner or teacher. i did attempt to complete a project in class, which i wanted to throw out, but my precious husband felt the need to hang on to it for posterity sake. after class i spent some time decompressing and reading sewing patterns, this is how i taught myself to knit, so i figured it would work the same with sewing. and yesterday i attempted another tote bag. it is far from perfect, but is a vast improvement from the first attempt. i think it will be perfect for holding a knitting project.

in the meantime, i am going to keep reading sewing patterns and books, look at fabric and remind myself to trust the process. and maybe, just maybe i will catch on to the the sewing thing.

friday knitting

Friday, June 5, 2009

what happens when cotton yarn, printed fabric, colorful embroidery thread and summer meals outside come together? aglaia's placemat is created.

my family has a house on a small island about an hour ferry ride from athens. and from the months of may to october this wonderful island in the mediterranean is where you will find my parents. my precious husband and i are fortunate to go over every summer for two weeks and we look forward to that trip all year (more on that as our trip approaches). aglaia also lives on the island of kea. aglaia is part cookbook author, part chef, part writer, part restaurant consultant, my mom's best friend and the most wonderful person i have ever met. she and her husband run a cooking school ,unlike any other, during the summer months. we spend many a summer days gathered around her table under the grape vines eating her fabulous food. seriously, it is as romantic as it sounds. and because it is the greek way to always bring a gift when you arrive at someones' house, i am always knitting for her.

enter aglaia's placemats. i had this idea for a placemat that was knit, but then had fabric holders for silverware and was backed with the same fabric. you may remember the design concept was on my list of knitting projects not to long ago. i knew they would be a fabulous addition to aglaia's table. i think they turned out just perfect and were pretty easy to make. now, i need to make some for our backyard summer eating.

i am working on making the pattern available. so stay tuned for the launch of the lucends etsy shop.

please enjoy....

leaving the nest

Thursday, June 4, 2009

today is the 6th month anniversary of cooper's death, so it seemed appropriate that today was also the day that i delivered the first members of coopers flock to the hospital. i decided that the first birds to fly should be the ones that i knit for cooper. when i set the date with jen, the cardiac social worker, i randomly picked june 4th. it wasn't until later that i realized the significance of the day. but it felt right.

i won't lie to you, it was difficult to be at the hospital. i have been there two others times, since cooper died, and being there doesn't get any easier. driving over i was flooded with images of the drive to the hospital the day of cooper's surgery, morning traffic, a fresh snow storm, a trunk that would not close, trying to keep a hungry cooper happy and a nervous energy in the air. when i walked into the lobby of the hospital, the enormity of the time spent there came rushing back, visits to the NICU before cooper came home, cardiologist appointments, lots of waiting, and the coffee stand where we were getting coffee the moment cooper's heart stopped.

and while it was difficult to be in that space on this day, i was wrestling with my emotions surrounding coopers flock. i was having a hard time letting the birds leave the nest. i embarked on this journey in part to help my heart heal, and i have come a long way in the past 6 months but my heart is not healed, mended some, but not healed. and leaving the birds with jen to start giving to families, means that i am moving forward. jen said that i didn't have to leave them if i wasn't ready, but hard as it was, i knew it was time. you see, cooper changed those that met him and he touched alot of people in a very profound way in the 21 days he was alive, and not leaving the birds would be a betrayal of who he was. i don't understand why he had the effect on people that he did, but i know that this project is not only his legacy but his gift to those that didn't get the opportunity to meet him. in my heart i know that these birds will bring such comfort to many families and children during such a stressful and fearful time. and creating coopers flock has helped me find the good again and find meaning in our loss.

when i left the hospital i felt lighter, peaceful and i felt cooper. and i know he was proud of his mama and all those who helped create his flock.

head over heals

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

i am head over heals in love with this fabric, so smitten that i enrolled myself in a sewing class on saturday. i thought it might be good a good way to occupy my mind for the next few weeks, while we await the results of the clomid. focus on sewing, rather than peeing on sticks. and besides with fabrics like these, its easy to get distracted. although i think my precious husband is afraid i will start collecting fabric the way i collect yarn which could be problematic. stay tuned for updates on my new adventure in sewing.......

for more fabulous fabric, go here.