Wednesday, October 28, 2015


 It's almost winter here, I can almost feel the ground freezing underfoot.  It's been a busy time, this month, this year.  I've been pulled in so many directions with jobs and family and friendships this year, but out of necessity and choice I'm learning to set boundaries and care for myself.  In most areas that's been good. Work has become easier to live with, I'm practicing not taking it home with me, and learning to rest when I have the option to rest.  Friendships though have been interesting.  Last spring I felt a friend slipping away from me, and I let her go.  It was hard, but I didn't want to fight for something that I felt wasn't mutual.  And after I did, I found that I liked the space I now had.

I was able to plan my weekends and count on the them to stay how I'd arranged them, I finally had time to sew and to really work on building my skills and confidence there.  I found that I liked being entirely me again, not weighing my actions and convictions on how they could offend this friend.   I hadn't realized how unhealthy the friendship had been until I found myself without it, and I found myself breathing more freely than I had in a long time.  

I thought the friendship was over, I had moved on, reacquainted myself with old friends, and built new habits and patterns for myself.  But months later, everything came back up, and it was ugly and nasty and painful.  It was right in the middle of the worst time possible too, transitions and new responsibilities at work, a death in the family, lice, home remodeling stress.  I dealt with it as well as I was able and knew how.  I know I wasn't perfect,but I've learned through this that it isn't fair to ask myself to be perfect in these situations.  I can do my best, no more, no less.  And I did.  I did do my best.  So I can have grace for myself, as I do for others.  In fact, it's important to.

Anyway, it's been weird and horrible, like a nasty break up.  But also good, because I've learned a lot.  I know now that I can be pretty tough, and I can be honest and vulnerable, without having to take shit from someone.  And I know now that I need to take up my whole space, and be honest about who I am right from the beginning, so that they don't get a false idea of who I am.  So I've been wrestling with loss and forgiveness and all of that good and ugly stuff.  And moving on, cause that's all that can be done.  And it's best done with a positive outlook and some hope.

So... I've been praying a lot, asking for something new, and choosing to make space for rest and peace and creativity.  I've been trying to take care of myself (which has brought some flack, but the good people are supportive of this) and do what I need to do to make it through.  It's like I'm learning to have faith and trust, but also to grab for things and to fight for myself at the same time.  It seems contradictory, but I've found faith to be so much easier, when I'm able to advocate for myself.  
There is so much else I want to share, at some point.  I'd like to show you all the clothes I've been making.  At this point it's something like two sweaters, two hats, five dresses, two(? I can't remember) tops... and I'm probably forgetting some other things.  Nope, three sweaters.  I think.  Anyway, LIFE, you know.  And taking pictures is so difficult to make happen! Anyway, hope to be back soon.  Thanks for reading.

Love, Clara

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Sierra Bra

Well, hello again.  It has been a long while.  Thank you for the few comments left on my last post, as long ago as that was.  I didn't expect anything, and it was very neat to read the caring in your words.  Things have brightened up a bit, I've learned a little more over the past few months how to walk this shaky path and still surrender.  I've made so many things through it all.  Sewing has become something of an escape, which has meant my wardrobe is improving some.  I made this little bralette, the Sierra bra, using Maddie's sew along.
It came together surprisingly well, I was super nervous about it, but still was determined to try.  And well, it worked!  Now I want to learn even more about bra making, and lingerie sewing.  There are so many beautiful possibilities.
Lace:  Mint Frog on Etsy   Elastics and findings:  Porcelynne on Etsy  
Powermesh-type lining:  Joann's several years ago
Cutting the lace and power mesh out was definitely the hardest part.  I need to invest in a smaller rotary cutter for next time.  I used my mom's which she uses for quilting, and while it worked, it was pretty hard to make it around the curves that you see above.  That will probably have to wait until next month though.  ;)

Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Love, Clara

Friday, June 5, 2015

"a deep but dazzling darkness"

Life has me fragile, from things I don't know how to share with the people around me.  My heart has been tremulous, much like it was this time last year, but still quite different.  I'm stronger with the handling of the storms, maybe just because I'm less shocked, but more prone to depression.  I thought I was past it, the depression, but this week has me questioning that belief.  I'm going to share some things here, because I know I need to share them, some how, but I don't really have a way to do so with anyone I know right now.  I need to just speak in a place where no one feels like they have to have an answer.  Where it just is.
I work with kids, wonderful, amazing, kids that I love so much it makes me cry.  Regularly.  They come from all different background and homes, some with structure, some with none, some with love, some with very little or very confusing love.  All of these kids are the ones who fall into the margins of society.  All of them are fighters and lovers, precious people, who I know will stay as amazing as I know that they already are.

Here is where I'm a wreck; I don't know how to cope in this world.  That sounds so naive and pathetic, but I'm just trying to be honest, and I don't know how else to say it.  Everything I see breaks my heart.  Everything I hear these kids go through cuts me to the core.  This world is F'd up.  Their lives are F'd up.  And I don't want to ever become calloused to it.  I want it to keep hurting me, because it should.  This should hurt us all.  The fact that children are hungry or afraid to go home, that rape is not even shocking, that people are constantly give up on teenagers and tell them that they are no good and will never amount to anything, should cut and should hurt, and should make us break down and ask why.

In the middle of it all, I do fine, in the middle of helping, as small as what I do is, I have joy.  I see light.  I have peace.  It's when I get home that I feel it all falling apart around me.  It's a bit like culture shock every time I step through the door.  This world and job has me so wrecked for humanity that I don't know how to relate to my family right now, I'm not sure how to reach out to my friends.  I'm so fragile at home, after being strong and resilient all day, that any insensitive remark just blows me right over.  I bust into tears so easily that I've had to keep to myself most of the time these past few days, they don't understand.  And I fall apart whenever I try to explain.  And this is what has been the hardest, is trying to carry on with my own life after that.  Especially with the solitude that I know I can't bear.
This season of life has me so confused, nothing prepared me for it, or warned me of it's coming.  It feels almost like a second adolescence, a re-figuring out of what life is and how my soul fits in.  Trying to understand how I fit, how I live, how I have joy in this chaos and isolation.  I think just putting this out here will help some, actually.  To get it out a little more than in a poem or a journal entry, though I know this is reading much like a journal entry, and I apologize, if you've made it this far.  But thanks for reading.  I really do appreciate it.
So, I'll leave you with some quotes that have been helping me as I mull over them.

"One soul is as important as ninety-nine, worth leaving everything behind to rescue.  If there is one soul in your care, one face in your loving gaze, one hand in yours, then you are loving the world."
-Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

"I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright,
And round beneath it, Time, in hours, days, years,
Driven by the spheres,
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurled."

"There is in God, some say,
A deep but dazzling darkness: as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because htey
 See not all clear.  
O for that Night, where I in hiim
Might live invisible and dim!"

-Henry Vaughan, 17th Century 
via A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle

Love, Clara

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Spring

 This always happens, the trees start blooming and the grass and rhubarb start growing, and the birds are singing and the windows and doors are open, and well, I don't blog.  Because it's so beautiful, and my attention span is so short for anything that must be done indoors (and doesn't require yarn), and I collect beautiful images and ideas and wild things and forget to share.  Also, I got an smart phone, which has a better camera than my "real" camera.  So, I've gotten sucked into Instagram (that link is to my page), and that whole little world.  Which has been fun.
 I've been working on my knitting pattern.  It's typed out, and I'm knitting it up a second time, as I'm hoping to provide a few different yarn options (for different budgets).  Then I'll have some friends test it out, and I'll work on putting it into a nice PDF and... then I'll have a knitting pattern to share! I'm very nervous, but also excited, it something I've been wanting to do for so long, it's almost unreal that I'm actually going to try.  I hope you all like it.
I hurt my knee last week, so I've had to rest it a lot, but I've still been pretty busy; picking raspberry leaves for tea, and spruce tips for experiments (I'm thinking syrup first), and knitting and reading. I hope you all are having a lovely spring as well!  Smelling every flower you can, and putting your feet up after days in the dirt, drinking cold beverages and listening to good music and life sounds.  (It's been a fall asleep to the Avett Brothers kind of week for me (The Gleam, all the way)).  Have a wonderful weekend!
Love, Clara

Monday, April 20, 2015

Moneta + Breckon

 This dress... what can I say?  I've worn it all winter long, often as much as once a week.  It fits like a dream, the color is my favorite, and it's so easy to wear different ways.  The pattern is Colette's Moneta, and the fabric I got last summer at a garage sale (an unknown cotton jersey).   I love the style of this dress, I really need to make a few more of them, and maybe play with the different collar options too, though I love the simple ballet-like neckline of this version.  Next time I make it with the long sleeve version, I will lengthen them more, as I prefer my three-quarter length sleeves to cover my elbows.
I wanted to show you a few of my favorite ways to wear this dress, so here it is with a short-sleeve sweater over top.  It is a lovely light sweater that was a hand-me-down.  When I got it, it had a little hole near the bottom which I sewed up, since then it's been as good as new.  I especially like how the dark dress shows through the lace a little me (which you can't see very well here).

 (My face looks so weird in these photos) This way has been perfect for the colder days (when worn with wool tights, of course).  A warm, fitted cardigan, buttoned up, right over the top.  I really love this look.  It feels both lady-like and cozy at the same time.

This is my Breckon sweater, a pattern by Brooklyn Tweed.  I actually knit it in Loft, just as the patterned called for! I think I've only done that one other time.  Anyway, I bought myself the yarn as my birthday present last year, a splurge, but one that I needed, and am very glad that I made.  Because the yarn is so expensive (as it should be, it's wonderful yarn) I didn't buy myself the buffer skein, like I normally try to do.  As a result, I didn't have enough to make the modifications that I would have liked to make to achieve the best fit.  If I knit this sweater again, which there's a good chance that I will, I'd start with a larger size in the hips and then decrease extra in the waist shaping until I have the right amount of stitches for my correct bust size.  Just as I did with Warriston.  Because, as you can see from the pictures, it's definitely stretched more than it wants to be along that bottom band.  

 Other than that though, this sweater is perfect!  I love the length of the sleeves and how nice and snug they fit all through the arm, and also the cuffs which I leave folded.
These were not the original buttons I had chosen for this sweater.  When I was in Anchorage last fall I picked up some lovely dark wooden buttons just for this.  But they disappeared!  I've looked all over for them, but the envelope they were in seems to have vanished while I was house sitting.  I ordered some other nice ones off of Etsy, but those ended up being the wrong size.  So this sweater sat around in my room for a long time button-less.  Finally, I got desperate and pulled out my button stash, willing to try ANYTHING, I found these, and loved how the looked with the rustic yarn, but could only find seven of them.  I knew that there had been eight of them at one point, but no matter how many times I dug through the jar that last one would not turn up.  I gave up for a while, though I kept the seven out, just in case, and one day I gave the jar another peruse and what do you know, there it was, right on the top.  Crazy life, no?

Oh man, just look at that.  I love this sweater so much, it's a beautiful pattern, through and through.  Thanks for looking!

Love, Clara

Friday, April 3, 2015

Life lately...

Seems made up of golds and purples and lavender-gray blues.  March was uncharacteristically warm here, the snow is melting, giant puddles and slush are everywhere.  I think I even spotted some tight buds on a few trees while on a walk with a friend last Sunday.  It snowed a little yesterday, but it's sunny again today.  I've been trying to go after things that I want lately.  Within my life and myself.  I'm trying to be less of a passenger and more of an explorer,  Opting for rather than just driving in my life, getting out of the car and walking.  Seeing what I can see, what I can do, what I can touch.
I applied for a two month school, sort of thing, it's hard to describe so I'm not going to right now, I'll explain more if I get in.  But it has felt so good to have tried for something.  To actually take a step towards change instead of only thinking about it.  And since then (I applied mid-February) it's been so much easier to go after smaller things.  For example; I got out my quilt that I've been working on for around ten years and sewed the whole face of it together over Spring Break.  And I've been slowly working on it since then.  I want to get it done!  No more pieces of things taking up space in my room for years on end.

It's exciting to see the pieces come together, and hopefully I mean more than just the pieces of the quilt.  Hopefully other things will get stitched into place as well.  I just feel on the verge of a change, of a good shifting of life. It feels like it's time.  Or close.
Another change I know that I need to make, is taking care of myself.  Rather than wasting time online or playing mindless games, I want to be intentional with my time.  Filling my evening with things that bring be life and energy and a sense of purpose.  I've been doing better with that, in some areas, but worse in others.  It's so easy to excuse things that aren't the best choice when in the moment.  To say, "it's been a hard day, I need this," when it's just scrolling through Pinterest for hours, and I could be reading a good book, or knitting, or sewing, or even watching a beautiful movie with a cup of tea.
Evenings seem to be the hardest, because the day has been so full, and exhausting.  But I have been making small improvements.  I've been reading (as you saw in my last post) and knitting.  It's been fun, because I'm working on a design of my own, that I hope some time soon to actually release as a pattern.  It's good to just try, even if no one buys it or knits it at least I did something, you know?  At least I tried.  And it feels good to finally try.
(that's my Plantain shirt peaking into the picture, I love it so much, I wear it once a week, nearly (and clearly I need to make another))

So it feels good to DO things, to finish long-term projects, to try something that might not work out how I hope it will.  And just do my best.  It's overwhelming, and rather terrifying, but it's exciting too, because there are so many possibilities in the risks.  Happy Friday!

Love, Clara

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Yarn Along

I'm joining the Yarn Along from this lovely blog! It's my first time, though I've loved it from afar for quite a some time now.  Right now I'm reading The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden, and knitting a project of my own design.  Hopefully it will come together well, and maybe into something that can be shared.  I am loving this book so much.  I'm about half way now, and it's everything a fairy tale should be.  I can hardly wait to read more from this author.