Why I Sued

So, I finally can talk about this big weight on my shoulders for the past year or so, now that it’s all over.  I just went through a law suit.

I never, ever thought I’d be the person to sue.  I am one of those people disgusted by people who sue…especially when Christians sue, because in light of Christ, Christians should be able to settle their disagreements out of court.  They should be able to forgive.  They should be able to let go.

However, this law suit taught me a lot about my faith, and a lot about my God.  I don’t regret it for a second.

So here’s what happened.  My kids and I got t-boned by a car that missed a stop sign.  This was over 2 years ago now.  It was an accident.  There was no malicious intent.  The other driver was crying and shaking like I was crying and shaking, and we hugged each other after the accident.  I was not angry.  I was hurting.

I know I’ve written about this before, but you don’t realize how awful chronic pain is until the reality that it isn’t going away sinks in month after month.  When you realize pain-killers are meant for, like a week or maybe even a month.  You can’t live off of pain killers.  They mess all your organs up long term.  There’s addiction to worry about.  There’s quality of life to worry about.  Chronic pain is terrifying.

This terror and confusion turned into anxiety, and another new world to me: the world of panic attacks.  I dealt with all of this as best as I could, but honestly, it was the hardest season of my marriage in well over 10 years.  I wanted to run away all the time.  My thoughts became muddy, and tears were daily.

Still I did not sue.  The insurance company provided the funds for my care as our policy stated.  I was getting treatment.  What more was there to do?  What’s done is done?

About a year after the car accident, the insurance asked for a second opinion on my treatment, to verify that I still needed to be treated.  By law I must agree, and I was examined for about 15 seconds by the insurance company’s doctor, who later wrote a report saying I was perfectly fine.  Not only was I perfectly fine and healthy, but he suspected I had been perfectly fine and healthy since about 12 weeks after the car accident, and I’ve just been milking the insurance company for free healthcare since then.  All my coverage for this car accident stopped.

I honestly couldn’t understand how they could say that.  For a month or two, I wondered if maybe it was all in my head.  Maybe I was truly going insane and just thought I was in pain.  Maybe it was just the strain of my kids.  Maybe my chiropractor was just putting the idea in my head and fixing it so I had to come back.  (I wasn’t used to chiropractic care, and grew up kinda believing chiropractors were kind of weird.)

I finally decided I needed my own second opinion.  I brought the insurance report to a new doctor and she gave me a full exam.  She laughed at the report.  She said my neck couldn’t even do half the range of motion this report claimed it could do.  She said it wasn’t just stretching the truth, it was a flat out fabrication.  She strongly recommended I sue.

I called a lawyer.  I hated every minute of it.  I still didn’t believe it was the right thing to do.  Then one of my old friends who is a lawyer implored me, “God is a God of justice.  This is not wrong.”

Those words still ring in my heart.  God is a God of justice.  Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.

It took a few months to work out all the details of the suit, and each meeting with my lawyer, each phone call, each paper that needed signing brought a wave of flashbacks and tears from that day, the pain became more and more fresh.  I struggled through anger, and through it all, I wondered if I should even be doing this.  Couldn’t I just forgive?

I spent about 3 months avoiding calls from my lawyer because I just couldn’t deal.  My heart started pounding every time I saw his number on my phone and I would turn it off and run and cry in my room.  I didn’t want to relive the accident every day like this.  I just wanted it behind me.  I didn’t want to think about it.  But the bills were piling up, and the fact of the matter was, this needed to happen.  We had insurance coverage for this, but the insurance company didn’t believe I was hurting.

When it came down to the day of arbitration, it wasn’t like a courtroom.  It was just a conference room where a court appointed arbitrator looked at all the evidence.  I honestly had no concern about the outcome of the meeting.  I had major concerns I would have a mental breakdown talking about how hard it has been since the accident, and I wouldn’t recover for days.  I hate talking about it, and I’ve learned since my pain is invisible, I have to talk about it so that people I love know what I’m going through.  But I feel like talking about it gives the pain some power over me, so it’s painful to even say.  Does that make sense?

I struggled through my testimony.  My lawyer gave me 3 pieces of advice in preparation: 1)tell the absolute truth, and stretch nothing. 2)Answer only the question that is asked.  Don’t go off on a rabbit trail.  3)Don’t guess.  If you don’t know, or you aren’t sure, just say you don’t know.  That’s okay not to know the answer to a question or ask for clarification.  I could say “to the best of my recollection” but don’t guess.

For some reason, his advice calmed me.  All I had to do was love the truth, speak the truth, and live through the truth.  No more hiding.  No more trying to control my pain through ignoring and denying it.  Just speak truth.

We gave our side.  The insurance company’s lawyer gave her side.  She basically said I was injured way back then, but I’ve been fine for awhile.  If I am sore from time to time, it’s probably because I’m getting older and have an active lifestyle.  (Yes, she did say that.)  In her defense, she saw on my paperwork I was mid-30s, but she had no idea that in a courtroom I look like I’m 14.

I was hurt.  I wanted to stand up and yell at the other lawyer.  I wanted to defend myself.  But I kept silent.  Then my lawyer got his final remarks and he sort of ripped into the defense.  He stood up for me, and I tried holding back tears as I heard this man next to me defend me, defend my pain, defend all I have gone through, talk about all that was on my plate, how it has effected my family.

It was the most healing moment since the car accident.  I had a defender who stood up for me.  I had someone to speak for me.  I had someone who understood my pain.

It took a couple of days to hear the results, which went wildly in our favor.  We didn’t make millions of dollars or anything, but our bills got paid.  There was a second suit to cover non-medical expenses this accident cost our family (it’s just how the legalese and policies laid out that required this breakdown), which the insurance company immediately pleaded with us to settle out of court, (something they refused before).  That took months of negotiations my lawyer did for me, and is finally over. The arbitrator almost seemed angry for me.  He even made the defendant (the insurance company) pay the full court fees, which I had understood each party paid half usually of the arbitration fees.  Now I had my lawyer and the arbitrator mad for me, and standing up for me.

Up until that point, I think that the way I saw God was someone who forgave offenses.  Grace!  It is by far the most important thing to know!  But I also learned that God loves truth, he loves justice.  He is our defender.  He does forgive, but that doesn’t mean a price isn’t paid, or wrongs are ever ignored.  He died for us, because not only does he love us, but he loves justice.  And wrongs are never swept under the rug and forgotten.  They are brought to the light and dealt with in his blood.

Christians, we need not sweep things under the rug and call it forgiveness.  I think of cases of abuse, or cases of lies, or cases of cover-ups in churches, and we feel we must forgive and forget.  But God always brings things to the light.  He is the light.  There is no hiding around him.  And he has laid out ways for us to handle conflict, but one of those ways has never ever been to ignore justice.  Mercy is not ignoring justice. It’s fulfilling it at someone else’s cost, as an act of love.

Mercy does not ever leave someone in the cold, feeling like their pain is invisible.

Mercy is not ignoring justice. It's fulfilling it at someone else's cost.

Oh, I learned so much through this law suit.  I experienced a spiritual healing in a way I was not expecting.  I learned so much about what it’s like to have someone speak for you.  I learned how good justice is, and how it walks hand in hand with the truth.

And it’s over.  Thank goodness, it’s over.

Mom Heart Day 1

This last weekend I went on my yearly retreat to a MomHeart Conference in Denver, and this time my mom came from Phoenix and roomed with me.  My mom is usually clobbered with people who love her in my home, so it was nice to have her all to myself.  We both arrived into Denver on Thursday afternoon, and spent the evening walking around a mall, and having long catch-up times over supper.  We went to bed on our lovely clean sheets in the hotel, and was ready for the wonderful day of the conference to await us the next day.  (I figured out the trick to sleeping in a hotel bed.  Basically put pillows everywhere, randomly under the sheets as though they just walked into the bed to snuggle near me.  Just like home.)

The day started with some personal devotions in my room.  I pulled out my Bible, with my little prayer index cards tucked in.  I then noticed a little note from my husband, tucked in-between my prayer cards and my Bible, and written on some scrap herbicide notepad, just telling me how excited he was that I was going to the conference.  He wrote about how I shouldn’t worry about the kids because he was so looking forward to spending this weekend with just he and them.  He wrote about how he thanked God for me, and lots of other sappy things.  Basically I was sitting on my bed, crying with this note in my hands.  This is my love language, and as painful as it is for him to write me letters like he did back when we were dating long distance, the gesture always goes so deep into my heart.  I carried that note in my back pocket through the whole conference and took it out and read it often like a lifeline.

After I pulled myself together, my mom and I headed for a tea, where a small group of small-group leaders got together for some encouragement.  I had made friends with some of these women online and in past conferences, and it’s always awkward when you meet someone in person that you have gotten to know online.  I love it, but it’s sort of surreal, as you study their face against your memory of their Facebook profile.

One of the women, when she heard my name just hugged me tight and said to me, “I have been praying for you!”  I had shared with her before how scared I was to leave my kids when I felt that they needed me so much right now, and I thought it would be so overwhelming for my husband, and Satan just loves to put fear in our hearts, especially when some good is before us.  After the tea we talked some more, and she just held my hands tight and prayed with me before we went our own ways again.

Just before the afternoon session, a different older mom who I had met at my first conference, and has even called me at home a few times the last couple of years when I have been royally discouraged, well she grabbed me quick and asked if I wanted a coffee or tea or something in the hotel Starbucks.  So I drank more, and we just chatted about life for awhile.  We talked about making that transfer with your kids where they lean on you so much, but getting them to transfer that dependence to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  It was such a deep and rewarding conversation.  I was so blessed, and very full of tea at that point, and the pregnancy lady I am, took several trips to the bathroom that day.

During the various sessions that went late into the night, I was struck by the theme of home and hospitality at this conference.  The author, Sally Clarkson was speaking on the Life-giving Home.

I had this moment of clarity during this time in regard to my oldest child, who has been struggling.  Like many oldest children, she takes on more responsibility than is required of her in her eagerness to please. Of course, she cannot handle all she takes on, and falls a lot, and has been in this discouraged funk for awhile now.  The drama of her little brother’s health this last year, combined with drama in her own life, combined with her desire to just make it better for everyone (which is not a magical power she was born with) just left her feeling incredibly stuck.  Then she just stops trying.  You know, I have NO IDEA where she got this tendency from.  (raising hand.)  I have been praying about it for awhile, and have yet to figure out a solution.  I have been growing more afraid as she is my “experiment child,” and I have been reacting to her discouragement and self-pity with anger and all the wrong mothering emotions.  This phase of parenting is scary, and I don’t know what’s a normal, passing phase and what is a genuine concern that I need to address and nip in the bud.  I feel all turned around.  My husband says that she and I have just been clashing so often that pretty soon one of us will have to give up trying to have the last word in every conversation.

My mom did suggest some months back that I find her a mentor, which I thought was a great idea.  My first mentor was probably one of my aunts, and she still mentors me today though not formally.  My aunt was always to get through to me like my mom couldn’t, even if they were saying the exact same thing.  My mom also found a mentor for me when I was in jr. high.  Her name was Kim, and she just poured love into me, and was my sounding board.  My high school mentor was Sherri, and then Rachel.  My mom set up the pattern for me right around adolescence to be surrounded by wise counsel, and make friendships with older women.  It is a habit I still crave and try to have as a constant in my life, though good mentors are sometimes hard to find.

So I found my daughter a mentor.  She’s a dear friend of mine, who is a foster mom to 1 little boy they are in the process of adopting.  Silje meets with her once a month.  I told my friend she is to keep Silje’s confidence completely, and only give me the heads up in a need-to-know situation, like she’s doing drugs or something (which I don’t foresee in the near future!)  I wanted Silje to feel free to vent about me, or process the stresses of our home life without fear of what I, or anyone else might think.  I knew that my dear friend would give her wise counsel and help her through these years alongside me.

They meet once a month, and my daughter looks forward to this time together, but she still has been struggling.

The best solution, I saw was to just keep talking to her, and coaching her.  I try to make time for her, and she soaks up all the time I give her.  But whatever time I give her it’s never enough.  She just needs so much from me at this age, and I feel myself coming up quiet inadequate to what I’d like to give her.  I keep hearing older moms say this is a stage of lots and lots and lots of long talks, and just letting them sort out what they believe and how to address situations.  But I have other kids who need me as well.  I have so many responsibilities.  I give her what I can, but the fact comes blaring back at me that I am not enough.  Her mentor wasn’t enough.  None of us are enough.

Plus these are grown up issues.  I can’t think of a woman I know who doesn’t deal with the struggle to please everyone, the struggle of taking too much upon herself, the struggle with inadequacy.  These struggles aren’t unique to my daughter.

So during these sessions, we were talking about the heart of hospitality, and the heart of making a home. We were hearing about how God makes a place of rest for us.  We heard about how Jesus practiced hospitality with his disciples, washing their feet, etc.  He saw real, tangible needs like people were hungry, and people were hurting, and people were thirsty.

I had this epiphany moment, where I realized that when I am stuck, when I am in this needy spot of just needing to unburden all these things that I take upon myself that I was never meant to carry, I started having my sanctuary time.  It’s my time of worship, just time with the Lord, time in Scriptures, time to journal.  Just time of quiet and silence.  It totally resets me and helps me maintain my focus on not what needs to be done, but what God has entrusted me for that day.

I realized in this epiphany moment, that I could show hospitality to my oldest daughter by providing her her own morning sanctuary time.  Psalm 23 ran through my head as I pondered this idea, and even  though that passage was not shared that evening, it gave me a wonderful, Biblical picture of how God shows hospitality to us.

We have family devotions every day after breakfast.  She spends time with the Lord up in her room when she’s overwhelmed with her day.  But what if she could sneak downstairs 30 minutes early in the morning, and spend some time reading the Bible and writing in a prayer journal without any of her siblings hanging on her, and just get some clarity?  Could I make this happen for her?

I will never be enough for her.  Her mentor will never be enough.  But God will always be enough.  I had this moment of hope when I realized that while I was finite, and limited, God is not.  I can give her time with God, and let her transfer that unburdening onto me to unburdening onto God as she enters this next phase of growing up, and her burdens become too heavy for even me to remove from her shoulders.

My mind is whirling on the logistical side of how to get her this quiet time without turning our whole family routine upside-down, or without her waking up everyone as she “sneaks” out of the room she shares with her sisters to the downstairs where we can light some candles and give her her own time at the feet of Jesus.

I think she will love this idea.  She loves time alone, and she loves time with God.  Having that access everyday, built right in?  I just need to ponder what it will take to make this happen every morning.  It won’t replace our long talks, which I assume will grow longer as she is growing older.  But it will fill the enormous gap that seems to be in my mothering trail: the gap of not enough time, spread thin, finite, sinful mom.  It will fill that with wisdom from the Holy Spirit through his Word, the Scriptures.

When I figure out the logistics, I’ll let you guys know how it works out…or how long.  But the idea has been planted into my head, and I am pretty sure it will not be uprooted very quickly.

Some New Rules

Thank you so much for your patience and your participation in the recent giveaway from last week.  

 

And the winner is:

Rachel Larson  I’ve emailed Rachel and she very enthusiastically already replied this morning and her package will be in the mail very soon.  I’m so excited for her!

And now for today’s post:

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I’ve said before, and my local friends would confirm, that I don’t put everything on the blog. I have a whole realm of topics that I just won’t touch. Sometimes it’s a privacy or gossip issue, and other times I’m just not ready to talk about it. We all need boundaries.  Especially writers.

I will say now, though, that Knut and I are exhausted from the constant fighting that has been going on with our kids since about Christmas, and it’s been so rough here at home lately that I haven’t wanted to talk about it, or I did want to vent all over the internet how awful my kids have been in detail, and have refrained for their sake.  It has just gotten so bad.  I can’t put my finger on what happened over Christmas break, but no matter what routine I’m trying to bring back, no matter what structure I’m enforcing, no matter the time and love I pour into them, we are a mess.  We’ve been an absolute mess.

We miss the days we can just hang out with them. We are trying to get on top of it, but attitudes are just flying all over the place. We have tried rewards, we have tried punishments, we have tried one on one time. We’ve had a million deep heart conversations. And they still argue and complain around every turn.

And sometimes we moms (and dads) need to know that we aren’t alone in this struggle.  Parenting is sometimes snuggling up on the couch with a good book.  Other times it’s more like a wrestling match, complete with spectators.

Last night I wrote up some new rules, or “standards” as I called them for our house in a fit of passion and frustration. I showed them to Knut, and he gave a hearty 2 thumbs up. I won’t post them all, because they are customized to each kid who is currently having a major attitude problem (yes, that would be more than one) in an effort to wake them up.

Of course, I have a mission statement for the new set of rules. I am a writer after all. My poor children. I’ll share that here:

“The purpose of these new rules is for peace in our house with no arguing, a strong work ethic, a godly desire to serve others, and an attitude of love, not blame in our home. Also we desire for you to have an understanding of responsibilities and their connection to privileges.”

Of course, I didn’t just post up the rules.  I have found that stories make the biggest impact on my kids.  They needed to see what they were doing from a new angle.

So I told them: “You know, Ingrid has been resisting being potty trained and pretty soon I’m just going to take away the diapers, and we will stay home until she figures it out.  We will help her right?”  They all nodded.  “We’re going to encourage her, and reward her.  But I remember too, that when I potty trained some of you, you knew exactly what to do and you would stare right at me and pee down your leg to show me how mad you were about being potty trained.”  The kids look at each other and laughed hysterically.

“You got in trouble, then.  But potty training is hard.  It’s learning a new standard.  So what do you think a standard means?  Does it mean you never have any accidents?  Like what if you’re 6 years old and wet the bed by accident one night.  Does that mean you’re not potty trained anymore?”  They all said, of course not.  It’s just an accident.

“What if you wet your pants 4 times a day.  Are you potty trained then?”  They agreed that no, that would mean you still need training.  One accident that was rare was different than constant accidents.

“Do you think Ingrid is excited about being potty trained?”  They all looked at her, as she shook her head no.  She is not.  They all laughed.  “Will she be able to stay a baby forever?” I asked, “Or at some point, will Mommy and Daddy tell her, it’s time.  We’re working on this, like it or not?”  They thought that we wouldn’t let her go on forever in diapers.  “Do you remember when Solveig refused to go poopy in the potty chair for a long time, and when she finally did it, we gave her a little doll?  What if we gave her the doll, and she stopped going in the potty chair but decided she had the doll, she can go back to pooping in her underwear again?”  They agreed I would take away the doll for sure.  The doll was the reward for reaching a standard.  It’s not for every bathroom break.  That would be crazy.

The conversation went on to things that Ingrid could do with her attitude to make potty training easier, and things we could do as a family to make it easier on her, and just having an understanding on how scary and difficult it was for her as she learned a new standard.

“So…” I moved on.  “You guys, have a standard to learn.  You learned the potty trained standard a long time ago, but you each have a new one to learn.  You’ve been having a lot of accidents after you have earned a new privilege.  You need some more training, and Mommy and Daddy feel it’s time to just work on this as a family, and just focus our attention on getting this standard made.  Like Ingrid, this might be frustrating for you.  We’re going to have to show you things that you feel you are doing right, but actually, you’re doing them wrong.  Also, like potty training, it’s not going to be perfect, and we don’t expect you to be.  There will be rewards for great effort and there will be consequences for bad attitudes.  Training means we understand you are just trying to figure it out, and you understand that we believe you are ready.

I read them the new mission statement.  “Honestly kids, we are sick of spending all our precious time with you arguing on whether or not you need to do your chores or school.  This should not be an argument we have everyday, let alone all day every day.  You are not letting us correct you when you do something wrong.  You will stand there and argue about how right you are, and how we must be mean.  You are lying about your chores being finished.  You are refusing to do some of your school subjects.

Mommy and Daddy have this dream of playing games with you, and having lots of fun, and going on field trips but whenever we plan it, one of you melts down into tears because you don’t want to finish your math, or reading or writing, or you just don’t feel like feeding the animals first.  We are spending every minute of our fun time arguing with you and disciplining you, and making you do what you know you need to do, the things you promised you would do when you asked for all these privileges, and end up doing after hours of fighting.  We hate it.  These rules are here to bring the fun back.  It will sweep away all the hours we spend fighting, and replace it with fun time.  That is our goal.”

At first it sounded good to them.  They wanted the same thing: less fighting, more fun.  Then I read each child’s new standard, based on what they were personally struggling with and fighting us on.  There was fear in their eyes.  Jaws were dropping.  What?  You want me to be on time every day for school?  You mean, you’re going to start a stop watch every time I start arguing about a chore or assignment you give me?  You mean I have to wipe down the counters every time I do the dishes?  I’m going to lose what?  I have to earn what?  I thought I already earned that and I was good to go!  There were a few moments of panic, and I went back to the potty training analogy.

“If Ingrid can be potty trained, you guys can do this.  We won’t let you get stuck in little-kid land.  It’s time to step up and act like the young adults you are.  There will be privileges given, but those privileges will be taken away often during the training, until you understand the direct relationship it has between you fulfilling your responsibilities.”

I know we’ve said this all before.  I know these rules have been said, and printed out in various ways.  But it’s time to start fresh.  New standards for each child are printed out and laminated and hanging up in the kitchen.  The kids know when the laminator comes out, Mom means serious business.  Consequences are immovable, and they have seen that when they try to argue away the consequences, they just get deeper.  They have turned their eyes away from the consequences, though, and have begun to run towards those privileges.

They are beginning to believe that they might actually be capable of all the things we tell them they are capable of doing.

We didn’t buy them anything new.  Every enticement is something they have already been given, but then backslid and stop following through as soon as they had “proven themselves.”  This is just reinforcing that when you reach a new level of responsibility, and earn a new privilege, that responsibility stays, or the privilege is gone.  For some reason, this is a very difficult subject in our house right now.  It has lead to lies, blame, excuses, tantrums, stomping, and a general lockdown on our home as we just don’t want to take them anywhere.  Folks, sometimes this is parenting.  It’s saying “no…I love you too much to let you act like this.”  It’s moving away from barking orders, and sending people to their rooms to cool off, etc, and it’s inspiring them to rise up to be the people God made them to be.

So far, this attempt is working.  I’m starting to think we got through to them this time, if even for awhile when we have to work on new standards as they grow older.  If we could have a whole week without the arguing, I think I’ll be a new woman.

In My Queue

I haven’t been very official about it, but the last couple of months I’ve cut myself off from buying more yarn.  (I know.)

The fact of the matter was I have not been knitting as much as I’d like to, and I really need to start working from my stash.  I’m trying to see how long I can go with just working from what I have on hand.  As I’ve begun to accept the fact that this whole cooking-non-stop diet journey my son is on, along with the growing intensity of our homeschooling, my knitting design is just on hold.  I’m honestly okay with that.  I’ve been praying that God would just let the things that I shouldn’t be doing just fall back, and that’s kinda what has been happening.  Family first.

That doesn’t mean knitting has to stop.  Just the intensity of knit design is on hold, and sort of has been for a year.  Knitting is still therapy to me, and I’ve been pursuing other designers patterns to soak up and enjoy while I work through my stash, and just give myself a bit of grace this year.

So here are some of the ones at the top of my queue:

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Catboat Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

So, I may have cast on this one before Christmas but then put it aside as deadlines for gifts crept close.  I chose this pattern specifically because it uses alpaca, and I have a big stash of brown alpaca in dk weight that I got super cheap when my yarn store closed.  I have learned that alpaca wool behaves very, very differently than sheep’s wool, and it needs a design that understands this.  Plus, this designer is solid, has some great alpaca based designs, and I know it will be a delight for my brain to work through and not frustrating.

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Hearth Slippers by Dianna Walla

I have a ton of worsted weight wool in random colors.  Part of me really wants to order some stunning color combo in Quince and Co. Lark, and really do these well.  But I’m keeping my eye on the prize of stash busting.  Slippers for everyone (or maybe just a ton for me) until my stash of random balls of worsted weights are gone.

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Pom de Pin Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

Maybe I should just name 2016 the year of knitting Amy Christoffers’ designs.  I have longed for this one since the second it has come out and I haven’t had the chance to make myself one.  The only problem with this one is I don’t have yarn for this one in my stash.  So this is the one I will be window-shopping for yarn (and who knows, maybe splurging around my birthday?) that is just perfect.  Because everything about this sweater is perfection.

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Seed Stitch Tea Cozy by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

I could really use a tea cozy or two for as much as our family is obsessed with tea.  I just really don’t want an obnoxious one.  This one is simple and pretty, and the least obnoxious tea cozy I have ever seen.  I may need one for each teapot.

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Blue Leaf Headband by Adrienne Krey

I have a bunch of yarn for this that is leftover from a previous design of mine.  Silje loves to wear these kinds headbands in the winter when she is in town, and I expect that I wouldn’t mind one either.  In fact, maybe I’ll just make a bunch of these to have on hand for gifts and stuff.  It’s just pretty, and looks like a great stash-buster.

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Reine by Alexis Winslow

This is another one of those that I have been wishing and thinking and hoping ever since it came out.  I actually do have a great yarn for this in my stash, some undyed fingering alpaca from the same yarn store closing.  The only reason I have not cast on this project yet (besides I have others to finish) is that I can’t decide if I want the creamy, undyed color for the sweater, or if I want to play around with some natural dyes using some plants from my garden.  I’ve always wanted to do that.  I meant to play around with dyes last autumn, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, and I ran out of time.  So this will be another daydream project this year before it actually becomes a reality.  I just like the natural cream color too.  I’m indecisive right now.  Dying sounds fun.  I mean the color stuff, not actually dying like to the grave.  That wouldn’t be cool this year.

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White Pine by Amy Christoffers

I don’t have yarn for this one either in my stash.  But…but…but…

Darn you, Amy Christoffers.

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Marsellus by Whitney Hayward

This one was just put out by Quince and Co. this month and immediately went into my queue.  I would want the sleeves full length, but that wouldn’t be that hard of a mod, and from the pictures, it looks like it has that option in the pattern.  I would live in this.  I love it so much.

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Manzanilla Pattern by Joji Locatelli

This one also just came out, and it is a bit more trendy, but I’m thinking looks super cozy, and wearable in several seasons here in the frozen tundra.  Also I need to stop looking at designs I love when I don’t have enough yarn for it.  There might be a yarn I have for this, but I’d need to do some digging, and verify it would work and I have enough skeins (and the texture would be suitable for this design).  But it’s a big possibility.

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Bare Branches by Alana Dakos

This design is so elegant, so simple, so interesting.  I just love so many aspects of it, I can’t pick a favorite.  But it’s on my list.  Don’t ask if I have yarn for it.  Just don’t ask.

Once we find out if this baby coming is a boy or girl, I expect to do a ton of stash busting in that area, as baby things use up those last bits and pieces of everything.  I’ll probably do a post with all my favorite baby patterns.  I’ll stash bust then.

But really, if I knit up 2-3 sweaters worth of yarn in my stash, I totally have earned a quick shopping trip to the yarn store.  At least in my book.