Evening at Stony HillI’ve never had a job like this, one that is so tied to the outdoors. It was a while before I understood that one of the reasons I love to come to work is that I am in and outside all day long, in the fresh (or damp) air, needing a sweater on breezy days, and making sure my rain jacket is always in the car.

I might complain that papers keep blowing off the desk (there are stones to hold everything down), or that the floor is always either sandy or damp, and that the layers of sandy dust can never be completely wiped away, but they are small complaints.

Because when I close the door in the evening and walk to my car, this is what I see when I turn around and look back. I work long hours, and I’m bone-tired, but I leave knowing I’ve done good work, and with my soul intact.

Evening at Stony Hill 2

And on some evenings, after a long day at work, I’m the only person left there. I walk down to lock my files in the barn office. The barn is quiet except for the birds, so many birds, mostly sparrows. Dahli and Tiamo are there, nosey and interested—especially Dahli (on the left), who may as well be saying, “Hi! Hi! Hey, what’s new?” All the other horses are quiet, tucked in for the night.

Day Off 08.06.14Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my days off for now, so I treat them like a weekend. I do all my errands on one day, and rest on the other. I’ve been working on a shawl, the ingeniously-shaped Lory by Bristol Ivy. I’m using some Sundara Sport from Kris Jensen’s stash. It’s comfort knitting on my days off or on those rare evenings when I get home before 8:00.

And there’s something else in the works. The notebooks and pen are out again, and ideas and stitches and shapes are finding their way to the pages. I think while I knit Lory, and make the notations and scribbles that will lead to swatches and spreadsheets and a knitted thing.

Before long, summer will be over. I’ll be able to spend fewer hours at work, and less time getting there and back. I’ll get to spend more time concentrating on knitting and thinking up knitting. And I’ll be able to leave work in the evening with a less tired but still satisfied smile.

Landmark Update

I’m so grateful to all who have downloaded Landmark and Boxwood! There’s an updated version of the shawl (V1.1) that is available to everyone who purchased the original version. All downloads after July 23rd are the updated pattern.

Two patterns


Landmark 1
Landmark 20
Landmark 8

Clara Yarn’s CVM/Romedale 1.0 was in my hands for about five minutes when I decided it needed to be a shawl. Clara tells the story of CVM, and of the creation of this very special yarn on the Clara Yarn website. As I began to think about the design, my sister Ellen suggested a capital-S Shawl — not fancy, but one that wraps you up in a warm, cozy, at-home-in-winter feeling. It had to be big enough to wrap around your shoulders, but not so big that it got in the way.

I swatched for days that stretched into weeks, playing with textures and shapes, color combinations, and drape. The shawl that I created is a top-down crescent shape, where seed stitch becomes diamonds, and diamonds become a wavy border of flags. The stitches are simple combinations of knit and purl, separated into bands and ending in a border that wants to wave a little.

It’s called Landmark for my sister, after our family farm near Middleburg, Virginia. Of the five of us children, it was Ellen who spent her whole childhood there – surrounded by green fields and our mother’s gardens, nestled among the rolling hills, and enfolded in the world created by our parents, grandparents, and the families that came before them.

Ellen at Landmark
Landmark is available to download from Not Plain Jane’s Ravelry Store.


Boxwood 4a
Boxwood 2a
Behind the house there were big, overgrown boxwoods, which at one time must have bordered a path. Their shelter was our playhouse, and so the hat is called Boxwood. Like Landmark, the fabric is simply textured, moving from ribbing to seed stitch to simple diamonds, and then to stockinette stitch for the shaping at the top.

Boxwood is available to download from Not Plain Jane’s Ravelry Store.

Landmark 18Landmark 15Landmark 17

As I’m writing this, several days late (a tale for another post), Clara Yarn CVM/Romedale 1.0 is all gone. Another woolen-spun DK yarn will work almost as well. Just make sure it’s a yarn that has something to contribute to the experience!

I’m extremely grateful to the wonderful Purlewe, who took a spreadsheet and page after page of notes and made sure that everything added up;  to Michael Friedrich, Destiny Montague, and Rebecca Speckenbach for letting me borrow their heads; and to Rachel Speckenbach, who knows how to rock a wool shawl on a hot afternoon.


SHS 06.16.14Life gets sorted out, with help. With hard work. With perseverance. I got a job.

I’m now the office manager at Stony Hill Stables. My coworkers include horses and the humans who care for them, and it’s a whole new world to me. There’s an energy there, a very good energy. I’m back to full-time hours, and the alternate version of a weekend (my days off are mid-week). It’s been a tiring but invigorating two weeks – it happened so fast that I began working just a few days after the interview.

hat 6.18.14There hasn’t been much time for knitting, and not much energy for it, either. I have a little pile of hats waiting to be blocked, but New Job has taken the top spot on my list of things to do. I knit for a while yesterday, and almost finished this hat. It made me so happy!

After months and months of knitting every day, of designing and testing (wink-wink) and knitting some more, it felt strange to spend a day without needles in my hand. I think that I couldn’t knit while I was getting used to my new schedule, and while my brain was processing all the new tasks. Yesterday, with a big happy sigh, I picked up my knitting. I’m full again.

SHS 06.16.14aThis is the view from my lunchroom, at least in good weather. I think a little break-time knitting will fit in nicely.

I’m so glad to be busy again, to have good work to do, to be my whole self. It can only get better — my connection to knitting, my understanding of my new work world, all of it.

Oh, and I get to drive by my beach twice a day! Icing on the cake!