Winter is licking our city at last. Snow is falling and the wind is up; teeming clouds of infinitesimal flakes swirl and mount through the air like vast schools of glittering fish or bird flocks that seem guided by a single consciousness. But the wild weather and snow day excitement cannot lift my heart just now. I have to write it to feel for the way forward. If you need coziness and good cheer today, I beg you click away.

On Monday we lost my husband’s godmother, who went more rounds with terminal cancers than anyone dreamed was possible and lived with courage and grace and brazen joy in the face of every difficult day. On Tuesday another beloved person we count as family shared her own diagnosis. The test results flooding in bring black news. Despite her knowledge of the battle ahead and the suffering soon to begin, my friend wakes gleeful at the forecast snow, brimful with the blessings of her life, tender and thoughtful to everyone around her as usual. I know too many of us have felt it, this desperate urge to throw your body between a loved one and the tide, as if you might somehow stop it rising to swallow them. The uselessness you feel because you can’t shelter them from the pain and sickness, because the comforts you can provide seem so peripheral and so puny. (If you’ve lived this, if you can talk about it, will you please tell me what can I do for my friend and her husband as they slog through grim months of treatment? It looks like the full battery of chemo, surgery, and radiation will be necessary.) I thought we’d age together, she leading the way and teaching me how to do it with dignity and delight. I can’t compass the notion that she might not be here. I can’t think of my children growing up without her.

I’m knitting a sock because one stitch after another seems to be the only way I can move through this moment; holding still feels like letting the grief and worry fix me with their yellow eyes so they can creep close and gobble me down. I am trying to imagine how I might grow more like these two women I’ve loved so well, these brave tough incandescent women who knew/know how to knuckle down and live into the world, how to savor its stew of pain and beauty. But it’s a proper blizzard inside and out today.



Ada has three favorite games. One is Bird Bingo, the second is Hit the Hay, a board game devised by my grandfather, and the third is bocce. She usually wins at all of them, but she is practically unbeatable at bocce. For a three-year-old, she has a remarkably true arm. Her brother can’t throw much farther than his toes, but he is very interested in fetching the balls for further rounds. Good family fun all around.


And yes, that’s a new dress. Mama made it and can hardly wait to sew another. More details when I can get some better pictures of it.



A friend of mine used to teach writing to high schoolers. One of the prompts she liked to assign was describe yourself entering a room. So here’s me:

She has chosen the efficiency of a single trip, risky though it is to balance the daily pack load for three people plus several dozen eggs for the neighbors and the baby propped on her hip. She cants her long body against his soft weight and fumbles for the key trapped in the pocket beneath his plump calf. “This is not working out, Mama!” her small daughter announces, struggling with the locked knob. Then the key is in the slot. She braces against the screen door to hold it open while the child deliberately navigates the single step into the kitchen. She executes the pivot up and in, careful not to scrape the baby’s dimpled knee, careful not to dash the eggs against the doorjamb, careful not to tread on the quicksilver dog eeling out into the yard to snuff the freshening wind after a long day of confinement. The baby is snatching at the sunglasses perched askew on her nose. She notes the transfer of sweet potato from his shirt to hers. She sidles through the kitchen — crunch goes a wayward cereal O near the high chair — to deposit their baggage atop the cumulus on the window seat. They are home.

As this vignette reveals, my world is none too orderly nowadays. Against the clutter and the clamor of daily life, I’ve chosen a clean spare slate for my new virtual digs. I want it to be a calming, pleasant place to come after the babes are abed. I hope you’ll poke around and help me give it life through your feedback, though. I expect to be tinkering a lot in the months to come. All the free patterns from Blue Garter are up on the FREE PATTERNS page above the banner, and more tidily arranged than they were on the old blog so you don’t have to scroll through looking for a particular design. There are more free patterns in the hopper, I promise. Over in the sidebar is a big step for me: my first self-published pattern properly test knit and up for sale under the Whistling Girl Knits label. This represents an effort to bring a little more impulsion to my designing, to put it in the terms I’d use if I were riding a horse. Impulsion is forward energy, driven and directed, not scattershot variable kiting about. I have sketches and swatches and notes for more children’s garments — the realm I live in for the time being, but also good practice for working up to adult things that require more tailoring — and I’m trying to commit myself to bring them fully into being.

As part of this identity shift, I’m now whistlinggirl on Ravelry. And you can reach me by emailing sarah AT whistlinggirlknits DOT com. Let’s raise a glass to a new beginning! Thanks for visiting!