NO OBJECT TOO PRECIOUS

 
nothing too precious motherhood by samantha spigos
child looking to the sky gentle childhood by samantha spigos

My daughter has achieved the highly destructive combination of being tall enough to reach most things, while still too young to exhibit caution or reason. And thus, things are breaking at rapid rates. Mark and I tell ourselves that our efforts to safeguard our home (constant reassessing and rearranging) will be rewarded by the time Leo hits the same milestones we were unprepared for with Rosemary. Seasoned parents — is this true? Are we correct? If we’re not . . . don’t tell us. There are certain things we work with her on every day, like carrying appropriately sized ceramic cups and bowls from the kitchen to the dining room. We reinforce never, ever climbing onto the windowsills, which she is wont to do. (The number of time-outs encumbered from not following this rule is truly stunning.)

I am constantly reminding myself that objects can break — every object, for that matter — so long as my children are with us. When I risk losing my mind over yet another broken object that some gentile elderly woman kept in perfect shape for decades (Exhibit A, above vintage angel, recently decapitated, since super-glued), I force myself to imagine how I would feel if I were to lose either of my babies. How I would desperately want every single thing to be broken, if only it would mean they were there. This is a miserable thought. The sort that leaves the taste of bile in your mouth and a clutching panic in your veins, if such a feeling can even be described. I know parents whose children have died, in the womb and on earth. Likewise, partners and lovers. Their cross to bear is heavy, so heavy. My crosses are light and my children are here, breathing and begging and beaming and breaking things. It’s unfair. I am a shepherd to two living children. I suppose this post is a reminder to myself, and a nudge for you if you need it, to remember that when compared with one another—those whom we love more than anything else on Earth—there is no object too precious.

Happiest Friday, friends. Wishing you whistling kettles + a moment to gaze into the eyes of your loved ones.
How is your November shaping up? I would love to hear what you’re noticing or cooking or reading or needing.


—S

ALL SAINTS DAY, FOR YOU AND FOR ME

 
All Saints Day by Samantha Spigos

Happy All Saints Day! Happy Hallowmas! This day is dedicated to all those who have entered heaven, but let me say emphatically: this day is for you, for me, for us. I am crazy for the saints. They are you and I — ordinary, fallible, often with lives thick with cruelty, rife with debauchery, or mile long chore lists. They did laundry; they wiped their babies faces. They said goodbye to their parents and went off to college; they had miscarriages. They felt like failures. But—the great but—in the end, they were unequivocally for God. And they got to that place by becoming themselves. Our deepest and truest self is capable and called to sainthood. We needn’t be anyone else! Hard to believe that when you are trying to do something good but fail, like I did this very morning. Crying on my knees while both my babies cried next to me, turning my personal frustration into a fight with my husband, self-pitying and swearing and wishing I could just have a different life for a moment—failed. In actuality, I’ve got it easy. My children show me every single day what it looks like to be wholly yourself, untethered by the trappings of This and That. The task at hand is becoming like them: not childish, but childlike. If it is not so easy for you—if the notion of sainthood is completely inconceivable and maybe even makes you angry—I hear you. Life is hard and ordinary, and may we all just do the Next Right Thing.

The genuineness of our actions—those instances when we muster the effort to do the Next Right Thing—is good enough. I have to believe this is true. And, thanks be to God, scores of women and men have paved the way. You know these people! We all know Truly Good when we see it, even if it was just a glimpse on the bus.

Take a moment to have a nice think: Who walked, or is walking (!), among you that you believe is a saint?


Photograph of a saint and a saint in the making by Zachary Hamity.
—S

GIVEAWAY! A HANDKNITTED WOOL HAT + HOW TO ENTER

 
Brooklyn Tweed Ranch 02 Curlycup Wool Yarn by Samantha Spigos

I am knitting a very special hat, and I am giving it away to one of you. October marks four years of blogging here and three years of knitting. I feel more ready than ever before to connect with, and grow, my readership. Your dropping in here has been a balm to me in times of trial, and a gift in times of delight. Truly, thank you. And if you are new here, welcome! I want to know you. But back to the giveaway.

I love wool. It is my number three passion after my faith and my family, and I might add that of the three, it’s the simplest. Long lauding the miraculous properties of wool (temperature regulating! antimicrobial! renewable!), it’s high time I actually bring it into your home. I suspect some among ye fall into the “wool is scratchy and itchy and I steer clear of it” camp. Ah, what a disservice the industrial production of wool has done us. I settled on a truly special yarn to knit a gorgeous hat pattern with, and I assure you it is neither scratchy nor itchy, but rather soft and bouncy.

How to win . . .

All you have to do to enter to win is subscribe to my newsletter. That’s it. In a few weeks this gem will be ready, at which time I will randomly choose a winner, wrap it up Just So—complete with a handwritten wool care guide—and send it in the post to you. And one more thing: my prayer intention for this project will be for the peace and safety of the migrant families at our southern border. As I knit, stitch by stitch, I will pray. I am thrilled to be doing this, and hope it can be the first of many woolen giveaways. Are you excited?

Tillage_Hat_Brooklyn_Tweed_Ranch_02_Jared_Flood_01_590d7a95-ac6e-4e47-b497-e2cdba2edc63.jpg
Tillage_Hat_Brooklyn_Tweed_Ranch_02_Jared_Flood_02_d7c61f7a-ed54-4fa0-8c5c-e195a1af0f25.jpg

About the glorious wool . . .

It’s a single-batch release (when it’s gone, it’s gone) of USA-grown, milled, and dyed wool from the Rambouillet sheep at Forbes farm in Kaycee, Wyoming. This is next-t0-skin soft yarn, but will be hardwearing. I fell hard for this wool the moment I read about it, especially seeing it knit up as a Tillage Hat, which is precisely the pattern I’ll be knitting for you. I chose the colorway Curlycup, named after a western wildflower. Not all yellows are created equal; this one is vibrant and complex and a straight ray of sunshine. Everything about this yarn and pattern speaks to my passion: American fiber farming, domestic mills, and land stewardship. As special as this will be for me to knit, it is the knowledge that it will be going to you, or your loved one, that makes me most happy.

I will certainly share about this project along the way, but the giveaway won’t last long, so . . .
run, don’t walk, to my newsletter sign-up directly beneath this post (desktop + mobile) or the lefthand sidebar (desktop only) to be entered to win a handknitted (by yours truly) wool hat in time for the holidays!


Photographs 2 & 3 via Brooklyn Tweed.
—S

WORKS OF THE HOME: TRIMMING SILLS + A LOOK AHEAD

 
child in front of a brick house in autumn by samantha spigos
heirloom pumpkins and dent corn autumn in ohio by samantha spigos

Can someone go back in time and tell fifteen-year old Samantha that twelve years later her favorite outdoor chore would be sweeping the sidewalk? The shock of that news might have helped me appreciate the countless hours I worked in the tiny, sweltering dish pit of my uncle’s restaurant. It was work that was broken up by one of two other tasks: sweeping the mayflies off the outdoor tables, or sweeping the parking lot. I could not conceive why a person would sweep the ground outside. Now look at me: chomping at the bit to take my hand broom and tidy the cement. Our house boasts a weathered, glorious sandstone step at both doors. Beyond the simple pleasure of imagining my mom as a child sitting on these very steps, they can get, as the name suggests, quite sandy. With Autumn comes sand and twigs and leaves, oh my! Talk about a small-town broom-loving bumpkin’s dreamscape. So, yeah, things are pretty exciting around here.

seasonal bouquet of local flowers in a vase by samantha spigos

Fortunately for you, this blog is intended for slightly more interesting subject matter than How To Sweep The Ground. And more than the big impact of a front door wreath, I want to mention the small thrill of trimming your windowsills. I don’t need to tell you I love flowers. They make an ordinary moment feel bountiful. But it doesn’t end there. Adding a small something to a windowsill or a front door—something discovered or once living outdoors—is a lovely, tiny way to enliven your day. We Ohioans are unbelievably blessed with natural bounty, from the trees to the agricultural capacity to the Great Lake just north of us. If you take three steps outside, you can find something. Here are a few easy suggestions for your consideration next time you’re brooming your sandstone step and thinking, gee, that window could use something.


A few ways to bring natural whimsy to your windowsills . . .

+ Flowers. (It bears repeating.)
Did you know wildflowers grow wild? And that certain weeds are lovely? Put a few in a cup. Or, a sprig of herbs tied into a bundle and hung upside down to dry in a sunny window.

+ Shells and stones.
Collecting pretty rocks is not just for children. There is a way to keep them from ending up underfoot, and it’s called a lidded jar. I have many little collections, and they all live on a shelf in empty honey jars. I suspect a jar of beach glass in a windowsill would help you feel abundant. Scanned the beach and only found three pieces? Great, you’ve started a collection.

+ The humble acorn or pinecone.
Three of anything is a collection, and collections help to imbue meaning into a Thing. A handful of acorns in a small bowl, or three pinecones, can offer a bit of levity to an otherwise serious adult life. They are fun. And when you tire of them, toss them to the wind!

+ Beeswax your leaves.
Are the maple trees brilliantly colored where you are? Well, gather a handful. Warm some beeswax if you have it. (If you do not, you can acquire beeswax pellets for less than $10 online). Dip the leaves in the melted beeswax, shake off any excess, and lay on a piece of parchment paper to dry. Tie a string around the stems for a gorgeous garland that will last for months. (P.S. This is a perfect project to try with kids.) (P.P.S. If at all possible, dedicate a pot to beeswax + other crafting projects so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it out. Goodwill is waiting and ready to sell you a 50 cent pot.)

hand knitted child vest by samantha spigos
pile of woolen diaper covers and small baby by samantha spigos

On another note . . .

I’ve been voraciously knitting for the cold season and the holidays, like a squirrel tucking away nuts, except the nuts are wool. I am excited to share more, especially a post about the beauty of the time-honored Christmas stocking (+ why you should love them, too). There’ll be a roundup of baby + child woolen bloomers/pants you might consider gifting this year. (I’ve tested them all.) I have half a mind to do a few gift guides in the coming weeks — roundups of thoughtful products, books, children’s toys, etc. that I stand behind. This blog isn’t much for comments, but if you are a long time reader or new and intrigued, would you be so kind as to comment if gift guides would be of interest to you?


—S