And this is where I speak to you from my heart, again

November 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, domestic violence, faith, family, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, inspiration, knitting, Lace Shawl Knitting, Life, love, marriage, photography, relationships, Thanksgiving, yarn | 18 Comments
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IMG_4428Snow.

It has been falling steady all morning.  I knit, and write, and I sip hot cocoa.

This kind of cozy, relaxing morning is fulfilling to the soul.

The world is very quiet on a snow day.  Watching the steady flow of softly falling flakes can be mesmerizing, leading to deep thoughts and philosophical contemplations.

At least, that is how it is for me.

This morning the snow along with the and the contemplation that comes with knitting have worked together to lead my mind to you, dear reader.

I have known many of my readers for a little more than eight years now. It has been a long road, and there have been poignant joys so rich as to make my heart ache with the satisfaction of long-awaited happiness…joyful, magic moments many of which I have shared in this ethereal place known as my “blog”.

Side Bar: Blog is such an unattractive word. I wish a prettier word had been created for it.

There have been heart-wrenching losses also, along the way.  Some have been shared, though most have been suffered through silently as far as the blog is concerned.  Anguish is not what you come here looking for, so the moments in life of anguish are kept from public view and knowledge.

We all have them, our private trials and sufferings.

That is life.  There are times of joy and happiness, of creation, and jubilant reflection.  Oh, how those> moments glow.

And in contrast there are the … other things we must deal with and endure.

I started my blog in the summer of 2006, and from the very first time someone left me a comment and I knew people were actually “listening” I have carried you, my reader, in my heart. Sometimes there have been thousands in a day coming to this place, other times a few hundred come daily.

It is a unique friendship and relationship between writer and reader in this virtual world known as “the blogosphere”.  I don’t know what it is like for other writers, I think I have a somewhat unique relationship with my readers in that I started writing shortly after my entire life turned upside down and began anew.

When I moved from Los Angeles to this farm in New York back in May of 2006 I had not heard of or read any “blogs”.  I had much experience with computers and the Internet.  I had been an Art Director and VP of Strategic Creative Services at an Internet start-up company and had quite a bit of experience with online marketing and consulting.  Still, I was not familiar with blogs.

My then new life on a farm was destined to be more relaxed, less stressful, and certainly would involve zero traffic jams and so I looked around for something new to do with my Internet skills, something that would allow me to focus on my first love, which was writing.

My son suggested I get into writing a blog, and he said I should just pick a subject I knew something about and start writing about that.  So I made a list of things I enjoyed and also knew something about, and knitting was one of those things. Earlier than that, when I was still living in Los Angeles, it was my son who also suggested that I turn my focus to writing rather than general Internet consulting. He helped me center my focus, and it was a key factor in what led me here … to my dear husband, to this farm, and to writing this blog.

Another Side Bar Item:I mention my son quite often on my blog and in my emails, even in some of my patterns. If it hadn’t been for him, I might never have come to be here writing this blog, designing knitting patterns, and sharing them with you. We all have a great deal to be thankful to him for. It is inevitable that he is therefore, an integral part of the adventure. So, I mention him, and I link to his online store where he sells prints of his designs including City Neighborhood Typography maps like this one of Los Angeles, vintage inspired Eye Charts, city minimalist posters, and subway signs and bus scrolls.

In August 2006 I posted my first entry. I look back now and see I made 21 posts that August.

My goodness, that was a long time ago.

At that time, my life had turned upside down, inside out, rolled over a few times and flipped up in the air at least five times.  It was a dream come true to live on a farm. Each and every day held treasures of discovery in my new environment.  I literally engaged in an entirely new and different life, begun right in the middle of my already well-established life.

What I am trying to say is this: I think it is a pretty big deal I started writing a blog not long after arriving in my new life and that so many readers have been a part of this adventure. You have read my words, enjoyed my photography, cheered my joys and victories, felt my pain, and even knitted a few of my designs.

I have carried you right along with me through many of the steps and turns and magical developments along the way.  And it has been great.  I have to say, I came to love you guys, my readers, and I still do.  You are a part of my world and my universe, even if you don’t realize it.

But there is something I feel very bad about, and I want to say something here about that.

There have been times when some of you have left comments or sent me emails and I never got back to you.  Not all of the time, but sometimes.

And, there have been long periods of absence on my part as time has gone by.  I am sorry for that, I want you to know that I am.  I honestly feel that because of the kind of blog I write–where I share both glory and pain in order to inspire others that life’s obstacles can be overcome and dreams can come true–that dropping off and not writing for long periods of time was injurious to the universe I had created as a writer.

That might sound weird, or you might say I shouldn’t carry such a burden but it is my honest feeling and I want to apologize to whoever might still be “listening”.

I had good reason, and I am going to say something very brief about that.

My dear, dear daughter was married to someone abusive and is physically disabled because of that.  Then also, my granddaughter came into the picture.  They have a right to privacy and safety, and the time I share with them I don’t share publicly via my blog.

This past year I have had more time to knit again, to design, write, and publish patterns and write some emails.

blacksmith1It is challenging to wear the various hats life has called on me to wear while also carving out a bit of quiet time alone time for writing, and so I disappear at times.  It isn’t because I have stopped thinking of my readers or carrying you in my heart.  You are still there for me, and I hope you can feel me there in your heart as well even when I am absent from this venue.

I shot this photograph at Genesee Country Village Museum this summer. This gentleman is a blacksmith re-enacter (he actually does real old-time blacksmithing work). He reminded me a bit of my dear father, so I shot this portrait of him. I won a blue ribbon for the photograph in their annual Agricultural Festival this fall. 🙂

I don’t think life ever turns out the way any of us thought it was going to. I know mine hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would when I was young and younger. The funny thing is, it has turned out to be a very good likeness of the various dreams I dreamt of when I was younger. It just doesn’t look or feel the way I had imagined, and so at times it is a challenge to recognize it as being the life I actually did intend to create–a version of it anyway.

That’s the way it is, life is, after all, life. I think of mine as a river … remember when I wrote about The River Me?

IMG_4365Over the past year I have designed and published fourteen new patterns for quite a few new items including a variety of shawls and cowls (see photos at the end of this post). In addition to individual knitting patterns, I have published several eBooks with collections of patterns (all are available in my Ravelry store, some are in my Etsy store). Currently I have a number of projects in the planning stages and in the works including children’s clothing, an awesome cardigan for men (I am knitting the sample for my son, naturally), a number of patterns for gloves, more cowls, and several shawls/wraps. I have started developing relationships with yarn artists and have the pleasure of developing some designs specifically featuring their beautiful yarns, and that is a pretty cool development.

In the coming year I will start using test and sample knitters (if you are interested, please let me know) and am looking to establish a good relationship with a skilled tech editor for my knitting patterns.

Realistically, I won’t be able to get back to writing weekly blogs for the time being. I will write when I can, which might only be a few times a year. If you would like to stay in closer touch with me and my life, Instagram is a great choice because I post there sometimes on a daily basis sharing both knitting related photography and photography from this beautiful world I live in.

Follow me on Instagram to see day-to-day photos of fiber related goodies and knitting projects, as well as beautiful scenes from our little piece of heaven. You can find me there as: JLFleckenstein. It would also be great if you would share photos of your WIP of my designs on FaceBook and Instagram using hashtag: #jlfleckenstein

My most recent knitting designs are available first in my Ravelry store, and then in my Etsy store. My Ravelry ID is: JLFleckenstein, and my Etys store is ILiveonaFarm.Etsy.com.

If you leave a comment on my blog or send me an email, I will write back to you. If you don’t hear from me for several days it means life tapped me on the shoulder and kept me away from my computer, usually for a very good reason. But I always come back. I always do.

With so many things I have to be thankful for, I want to take this moment in time to wish my U.S. readers a Happy Thanksgiving holiday, and for my non-U.S. readers, I send you good tidings and best wishes for those things you have to be thankful for in your life.

Warm wishes,

~firefly

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18 Comments »

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  1. We live 6 mo at our cottage on the Lake in Kuckville, Orleans County & 6 mo in De. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and love what you do. I particularly enjoy your art which is hung at Zambistros. Now to the point, I want to learn to knit. I am 74 years old with arthritic fingers but I want to knit or at least try. Do you have any suggestions as to where or how I should start? Thank you in advance. Evelyn

    • Hi Evelyn. If you go to A Knitter’s Corner in Medina, they will teach you to knit and help you along the way with materials, questions, etc. let me know if you need help contacting them. Good to hear from you. : ) firefly

    • If knitting with regular needles turns out to be too probelmatic for you try a “knitting board”. There are many available in a range of prices, sizes and several materials. Just Google and look around the internet, your local knitting shop might also be of help in finding one for you and helping you to learn to use it.

  2. I loved reading your blog and your way with words. You have a wonderful, orginal voice and gift!. And I have missed your voice, but I fully respect your bond to your family and need to take care of first things first. You had let us know that was why you were absent back then, and I pray things are going wondrously for them now.

    I will read your words and blog whenever you write! (LOVE your photos and artwork)
    Great to hear from you!
    Cindy

  3. Dear Jackie,

    It was so good to get an update from you again. I would love to test knit your patterns (I love your patterns!)
    I will remember your daughter in prayer also, that she finds peace and comfort to wipe away the pain of the past.
    Thank you for the quite exciting offer to test knit for you!
    Blessings to you,
    Mary in SD

    • Thank you so much Mary for your kindness and encouragement. And, many thanks for being willing to test knit for me. Are you on Ravelry? I thought I might start a small group there for those willing to text knit for me. If not, we can still do it. I will email you more.

  4. As a former native Upstate New Yorker I started following your blog when I saw the pattern for the NY hat. From that point on I was hooked! Reading your current post I was taken by the fact that I could literally feel your sincerity and compassion. In this day and age it felt heart warming to read such an honest piece or writing. Thank you Firefly! Thank you for being brave enough to open a window into your world. Thank you for letting others know we are not alone in our life struggles and journey. Thank you for the smiles as I have seen through your eyes life in upstate NY.

    I am an experienced knitter who will be more than happy to assist you in any way that I can. It would be my honor, indeed!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May God Bless you in all that you do.

    • Thank you so much Josette, what powerful,words of support you have expressed. You and the others leaving comments have touched my heart so deeply. I will email you privately about the help with test knitting. Have a beautiful day.

      • I remember when you started this blog!But as my life has pulled me away from blogging and knitting, so has it come full circle and back to you. I have started blogging again to try to recapture the “knitting connection” I shared with fellow bloggers. It warms my heart to see that you have been so successful! Best wishes to you. I look forward to following you on your journeys.

      • I meant to reply to this much sooner. Thank you crankygrrrrl for your warm and supportive comment. Yours is one of the names I recall from early on, and I loved hearing from you. I look forward to catching up with you on your blog as well. Best wishes to you and yours. ~firefly

      • I look forward to hearing from you. God Bless you and your family.

  5. thank you.

  6. Jackie–how beautiful your ongoing river story. I am so blessed to have you as a dear friend. You speak from your heart and seem to lighten the hearts of the people you surround. May our Lord bless you always and forever. Please keep writing and sharing your thoughts. I gave paused my knitting for a short time but when I begin again I will think of you only I may be sipping coffee or hot tea. Blessings to your husband and daughter and son and most of all — your granddaughter. Your friend.

    • Thank you so much, Rita. I feel the same way about you. Your friendship has been one of,the real treasures of this journey. ~firefly

  7. Jackie, you are an inspiration to us all. Sending prayers for you and your family, that you will continue to prosper.

    • Thank you so very much Joan. Warmly, firefly

  8. Nicely written and very pretty knitting. I knit also but just simple designs. Farm life in New York sounds wonderful.

  9. Thank you for your gift of a fingerless glove pattern. It’s in my queue and I will post photos when I cast on. I’m very pleased to have found your blog and will follow you.

    I too have had a life very different from what I could have ever expected. As I reach my mid-fifties and look back, I primarily see that I haven’t had significant individual accomplishments and I grieve for what I thought I could be. But I also am now able to see that I have developed considerable skills in helping family members be as comfortable and accepting with their handicaps and illnesses as possible, as oil on troubled waters, even while struggling with my own chronic illness. Unlike my dear natal family members, I am still alive and may yet find achievement. Somehow, your comment on the hard times you keep to yourself helped me realize that.

    I also wanted to share the derivation of “blog.” It’s a term coined by a software guy named Dave Winer, and it’s a contraction of web-log: a document on the web to log your mostly unedited thoughts. Back in my software job days, I had to support him in some project development. He was an incredibly difficult customer: demanding a degree of service he was not entitled to, emoting all over us, constantly threatening to use his influence to get us in trouble. Manipulative and rather emotionally abusive, and very egotistical, with a tendency to take full credit for others’ development of an idea he may have once had. So “blog” annoys me both for the ugly term and the connection; but with a bit of maturity, I perceive that he may be Aspie and tightly wound, and not be able to be aware of his oafishness.

    Perhaps we women can come up with a better term for the type of writing we do, more journaled than logged, and much more from the heart.

    Kind regards.


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