Wednesday, July 29, 2015

yarn along: finishing

Knitting: What a busy weekend we have had here.  My little girls were the flower girls in their uncle and new auntie's wedding and we were so glad we got to be a part of their special day.  I had lots of time in the car to knit and am nearly to the picot edge I am going to do on my Radiance shawl.  That will take me all week.  I can't wait to finish it and see it blocked.  Right now it mostly just looks like a wad of lacy yarn.

Reading:  I finished All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr with two days to spare before it has to go back to the library this second time.  I thought it was incredible.  The writing was lovely and careful.  As I sat on the couch with tears trickling down my cheeks during a particularly beautiful scene, Jesse looked at me inquisitively.  "He hits all the right notes in all the right ways," was all I could choke out before diving back into the scene.  It is a big book and I feel some relief over leaving WWII behind after spending so much time there.  But it is a good book and I am glad I read it.  I loved this short segment in particular for the wisdom in it and for the depth of character it provides for each speaker  (Slight spoiler possibility if you are planning on reading very soon):

He says, "You are very brave."She lowers the bucket.  "What is your name?"He tells her.  She says, "When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave.  When my father left, people said I was brave.  But it is not bravery; I have no choice.  I wake up and live my life.  Don't you do the same?"He says, "Not in years.  But today.  Today maybe I did."
Listening:  Sense and Sensibility on CraftLit this week, and a bit of The Enchanted April on the Classic Tales podcast.  We spent a lot of time with Frances and Gloria during our drive, too, thanks to a library audio collection I picked up; I love Frances!   Russell C. Hoban just writes children so well. 

That's it for my Yarn Along post for today!  It's hopefully a week of finishing up for me - books and yarn projects, as we end July (how can that be?!) and move into August, another busy month for us and yet a different kind of summertime busy.  I'm already getting that little ache in my bones for the beauties of autumn!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

yarn along: needles and pages

 "Look, Mommy, this cottonwood fuzz is like snow!  Let's throw it up in the air and pretend!"  *Mom sneezes and resolves to take an allergy pill on arrival home*



I've been cranky.  What you can't see in the pictures of the walk at the river was my scowling face and the sweat pouring in rivers down my back. Mom-fail.  (My kids overheard that description as I whined it and have hijacked it, describing how sweat is in rivers on their backs, haha!) How can I be cranky in the face of such beauty?  I don' t know, but I know it's possible because I have been.  I've been so tired.  The photos help me see the beauty that I sometimes forget to watch for and be thankful for. 

On the needles:  I'm back to working on my Radiance shawl, and am unknitting what I think is going to be the last row to get back to the mistake.  I made a Fair Isle hat using Elizabeth Zimmerman's directions in Knitting Workshop but for some reason it ended up being too short so Lyddie has a new, slightly slouchy winter hat that actually will match her winter coat nicely.  I wove in the ends and blocked my Adama cowl - it doesn't look terribly adorable laid out flat in the pictures but I love how soft and chunky the Malabrigo worsted is and I will hopefully soon have a day to take pictures of it being worn. Today was not that day since there were sick kids and a broken washing machine, messy clothes, messy hair, no makeup... not this day!

Between the pages:  I am diligently  making my way through All the Light We Cannot See and according to my Kindle, I am 70% of the way through.  The problem is that I can't read it before bed or I am filled with sad, restless thoughts about WWII and my dreams are more and more affected by what is in my head before sleep now so I'm squeezing in bits of reading time here and there in the day.

 I picked up A Brother for the Orphelines, which is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, and I wanted to pre-read it to see if it would be a good read-aloud with my Lyddie; it will be.  I am listening to Sense and Sensibility via CraftLit, and am totally entranced by The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim on the Classic Tales podcast, an author I've never even heard of.  I also am about to start listening to Lear as ChopBard starts it. Audiobooks can be a companion to me no matter what I am doing because my time to sit and read an actual book feels so limited if I also want to do anything crafty like knit.  I make it a general rule not to have my headphones in and to try to limit my screen time when the kids are up, but I have a chunk of time in the afternoon that I can listen and then I often listen to something in bed before going to sleep. Since each of these podcasts typically releases only one chapter a week, I don't feel overwhelmed trying to keep up and actually I think I retain the books more at a slower pace. 

I hope all my dear readers are having a great week!  We're off to my brother-in-law's wedding in the next day or so (schedule pending sick children) which will provide lots of car time for knitting!  Looking forward to see what everyone else is posting about on this Yarn Along day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

yarn along: gritty

Happy Wednesday!  I feel like this is a week full of projects here and I am steadily making a dent in my list of things I hope to accomplish by the end of August. One of my goals was to do the annual cleaning out of the chicken coop and I got that checked off.  It's a big job that left me dirty and sweaty but at least my lungs stayed clean because of that very attractive mask I was sporting. 

I wanted to get my Radiance shawl unknit back to the dropped stitches, and I pushed through it only to drop another stitch - at least, I think it's a new one and the old one has been corrected!  A better knitter could just grab a crochet hook and pick up those stitches.  I am not a better knitter.  

So to celebrate, I'm going to cast on something new.  I am going to try following Elizabeth Zimmerman's directions for knitting a Fair Isle hat for myself with KnitPicks Swish Worsted in fuschia and charcoal gray.  You know, because I've been having so much success with my knitting that trying something new and completely out of my skill set seems like an excellent idea. 

I picked up my Shepherd's Bush cross-stitch again to make up for the struggles I'm having with fiber at the moment.  It will be a needle roll when it's finished and is my first project with beadwork and fancy embroidery.  I forgot how much I love the in and out of hand stitching and the delicacy of working on linen.   

I got All The Light We Cannot See at the library again so I can finish reading it.  I'm about halfway through and WHEW is it heavy.  The chapters about the girl character are not as gut-wrenching so far, but the ones about the boy are gritty (don't you love that word?  Gritty). The writing is excellent and I look forward to seeing how the two storylines weave together eventually. 

I'm returning to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and as I mentioned earlier this week, I have resolved to complete the KonMari method of tidying by Christmas (but hopefully much sooner).   I am so tired of living among clutter piles and spending the majority of my time just managing stuff and junk that doesn't have a home and gets pushed from one place to the next. This week I applied her principles to my clothes, the girls' clothes, and all our children's books and am really happy that we can now fit all our clothes in each dresser and closet with room to spare, and no longer have a pile of books on the floor next to the girls' bookshelves.  But more than that, I am even happier that when I look at the shelves I feel joy over each and every title, all of which are ones I could read over and over again. Jesse and I are planning to do the same with all the rest of the books here soon.  This is good. 

(As always, I am listening to CraftLit with Sense and Sensibility and am just starting to listen to King Lear as it begins over on ChopBard.  These are both several-month listens and I love that slow and steady working through a classic that I might not otherwise pick up at this stage of my life!  And Shakespeare!  I'm learning so much even just in the introduction to King Lear!)

Joining the Yarn Along fun at Ginny's Small Things blog with this very real-life knitting post.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 11, 2015



We loaded up and headed a little ways toward the mountains again on daddy's day off, this time going to Rimrock Lake and although another group came and parked themselves right next to us in an otherwise empty park (I think they were hoping that if they were loud enough maybe we'd move so they could take over the picnic table or something - we didn't) it was still a restful time.  It was hot even up there so the lake dips we took felt incredible and the girls practiced their swimming.  It is so beautiful there and I love spreading a blanket out and diving in to cool off, coming up for a snack or lunch, and settling on the blanket with my knitting needles until the heat is unbearable again.  Lyddie decided to work on her knitting with goggles on, and Rosie practiced sewing with lacing cards. A military jet flew by overhead so close that I thought my ear drums would burst.  So loud. 

Last night we enjoyed an evening at the college-league baseball game in town with our church family and staff.  I got to sit next to two sweet friends and it was so lovely to joke and watch and catch up with them while keeping a wary eye out for fly balls into the stands.  

You know, nothing really exciting happening here but tidbits of good.  

I am planning to complete the KonMari method of "tidying up" by Christmas so I dug in and got my entire wardobe piled into the guest room today and worked through each category of clothing as she recommends.  Although I frequently purge through my clothes, my drawers and closet have truly never looked this... well, empty.  Great.  Devoid of junk.  I can see now how freeing it would be if I felt this way about all our belongings.  I love it.

I have been teaching Millie how to cross-stitch.  She couldn't be more thrilled in spite of the fact that it's almost completely hand-over-hand and will be for quite some time.  No matter!  She was begging to learn after seeing some of my unframed samplers so when we stopped into Hobby Lobby, we picked up a beginning kit, which in turn has caused me to begin again on my own needlework, a really beautiful needle roll kit from Shepherd's Bush that my mom gave me last year but which has been sitting largely unattended while I have focused on knitting.   

We have been watching Once Upon a Time and are fully hooked into season two.  Who knew that fairy tale characters could be so creatively interwoven?  The writing on the show is really very good so far. I started listening to a new podcast that was recommended by Alicia recently and it is a nice fiber-y podcast that makes me want to start dyeing yarn for fun but instead I am ripping back row upon row of a lace-weight shawl and dreaming about the day I get to start knitting forward again.  I am really missing weekly CraftLit podcast releases since Heather understandably decreased for the summer but it means I have to wait two weeks between each episode of Sense and Sensibility!  
Those are the tidbits from my end; any tidbits you care to share?

Thursday, July 09, 2015



Summer days change pace so much and I find myself already looking forward to the regularity of autumn's schedule.  Never mind that it's at least two months away. However, I wouldn't trade this time for that.

One week is full of reaching out into the community, of seeing familiar faces of children who live in emotional and physical poverty, and seeing smiles spread across those same faces at the appearance of The Church who has come to play bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and crafts with them.  A pouring-out kind of week but also a being-filled kind of week. 

Then another week is altogether different, with bits of family togetherness that help balance out little girl hearts who miss their daddy on those ministry-laden weeks.  I so appreciate the way my husband seeks balance in this, the way he spends time planning and making memories with us in special ways.  We recently visited Mount Rainier and I must ask, is there anywhere that can compare to the glory of the mountains?  The pristine subalpine meadows rich with wildflowers that creep right up to the glaciers, the glaciers that look so close that I can surely reach out and touch the blue ice.  There are butterflies floating all around, and deer so near we can see their flanks quiver in anxiety for us to move on down the path.  A family of hoary marmots played on the rocks nearby as we walked, and who knew that something with such an unflattering name could be so adorable?  I am drawn in again by the splendor and majesty and clarity and explosion of color.  The life in this place is so fleeting, the season for growth so short, but if not for the long seasons of cold and ice, the verdant beauty would be diminished.  There is a heart lesson for me in this. 

Then at home, we move swiftly through each day, wondering when the sun goes down why so much is left undone that needed doing, but then remembering that it is better to stop and splash with the children in the pool, or guide that little hand with its needle up and down through the cloth while her eyes are alight with excitement, or flop onto the bed in the middle of it all and read a story to that one in need of a few minutes with Mommy. The moments of stopping are more than stopping; they are moments of beginning and sustaining.

The squash is being eaten by squash bugs.  The strawberries are being eaten by strawberry bugs. My raspberries have finished their first round (oh I miss them already!). The peas never did grow well and will be pulled in favor of a planting of kale or some other fall crop (what's your favorite fall crop to plant?). The basil is exploding and I can imagine for a few minutes that instead of a weed-infested garden of the most basic vegetables, I am digging in an exotic plot of land with figs and basil and olives.  Just that lingering fragrance of basil.  We harvested our first ripe tomato today and celebrated promptly with a lunch of Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwiches.  Lyddie expressed my feelings precisely by declaring with alacrity, "OH this is SO delicious!"