yarn along

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Last week was hard with some unforeseen life circumstances that I’m still reeling from.  My knitting also seems to have had a rough week.  I guess it’s good for people to remember as well as myself that life isn’t always smooth and easy and neither are our knitting projects, right?  I love when I have a project on the go that is easy to pick up and work on, something that’s cruising along smoothly.  But the reality is that sometimes a project is troublesome and frustrating.  Anyway, I had picked up my campside shawl and was nearly done with it but somehow I had made a mistake and my stitch count was off significantly enough for the eyelet design to be off kilter.  I tried to improvise and see if I could make it work but after nearly finishing, I had to admit to myself it was bothering me too much.  So, rip rip rip.  I’ve started over.  It’s always hard to rip out hours and hours of work, but the reality is I’d like a better finished product so it’s worth it.  Plus, it’s enjoyable to knit so I can’t complain too much.

Then I tried to cast on a Like Sleeves top for Wren in some Quince + Co Tern that I have, but it doesn’t look like I’ll have quite enough yarn.  So, then I picked up some Cestari sock collection cotton/wool blend yarn at a local yarn store and have cast on again for the Like Sleeves top.  I decided to cast on the 12 month size for some reason but am kicking myself because she’s only 4 months and I’m wanting it to fit her now, so maybe I will rip out and cast on for the 6 month size, or more likely I will just decrease and call it good.  Sigh.

Not much reading happening, am waiting on some library books to be available, but in the meantime I am reading Begin Again for review.  I can’t say I’m into it quite yet, but I have heard others recommend it.

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

a birthday shawl

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I bought this yarn with birthday money, catching one of Ginny’s summer yarn updates.  I always swoon over what she makes, she has such great taste!

The yarn is gorgeous, naturally dyed but with the most beautiful speckles.  Truly, I don’t know how she does it!  It is such a bright and happy color, and the yarn is really lightweight making the shawl feel airy and summery.  The yarn is 100% american wool, single ply fingering weight, very soft yet with a rustic feel to it.

I knit the antarktis shawl pattern, which I’ve knitted twice before for gifts, and it is sheer enjoyment to knit.  I modified the pattern a bit by adding some repeats, wanting to use as much yarn as possible.  I cast off before adding much of a lace border, thinking to save a bit of yarn to maybe add a couple of tassels on the corners of the shawl.  Should I?  I can’t tell.  I think I like it how it is.

I finished the shawl a week ago or so, and slipped outside after a shower to take a few pictures in the last light of the day, thus my wet hair and glasses.  I have been grabbing this shawl often in the early mornings or late evenings for a luxurious simple summery wrap and I love it so, so much.

the things that ground me

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Yesterday was July 4th, Independence Day, and we had a happy day together doing simple, fun, local things.  Earlier in the week the children had picked out a dessert they wanted me to make (from this cookbook), and we had shopped for the ingredients together.  I began making the custard early in the morning, finishing in time for us to scoot to the parade in our little town.  I don’t think I’ve taken the kids to a parade before (or can’t remember?) except for the local Parade of the Tractors that we happened upon last year. 🙂  It was pretty simple and short, but still fun to do something festive together.  Daddy worked part of the day, so we missed him but made the best of it.  When we got back, the kids played in the sprinkler and cooled off while I prepped lunch.  During nap time I finished the dessert and spent some time in the breezy sunny afternoon browsing through the garden.  Later, the children went through the garden, Phoebe picking the ripe tomatoes from her plants, gathering romaine for dinner and our first cucumber (which was amazingly delicious).  The kids each helped decorate our dessert tart and after dinner/dessert we found a good spot in town to watch fireworks.  Some dear friends met up with us last minute and it was so very sweet and fun to watch our children experience the fireworks together.  My heart was full.  I was thinking about it yesterday while just living a simple yet fun day at home: these are the things that ground me when life feels hectic, busy, full.

I’ve reached this point in motherhood where I feel overwhelmed and out of breath (on a soul level) pretty much daily.  I feel like I’m spinning plates, one after the next, and dropping half of them.  The things I love, the things that feed my soul and creativity often get choked out in the “churn” of the day, though I fight to squeeze them in in smaller quantities.  I long sometimes to step back and have everything stop for a second so I can catch up.  My children need things from me that I can’t always anticipate or understand or feel able to give.  Decisions need to be made that overwhelm + cause anxiety.  I think as mothers we are constantly measuring: measuring how we are doing, if we are doing enough for our children, enough for our husbands, friends, etc.  We are evaluating and analyzing all the time, feeling guilty most of the time and certain we are probably not measuring up.  This week I’ve been asking some questions of myself that are hard, facing some decisions that have caused me to lose some sleep.  It all feels like a state of constant churning.

So I seek out the things that ground.  The scriptures.  The garden quiet, plants growing steadily and unobtrusively, swaying in the breeze, buzzing with bees and birds and life.  Knitting.  Evening tea with Brandon.  Prayer.  Singing.  Watching the family of blue birds nesting in the birdhouse in our garden again this year.  Listening for those little “chirps.”  Making food for our family.  Snapping photos.  Working with my hands.  Being in the wilderness.  Paying attention to and getting to know our own little town, seeking community in our church.

These “grounding” things aren’t always available to me, but I seek them out when I can.  They help settle me and remind me who I am and where I am on this spinning planet.  Maybe you feel like that sometimes, too.  I hope you can find a few things that help you feel your feet on the ground and remember that you are human in this place.  Limited, loved.

yarn along

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I’m hearing summer’s first cicada this morning as I type this, as the heat and humidity build outside.  I’ve been working little bits each day on spreading fresh wood chips around the kid’s play gym, the garden, and the flower beds around the house but I don’t think I can bear the heat and sun this morning.  Maybe this evening.  Brandon and I often do yard + garden work amongst the fireflies after the children are tucked into bed and the day’s heat has subsided.  This week is about settling back into our ordinary routines, the daily and weekly things that ground us.  I have a lot of organizing and planning to do in the month of July to get ready for the next school year, hunting for good prices on books + curriculum, restocking supplies, tidying our school room and maybe adding a few items for interest + curiosity.  Phoebe does testing for the first time in a week or so (our state’s annual requirement) and I’m eager to see how she does.

I’ve finished up a few projects, and I’ve been trying to get a new shawl started (using new-to-me brioche stitch) but I cannot seem to get just the first rows right.  I will figure it out eventually, but when I just need something soothing to pick up and knit, I’ve been reaching for my campside shawl.  I’ve been working on it again (after a year hiatus) for a few days but already it’s flying off the needles.  It won’t be long.  (I stopped knitting this shawl last year at this time when I was so sick with my pregnancy with Wren, and couldn’t even look at yarn.  Oddly when I pick it up, I have had waves of nausea just in the remembering.  Its so strange, how our circumstances and memories get knitted into our projects.)  This is one I’m thinking about offering for sale, though I have no idea how to price it really.  So many loved ones and friends have asked me to sell things I knit, but I’m not sure exactly how to go about it since I don’t plan to regularly sell things, and just would have random items up for sale here and there.  Any suggestions?  I’m thinking to offer it for sale through instagram.  Also, any interest in buying some hand made items from me?

The kids and I have been reading this new book, 100 Bible Stories for Children, which I am reviewing this month.  We have read the Jesus Storybook Bible every evening together for years now and have read through it countless times, so it’s always nice to put a new bible storybook into rotation.  I really like how this one shares stories that aren’t often included in children’s bibles, and I can tell my older kids are fascinated with some new-to-them stories.  The stories are relatively short yet true to the original text, and the illustrations are beautiful.  My kids keep taking it to their rooms and spending time poring over the pages, so that’s a sign to me of a good book.  I would recommend it!

Joining today with Ginny’s monthly yarn along + Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
Affiliate links included in this post.

Also, thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

all together

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How can June already be over?  It was a blur of busyness and family, celebrating and feasting.  I didn’t get many photos on my birthday, but it was a happy day.  I forgot how eager the kids are on anyone’s birthday to open presents, so I was barely out of my bedroom to get coffee that morning before a gaggle of little ones with tousled hair were pulling me to the kitchen table to see their gifts.  I wanted to wait and maybe do gifts later, but they would have none of it.  Brandon had taken them for a walk the night before to a grocery store nearby (while I was out with a girlfriend for coffee) where they picked out small gifts for me and cards.  Philippa had picked some natural handmade lavender soap, noah had picked a charcoal infused loofah.  Phoebe had been working on a handmade gift for me for a little while, a small wooden bird that she added stitching to.  She had named it “Louis,” though it’s supposed to be a girl bird, and she was really quite tempted to keep it herself.  She keeps asking me where Louis is and if I’m taking care of him her.  Brandon gifted me a couple of books I had on my wishlist, as well as a set of chiaogoo interchangeable needles.  I cast on with them right away for a birthday shawl of sorts for myself with yarn I purchased with some birthday money, and it has been such a treat knitting with them!  One of my brothers treated me to a 3-month coffee subscription to Counter Culture coffee and it has been one of my favorite gifts of all time! Later that day we went over to my parents house, as my mom and I share a birthday and we try to get together on it when we can.  Mom treated me to a manicure/pedicure and then a dinner out to the only restaurant we can really go to with Phoebe (with a dedicated gluten free kitchen).  It was a fun and busy day!  I felt so very loved and spoiled and blessed and full.

The next day, family began streaming in.  My brother from Canada and his wife were surprising mom for her 60th birthday, and my other siblings and their families were all arriving in the next day or so.  Father’s day (Sunday) we gathered to celebrate mom’s 60th together, and it was truly unforgettable.  It was the first time ever that we have *all* been together.  We celebrated, ate, gave her a couple of special gifts, and ended the evening with singing together.  I think we will all look back on these recent days we had together with joy and fondness.  So much has happened in our family story, so many stories that aren’t mine to share–but when I look out across the landscape of our family, I see so much redemption that has come out of so much brokenness.  We have an enemy who has tried to dismantle, break, ruin, and destroy our family in very painful ways, and we have seen hard years together.  But here we are, still standing.  Still together, by God’s grace alone.  Still going forward in love and forgiveness and hope secure in a God who is able to hold us fast.

Ps. I actually did pretty horribly at taking photos with my camera while everyone was here.  I really only brought it to the picnic, and got a random smattering.  But here’s a special video clip that I’m thankful I captured.

yarn along

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I’m sorry I’ve been absent here!  If you follow me on instagram you know we’ve had a bunch of family in town and it’s been busy.  I hope to get another post up this week but we shall see.  I cast on for another antarktis shawl (for myself this time) with my birthday yarn from Ginny Sheller.  I think I cast it on on my birthday, actually.  Later I realized I have been knitting this shawl every June for the last three years (since I learned to knit).  Sort of bizarre.  It must be a Juney sort of thing to do.  I’ve already finished the pattern and still have the amount of yarn pictured above leftover so I’m going to add a few repeats of lace and garter and use up most of the yarn if possible.  Also, I’m thinking about adding tassels.  Thoughts?  Would it look nice with this pattern?

I’m slowly reading my way through Slow Knitting (affiliate link) and really learning a lot as well as resonating with it so much.  This craft has my heart. ❤

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

june girls in their dresses

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I’m sharing a couple of finished knits here.  It was a rainy + cool June morning the other day, a nice respite from the summer heat and a good excuse to pull on a cozy shawl.   Brandon took a few photos for me of my pure shawl knit in O-Wool Local yarn.   Also, I knit a girl’s bonnet for a girl close to Philippa’s age so I asked her to model it for me.  (She was reluctant and had to be bribed with a couple of chocolate chips.)  Not to be left out of a photo opportunity, Phoebe soon arrived on the scene in her bonnet and cardigan (that I knit for her awhile ago) so of course, I had to take a few photos of her as well.  I suppose it was a day for the girls to put on a dress and some knits for pictures.