yarn along

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When the yarn arrived for my tegna sweater I couldn’t help casting on as soon as possible.  I labored a bit over sizing because this top is supposed to be oversized and boxy, and I really want it to fit just as the designer models it.  I did a swatch but didn’t want to take the time to block it, so I’m hoping that mine turns out as I want it to!  I’d like to have this top to wear this fall, possibly to the big fiber festival that happens in our area the last weekend of October, so other projects are being neglected a bit as I work on this. Also, I am loving ever single second working on it.  My first time with mohair, it is lovely!

I’m still reading the last couple of books I’ve shared over the last few weeks but also picked (affiliate link) The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook up from the library.  I feel like I’m falling more deeply into this craft and loving it so, and am fascinated by understanding different fibers and how they behave.  It has been fun to peruse this book and it’s one I would like to eventually add to our library.

What are you reading and making lately?
Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

stay with the music–words will come in time

Found these words today from an October two years ago and thinking how they still ring so true and are needful for me to hear again.

everything He gives

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I have been blogging less because I have been writing less.  My life has been busier, my time feels squeezed straight out, and so my heart and soul have been busier too.  I don’t do well with this.  It isn’t how I was made to operate.  I do well with a lot of silence, a lot of hearing the wind’s gentle whisper in the tops of the pines.  I do well with long stretches of study, reading, journaling.  I do well with sufficient sleep.  I do well when I have “filled the well,” so to speak, and the words tumble out of the overflow.

This season is gloriously full.  This season has days that begin at 6 am with one daughter’s voice in the baby monitor saying, “That’s mine, Bee-bee!”  It has days that begin with missed alarms, beds that have been wet again.  Bills that are past due…

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making progress

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I mentioned a couple of posts back that we’ve been doing some work on our little “school room” which is a room right off of our kitchen, where my laundry room and also our little sunroom adjoin.  Since moving into our home over a year ago it was my plan to make some changes in this area of the home and make it more suited to study.  I think creating an environment that is beautiful, simple, clean and inspiring is important to foster learning.  Last year we mostly did schoolwork in the living room, but it became a difficulty for phoebe to focus, and for me always lugging all of our supplies and books from the school room over to the living room.  Thus far, keeping our schoolwork in the school and sun room area has really made a difference in helping us all to focus and I love having all of our supplies within reach.  It was essential to me to make a “bigger kid” space for Phoebe that was clean, minimal and well-lighted.  Brandon does such a great job taking my ideas and making them happen.  He built for me a simple floating desk in a little nook that was in the school room, and I think it’s been fun for Phoebe to have a more grown-up feeling area to work.  He also finished the chalkboard I dreamed up and I love everything about it.  I was just telling him last night what a huge difference it makes in our school room and in our teaching/learning to be able to write things out and keep work up on it that we aren’t finished with yet.  There is still, of course, a lot I would like to do in this space, but as with most projects we take on in this season of life we have to take small steps at a time because of both time and cost.  Instead of feeling like I want it all to be perfectly “done” all at once, I’m happy to make it a goal to improve, add to, and tweak it every new school year.  It grows as our little home school grows.  Anyway, I promised to share finished photos with you, so here they are, messy desk area and all.  I think a nice big rug would make this space a bit more cozy, a really great overhead light to replace that old fan (because this room is the least well-lit room in our home, unfortunately), and I will probably work on replacing chairs in this room as well.  We may add some book shelves in somewhere (the wall where the map is now?) because our school book collection is growing steadily.  Brandon would love to vault the ceilings in this room and create a nook up in the attic area above it, but those are lofty dreams.

I feel like I have a lot of creative projects on the go and in my mind.  I would really like to (and sort of need to) update and overhaul this blog space.  I mentioned that I have a few homemade items that we would like to sell in a little family etsy shop space.  I need to get that up and running, hopefully in October!  I have a litany of knitting projects and of course, Christmas and birthdays are approaching and I have a few birthday sweater ideas for the kids.  So there is a lot to work on and really so little time in the nooks and crannies that are leftover in a day.

I spent most of a recent Saturday working in the garden, pulling out the zucchini and squash and peas that were dead (everything got powdery mildew a few weeks ago) and tying up the tomatoes, tilling the soil to prep for planting a fall garden.  It felt so very good to get in there and clean everything up after some weeks of neglect.  Our tomatoes, green peppers, herbs, asparagus, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, and zinnias are still going strong, although with hurricane florence expected to arrive here Thursday evening, I wonder if we will have much that survives.  Maybe it’s good I haven’t planted any fall things yet?  I’ve never done a fall garden and don’t really know if I’m too late anyway, so if you have any tips on that, do comment below and share your wisdom!  I was hoping to do a lot of greens like spinach, arugula, kale, and try again at beets (the groundhog destroyed what I had planted earlier in the summer).  Is it too late to plant some butternut squash?

Our marigolds are abundant, and although I’ve sworn up and down to Brandon that I’d never have an interest in dyeing yarn, something has suddenly switched and I’m curious to use some of the plants we have in abundance on our little property to try a little natural dyeing.  (Because I really need to add another project to my plate!)  I’m really only planning to try dying a few skeins for sweaters for my girls, but we’ll see.  Both girls wandered into the garden with me to harvest the marigold blooms and all of the children want to help me dye.  I think it could be a fun little science-y experiment for us all.  You see your whole yard and surroundings differently when you know how many plants give such vibrant color!

Also, about the hurricane.  We are in the western part of NC in the mountains, but are still slated to see quite a bit of wind and rain.  Typically with any big storm our neighborhood looses power and has some flooding (our unfinished basement almost always floods), so that’s probably the worst that we will see.  Maybe some downed trees.  We do have some family on the coast who stand to suffer quite a bit more, so our thoughts and prayers are with them and with everyone bracing for a fairly big hurricane.  If things are quiet here on the blog it may be because we are out of power.  I went through the garden yesterday gathering as much as I could, and then made the most simple and amazing roasted tomato soup with all of our big heirloom tomatoes.  Hoping everyone stays safe, warm, and cozy this week/weekend.

yarn along

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This space has been quiet since last week, sorry for that!  We are still figuring out our new rhythms with school, our co-op, and a fun homeschool PE class the kids are taking weekly.  I have so many things to tackle in the next month and a half, some days it all seems feasible, other days I feel completely inundated.  Right now, we are all a bit distracted with the hurricane about to hit our coastline this week.  We are pretty far inland but still have family right on the coast of SC, and we are bracing and preparing mentally for a lot of days of rain, flooding, and possible power outages.

As for knitting, I have a few projects on the needles but mainly keep picking up my plume shawl.  I’ve knit a few more repeats of the pattern since last week, in between working on other projects.  The lace is easy to memorize and even work on with children around and lots of interruptions (which I usually cannot do).  It’s going to be so gorgeous when finished after the lace is blocked, I can’t wait to see it!  It’ll be hard to part with, but at the same time I think the recipient will really love it, so that makes it worthwhile.

I’m just finishing up Courage, Dear Heart and then Home Education came in at the library.  I have meant to read it for awhile, and now am digging into it to see if it’s one I should just buy (probably, right?).

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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yarn along

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I can’t remember why I signed up for her class other than hearing older students recommend it as life-changing.  My first memory of her, my favorite college professor, was her having us draw the word “God” on our paper, then draw a box around it.  She explained to us that in this class we would have to let God out of the box we have drawn around Him, that we would have to “stand under” the Word in order to “understand.”  She was a young old-soul, petite, spoke with quiet confidence and always with a grin on her face.  She exuded that peculiar joy I’ve come to know around people who walk with God.  She opened my eyes and my mind in the most beautiful ways.  I wouldn’t ever be the same after her class, simply titled Christian Doctrine.  She spoke into my life many times over the course of my college years and even still we write back and forth here and there, all these years later.  We now both homeschool our children, and she has been a help in so many parts of my journey, theological questions, homeschooling questions, etc.  That’s a part of her dissertation-in-progress under my pretty cake of yarn which she generously shared with me, asking for my feedback.  Life is a wonder, isn’t it?  So I’m hoping to squeeze in time here and there to read it for her and remember those sweet college days with my head stuck deep in theological books.

I’m knitting the Plume shawl by Melody Hoffman, my first time knitting one of her patterns and I do so love it.  Simple, dainty, the lace is addicting and not terribly complicated.  It’s a gift for a loved one, my second time knitting with The Fibre Co. Meadow yarn (both gifts for others) which may be my all-time favorite yarn ever.  I must knit myself something with it one day!

Joining with Ginny’s yarn along and Nicole’s Crafting On.

our first week

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So many firsts this week I hardly know where to begin.  Even though our homeschool co-op began a couple of weeks ago, we had our official first week of school this week and it went surprisingly better than I had thought it would.  I spent a lot of time this summer dreading, moaning, and complaining to my husband about school starting up and all the new things I would be juggling this year versus last year, all my fears and worries and things I wasn’t sure how to approach.

The reality is that it is always better to just get going and work out the kinks as they come.  I always feel a big sense of relief once we just get started.  I’ve made some changes in my expectations and my managing of household duties that I think will really help our school year.  For instance, instead of trying to quickly get school done in the mornings so we have time before lunch to run to the store, library or park, I’m devoting all of our mornings to being home until lunch time.  If we finish earlier, great, but at least I need to remove that pressure from all of us.  Errands will have to be run in the afternoons after the little one’s naps (which is not my preference), and some errands just devoted to weekends or evenings.  Already I can tell that one little shift has made a big difference in my stress level with school–we have all morning to be home and to work.

This year, I feel like I jumped from homeschooling one child to homeschooling three.  Since Noah is now busy for a bit in the mornings with school, Philippa also wants to have “work” to do until her brother/compatriot is free to play.  (I’m a big fan of letting children be children for as long as possible and not beginning any formal educating until 5 or 6 at minimum, but this little precocious 3 year old just won’t be left out.)  I also know that if we don’t get started right away and I don’t capture their attention early in the day, they lose focus and motivation pretty quickly.  It just so happens that this week Wren has been unusually fussy and skipping naps like crazy, and I realized she was cutting her first two teeth.  Of course that would need to happen this week!  So on top of trying to figure out how to jump between two kids asking questions and Phoebe’s adjusting to not having mom’s full and undivided attention, a 3 year old who wants to be in on the game, there’s been a lot of time shushing a hysterical overtired baby.  However, with all that said, it really went pretty well.  I feel more calm and relaxed, I have a better understanding of how to approach teaching phoebe (with some insights that we received from the state-required testing she did over the summer), and I’m learning that we have more space and time to experiment, stretch, and savor than I think we do.  It’s funny, teaching kindergarten to another child, chanting the “five vowels” poem with another little one and remembering how far we’ve come, Phoebe and I, since then.  So I’m telling myself to slow down, to enjoy these precious days because they will never come again.

The work, the planning, the weight of knowing their education is on my shoulders–it is the part of homeschooling that I like the least, but in reality, I so treasure and love this work.  I can’t believe we get to do this, and I’m so thankful.  So very thankful.  We may barely be able to pay the bills, but it is worth it to have this time with them during these fleeting years.  And God is faithful!  He always provides.

We are continuing to make some changes to our little school room, some improvements.  I am working to keep us more settled in that room as we work versus spreading out all over the house (as we used to last year).  It is helping as well!  Brandon has been building me a nice big chalkboard because I simply can’t do without it any more, as well as a “floating” sort of desk for Phoebe.  I’ll share some photos of them once we’re done.  Weekends are everything–so much that has to be packed into those two precious days!  Slowly we are getting little house projects done.

In other news, Wren has moved into her big-girl crib in Noah’s room and also started her first solids this week.  She isn’t terribly productive or interested in eating yet, but she is curious and feels very grown up to be eating like the big kids do.  She is really changing and growing so quickly and I did cry a little when I saw those two bottom teeth poking through her little gums.  I remember how it felt like it took FOREVER for Phoebe to turn six months old, eat solids, begin teething.  I couldn’t wait for her to move onto the next thing!  Now, I just want to slow it all down.  It seriously feels like we just brought Wren home from the hospital and already she is beginning the first real stages of growing up and growing independent.  Of course, it’s all good but you parents know what I mean–these are bittersweet changes.

Crunchy leaves are beginning to accumulate in our yard bringing the earliest feeling of fall, even though September in our neck of the woods can be quite humid and sweltering so I keep telling myself the worst of summer’s heat isn’t behind us yet.  Those fall winds are almost here and then with all the busy activities of October (my favorite month!) and the birthdays and holidays of November/December, it will be New Year before we know it.

yarn along

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Just popping in here real quick for today’s yarn along post.  It’s our official first day of school and of course, things are wonky and not terribly smooth and quite rusty.  The morning went well, but of course trying to manage and divide myself to do some instruction with noah and phoebe both, and philippa wanting to be in on the fun is all challenging.  Little wren is cutting teeth (much to my surprise! and yes I cried when I saw them!) and she screamed and cried most of the morning while I was trying to teach.  We are also all a little bit under the weather, of course, because this is just how first days have to go, right?!  Still, it wasn’t horrible.

I’m on the final bit of my campside shawl, on the ribbing.  This is something I’ve knit in hopes of sharing some of my knitting with you all–meaning I plan to sell it.  Quite a few people asked me if I would sell a shawl like this after I knit my yellow one, so I’ve knitted one up and have sort of been toying with opening a very small, very seasonal little etsy shop to sell a few hand made items (not just knitted) from our home.  Anyway, it feels scary putting that out there, but do tell me your thoughts!  I will share more about it as I pull things together.  I do so hope someone loves this shawl as much as I do and finds it a cozy way to welcome autumn.

I’m still reading my way through Courage, Dear Heart and have been enjoying it more than many books I’ve read lately.  If you have been weary or walking through something painful and challenging where your soul is sensitive to the often trite and pithy words of others, you will find true encouragement in these pages.  Reynolds writes as one who understands what we most need in our darkest valleys: words to illumine the darkness, the presence of a friend, and hope.  True, deep, abiding hope that isn’t based on our performance, (because who can perform anything spiritually for God when wiped out by suffering?) but is based on the finished work of Christ.

Also, I mentioned my little book light last time but thought I would share it with you in case anyone else is looking for one so that you, too, can stay up far too late reading without disturbing anyone!  I’ve also used it in the car for car knitting when we were driving in the dark (hooked it onto my seat belt across my chest so it would shine directly on the stitches.)  It was great!

I hope this week you find time to squeeze in some making and some reading!  As always, I love to hear what you are up to if you feel like sharing.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.