Last week we did a field trip with a few friends from our homeschool co-op to the Asheville Art museum. In our co-op art segment we’ve been studying about the Impressionists and our local art museum happened to have some American impressionist art on display, so it dovetailed nicely with our studies. I dropped Wren off with my mom for the morning knowing that it would probably not be fun for her to be quiet, listen, and not be able to touch all of the art displays. The snow was falling heavily all day, which meant a lot of the roads were quiet as people stayed home. It also made for a really cozy time to visit the museum. We did an hour guided tour focused on the impressionists, then the children had an hour of studio time. The guide taught us how to do block printing, and the kids really enjoyed designing a cityscape much like we were seeing out of the museum windows. Each child designed a building and then made prints of it onto their paper. They also had the option to switch buildings with someone else and it was really fun to see everyone’s various creations. After our fun morning, the kids were eager to get out in the accumulating snow once back home, building snow men and sledding. I’m thankful for every bit of snow we’ve had this winter! Although it makes for a lot of muddy drippy mess at my door, it is usually short-lived and makes a new playground out of our yard.
Meanwhile, we’ve still been at it with the puzzles. Yes, I am completely inspired by (copying?) Ginny of Small Things with the puzzle craze. The first one pictured I mainly worked on myself as the pieces were quite small and it was very challenging. It was really fun but I think frustrating for the kids who couldn’t really help much with it. So I got this set of 12 mini puzzles and put each puzzle in a little bag as a fun thing to pull out for the younger children while the older two are busy with school. Philippa and Noah have been especially into them. I also got the 300-piece puzzle of the sea planes with the kiddos in mind and we put it together super quickly. It is one they can do on their own which they love. I think I’m enjoying these puzzles so much because the scenes in them are so beautiful. I want to visit and live in each one.
I took a wee break from knitting on my koivua (so close to finishing! wahh!) when I realized I needed to get on knitting a birthday sweater for Wren pronto. I thought I’d be able to whip out a sweater for a 2 year-old in no time, but it’s taking longer than expected. I decided to knit her another camilla babe sweater. I knit this sweater for Wren when she was a newborn and loved it so much on her, found it to be a very wearable knit. However, I forgot how much purling is involved in this sweater which just makes it go a little slower for me. Then I realized I didn’t have the proper size DPNs and needed to purchase them so I could work on the sleeves. Also, I’ve just not had a lot of knitting time lately, but I do think I’ll be able to have this done in time. I really, really love this very squishy worsted weight wool that I dyed myself last year with marigolds from our garden. I’ve been hoarding it, planning to make a pair of overalls for wren but felt it would make such a cheery birthday sweater for a March girl. Also I’m happy to report that Phoebe and Philippa’s sweaters knit with my hand-dyed yarn have held up so beautifully and not faded at all.
Am I really reading another book? Well, sort of. This is what happens when I put multiple books on hold at the library and suddenly they all come in at once. Gilead came in, so I started in on it. I’ve heard so many recommendations for this series by Marilynne Robinson, but I do have a few other books on the go so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get through this one before I have to return it. We shall see! Can you believe we are in the last few days of February and with next month comes spring? I cannot! This winter felt so short, probably because of all the mild weather. Or the fact that my head is always spinning juggling all that is on my plate.
Sending love and sunny weather wishes to you all!
Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On, where we link up to share what we are making and reading.
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I am nearly done with the first sleeve on my koivua sweater and decided to put it on hold and go ahead and start the second sleeve so that I can try to manage the changing colors on the spincycle yarn to sort of match the first sleeve. Meanwhile I realized yesterday that Wren’s birthday is in two weeks and I need to get her birthday sweater started!
I became a bit fascinated with the story behind barn quilts last spring when my husband and I were away celebrating our anniversary. For a few years now we’ve gone to a little cabin in the mountains a couple of hours away and I took notice of all the beautiful old barns in that area. I couldn’t help noticing the sweet barn quilts on almost all of them and have been wanting to read about it ever since. I found this book at the library, Following the Barn Quilt Trail, the story of a woman and her husband following the trail of the barn quilts from state to state and sharing the history and stories behind them. I just began it but I think it will be a good and relaxing read!
Joining in with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On link-up today.
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Also, here are some photos I took of barn quilts last spring when I began to notice them in my area.
Brandon’s birthday fell on a Monday this year, so we planned for him to do some fun things over the weekend to celebrate. He did a long trail run in nearby Dupont Forest for most of the day on Saturday. Sunday he took Noah fishing on a nearby river for the day. I was happy for him to get out and have lots of time doing the things he loves outside. Monday we had a very full and busy day planned but I woke up that morning to a spinning world. Every once in a while I have vertigo and it hasn’t happened in a couple of years but it hit me that Monday. I was so bummed because not only did we have a full day of homeschool co-op and piano lessons, but it was also Brandon’s birthday. My mom came to help for the day as I couldn’t get out of bed/sit up without everything spinning. I didn’t think to take dramamine until a little later, and it did seem to help (though my mom picked up a “natural” kind which was just straight ginger root). Thank goodness for moms, right?! Anyway, in the early afternoon I managed to pull myself out of bed to try to make Brandon’s cheesecake as I knew it would have to sit for a few hours before serving. As I began to move around the vertigo slowly lifted. Usually it lasts for a few hours for me so this was a longer day of it, but I was just grateful it lifted. It’s amazing what a blessing normal functioning is!
The children were so happy to see me up and able to move around and Phoebe helped to make daddy’s birthday cake. He loves cherry pie but my kids don’t really like pie and Brandon isn’t really picky, so we made a cheesecake instead with my own cherry topping. For the topping I basically used a bag of frozen cherries, juice from half a lemon, about a 1/2 c. of honey, 1 c. water, and a couple teaspoons of arrowroot powder as a thickener. It was really delicious, even Phoebe liked it and she is my pickiest.
Philippa asked to decorate the table for daddy’s birthday which was very helpful as I felt still so brain-foggy. She did a lovely job. Brandon was truly surprised to see his hand knit sweater and I think it fits just right (though when I gave it to him I hadn’t had time to block it yet). The “children” gave him a jigsaw which he was very happy with. I have in mind an item or two he could make for me now that he has it. 🙂 Noah gave him a little notebook/journal he had kept with notes and drawings in it while they had been out fishing. Phoebe gave him a little woven item. All in all, I think he was quite spoiled this birthday which we well-deserves.
We had a little bit more snow this past weekend and so enjoyed it. I’m grateful for any wintry weather! I convinced Brandon to let me get a couple pictures of him in the sweater, which did take some convincing since he doesn’t love being in front of the camera. (He’s also wearing a hat I knit for him awhile ago.)
It’s a chilly grey February day here. We just wrapped up our school morning and soon I’ll get lunch on the table. I meant to get this post up yesterday, but lately my days are so full I always feel a bit behind on everything. Not that it matters much at all to be a bit late posting here. 🙂 I wonder how you are and how your February is going wherever you might be in the world as you read this. I’ve been knitting away on my projects when I find time, usually in the evenings when all the work is done for the day. Last night I bound off the body of my koivua sweater and am reading to start working on the sleeves. A few days ago I cast on a simple ribbed hat for myself with this beautiful yarn by Colleen of Little Lionhead Knits in a color way called The Great Smoky Mountains. I thought it would be tedious to do this much ribbing (because I want a folded brim hat), and the fiddly beginnings were tedious but I am actually really enjoying working on it here and there when I need something totally mindless. The color is hard to capture.
I’m still reading Fierce Convictions. 🙂
Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
After finishing Brandon’s birthday sweater this week (yes, I made it in time!!) I picked back up my Koivua. I so enjoy knitting for others, but I do ache to get a few projects done for myself that I actually need in my wardrobe! 🙂 It’s early February but it feels like people are rushing into spring already. I don’t feel like we’ve had a proper winter yet. So I’m hoping I can finish this sweater soon and have opportunity to wear it before spring! 🙂 At the same time, I’m trying to knit mindfully and make it last because it is lovely to work on. The yarn is so squishy. I think rambouillet is one of my favorite fibers to work with!
Also, I’m still reading Fierce Convictions, a biography on the life of Hannah More who was a poet, reformer and abolitionist. I am quite captivated thus far by this extraordinary woman and just getting into the part of the book where she makes acquaintance with John Newton and begins to become more aware of the atrocities of the slave trade.
Joining with Nicole’s Crafting on and Ginny’s Yarn Along.
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And then the last of January comes, and with it our first blanket of snow for the winter. We throw our usual morning work to the side and bundle up in layer upon layer for this special and rare occurrence in North Carolina. When the snow comes, you might as well get out and enjoy it because by day’s end it will likely be gone.
So the first month of the year stretches long and quiet, maybe even a bit dull — but it ends in joy.
JOY… maybe my word for this new year, and not because I’m feeling it but precisely because I’m not. Last year was shadowed over with a lot of heartache and sorrow, things I cannot share here because it involves other people, stories that haven’t finished playing out yet. But I’ve spent too much time in that sorrow and maybe it’s time to put away the effect of other people’s brokenness and broken choices and move on into joy. I don’t want to miss the beauty and joy that is here even now. I have been given so much, blessed beyond measure, and I choose to see and focus on that.
Only God is able to turn our mourning into dancing. And He is sufficiently able!
He sends the snow from His storehouse and it covers all this old familiar territory with sparkling clean white and just like that, everything is new again. And we are dancing in the freshness of it, reminded of a great God who washes us white as snow.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
I’ve nearly finished knitting the plain stockinette body portion of Brandon’s riddari sweater, tonight I will probably be joining sleeves and starting the color work yoke. I have been working on this around Brandon in the evenings, though discreetly. He hasn’t asked about it but he may suspect it’s for him. I only have a few more days to finish it before his birthday and I’m not thinking it’s likely, but its definitely possible! It is amazing how much more we seem to accomplish when we work exclusively on a project, however I much prefer the freedom of having multiple projects on the go and picking up what I feel inspired to work on in the moment.
I checked out Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More (affiliate link) from the library and have been enjoying it so far. I can’t remember what inspired me to check it out. I do remember wanting to read it when it was first published some years ago but never getting around to it. Glad to do so now.
I hope you all are having a good week so far and do share with me what you’re making and reading lately, if you’d like!
Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
I’m chuckling at my last post title because for the last few days after writing it, the weather has been gloriously wintry and bitter cold! We even saw our first snow flurries of the season, though they only lasted a few minutes and were so tiny. It looked like glitter in sun.
I have been knitting away on Brandon’s birthday sweater and am relieved to have both sleeves done. It feels good to just have the body left, and since it is bottom up, the anticipation of the funnest part (the color work yoke) will be what fuels me to the end. Can’t wait. I cast on for the body this morning. So far, I am really enjoying this project and definitely think I will knit it again. There’s just something I love about working with lopi.
This week I also finished up a couple of socks and need to knit their match. I’m knitting these for Brandon and these for another loved one. I did cast on these for myself on Christmas day but I think I’m going to use a different pattern. This one is very “hole-y” and I want something a bit warmer I think. I’m thinking the fir socks by Melody Hoffman. I don’t know what it is but I just love sock knitting so much lately. I always have a couple of pairs on the go for when I’m out and about.
As for reading, I’m still plugging away on Little Women (I feel terribly slow) and I’m enjoying it. I feel that you would be bored seeing it’s cover once again 🙂 so I’m sharing a book the children and I are reading, The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine.
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What a mild winter it has been so far. I feel a bit complain-y but I do miss a good cold/snowy cozy winter. I hope we still have some of those days ahead. Yesterday the warm sun felt so good and who could resist sitting out in it and basking in it in the middle of January? Certainly not me. I am a firm believer in taking the gifts of each day’s weather. Still it feels unnatural to move from fall into spring. I’m missing my old friend winter, the way she makes us crazy toward her end and ready for thawing soil, spring rain, vibrant color, and the smallest glimpses of new life. It strikes me that maybe we just can’t fully enjoy the glories of spring without the quietude and bleakness of a long winter.
We’ve been back to our usual routines and though there’s always a rub to the mundane parts of life, there is a simplicity to it that feels healing. Our mornings are full of books, writing, arithmetic, our afternoons full of time spent outdoors, music lessons, tutoring, or running household errands. We had a fair bit of rain the last few days, and in the glorious sunshine that follows, I find myself wandering about the garden, starting to think about what we will grow this year. I knit up a pair of baby bloomers for Wren. They are knit top-down in yarn from local-to-me Bovidae Farm, with a sweet little lateral braid separating the rib and the squishy fisherman’s rib on the body. They are simple and darling. Wren seems to love anything I make for her, she loves dressing up and trying things on, so she is always game for new hand knits. I snapped a few pictures of her this morning in the blustery morning air. She was very busy tidying up her little house outside, bringing me all sorts of items the older children had left out there and throwing whatever else she didn’t want down the slide. She is full of big feelings, this little one, one minute ecstatic and the next minute screaming her frustration. In a little more than a month she will be two and I can hardly believe it.
ps. Wren is wearing the wiksten animal bonnet which I knit in naturally-dyed yarn, and in the earlier pictures she’s wearing her flax light sweater from her first birthday. Yes, I’m already contemplating what her birthday sweater should be for this year. 🙂 I’m thinking about another Camilla Babe sweater in my own hand-dyed worsted eco yarn dyed with marigold.