yarn along

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I cast on this little Sunday Sweater for wren because her birthday sweater that I knitted for her in March was way too big and will need to be tucked away for another year.  She has outgrown most of her other hand knit sweaters, and though we don’t have many chilly days ahead, I still wanted her to have an option for when we do.  She loves when I make her anything because she happily tries it on anytime I ask her to and says “ooo, pwetty.”  She loves dress up and clothes, which I’m grateful for because Phoebe did also, but then Philippa has really never been into anything too girly.  I’ve missed having a dressing-up kind of little girl around.  Anyway, it has been so nice to work with Wisconsin Woolen Spun and makes me want to work on a larger project with it.

The kids and I watched the documentary on Tasha Tudor last week (thank you Ginny for the recommendation!) and they were absolutely enamored and transfixed.  Phoebe said that is exactly how she wants to live when she is grown up.  Noah asked if he could send her a letter telling her that he loves her and her drawings are so good.  This week Phoebe has read and re-read all of her chapter books and though I’ve had books on hold from the library, things are moving so slowly.  So, I ordered a few new books to delight these little bored scallywags and I thought they’d love to have a couple more Tasha Tudor books.  Pumpkin Moonshine I bought for Wren, and Around the Year I bought for Philippa.  Wren sat down to read hers with me right away, she is becoming quite the book lover already.  Philippa however declared that she didn’t like her book, in fact she “hates it” (though she hasn’t even cracked it open yet) and she wonders why didn’t I buy her something about dragons or a sticker book?  🙂  I love that she feels free to be honest and her “hate” for certain things is still cute at this point.  I suspect she’s just a bit grumpy and will come around, but next time I’ll bear in mind her suggestions.

I finished Adorning the Dark last night and really enjoyed it.  It was a bit of a lighter read than I expected, and focused more on songwriting than creative work in general, but I still recommend it and found it helpful and thought provoking.  I am missing the library so much right now… any one else?!  I’m not sure what I will read next.

Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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yarn along

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This week we are taking a (spring!) break from usual school work except for a few commitments (tutoring, homeschool co-op, etc via zoom).  It is nice, but at the same time I feel like the week is flying by and it still feels quite busy and not terribly leisurely yet.  Oh well.  I’m trying to do one thing a day for the children that feels special.  Yesterday it was painting.  Today it was playing in the sprinkler.  I hope to work on sorting children’s clothes, tidying the school room, planting the garden, and otherwise just taking a mental break.

I’m making some progress on this beautiful Ara shawl for my friend.  I am so frustrated that I cannot capture the yarn color, it is more green teal than is shown above and it is simply stunning.  Every time I see the yarn when I walk into the room it is like a little pop of joy.  Maybe when it’s all done I’ll be able to get a more accurate picture of the color.  You’ll just have to take my word for it, it’s beautiful. 🙂

Also, I have made it about half way through Adorning the Dark and can say I’m really enjoying it.  It is encouraging me to think about writing again, which is a part of my heart that I’ve sort of closed up and put away somewhere.  I don’t know if I want the book to encourage me in that way, I guess I was approaching it just from a creative work standpoint in general.  Dreams are painful and hard to hold onto as you get older and face more and more disappointment, and also grow wiser and a better student of yourself.  I don’t mean to sound negative about it because it is a sweet and beautiful book, only that it is stirring things in my soul that I didn’t anticipate and am not sure what to do with quite yet.

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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yarn along

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The last few days I’ve been working again on this old cross stitch sampler that I started (4 or 5?) years ago when Philippa was a baby.  It’s for above her bed, much like the Alphabet sampler I cross stitched for Phoebe.  Philippa cannot wait to have it done and has been so thrilled to see me working on it again.  I’m stitching the little cottage right now and it feels appropriate as we are all stuck at home.  I have a couple more of Alicia Paulson’s cross stitch kits that I’m eager to get to, and I’m committed to working on a letter and a motif each day on this one until its done.  Once I sat back down and started on it again, I just loved it so.  I do love knitting more than cross stitch and that’s why I seem to devote any free crafting time I have to knitting.  However with the current stay-at-home orders and crafting being more important than ever as a pleasant distraction, I have especially wanted to finish off projects that have sat unfinished for a long time.  I have portraits to paint of Philippa and Wren for my bedroom, a silhouette of Wren to add to my living room wall, and I’ve even thought of finally getting to those baby books that desperately need work.  Maybe its the quarantine, maybe it’s the onset of spring and the desire to organize and tidy.

Meanwhile, I am still knitting, jumping between these Fir socks and a couple other projects (a Nurtured sweater for myself and an Ara shawl for a friend).  I really want to cast on something new (spring-y) but I’m trying to discipline myself to get a little farther on these projects before I do so.  I am knitting these socks on a 56-stitch count and I can BARELY get them on my foot.  Maybe that’s why I’m tempted to put them aside.  Once I do get them on my foot they fit ok.  I think this yarn has some cashmere content and it isn’t as stretchy or springy (not really my favorite, though I love the color). My plan is to finish this one since it’s so close to the toe, block it and see how it fits then.  If it’s still super hard to get on my foot, I may have to rip it out.  That just feels really defeating right now when it seems like I don’t much energy for much of anything.

I had to return Gilead to the library and have placed a hold and am waiting to pick it back up.  Our library is closed, but they will still do curbside “orders.”  I haven’t tried it yet.  Meanwhile, I finished off Little Women finally and I must say I’ve never read the book before and it really met and encouraged me each time I picked it up with things I’m facing in my own life.  Last night I began reading Adorning the Dark which I’ve been sort of hoarding.  It was a gift from my sister-in-law and I’ve been eager to get to it once other books were finished.

I am so grateful for books, yarn and thread to keep my company in these overwhelming and sometimes dismal days.  Also, that cute succulent in the hedgehog pot was a gift dropped on my doorstep by a dear friend and it brings a smile every time I see it.  I hope you are finding some small pleasant distractions in these uncertain days.  We are all living so much smaller and slower, aren’t we?  It really could be remarkable what we discover.

Praying and hoping you are well, discovering some good and remarkable things, finding time for pleasant distractions to anchor your days and keep hands busy.  I sure do appreciate your reading along here, your comments and contributions!  What have you been making or working on?  Are you finding energy to do so?  I know we are all doing our very best to keep spirits up and minds busy with something other than anxious thoughts.

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Nicole’s weekly Crafting On
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beside still waters

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Hello friends.  How are you all doing?  I hope you’re ok, not just in body but also in mind and soul.  We’ve been ok.  We are all healthy and for that I’m grateful.  These are challenging times for us all, and I have felt quite overwhelmed.  All of our usual extra curricular activities have been cancelled and we have been home for many days.  I’m thankful for a big yard and sunny days when they come, it lifts the heaviness and helps us not to feel so cooped up.

However, in anticipation of a “shelter-in-place” ordinance, we decided to get out on the parkway this last weekend for a proper hike.  The more popular areas were packed with cars and we decided to avoid those. We found a trail we haven’t hiked before that ended up being so beautiful and peaceful, and we really only saw a handful of other hikers.   There are few things that are as restorative as the wilderness for us.

At the beginning of the “social distancing”, my pastor shared this quote from C. S. Lewis with us and it has stuck with me throughout these past two weeks.  Lewis was writing this as they lived under threat of the atomic bomb:

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

C.S. Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age

I admit that in these last many days, it has been challenging for me to keep to the basic activities of being human.  I’ve had to be intentional in still lighting the candles at dinner, snapping photos of sweet moments and pretty things, folding the laundry, scrubbing the bathrooms, reading good stories, setting out the next day’s schoolwork in the evenings.  Sometimes these things feel so meaningless when facing such imminent health and economic threat.  Yet I have also been anchored by these same human activities; kept from endless scrolling of headlines, worrying and fretting.  The activities of being human help me to continue on being human.  And it is essential in times like these that we don’t lose our humanity.

Being outside in the sun, having moments of stillness, carrying on with normal work as much as possible, knitting, music, connecting with friends virtually, reading scripture–these are some of the anchors.

Be well, friends.  It may be quieter here on the blog, it may not be, I’m not sure.  I hope you are well, I hope you are finding the things that anchor you, too.  A song we sing often at church is this one, and it feels more appropriate now than ever before.  Sending you warm hugs, friends.

xo
Martha

 

 

yarn along

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Blue crescents, creamy roses, swallows and amazons.

Has it really only been two weeks since I last wrote?  It feels much longer.  The whole world has changed since then.  My whole world has changed since then.  It’s difficult not to wonder if things will ever feel “normal” again.  It has been a tumultuous time for us all, that is for certain, and at times like this, maybe we question if there is any value in the smallest of things like yarn, knitting, books, flowers, blogging.  Maybe now more than ever it is important that we still make art, read good books, find beauty in the harsh landscape, tell stories.  These are among the things that remind us that we are human.  These are among the things that have helped me keep calm and feel normal from day to day.

A dear friend asked me to knit a shawl for her, and she chose this beautiful teal colored yarn for an Ara Shawl.  It is going to be beautiful.  I’m grateful for a simple and meditative pattern to work on.

Also, I’m reading Swallows and Amazons aloud to the kids in the evenings.  Only a couple of chapters in but we are already hooked.  We’ve neglected our family read-aloud time for a little bit and it feels good and important that we read good stories to our children in these days.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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touring the grounds

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I have an annual pass to the Biltmore Estate that expires soon, so last weekend we planned to go for a Sunday afternoon visit.  I had a couple of vouchers for free tickets as well, so Brandon was able to get in for free as well as my dad (my mom has a pass, also).  Originally we thought we would do a quick tour of the house with the kids, but now all the tours are scheduled and we hadn’t planned much in advance so we decided just to enjoy the grounds instead.  I’m so glad we did.  There is just so much space and trails that we haven’t really explored much, and it was soul-filling to be out in the beautiful weather.  We stopped in at a cafe on the grounds to get some water and coffee, and seeing the swarms and crowds of people made me realize being outside on the grounds was probably better anyway considering all the sickness spreading lately.  I grew up in Asheville and have seen the house interior many times, and the children have visited before also.  I did request however that we make a stop to the gardens and greenhouse, and it was so lovely.  I could have spent a lot more time in there, but little ones were ready to move on.  We did end our trip with a visit to the stables and barn because of course Phoebe insisted we do just that.  It was just a beautiful and nice day together and with my parents.  I hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour as well. ❤

yarn along

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I finished my koivua sweater a few days ago and it truly turned out JUST how I hoped.  How often does that happen?  Especially when you don’t carefully gauge swatch (guilty!).  I love it so much and we even had snow flurries the day that I finished it so I got to wear it in the chilly weather and enjoy it’s warmth.  I’ll try to take some photos of it soon.

I have so many projects that I can’t wait to cast on, but I’ve been forcing myself to go back and work on some languishing projects.  I am nearly done with the second sleeve on my featherweight cardigan.  The yarn is just so lovely to work with, and I adore the color.  After the sleeve, I just have to knit the collar and it will be done.  It’s so close to finishing, really.  In fact most of my other works-in-progress are close to finishing, so I’m hoping to clear at least a few of them off the decks before casting on something else.  I have two commissioned projects for a dear friend — a top and a shawl — both larger projects knit in fingering weight yarn, so before I start those I just feel the need to clear some head space.

I’m still reading Gilead, and I’m enjoying it but also not sure entirely that I love it.  I’m about half way through — does it get better, those of you who have read it before?

I hope you’ve been enjoying these early March days, staying healthy, and finding some time for making + reading.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
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a bunny turns 2

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Little wren-wren,

It’s hard to believe you are two.

Up early before the sun, with everyone rushing you to wake.  You are at the happy stage where you sort of understand birthdays after celebrating all of your siblings birthdays in the last few months, and yet you are easy and happy-go-lucky without any expectations.  Except that you definitely wanted us to sing happy birthday to you. 🙂   You were practicing for days ahead of time.

Everyone else couldn’t wait for you to open your gifts so they could play with them see what they were.  It is a joy to watch you so carefully open each thing and enjoy it for a few minutes without rushing onto the next gift.

We gave you a Poppy and the Orchestra book since you have loved Philippa’s Poppy/musical book so much.  You were delighted!  Bunny also wanted to give you a gift that had a bit of an ulterior motive: she bought you a basket for your bike so that you can carry her along on all of your adventures.  Boy, have you both loved this new addition to your favorite toy.

Mommy + Daddy gifted you a kitchen all your own with a few new food items, pots and pans, and a lovely little enamel pot that matches your older sister’s tin tea set.  I think you really love this, but your older siblings definitely do.  Thank you for sharing it so kindly with them.  Mommy knit you a happy yellow sweater, but it is much too big and so we will tuck it away until you are three.  I’m so glad though that when you opened it you put it right on.  Sweet girl.  Now mommy has to get busy making you something that WILL fit. 🙂  Also, you got a sweet birthday dress which you really love and looks so, so sweet on you.

After all the morning fun, we carried on with a regular old school day for the older kids (which they were quite disgruntled about) but we had a surprise visitor mid-morning, your BFF Liam (and Rainey).

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He brought you a sweet gift and stayed for a little bit to play and have a birthday lunch together.  So sweet.  Bunny was very tired at this point and had to have a nap, so you went with her.  After nap, the sun came out (it had been a very rainy morning) and bunny couldn’t wait to try out her new bike basket.  What fun!  It was just right.  Meanwhile, Mommy baked a carrot cake, the same one I made for your first birthday and I had fun making it simple and pretty.  We Facetimed with far-away family.  Then Rainey + Grandpa came over for one of your favorite dinners, spaghetti.  You were so happy to see your birthday cake and have everyone sing to you, and you clapped with glee when it was all done.

We all adore you, sweet baby Wren.  Maybe not so much a baby anymore, but still you will always be our little baby.  I am so proud of the way you are growing and learning.  You are a delight to us all, my sweet girl.  Happy birthday and always remember how much your momma and daddy adore you, how God adores you even more than that.

Love always,

Mommy

 

yarn along

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Our Bradford Pear tree is blossoming, bright chartreuse spots are appearing in the Forsythia against the neighbors old green shed.  It must be March, and spring is on the horizon.  I’m working on the last bit of color work at the end of both sleeves on my koivua.  I will finally have this sweater done when all the cold weather is behind us, won’t I?  Oh well, that’s how things go.

Still reading Gilead, though I haven’t made much progress.  Busy days.  What are you making or reading?

Joining Ginny of Small Things and Nicole’s Crafting On.
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snow day at the museum

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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.