yarn along

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Is it already the 5th of December?  I can’t believe we are already almost a week into this month.  We are busy slowly decorating the house, getting back into the swing of Advent readings and activities together, as well as finishing up our last week of school before we take a long break for Christmas.  I am looking forward to the freedom of slower mornings playing games together or doing crafts, reading more together, and enjoying this special season.

I sewed the armpits of Noah’s sweater last night (yes, it’s done!) and wove in the ends and will block it today, so it is a relief to have that done well in time for his birthday.  I’ve been knitting on some socks for him as well, but with less pressure on myself to get them done in time for his birthday.  I cast on for Phoebe’s birthday sweater, she cannot wait to have a sunday sweater to match her sisters.  I’m knitting this with the yarn (100% eco wool) I dyed a few months ago with marigolds from our garden and I love the subtle variegation and the chartreuse color of this wool.  It’s very bright and happy for the winter months and in all this cold, it’s a reminder of the happy warm summer days.  Also, I dyed extra skeins of this yarn and also the avocado pink yarn I used for Philippa’s sweater to share with any of you knitters/weavers/crocheters out there who might be interested!  I will share more details soon, but those skeins will be listed in my first ever Etsy shop update hopefully this weekend, if all goes smoothly.  I’ve had hurdles and interruptions galore to my plans (which were originally to open this little shop in October!) and I’ve second-guessed and doubted myself a ton, and would probably have bailed on this idea except that I have invested too much to just drop it now.  So, it feels a little silly in a world where there are makers far more talented than I, but my heart is to offer some things made from our hands and home to you.  Hopefully I will have a post up on Friday with specifics of what we’re selling and lots of photos, so tune in if you’re interested in taking a peek.

For now, you can see a bit how this yarn knits up in today’s picture.  It is rustic and dry, yet still soft and very squishy.  I am not bored at all knitting this pattern again because the yarn is so bright and cheerful, and the pattern really is lovely.

I’ve been reading this book by Phyllis Tickle, What the Land Already Knows .  It is so sweet, quite a rich little book with short chapters that are great for reading just before sleep.  Brandon and I are also reading Lessons from a Christmas Tree Farm in the evenings together.  We are using Hallelujah and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift as family advent readings.  We just stocked up at the library with tons of festive Christmasy books and we’re preparing for a big snow forecasted for this weekend (fingers crossed!).  We have lots to read and lots of wool for knitting, so basically we’re all set.

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Nicole’s Crafting On.
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yarn along

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I’ve was working fairly monogamously on Noah’s birthday sweater but I am just about out of yarn, so I’m waiting for another skein to arrive.  I didn’t check my gauge on this project but I liked the gauge I was getting with the recommended needle size and I also didn’t mind if the sweater turned out just a bit bigger than expected because it’s sized for a 4-6 yr old and my son is turning 6 and is quite tall for his age.  So, I figured 200 yards of yarn wouldn’t be enough, but all is well.  Since I had to set it down until the new yarn arrives, I’ve been working on Phoebe’s socks (which I’ll probably finish today).  I put them on hold for a bit because Wren got into my knitting bag and pulled the needles off the sock and generally pulled it all into a big mess, so I set it aside until I felt like fixing it.  Also, I pick up and knit a few rows on my Tecumseh sweater when I have a minute, which is just pure indulgence to work on.  I’m trying not to allow myself to work on it until birthday sweaters are done.  Although Phoebe has graciously given me permission to be late with her birthday sweater if need be. 🙂

I have still been reading (affiliate link) The Liturgy of the Ordinary.  I’ll share with you this excerpt which I thought was timely with our recent Thanksgiving celebrations:

“The word Eucharist literally means ‘thanksgiving.’  The Eucharist is the thanksgiving feast of the church, and it is out of that communal practice of thanksgiving that my lunchtime prayer of thanks flows.  The Eucharist–our gathered meal of thanksgiving for the life, death, and resurrection of Christ–transforms each humble meal into a moment to recall that we receive all of life, from soup to salvation, by grace.  As such, these small, daily moments are sacramental–not that they are sacraments themselves, but that God meets us in and through the earthly, material world in which we dwell.

The Eucharist is a profoundly communal meal that reorients us from people who are merely individualistic consumers into people who are, together, capable of imaging Christ in the world.  Of course, eating itself reminds us that none of us can stay alive on our own.  If you are breathing, it’s because someone fed you.  We are born hungry and completely dependent on others to meet our needs.  In this way the act of eating reorients us from an atomistic, independent existence toward one that is interdependent.  But the Eucharist goes even further.  In it, we feast on Christ, and are thereby mysteriously formed together into one body, the body of Christ.

Nourishment is always far more than biological nutrition.  We are nourished by our communities.  We are nourished by gratitude.  We are nourished by justice.  We are nourished when we know and love our neighbors.”

Amen, right?!

I hope you all have a lovely week and that you find a little time for making something, whether it’s your daily bread or a bundle of green clipped from your yard for a vase, or a garment for a loved one.  I hope you find a little time to make with intention, with joy, knowing you are imaging your Father as you create beauty.  And I hope you find some time to read, too.  If you feel like sharing what you’re working on or reading, I always love to hear from you!

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On today.

yarn along

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I really have far too many projects on the needles right now, and have no business casting on anything new.  I have quite a bit of gift/birthday/christmas knitting to get done.  However, this last weekend I was able to get away for a couple of days for some retreat/solo (with wren) time and its really the best time to begin a bigger project that requires learning a new skill.  I’ve had the yarn for the Tecumseh sweater since my birthday in June but wanted to finish a few items before casting on and I knew it would take some extra brain energy to get this project off the ground, being it is my first attempt at color work.  So I decided to take it along and at least get it started even though I will probably have to set it down for a bit until I finish some more gift knitting.  Still it felt really good and exciting to get it on my needles!  So far it has been really fun and easier to knit than I anticipated.

I’m still reading (affiliate link) Liturgy of the Ordinary, enjoying every bit of it though I’m making slow progress.  Lots of sickness in our house the last couple of weeks and I’ve been making more of an effort to get to bed earlier because I am up so much in the night with multiple children but especially Wren lately.  So my reading time has been less, but hopefully we’ll all be feeling 100% soon.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

yarn along

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Amid all of the baby and birthday/gift knitting I’ve been doing lately, there are some longer-term “selfish” projects on my needles, and my marley shawl is one of these.  I’m new to brioche, in fact this is my first brioche project and I really enjoy it.  I do have to work on it when I can do the eight-row repeat without interruption so that I don’t lose my spot.  Well, truthfully at this point I feel like I’ve got it under my belt and it’s easier to figure out where I’ve left off, but it’s still not a project I like to pick up and work on unless I have a longer bit of time to focus on it.  So I’m sure it’ll languish on the needles a bit and I hope to have it done sometime this winter season because I can’t wait to wear it/use it (as in, now!).  I counted rows last night and realized I’m about half way through, so that was exciting and surprising!  The yarn is so enjoyable and brioche is beautiful and squishy.    One of my knitting goals for the year was to learn brioche and it’s surprisingly much easier than I expected.  My other knitting goal was to try color work, and I have a project planned for that which I hope to start SOON!  I’m about to finish a few projects which feels good.

I’ve been realizing lately that in all our busyness, reading time is getting cropped out of the day (as in, chapter book read-aloud time).  Brandon began reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle (affiliate link) to the kids in the evenings, and I began reading this book to the kids during our school morning which I was given as a child, Treasure in the Big Woods.  I must have won it in Sunday School as a child for a bible drill or something (it isn’t listed on amazon).  Both have been enjoyable for all of us!  I’m still reading Liturgy of the Ordinary  (affiliate link) as well.

What are you reading or making lately?

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

 

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I gave Phoebe this ball of sock yarn last Christmas for her to knit with since she loves all things purple and fuchsia.  However, the yarn has been used for a million other purposes and left neglected and tangled in her room so I picked it up to knit her some socks with it.  One can’t let yarn go to waste!  I was thinking to get ahead on her birthday/Christmas knitting but she’s spotted them and is so excited for a new pair of socks so I’ll probably just let her have them whenever they’re done.  I have a few other projects on the go so I didn’t need to cast something new on, but there’s just something about sock knitting.

Still reading Liturgy of the Ordinary (affiliate link) and loving it, though I haven’t made much progress since last week.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

Courage, Dear Heart

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Hey friends.  I finished this book, Courage, Dear Heart: Letters to a Weary World, not too long ago and wanted to share about it with you here!  Written as letters to the brokenhearted and storm-battered, in each chapter Reynolds strives to offer three things: words for our pain, the presence of a friend/companion in the journey, and hope so that we can run the race.

You cannot be human for very long and not feel some heart ache, some brokenness.  As you live and walk farther, you only gather more hardships along the way–no one gets through life unscathed.  Of course, life is not only about the hardships and there are rivers of joy.  However there are seasons where the grief and pain seem to swallow up all of the light and we aren’t sure that we’ll ever recover.

In my own life there have been a handful of excruciating seasons, most I can’t really share in this space.  One such season for me was in the first couple of years immediately following Phoebe’s diagnosis with Celiac disease.  Of course the shock of the diagnosis and its implications for lifestyle changes was one overwhelming aspect.  There was so much change so quickly, so much to learn about, such a huge leap in our grocery budget, medical bills from multiple procedures, etc.

Even now as I sit to write this, I am overwhelmed trying to explain the depths of what this journey has been like for us.  I’ve tried writing this post out a few times and keep coming up short.  There is so much, so many layers.  Emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual ramifications, financial strain–the way all of that hits a marriage, the way my husband and I process it all differently and then have to work through it somehow together.  The way it makes a mother nearly go crazy to watch her child suffer and to feel helpless.  Then there is the PTSD of sorts of having gone through something like this, and the temptation to live now in the shadow of the next shoe dropping.  It has been one of the hardest seasons to date, one I’m not sure I’m totally through yet and certainly not one I can fully unpack or process yet.  I was sharing about it with a close friend + confidant recently, how going through this has somehow fundamentally changed the landscape of my soul.

All of that to say, Reynolds book strikes a chord with the storm-battered and weary.  So many words have sounded empty and hollow and lifeless in this season.  Few seem to speak the language of the suffering.  Maybe only those who have walked through these kinds of dark valleys can speak the tongue of it, sending forth words to pull another groping traveler along.  Her words are honest, simple yet profound, hopeful.  It’s rare that a book will make me cry, but there have been time that her words have reached that inaccessible closed off part of my heart and helped to crack it open a bit so the pain can be released.  That is a gift, friends.

She offers permission to suffer, to be human–which we so desperately need when in the company of fellow Christians who often unknowingly communicate that we must be strong in our trial.  She offers a realistic view of what it looks like to be human and yet carry the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  (What a mystery!)

I highly recommend it for those of you who might be in a trying time for one reason or another, needing letters from a fellow sojourner who can offer real hope and care and help you grope for God through the dark.  I leave you with this little excerpt from the introduction:

“In C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, young Lucy finds herself trapped inside a thick, enchanted darkness in which all nightmares come true.  Overwhelmed by fear, she cries out to the great lion, ‘Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.’

At this moment of desperation, Lucy notices a light.  She looks along its beam and sees something inside:

‘At first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an airplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross.  It circled three times round the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow.  It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them.  After that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. . . .No one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.’

So courage, dear heart.  I know you are tired.  I know the darkness is thick, and the way is longer and harder than you ever expected it to be.  But God sees you, he hurts with you, and he welcomes your honesty.  Even to the ends of the earth, he will lead you on.”

A special thank you to Tyndale Publishers for their complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions my own. 

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I finished the body and am onto the first sleeve of Philippa’s birthday sweater, which I’m knitting with yarn I dyed myself.  I’m really happy with it!  It’s probably time to hunt for buttons.  The weather has turned colder here and I always feel a bit caught by surprise when I start digging through bins of children’s winter clothes and layers and discover what we are short on.  It seems wren needs a few more warm layers, and I’m wanting to cast on all the things.

I didn’t finish Home Education Vol. 1 (affiliate link) but it was due back at the library.  I made it about half way and I would recommend it and probably should buy it for myself.  The Liturgy of the Ordinary (affiliate link) is a book Brandon gave me for my birthday back in June and I’ve been forcing myself to wait to read it.  If you’ve been around my blog for any time at all, you know that this theme of the sacred found in the ordinary is the theme I seem to orbit around the most and find the most fascinating.  I’m planning on going on a little solo retreat early November and was hoping to read it then but I couldn’t wait, so I started it the other evening.  I love it already.

What are you reading and making lately?

Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.  Feel free to join in, too!