making by hand

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Last week we were having our AC unit replaced and while the guys were here working on it for the morning, I took the kids out for a bike/walk around the neighborhood.  I quickly realized something was going on as cars were buzzing in and out of our usually quiet streets, lining the roads all around our home.  People were walking to their cars carrying boxes, armfuls of wood, all manner of odds and ends.  I asked one guy what was going on and he said an estate sale was happening around the corner.  We decided to stop in the sale since it was on our usual walk route.  How strange to go inside a home that we have walked by hundreds of times, one of our neighbors that I don’t think we’ve ever met.  Strange, to wonder what has happened to them, to see everything in their home with a price tag on it, people hustling in and out of rooms hawking items.  All their precious things, their life held in the chipped and peeling walls.  How much you can uncover about a person by just entering their home, seeing what they’ve held onto, what mattered to them.  Walls and walls of old books, probably a treasure trove though I didn’t have time to hunt through them.  She had a craft room–bags of yarn, half-finished projects, piles of crocheted afghans.  Old dolls, an ancient sewing machine on a wooden table with patterns for dolls clothes and such stored in a tupperware nearby.  Shelves of crafting books.

All these things, her treasures, now priced and sorted through by strangers.  How odd really, that things come to us, we hold them, transform them maybe and then they slip through our fingers and go to someone else.

She was a maker and I wondered at how many other women in my little neighborhood spend their evenings like I do, with needles in hand or some other handmade project.  I don’t know why it struck me as profound, but it did.  All this work of our hands, and why does it matter?

I think because of my love for knitting, my children are “catching” the value of handmade things + craft.  At least, I hope they do.  I think the mindfulness and intentionality of it, the sense of accomplishment in finishing a project, the stimulus of creativity–all is good.  I recently ordered some little cotton muslin bags and a couple of pounds of dried organic lavender flowers to make my own little satchels for our closets.  On a rainy afternoon, it was a perfect activity.  Noah and Philippa filled up all the little bags with scoops between sips of warm tea, and then helped place the little bags in our closets and around my (small) yarn stash.  Lavender is a beneficial in so many ways, as most of us well know, in relaxation and helping to aid sleep.  It is also a pest/bug deterrent and helps keep woolens smelling good and unappealing to moths.  Every time I open our closets now, it makes me smile, the rush of the scent of lavender fields.

Phoebe also requested some new loops for her weaving loom, and she has been busy making beautiful, colorful little squares.

All these things, into our fingers, slipping through.

yarn along

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I finished sock no. 1 last night and cast on for the second sock.  I already love these so much.  They fit more snuggly than the last pair I knitted with the exact same “recipe” but maybe they will grow a bit with blocking.  If not, it’ll be just fine.  I think it must be a slightly finer weight sock yarn.  Even though I prefer the aesthetic of simple neutrals, I have sincerely enjoyed every single stitch of these socks.  The colors are simply gorgeous, especially the coppery flecks and golden yellow.  No second sock syndrome here.  Is it just because so many people are talking about school starting back this week or did I sense a tiny shift in the weather here?  I don’t tend to allow myself to think about fall until we are through with September because August and September seem to be North Carolina’s hottest months.  Even still, it seems the mornings have a different sort of chill to them this week and it makes me excited for cool fall mornings wrapped up in shawls next to a fire.

Still reading Devoted (affiliate link), and almost done with it.  I’ve finally gotten myself a book light (why did it take me so long?) so I can read in bed at night (when I seem to get the most reading done) without disturbing Wren or Brandon.  It’s been a game changer. 🙂  So yes, hopefully I will get a bit more reading accomplished!

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

yarn along

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The skies are brooding, ready to open up any minute.  I am just sitting down with a cup of afternoon coffee, which I never ordinarily make, but after a busy morning running errands and sitting for 2.5 hrs (!!) in eye appointments for the children and then hurriedly mowing the lawn for the last couple of hours before we have a few days of heavy rain… I think I’ve earned it. 🙂

Yesterday I took the kids to the Greenville Zoo for a fun day trip before we picked up my parents from the airport in Greenville.  It was a super fun day but no naps were had by all and today the house is quiet and hopefully the younger babies sleep and we have a more peaceful afternoon.

I finished the test knit hat for Noah and you can see finished photos of it on instagram or ravelry.  I’m making more headway now on Wren’s like sleeves top, beginning on the front/bodice portion of it.  It is so lovely to knit with Cestari, even if it is primarily cotton.  This yarn is super soft and just so soothing moving through my fingers.

I just ordered the book Devoted by Tim Challies (affiliate link) with some birthday money and am excited to start it.  It’s a small book about the lives of the mothers of some of the most influential theologians and men of faith in history, and I’m curious and hungry for the mothering tune-up I so need.  I feel the need regularly to immerse myself in books that sharpen, encourage, and shape me as a mom since this is probably the most impactful and important work I will ever give myself to.  Still have a few other books on the go as well.

Anything good that you’re reading or working on lately?

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

yarn along

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Still knitting on wren’s like sleeves top here and there between working on my campside shawl and a test knit hat for noah.  I’ve been having some pain in my wrist and elbow, so I’ve slowed a bit to rest and not overdo it.

Picked up a few books from the library, Homeschooling with the Brain in Mind and Play the Forest School Way.  You can tell what I have on my mind!  Play the Forest School Way is one I wanted to look through before I buy it and I do like what it offers.

Joining with Nicole for this week’s Crafting On.
Affiliate links included.

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.

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.

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.