yarn along

After finishing up Philippa’s birthday sweater (apart from blocking and weaving in ends), I’m back to knitting on my sweater hug. I also cast on a new pair of cozy worsted weight socks called the Hyak socks. I have had the yarn for these socks and plans to knit them for maybe two or three years now and I am happy to finally be making them! The yarn is very special, purchased from a local sheep farm to me, very woolly, warm, and filling my hands with lanolin as I knit with it. I’m eager to have these cozy socks on my feet!

I’m still reading Boundaries (highly recommend) and Still Life (also highly recommend), but pictured above is one of my favorite books that we’ve purchased for the children. Literally it often brings tears to my eyes as I read it, and not because it’s a particularly touching story, but because it depicts a life I love and long for. Its called Sleep Tight Farm, and I love it because the illustrations are beautiful, depicting the shift of seasons, my favorite time of year, the shift from hot, muggy, buzzing and busy summer into fall and winter, specifically with tucking in a farm for the winter. So many beautiful woolens included in the illustrations too. I just want to step inside and live in the book, ya know?

Do you find yourself craving to make more with your hands lately? That desire seems to ramp up even more so for me in the fall and winter months. What have you been making and what books have been enriching your life lately? I pray you are well today, friends.

xo

yarn along

These busy days of motherhood have long seemed to change the way time feels for me now, always racing by. But time this year has felt especially strange. We have all jointly carried the burden and toll of the pandemic, and yet many of us have also carried other heavy burdens and losses. How can it already be November? In some ways I still feel like life paused back in March and all these many months have been surreal. Yet time marches on. Yes, the election weighs heavy on all of our hearts, but there is more to November than this. Welcome, November.

Welcome, November, welcome gentle friend, with your rust + ochre crisp leaves nearly all off the trees, with your frosty mornings and warm afternoons, your candlelight, your days marked by gratitude as we move toward Thanksgiving. Welcome, with your slower gait and deeper breaths after the hustle of October. Welcome.

I’m making progress on this extremely simple and soothing sweater, the Gotland in my hands feeling warm and sheepy, the stockinette easy to pick up when my hands need something to keep busy. Why is stockinette so calming and helpful when the heart and mind are overwhelmed? I’m grateful for it. I went ahead and knit the collar on the sweater instead of saving it for last because it was the element that drew me to this design, and also because I wanted to make sure the yarn wasn’t too scratchy right up against my neck. I love it!

I’m still reading Boundaries, but for some easier fiction reading I started Still Life. It is enjoyable and intriguing so far!

Joining Ginny for her monthly Yarn Along.

respite

Ever since we visited this beautiful, quiet lakehouse last year we’ve been anticipating and hoping to return. We saved and planned, then held plans loosely as life came with interruptions and the world faced a pandemic. So we felt especially grateful and blessed to return to this place. This time we knew what to expect, how wonderful it would be. Did I mention how quiet it is? How good it was to ease into a different sort of rhythm, early sunrise mornings on the dock, late starlit evenings there, too. The peaceful sounds of crisp leaves and lapping water. Long stretches of time together without the usual bustle of schoolwork, activities, and work vying for our attention. We savored swimming, playing, fishing, knitting (for me), canoeing, exploring, reading, resting. It was a sweet and needful time of reconnecting with God, with each other, in the beauty of creation. It felt like summer’s last hurrah, the last of the sunscreen slathered on. The water was icy cold and yet it was refreshing when the sun was blazing. One night we had wild winds and freezing temperatures, which gave us the most stunning misty sunrise on the lake the next day. I couldn’t imagine getting back in that freezing mountain lake water then but by mid-morning it was toasty warm again. Such is fall in the mountains. Noah and Philippa fished and fished, and I was so disappointed for them that they never caught anything. Brandon caught the only two fish of the trip.

Still it was a happy time together, many sweet memories made in the sweet month of October with beautiful leaves changing all around. It couldn’t have been more needed after a year like this year, and I know so many of you understand. I hope you have been able to find respite, too. When Brandon and I paddled all around the lake with the children in the canoe it seemed so strange, all of us tucked neatly into this one little boat. All this love and noise and life contained in this one little vessel, so small in the world, Brandon and I carrying us forward, directing, safe-keeping. Their easy trust and childlike dependence, such a precious gift. Brandon and I, too, looking in dependence to our Father as we make our way in this wild world, hoping to do some good for Him in it all, carried by His grace.

yarn along

Here I am with another yarn along post which means another week has gone by. There isn’t a “crafting” link-up for me to connect to this time around, but it’s still habit of mine to snap a weekly photo of what I’m knitting and reading. I enjoy looking back through this little record of the making and the words that filled these days. Lately, I’ve been on the very cusp of finishing a couple of sweaters for myself, while also knitting Philippa’s birthday sweater. I just joined in the round to knit the body of my sweater hug this morning, and that’s exciting. The fabric this gotland is making as it knits up is surprisingly soft and so very warm. I feel like I always have a variety of projects on the go, some that are mindless, some that require more concentration, and I’m often moving those projects to the stage where I can just knit, knit, knit. I enjoy it all, filling my mind and hands with lots of different projects and fibers. I have so many things I want to knit going into this winter season, things my family and I both need for our wardrobes. It is wonderful to be full of creative inspiration.

I am continuing to read Boundaries, it is good and necessary reading for me right now. Meanwhile, I recently purchased The Story of the Orchestra: Four Seasons in One Day for Wren, not expecting it to be as lovely as it is. The linen cover is beautifully illustrated, nice to hold and the book is quite large. Wren loves pushing the buttons. I love snuggling with her on the couch and reading it while she tries to push the buttons with all her might. The illustrations are vibrant and full of woodland animals and brightly dressed people, and Wren loves hunting for things I tell her to find on the page. I recommend it, although I’m hoping the paper pages don’t get ripped too terribly soon.

Do share with me what you’re reading and knitting/making this week!

yarn along

Last week we went away to a lake house for a few days and it was so restful and nice. I cast on a dogstar sweater for Philippa while there, since her birthday is about a month away and I like to get a head start on birthday sweaters. I knitted both sleeves while there and got started on the body. It’s a bottom-up sweater, which isn’t my favorite construction, but it is nice to know the sleeves are done already. The yarn is a merino cashmere blend, very soft for my prickle-sensitive girl, and it has been quite nice to have in hand. Knitting the body is just mindless and easy, very soothing. I made simple modifications to the sweater, adding part of the colorwork motif to the bottom of both sleeves and also the bottom of the body, as Philippa requested. I hope she loves it, she is notoriously disdainful of the sweaters I knit for her, but also always requests one. ūüôā Handknit socks, however, are definitely her jam.

I planned to do a lot of reading during our time away but vacations with small children are never quite as restful as one imagines. ūüôā I have been reading Boundaries, and while it’s not really super “fun” reading, it has been interesting and helpful. It has sparked a lot of good conversation between Brandon and I. Be that as it may, I’m needing some kind of fiction read on the go soon.

I’d love to hear what you are making or reading lately, if you care to share!

a bit of this and that

Fall is in full swing and I’m so grateful. It is the best time of year, the very best weather with the happiest seasons ahead of harvest, Thanksgiving, a slew of children’s birthdays (in this house) and Christmas. This year I planted a few fall plants in the garden, but the energy and sense of urgency is so different for me in the fall. I’ve hardly tended to them and I’m not sure that they’ll do much. I planted a variety of greens (arugula, spinach, mustard greens, collards), some turnips, beets, and butternut squash. I planted more Bachelor’s buttons, too. I have some bulbs I need to get in the ground, snowdrop and crocus. I’m already looking forward to seeing them come up in early spring. The zinnias are on their last leg, but I’m still cutting blooms. The marigolds are finally really producing and I’ve been collecting and drying them, Philippa helping to string them into a garland (inspired by Ginny Sheller). I’m in the mood to dye some yarn but not sure that I’ll actually get around to it these busy days.

Our old oven died this summer. Thankfully, we have a home warranty to help replace appliances but it was quite a long time before we had a working oven again. If there was ever a good time for the oven to go out, it would be in the middle of summer but still it was a huge inconvenience for a family that eats pretty much 100% from home. I’m so happy with the one we chose and can’t believe the difference after working with a very, very old oven for so long. The kids were mostly excited about the box from the oven and it brought hours of play. A win for all, I suppose. Actually, once I was able to bake cookies, bread, and pizza again they were all very happy with the new appliance, too.

Rainy October afternoons have been filled with things like painting, reading books, playing lots of chess and checkers, making forts with all the pillows. While they’re busy making messes, I’m busy trying to bring some order to our days. Did you see those nice homeschool shelves neatly tidied? I’m too tired to hunt for a “before” picture, but I promise you it’s a great improvement. I’ve also managed to finally reorganize Phoebe and Philippa’s bedroom, tidying toys on shelves that Brandon built and condensing their two dressers down into one. Sometimes you have to shop your house and look for solutions to small space organizing, and in this case I think it worked out well. The girls now have my dresser and I have Phoebe’s. I plan to sell Philippa’s along with the crib that matches it (which Wren is more than ready to move out of). Noah and Wren’s room needs some de-cluttering next.

We’ve been really enjoying having my brother and his wife and son in town for a few weeks (staying with my parents nearby). We went last week to our favorite nursery with a real pumpkin patch to get some pumpkins. I wanted some fun pink, green, and white pumpkins to decorate our front porch. Of course the tractors were a big attraction for our crew. We went to this same patch last year but there seemed to be less pumpkins to cut in the patch this time. No matter, it’s just fun to let the kids run around and explore and hunt for one good pumpkin to carve. I love walking through the nursery, so we found what we needed there, and the kids did cut their own carving pumpkin from the patch. I’m settling into the season with all the beauty, crispness, and refreshing it seems to bring. Tomorrow we leave to go out of town for a few days and I’m so looking forward to enjoying the turning leaves and some quiet respite from our home and busy routines. I love this season of being home and busy raising these four little people, I love the rhythms and even the busy full days. But time away is so rare and so needed, this year more than ever.

yarn along

After finishing up my fleuriste cardigan this week (I still need to seam it together and sew on buttons), I cast on a stoker shawl with some simple woolly brown wool. It is going to be such a warm and basic wardrobe staple and I already can’t wait to wear it. I’m also working on the body of my pink velvet sweater and hope to have that one done soon. Warm weather doesn’t deter me from knitting, but the onset of chilly fall weather sure does make me want to cast on all the things! I have several projects that I’m itching to start and probably will cast on soon. A birthday sweater for Philippa needs to get started soon, and also I want to cast another sweater on for myself. However I am also wanting to clear my needles of projects that have been ongoing for some time (mainly these socks and these which are both so close to finishing).

I finished reading Giver of the Stars and really enjoyed it, now I’m figuring out what to pick up next. I’m reading Boundaries right now, which I began a long time ago and put down part way through. It’s helping me work through some things, but I already miss having a novel on the go. The children and I are still reading through Calico Captive, though we’ve been so busy lately we haven’t made much progress.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On and Ginny’s monthly Yarn Along.

september orchards

It’s hard to believe I took these photos weeks ago now and have been meaning to share them here. Are our little days really so busy? But they are. Each new school year brings longer school days it seems, and more activities in the afternoons. Although I’m happy with the schedule and rhythm we have set up, it is a challenge making time to get on here and blog. Day’s end finds me exhausted as I crawl into bed, however a good and satisfied kind of tired it is.

Anyway, back to the belated photos. A few weeks ago Brandon’s parents came for the weekend to visit and we decided to take everyone to a local orchard. It was one of the first chilly days and we (happily!) pulled out our sweaters. We live in the heart of apple country with many orchards to choose from (though we wish there were more organic options). Hoping to avoid the crowds, we kept to the rows picking fruit rather than doing the other activities the orchard offers. It was a sweet time together, everyone becoming like children again hunting for apples without blemishes and filling up boxes and wagons with their finds. Walking amongst rows spiced with that particular sweet, musky scent of fallen and decomposing apple, everyone on a treasure hunt for hidden red and green baubles, one can’t help but feel rejuvenated and refreshed. We took home one small box and a few days later I washed and peeled them and made a delicious batch of applesauce, about the easiest thing you can do with fresh apples. Sweet memories were made and fall feelings began to warm our hearts . ‚̧

yarn along

Today is the first day of fall and it truly feels like it. The days grow darker sooner, the humidity has let up and the days are hemmed in with a chill. Soon birthday knitting for the children will be upon me, and I’m already starting to think about and plan their sweaters. I love knitting for them but I have a few sweaters for myself that I am planning to make and hoping to be able to wear and enjoy this season, so I’m knitting away furiously.

My fleuriste cardigan is nearly done. I finished the body of the sweater a little while ago and have been working on the first sleeve. It’s slower going because the lace panel trails up the sleeve, but I have so enjoyed working with this yarn and don’t terribly mind. I believe it’s my first time working with shetland wool but definitely not my last. I have a sweater’s quantity of this same yarn brand but in a deep green for a cabled sweater for myself (one of the aforementioned sweaters that I’m hoping to knit this winter season.) I am eager to finish up this sweater though and hoping the second sleeve goes a lot faster. Maybe it’s just boring gray to others but I love gray and I think this sweater will be a wardrobe staple.

When I need just plain stockinette knitting and don’t have the mental capacity for lace, I’ve been knitting on my pink velvet sweater. Having just separated for sleeves, it’s now plain stockinette for awhile which is so nice to have when I just need my hands to be busy and mind quiet.

I finished reading Home and did enjoy it, though there were some parts that seemed rather slow. It wasn’t a “I can’t put it down” kind of book, but a gentle read before bed that kept my interest. I will read Lila soon. Have you read it before? Is it better than Home or Gilead? (In linking the books on amazon, I saw that she’s publishing a fourth novel in the series titled Jack in just a week or so!) In the meantime, my sister-in-law recommended The Giver of Stars and it came in at the library after I put it on hold ages ago. It’s much more of the “can’t put it down” genre, I remember reading Me Before You a few years ago by the same author and it being a quick read. I’m starting to enjoy it I think, but I’ll keep you posted. ūüôā The children and I just finished A Lion to Guard Us and are still part way through Calico Captive, both very good!

Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

golden hour

DSC_0075

DSC_0078

DSC_0081

DSC_0106

DSC_0107

DSC_0083

DSC_0109

DSC_0087

DSC_0096

DSC_0110

DSC_0104

DSC_0114

DSC_0117

DSC_0122

DSC_0125

DSC_0129

DSC_0132

DSC_0133

DSC_0134

DSC_0136

DSC_0138

DSC_0139

DSC_0142

DSC_0143

DSC_0145

DSC_0147

DSC_0158

DSC_0160

DSC_0163

DSC_0166

DSC_0167

DSC_0168

DSC_0172

DSC_0178

DSC_0193

DSC_0194

DSC_0215

DSC_0216

DSC_0227

DSC_0218

DSC_0241

DSC_0251

Rain is gently pattering on the metal roof on the sunroom adjacent to where I type and isn’t supposed to let up all day. ¬†One can hardly complain with the state of the west coast and how needed rain is there. ¬†Children are quietly (and not so quietly) working on the day’s schoolwork. ¬†Now they are off playing a game of hide and seek and screaming throughout the house. ¬†We are into our fifth week of school, hard to believe how quickly these first weeks have flown by. ¬†Overall it has gone very well so far, better than I expected. ¬†I began a more structured school day schedule for us last year and I’ve adapted it and solidified it more this year, and I think that’s really been essential for us. ¬†It’s good to be back in the flow. ¬†Be that as it may, there’s always a level of chaos amidst all the flurry of activity in the school room as I bounce between different children offering help. ¬†It does feel busier though with more on our plates, and even getting on the computer to share a blog post feels harder to do.

In the midst of all this constant rain, I’m looking back on the photos for this post. ¬†Labor day weekend we went for a picnic to Mt. Mitchell, which is relatively close to us and is the highest peak East of the Mississippi. ¬† I do so crave getting up high and seeing a beautiful view. ¬†We hiked the Deep Gap trailhead at Mt. Mitchell over to the first peak, Mount Craig, and enjoyed the stunning views from there. ¬†Wren would have hiked the whole way if we let her, such a little one but so strong and determined to keep up with everyone else. ¬†I think the last time I hiked to that peak was when Brandon and I went backpacking for a few days for our tenth anniversary. ¬†Then it was May: stormy, icy and with freezing wind. ¬†This time it was open, sunny, warm, and green. ¬†We were with my parents and brother’s family. ¬†After the brief hike we had our picnic dinner and watched the sunset. ¬†As you can see, the sunset and views and colors were just spectacular. ¬†Simple beauty, these old blue rolling mountains.

Then back home, back to the regular work of the week and of the season. ¬†The weather has cooled here ever so slightly, but I’m not sure the hot days are entirely behind us. ¬†I’m enjoying every bit of the cool weather that I can, however. ¬†Recently, I finished knitting a hansel hap with a kit of yarn Brandon and the kids gifted me for Mother’s Day last year. ¬†The yarn was Little Meadows yarn from Ginny Sheller + extra special and squishy. ¬†It was a relatively quick knit and so, so enjoyable. ¬†I modified the pattern just a bit, adding an extra repeat or so to make it bigger. ¬†I thought it may cause me to run out of yarn but I had plenty, and I’m so glad I did it as the size is perfect. ¬†I’ve already been reaching often for it on these early cool nearly-fall days.

Most days are just ordinary, mundane and full of the work that must be done. ¬†Then there are days where you escape to the mountain tops, picnic and spend time gathered with family. ¬†There are days when you harvest armfuls of zinnias and marvel that you grew these and then you trim them down to brighten up your September table. ¬†There are days you finish knitting a beautiful shawl with a bit of yarn you hoarded for as long as you could stand it. ¬†One foggy September morning you can finally wrap up in that cheerful woolly shawl. ¬†All so unexpected sometimes, the glory and the hardship, the peaks and the valleys, though they shouldn’t be. ¬†I’m grateful for the way the beautiful moments carry us through and feed our souls in a way, bright spots for bleaker days.