my strawberry girl


She tells me her phoebe sweater is one of her favorite gifts and she’s been cozying up in it every day at some point.  The yarn relaxed so much after blocking it that even though I made a size 6 for my petite little 6 year old, it still is quite big and will fit her for a few years if she takes good care of it.  I loved knitting it and am so glad it is cozy and warm and a cheery red for her.  It reminds me of the bright red cardinals we see flitting around in the drab winter scenery, little spots of color in the long winter.  The bonnet was one of her stocking gifts, she has asked for one for months.  I think this one is so cute and it will get lots of wear.  We gave her the book “Phoebe’s Sweater” along with it, which has the knitting patterns in the back.

Her birthday this year was really calm and quiet and peaceful.  She wanted to open all of her presents before daddy went to work so we let her.  We gave her a violin and the sweater I had knit her.  Brandon had picked out a special necklace for her, it looks sort of “indian-ish” so it goes well with her latest imaginary play.  She had a few other gifts to open from her grandparents.  She wanted to go to the park to play, the one that has swings, so we spent the morning there.  The weather has been fairly mild lately so it was really nice to be out.  I let her skip her “quiet time” after lunch and we worked on her new legos and then snuggled and watched a christmas movie.  I baked her cake that morning, a gluten-free funfetti cake with my own buttercream icing and I covered it in strawberries because she loves them so.  She was soo excited about her cake, as you can see.

yarn along


I finished my favourite socks and also some commissioned fingerless mittens for my sis-in-law, and I’m attempting to finish the Leksak tunic for Philippa in the next few days.  Last night I finished the body and now am picking up stitches on the front to do the front panel and then sleeves.  I don’t really know if I have enough yarn left, so it’s sort of a gamble but I think I’ll be able to make it work?  We shall see.

I’m also about to finish Crossing the Waters.  I guess it’s a “finishing” sort of week!  I’m in the last couple of chapters and thoroughly have enjoyed this one.  Such a good read snuggled in my bed at night.

Here’s a peek at those other finished knits, though I haven’t properly photographed them yet. 🙂

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I’m linking up with Ginny’s weekly yarn along today to share what I’m knitting + reading.
Affiliate links included in this post.


the last baby

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One of my dearest friends from college is due to have her fourth baby in a few weeks.  We were hoping to have a chance to throw a little baby shower for her, but, well, with nine kids between the three of us, it was hard to work it out logistically.  The best thing of all is just gathering for a mini getaway/catch-up since it is so much harder to keep in touch over the distance these days.  So, the three of us (my two best girlfriends and I) met up this past weekend late Sunday evening.  We drove to Max Patch, which is a good midway meeting point for us, hiked up to the grassy bald in the dark, carrying a cold dinner to share and a camp stove so we could brew some coffee.  We bundled in our sleeping bags and talked under the stars cupping steaming mugs.  By nearly midnight, we packed up and headed back to our homes, crawling back into bed at nearly 2 am.  But these gatherings are the best.  They are life-giving, better than a full night’s sleep.  Worth 3 hrs of driving (roundtrip).  This is the last baby my friend will have, these are the last days her tummy will be swollen like a full moon, and it felt right to commemorate this somehow.  In the past months I’ve slowly knitted her baby a little wooly sleep sack, in neutral colors with wooden buttons, as well as a little newborn “pilot cap.”  Both patterns were an absolute delight to knit and I’m so excited to snuggle this last little man-cub in his woolens.  I remember when this friend of mine had her first baby, and how strange to think we are all nearing the end of our child-birthing years.  Truly, they are hard years, but somehow the most glorious, too.

odds and ends


We did a little walk last week in our neighborhood, which is a regular occurrence for us.  I called it a nature walk, so Phoebe brought her nature journal and crayons, and we set out to look for things that were interesting, new, and to take note of what is happening in the woods around us during the month of September.  We found a massive spider web (can you see it in the picture above with the building behind it?) which she sat down to draw, while the little ones played bubbles with me, then we all headed to the nearby playground.  It was the first time it felt like one of our “fall” walks, and my heart skipped a beat.  I live for fall in the mountains of NC.  Something in my sort of wakes up, and I would say I am most inspired by fall and winter.  The mornings feel just a little bit cooler, there is the first hint of that distinctive smell, the first scuttle of leaves across the pavement.  We hear acorns constantly dropping on the metal roof of our neighbors house.  I plan to be outside pretty much every day, since the mosquitoes will finally leave us alone.

I finished knitting my first sweater for my nephew and am sending that off this week, and planning knits for each of the kids for their birthdays.  I hope to make each a sweater, but Brandon tells me I’m probably being too ambitious.

School so far has been going really well.  Phoebe seems to drag her feet in phonics, though I think it’s because the book I’m using to teach her is mostly geared toward auditory learners, and she seems to be more hands-on.  She loves math and asks to do it constantly, mostly because of the math manipulatives I think.  She is so incredibly bright and quick to memorize and I’m finding that doing school together gives us just some mother/daughter time that we both are enjoying so much.

Our ordinary days together at home are so full of learning opportunities.  We cook together, talk about odd or exciting things we see out in the world.  We observe the changing seasons, we talk about heart matters as we live alongside one another and sometimes treat each other harshly.  We read scripture and recite memory work.  After nap time a few days ago the three children wanted snack on the porch and I stood at the doorway and watched them all squished together on one side of their picnic table, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they could be more spread out.  But there they were, all squished on one bench, munching and giggling and playing.  It was a happy moment and made me so thankful for this chance to home educate and have Phoebe here with us.  The younger two would really miss her.

A few days ago Phoebe turned to me at dinner and asked, “Why don’t we ever give our food to the poor and needy?”  I was taken aback by her question, quite happily, and we talked about it for a few minutes.  She was thinking, then she bent her head and folded her hands spontaneously and prayed “Dear Lord, thank you for this lovely dinner.  And we pray for all the needs, and the poor and the hungry that you would give them food.  And we pray for all the mean and the selfish an the bullies, that you would help them and that you would take them away and that we wouldn’t have to see them again.  In Jesus’ name, amen!”  My heart was melted (even as I fought laughter over her requests for all of the “mean and selfish.”  Thank the Lord He is more merciful than we are.)  Needless to say, we are cooking a meal this week together to drop off of at a local homeless shelter.  “And a little child shall lead them,” right?  😉

I don’t have particularly spectacular things to say about all of these random odds and ends, but these are the little moments that I don’t want to forget, these are the things of “now,” this is the good stuff that I treasure.

settling back in

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I love being home.  Our family trip to upstate New York was fun and restful in some ways, chaotic and exhausting in others, but regardless, it is always so nice to come home.  When we drove in from NY on a Monday afternoon, Brandon had about two hours to quickly unpack and then repack before his flight left for a week-long work trip in California.  So, even though we had a week back at home, it didn’t quite fully feel like we were “back to normal” without Brandon around.

This past week it was good to get back into our usual rhythms.  I’ve noticed that I don’t quite feel settled into a place until I’ve been cooking or baking in it.  Making that first loaf of homemade (gluten-free) bread and filling the house with that smell feels like coming home.  I was busy this past week making gelatin gummies for the kids, a big batch of granola for Brandon and I, bread and “snack bars” galore.  Phoebe has stopped eating her usual Lara Bar snack in the mornings and so I scramble to find something she will eat in place of it.  She is pretty limited with what she will snack on and we are trying so desperately to increase her caloric intake, so for her to drop a favored food always sends me back to the drawing board and results in lots of receipe testing.

Our days have been simple.  The weather has been roasting hot and humid (ugh), and the kids have still been busy outside, coming in with cheeks flushed with heat.  I don’t love summer, but I try to make the best of it.  Picking blueberries and flowers from local farmstands, and savoring the daily afternoon thunderstorms helps me endure it.  Our little porch garden hasn’t done very well, and I miss having the larger plot we had at our last rental.  Sigh.  Dreams for the future.  Yesterday we had a really informal “half-birthday” party for Phoebe and Noah at my parent’s neighborhood pool with their favorite little pals.  I didn’t snap any pictures (gasp!) but it was fun all the same.  Their half-birthday was really back in June (20th and 23rd) so when you celebrate the half-birthday late, what on earth do you call it?  It was such a treat for the kids, though, who often find it hard to have a party with their friends around their birthdays (which are the week of Christmas).  It was fun for me, too, to see the children playing and swimming together and gather with some of my favorite friends.

I’ve been busy finishing up a few knitted projects.  My brother and sister-in-law brought back some yarn from Iceland for my birthday and I knitted some slippers for myself with one ball of it.  I’ve tucked them away for winter but I’m already longing for those first cool wisps of fall air.  I also finished up the Antartkis shawl that I made for a lady I used to babysit for back in my high school days.  It was what I solely worked on during our trip to NY so I was able to finish it fairly quickly (for me) and she picked it up this week.  I loved knitting it, especially since there was no purling and it was a really simple/easy pattern and yet still interesting.  When I’m knitting something I grow attached to it in some way, all that time spent fingering the yarn and bent over it with concentration and enjoyment.  It’s hard to give it away or to attach value to it, but also such a sweet thing to be able to make something special with my hands for someone else!

Phoebe’s homeschool co-op begins in about a month (!!!!!) and so my mind is shifting to all the projects around the house and all my piles of clutter and unfinished business that I hope to have organized before our first year of school begins.  A friend has offered to give us a couple of twin beds for the kids, and so I think we’ll be rearranging bedrooms for the children.  I’m craving a major house purge.  I’m hoping to organize my desk area and clear out a little space that can be for schooling.  I’m also hoping to squeeze in a camping trip with some friends before school begins, too.  It feels way too soon to be talking about our first child going to school, and the sentimental part of me is resisting this big change, even though I’m super excited to begin, too.  So many books to read!  Curriculum still to pick out!  School supplies!  House projects!  And still, to fit in time to read long snuggled with children on the couch, to stay up late for fireflies and late evening walks.  I want to hurry through summer because fall is my favorite, but also am so mindful that this is our last summer EVER before our lives begin to revolve around school, and so I want to enjoy each muggy, buggy day.

summertime lori


The Lori Shawl, my first real shawl, knit with Quince + Co. sparrow, which is Italian linen, in colorways moon + sans.  It is different to knit with linen and took some getting used to, but after months handling it, my fingers miss it.  This shawl was the most relaxing knit and easiest to take with me wherever because it is just garter stitch all the way.  It turned out to be bigger than I expected, I ended up using 6 skeins.  I made a few mistakes along the way, one little hole that I couldn’t seem to figure out how to fix, but I still absolutely love it.  It is bigger than my kitchen table so blocking it was a challenge with three little ones around, but I made a spot on my bedroom floor and it dried quickly, so we managed.  It feels so dreamy after blocking, the drape is perfect.  I could see myself knitting this pattern again in a wintery wool for sure.  I’m so thankful for this lightweight, summertime shawl and can’t wait to finally wear it!

yarn along

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I finished up the Nantucket throw blanket a couple of weeks ago, but am just now getting around to snapping pictures of it to share with you here.  We are busy enjoying it, as you can see, I keep finding someone snuggled up in it, which makes me happy. 🙂  I originally wanted it as a throw for our bed but it is a little bit smaller than I had hoped, and the kids keep dragging it back out to the living room to snuggle with while reading books.  I love the texture and coziness it adds to our home!

I’m still knitting the precious cowl this week but have somehow made some sort of mistake and I’m on hold until I can rip back (so tedious with lace!) and get back on track.  Somehow I have more stitches than I should.  Ugh.  So in the meantime I’m doing finishing work on my lori shawl and knitting up a few more dishcloths for a gift.

I’m still reading My Antonia, I put it on hold to read When Calls the Heart, which I finished up a couple of days ago, and am a little over half way through My Antonia.  I’m more into it now, but still not sure what I think.

Joining with Ginny’s yarn along today.

littlest sunsuit


I finished Philippa’s sunsuit last week and was able to snap a few photos of her in it this morning.  She seemed thrilled to put it on, this thing she’s seen mommy working on, and she danced around and cried, “ditty!” which is how she says “pretty.”  I’m really proud of it, even if I made a few mistakes and learned some things along the way.  Can’t wait to make more knits for my babies!  The pattern for this sunsuit is here and the yarn I used was some leftover skein from Michaels, I believe the lion brand 100% wool but can’t remember the color way.

spring things

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We were enjoying mornings and afternoons on the porch last week, snack outside, making mud pies in the sandbox.  Temperatures plummeted this week and we expect another frost tonight potentially.  We’ve had our foretaste of spring and we’re ready for it now!  We get used to the quieter, whispered beauty of winter and then spring comes and the earth is bursting with glory and color we nearly forgot existed.

It’s amazing how much can change in one week!  I’ve been watching this beautiful white cherry tree outside our living room window, taking pictures of it every day, watching the buds burst open and the tree fill with blooms in the matter of a few days.  The red buds are flowering, the cherry trees, the daffodils and crocuses, pansies sprinkled around front doors.  When did I become one of those people who is fascinated with buds and blooms, birds and children playing, finding such beauty in all these small things?  The smallest, the things most trampled underfoot in our busy rat-race pace.  Yet here they are, day after day, quietly doing what they are supposed to do, echoes of a far country.  It’s holy week this week,  my sister and her family is in town from British Columbia for my youngest brother’s wedding this weekend in Virginia.  We will be caravanning up there mid-week and heading back home to North Carolina on Easter Sunday.  The cousins are having the best time together, Phoebe and Jericho are practicing being brides all week, although they will have to settle for being flower girls come wedding day.  It is so achingly wonderful to be all together and to see cousins enjoy each other.  Our minds and hearts are busy with all that comes with wedding prep, and my soul is meditating on how beautiful it is to be celebrating a man and a woman covenanting in marriage around the time of year that Christ suffered and died for His beloved church.  There is a tangle of meaning there that I have yet to extricate.

I finished my first kerchief/mini shawl which seems the perfect size for Phoebe and she loves it.  I guess I can share it with her. 🙂  I’m pretty proud of it, already working on another shawl and a couple other knitted projects on the go.  Brandon says my knitting stuff is now everywhere, taking over the whole house and I cackled with glee.  I wouldn’t want it any other way right now!  Books and skeins of yarn scattered everywhere!  Also, Brandon let me splurge and order a skein of yarn from one of my favorite bloggers and natural yarn dyers, Ginny Sheller, and it arrived last week.  I love it so much.

I hope you’re enjoying your first week of spring!


yarn along


I’ve been working on Brandon’s socks now, almost done with the foot of sock one.  Since they weren’t done by Christmas, maybe I’ll have them done by his birthday in a couple of weeks? 😉  Since he never reads my blog, I can safely tell you I will probably knit him a chunky warm hat, too.  He hasn’t asked me to make him anything yet, but he asks every time I start something new “and who is that for?”  I think he’s quietly waiting for his turn.   I finished up the hat I was knitting last week (made up the pattern).  Here is Phoebe modeling it, and then myself (picture snapped by Phoebe)!  It’s a gift for a loved one.


I’m reading a few books right now, but this one came in the mail yesterday and I just started it.  I am only one chapter in so I can’t tell you what I think just yet.  I find I rarely read fiction these days and I’m in need of some good stories to get lost in.  I’m hoping this is one of them!  It’s about a girl from an Amish family in 1842 who has two marriage proposals, one offering her the home + life she craves near her family + faith, the other offering her an adventure West.  I’m hoping she goes with option #2 for some reason.  I’m drawn to everything prairie-life, alaska-related + homestead-y right now.  Do tell if you know of other books in that genre!

Anyway.. I can hardly focus because this is what I’m seeing outside of my window from my desk.  FINALLY!


Joining up with Ginny + all the other lovely knitters and readers at her blog today!  Hop over there for great reading + knitting suggestions.