yarn along

dsc_0074

Oh, how good it is to begin new things.  Fresh starts are on all of our minds this January season, aren’t they?  I finished and blocked my Tecumseh sweater yesterday and I cannot wait for it to dry.  It’s my first color work project and one of my knitting goals for last year was to try color work and brioche, both of which I did manage to accomplish in 2018!  I cast on a new shawl with delicious Woolly Mammoth Fibre Co. Wensleydale 4 ply that I’ve been sort of hoarding.  It is such a different fiber than anything I’ve worked with before and I’m really, really loving it.  I cast on for a shawl with it and I need to check gauge and make sure it’s working well at this needle size.  I think this knit is going to be so relaxing and mindless, while producing a very simple and wearable piece.

I also finished The Quotidian Mysteries last night and plan to start reading The Fledgling today, which I found at a book sale over the summer.  Reading fiction sounds really nice right now.  It feels good to finish and begin new things.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
Amazon links are affiliate links.

 

yarn along

DSC_0022.jpg

I can’t believe I didn’t get any other posts up last week but it was our first week resuming our usual school schedule and getting back into the swing of things.  Phoebe also had some strange cough that really mostly reared its head at night and had coughing fits that would lead to her throwing up for multiple nights in a row.  No fever or congestion at all, so it was really odd, and she said she felt fine.  Anyway, that along with Wren having a rough week sleeping, my own bad case of vertigo, and I felt like I was just surviving the week a bit.  It also rained most of the week so we are endlessly happy to see the sun today and it’s almost 60 degrees!  I’m hurrying to get this up and then we’re getting outside to a local nature area for a walk and play.

I finished the body of my Tecumseh sweater and am onto the first sleeve.  I’m really excited to have this done and ready to wear maybe within the week?!  We’ll see.  Meanwhile I still have like 10 other projects on my brain that I can’t wait to either cast on or keep working on, but I’m trying to stay focused.

My sister-in-law drew my name for Christmas (my family drew names to exchange gifts this year) and part of her gift to me was this book, The Quotidian Mysteries, which is one that’s been on my wishlist for a while!  I’m enjoying it so far.  It is mercifully short, also, which helps me feel like I’m not such a failure when it comes to reading progress lately.

Sorry for my absence last week and I’ll be back in a day or so hopefully with a regular post.

Joining up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
Amazon links are affiliate links.

 

 

yarn along

DSC_0017

Hello!  Since finishing up birthday sweaters for all the children which basically consumed my knitting time in November and December (plus a few other gift items), I am turning my attention back to my Tecumseh, which feels so good.  I just split for sleeves and am a few inches past that point now into the last repeat of the charts on the body section.  I like to have multiple projects on my needles so that I can switch back and forth to projects I feel like working on in the moment, or so that I have smaller projects that are easier to travel with, etc., but it is really amazing to see how quickly something can work up if I commit to working on it monogamously.  I may try to force myself to work more faithfully on one project at a time so that I can finish things a bit sooner.  We’ll see.  I have yarn for quite a few projects that I can’t wait to cast on but it’ll be rewarding to wait until I’ve got some projects off of my needles.

Also, I received this book, Homebody, for Christmas from Brandon.  He had seen me admiring it a little while ago and remembered!  So sweet of him.  He really spoiled me for Christmas.  The best part was that he forgot about this gift and being we had such a huge wide tree it was hidden behind the tree and the curtain of our window, so that as we were pulling the tree out and packing Christmas things away this past weekend, I saw the present tucked behind the curtain.  And it was for me!  It made it even more fun and special and I told him now I hope he does that every year, a surprise gift leftover some days after Christmas. 🙂  I’ve been slowly reading through it and savoring it.

My parents gifted us a box set of the Chronicles of Narnia series and we started The Magician’s Nephew this week and are already well into it and loving it.  I’ve never read the whole series so I’m excited to read it through together.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have been enjoying some making and reading in your holiday time!

Linking up with Ginny’s monthly Yarn Along today.
Amazon links are affiliate links. 

yarn along

DSC_0077DSC_0081

For some reason I keep forgetting to pass the slipped stitch over on some of the stitches on the front panel and as a result I’ve made a bit of a mess of the front of this sweater after I split for sleeves.  The dilemma: rip back to where I split for sleeves and redo (but I’m not great at ripping back without dropping stitches/making mistakes) which will likely cause me not to have this sweater done in time for phoebes birthday, OR live with the mistakes on the front and keep going.  I don’t know what to do yet.  A couple of mistakes wouldn’t bother me, but I’ve done it several times and it makes the eyelet rows look off kilter.  Can you tell at all in this photo?  😦  Anyway, what I want to do is just avoid it altogether, but I have been trying to work on this monogamously so that my sweet girl has a birthday sweater on her day.  I am, however, really loving knitting with this yarn I dyed naturally myself with marigolds (and there are skeins of it available in my new little etsy shop which I shared all about in my last post if you’re interested)!  The variegation is really pretty I think and there is a sense of pride in knitting with it, knowing the work that went into achieving the bright cheery color!  It reminds me of citrus in the winter, just what is needed to dispel the gloom.

Still reading What the Land Already Knows and enjoying it so much.  Seriously so wonderful to read just before bed.  It’s wintery, Christmasy, and rich with insight.  I definitely recommend it and plan to get the other books in the series of stories from the Farm in Lucy.

Oh, also our recent blizzard here in the mountains of NC broke quite a few large limbs off of our big magnolia tree.  If I had more energy or time I would make a wreath or garland with them (I would have enough for several, actually!) but I’m afraid I won’t get around to it.  Any other suggestions?  I hate to just waste all the beautiful limbs and leaves.

Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

 

yarn along

DSC_0056

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.
All book links are affiliate links.

a visit to Bovidae Farm

DSC_0027DSC_0001DSC_0002DSC_0004DSC_0005DSC_0006DSC_0008DSC_0009DSC_0010DSC_0011DSC_0012DSC_0013DSC_0015DSC_0017DSC_0019DSC_0023DSC_0024DSC_0028DSC_0029DSC_0031DSC_0032DSC_0033DSC_0035DSC_0037DSC_0039DSC_0041DSC_0043DSC_0048DSC_0049DSC_0050DSC_0053DSC_0054DSC_0055DSC_0056DSC_0059DSC_0060DSC_0061DSC_0062DSC_0063DSC_0064DSC_0065DSC_0067DSC_0069DSC_0516DSC_0518DSC_0520DSC_0524

You guys.  I am so excited to share a little about this beautiful local sheep farm we visited a couple of weeks ago.  The last weekend of October is the big Southeastern Animal and Fiber Festival (SAFF) in our town, and literally I was planning on going to spend my yarn dollars at one booth only, the Bovidae Farm booth.  My friends and I were all super bummed when we realized they weren’t at the festival and made plans to visit the farm instead (because you can only otherwise purchase their yarn at their farm).

My friend Jennifer and I planned a visit together, Jennifer having been there before and also introducing me to their wool through her designs with Appalachian knits where she worked to highlight the fiber of the Appalachian region.  We drove out (about a 45 minute drive from our home) one frosty Friday morning, a light dusting of snow was on the ground at the farm.  We had packed a picnic lunch and I told the children this would be a homeschool field trip and to ask as many questions of the owners as they could think of.  Rose and Jim were so generous and kind, having opened their little yarn store (which is the downstairs of their home) just for us, setting out some blocks for the children and a few sheepy toys.  It was an absolute delight to meet them.  They have been shepherds for 30 years, with a flock now of 70 Dorset sheep on 100 acres.  They care for them entirely on their own, but mostly the work is done by Jim, as Rose’s health has limited her.  Phoebe told Jim he reminded her of Peter from Heidi, and she also told him her “where do sheep go to get a hair cut?” joke (answer: the Baa-baa shop).  I think that warmed them up to us pretty quickly. 🙂  It was incredible to see their many spinning wheels and learn about their different functions and uses.  I regret that I didn’t get to try spinning because I mostly had Wren in my arms, but I hope to maybe give it a try the next time we visit.  Rose mostly uses fiber for weaving and had a couple of large looms, while Jim mostly spins.  He spent time letting each of the children try out all of his wheels and teaching them as much as they were interested in learning.  He let them run around and explore on their property, invited them to help him move the fencing, and let them pet and feed a couple of the rams.  He also let them sit on his tractor, which made Noah’s day for sure.

We hope to go back in the spring/early summer for shearing, to watch the whole process and spend some more time there.  Jim told us that they usually send their fleeces to a mill in Maine to be cleaned, dyed and spun.  I have been so eager to get my hands on their wool, and so happy to support a local sheep farm.  I bought a few skeins of their worsted weight yarn for some Hyak socks for myself and Brandon, and maybe some mitts for the children.  I couldn’t resist some of their pink worsted weight yarn for a wooly cropped flax sweater for Phoebe.  I cast on already but it seems the neck is really wide and I might knit it with a larger needle as it has been hurting my hands a bit to work on it at such a tight gauge.  It is the sheepy-ist and most rustic yarn I’ve used, quite squishy, dry, and full of lanolin.  I love it so much, and love knowing that knitting with it supports Jim and Rose’s work and care for the sheep.  Oh, I also bought a couple balls of their sport weight wool with plans to knit the Isle of Purbeck shawl.  Cannot wait!

It was so life-giving to spend time there, and I couldn’t stop talking about it with Brandon for the next few days.  What a wealth of knowledge those folks have and what a gift it was to be allowed onto their farm, to explore, learn, and get our hands into wool and take some home with us.  If any of you are interested in visiting their farm and yarn store, please know you are more than welcome, simply contact them via email or phone to plan your visit.

We are all looking forward to our visit in the spring and to spending some more time with these lovely folks + sheep.

yarn along

0

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.