Yarn Along


Until I have caught up on my pattern writing, I have forbidden myself from knitting my own designs at the moment.  There’s just too much bouncing around in that brain of mine, and I can’t handle it.  I need to spend my brain energy finishing patterns now, not figuring out how to make them.  So while I catch up, I still have to knit (because not knitting makes me very crazy) and I’m taking this opportunity to do some stash busting, and knit some patterns other people have designed that I’ve been dying to make myself.

So when our local yarn store went out of business awhile back, I stocked up on a ton of yarn at 30-40% off.  One of the yarns I found was this gorgeous blue-grey merino in worsted.  I normally like to buy a sweater’s worth of yarn, and this was about 1-2 skeins short of that.  So I’ve been debating what to do with this particular bunch.  I actually bought a pattern, and after spending one evening knitting it, I discarded it and knew I wouldn’t like the end result.  Maybe a different yarn for a different time.

So I went back to my Ravelry search and discovered that I have enough to make the Ashby shawl, which I’ve been wanting to knit for a few years now.  I just love the texture and thickness of this shawl.  I really haven’t been much of a shawl wearer in the past, but this is so wonderful I’m sure I will be.  I want to be.  This shawl wants me to be a shawl wearer.  While I have worn them from time to time to fancy events, this one is begging to be worn around town, worn by the fire with a good book, pretty much with me at all times this winter.

And in my favorite steely-blue color?  Perfection.

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Wool Socks

hate mending.  I just despise it.  Most especially because most of the mending I get is Knut’s work clothes, many of them still dirty and with 20 other patches, and I just want to throw them out and start fresh.  One of his work sweatshirts literally had 30 patches on it.  I bought him a new one to replace it, but he said it was too nice for work.  If you need to know anything about farmers, it’s that they rarely throw anything out.  I guess for city people like myself, when we throw things out, we imagine they disappear.  When farmers throw stuff out, they know it’s going in some landfill somewhere and that unsettles them.  Farmers love their land.

So, in spite of my less than enthusiastic feelings towards mending, a few years ago I picked up a darning egg at an antique shop for $3.  Because…wool, knitting, homemade.  All good feelings.

It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that it is time to put this darning egg to use.  Let me explain.

If there’s anything I hate more than mending, it’s socks.  Can I get an Amen! from other mothers out there?  Socks are everywhere in my house.  They overtake wintertime hours.  We have 7 people in this house, and let’s say the 5 little ones wear 2 pairs a day (at least, because…kids do) that is 12 socks being washed a day.  That’s 84 pairs of socks that need matching a week.  Nobody has time for that.

This is why, a few years ago, Knut and I made a very purposeful decision to start to transition our family over to wool socks.  Ironically, this push came from Knut more than me, but the more he explained it to me, the more genius it was.  The reasons are mainly in the wool vs. cotton explanation.

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Yarn Along


Life has been a little crazy on the farm lately, at least on my end of the farm.  For many months of the year, I rarely venture outside, and the ground is hard, solid, and tucked under a bed of fluffy snow.  For a few even shorter months, the ground wakes up and produces life (food, flowers, animals) that comes at you faster than a Mentos in Diet Coke.  I can’t catch all the life thrown my way during these intensely colorful months, but we do pretty well.

My knitting got put on hold, not because I never had time to sit down and do it, though.  I got to the edging portion, with over 700 stitches on the needles now for this shawl.  The edging was a ribbing pattern I wasn’t quite familiar with, and increases that needed focus to accomplish.  Fundamentally it isn’t a difficult pattern.  It’s actually quite simple.  It’s just I needed to concentrate without interruption for over 700 stitches in a row.  That kind of pocket of time just doesn’t exist in my life right now.

So knitting stopped, and I was not happy about it.  Finally, yesterday, I locked myself in the women’s locker room of the YMCA, away from my kids and in the corner so no friends could see me.  I got the majority of this “set up” row done, and once I recognized the rhythm of it, I was able to finish it up after the kids went to bed last night.

So now I’m in the clear to finish up this lovely shawl.  I honestly think I did it wrong.  I think I increased on one side way too much.  Since this is a massive project using lace-weight yarn with tiny needles and I’m just finishing up the edging there are only 2 things I could do about my thoughts that it might be much more curved than the pattern shows:

1) Rip out 2 months of work, grumbling, and start over, grumbling.

2) Call it a “modification,” take fabulous pictures of it, and hope to make it to a “Modification Monday” post by Knitted Bliss.  One can dream.  It doesn’t look bad.  It actually could be pretty cool.  I’ve decided it will be pretty cool and I am determined to block it to my will once it’s off the needles.  We shall see.  All bunched up on my circular right now, it’s tough to tell how it will all turn out.  Talk about a mystery knit!

I have been focusing so much on my garden, and doing so little knitting that my muscles were so after knitting 2 rows of the edging.  I realized that my little callus on the inside edge of my middle finger on my right hand (a callus that is a constant when I’m knitting hard) needs to be reformed.  I feel like an athlete out of shape when it comes to my knitting muscle memory.  It’s a real thing.


For reading, I’m going over a history book.  My kids love, love, love Susan Wise Bauer’s history books Story of the World and we are about to study the middle ages this next school year.  Someone told me that Susan Wise Bauer also wrote parallel history books that go into much greater detail that is aimed at adults instead of children.  So I took the bait, and started reading The History of the Medieval World, a few pages a night a few weeks ago.

I love history.  There are several history buffs in this house.  Not only do Knut and I LOVE history books, we’ve managed to pass that love onto both Silje and David which is kind of miraculous as they rarely like the same thing.  The younger kids haven’t caught the bug yet.  So this has been a fun read, though I’m not sure I will be able to finish it.  It’s just so much.

My favorite story so far in this book is the coronation story of Shapur II who was king of Persia around 325 AD.  He became king a month before he was born.  His father died when his mother was 8 months pregnant and the Persian noblemen and priests actually crowned the queen’s belly king.

I cannot get that picture out of my mind.

So what are you knitting and reading these days?

Yarn Along


This TV-free June that I proclaimed about 10 days ago has been taking a toll on me, friends.  I’m struggling to write, or have any moment of peace for that matter.  In the past when we took some time away from television, I immediately am grateful for the time away.  This time I think we were in deeper.  I had a lot of projects anticipated for this month, before the garden harvests started taking over and I’m seeing that nothing will get done this month besides doing some overdue training with my 2 younger daughters.

I had a lightbulb moment recently, as to the reason the house has been so crazy.  When the little girls get clingy and whiny, while I’m in the middle of cooking something in the kitchen or whatnot, I call over an older kid to grab them a coloring book, or read them a story, etc.  The older kids are usually helpful, but the last few days they have reached their limits with the little girls.  At first I thought maybe I was asking them to help too much, but in reality, I’m asking them way less to help out since the t.v. is gone.  So that doesn’t make sense.

Then I realized that I had been using my older kids as a bandaid for the bad behavior for my younger kids.  The little girls need some training in nice talking, and waiting, and listening.  That’s not something older siblings do.  So things like knitting, reading, writing, and anything for “me” has gone by the wayside as I’m giving them some focused attention.

All that to say, this has been a very good TV-fast.  I’m seeing the reality of the needs in our household quite vividly.  My own selfishness is still churning as I’m thinking of all the things I’d rather be doing, which feels awful to admit.  I love my kids.  I know this is what I want to be doing.

It’s just it would be really fun if I could do what I want to do separate from my kids for maybe an hour or two every once in awhile.  I normally plan that in and fervently protect that time.  That’s just not happening during this season.  Pray for me, because I’m not sure how long I can hold at this pace.  I know, though, that this is the way forward.

All that to say, I haven’t moved forward much on the shawl.  I am at the ribbed edging now.  The chart for the beginning of the edging is intimidating me now, as I have about 600 stitches of a repeating chart that I don’t quite have the rhythm down for yet ahead of me.  I’ve tried this 600-stretch now 4 times and I am always interrupted and have to start over.  I’ve tried doing it when the kids are in bed, and right around the 400 mark Knut comes home and unknowingly messes me up too with his interruptions.  I cannot move forward without getting this new pattern established, and I’m not sure how to get it done.

I have a really fascinating book pile right now that I’d love to show you, that I planned to read this month, but since I’m not reading any of them these days, I’ll show you my favorite cookbook that I’m pulling out for all my meal planning lately.  I love this cook book so much I can’t even begin to explain.

I have yet to find a recipe in this book that my whole family doesn’t love.  Every single one has been a winner thus far.  I love the commentary.  I love her writing.  I love the pictures.  I know I have written about this cookbook before, but it’s worth a revisit.  Plus, it’s what I’m reading these days.