Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Knit from Your Stash?

Okay, I think it's fair to say at this point that the pretty little yarn button on my sidebar is hardly more than decoration. I mean, I barely notice it anymore and, heck, it doesn't actually stop me from buying new yarn. It's not like it's coded with an automatic credit card or paypal blocker that fires up whenever I attempt to make a purchase. And now that I've pulled together all my spare change (unused yarn) and returned all my sweater leftovers for new yarn, I'm feeling a little less, well, comfortable with this whole knit-from-my-stash thing. And you know what? I think the button is actually taunting me, daring me to buy yarn. Yes ma'am, I think it is.

Did you see the new Knitty surprise pattern, Thermal? Did you? A sweater for less than $34? I want this in the worst possible way, and lightweight is good for here. Yep, sure is. (Somebody shouting at me about the insanity of me attempting to knit a whole sweater on size 2.5 needles would be good here.)

As for the sidebar list... it does provide moments of clarity. It's very helpful to be able to glance over all of my options and, on occasion, some common sense, or dose of reality, does seep in when I realize the impossibility of knitting everything I already want to knit... then there's the stuff that I will want to knit (have you seen the Spring Interweave preview... the Clementine Shawlette, Cable-Down Raglan, Bonsai Tunic?) But the list... well, it can be changed... or, even, deleted.

I'll admit that it's harder to ignore (and impossible to delete) the sky high stack of bins at the top of my stairs... but it only rarely fills me with a pit of guilt and gluttony anymore. It's really more like a piece of furniture at this point.

And isn't "what's next" part of what knitting is about? I thought it was, but some wise women over at the Knitty board were commenting that since it would take longer to knit Thermal, you would actually get more mileage for your money... in other words, for very little money, you would get a lot of knitting. I have a feeling they may be right but I can't quite tweak my instant-gratification brain enough to get there. It's kinda like trying to grasp that whole eternity/beginning of time thing. Kinda.

I really do think it would be nice of me to take some of that Hand-dyed Alpaca off of Supercrafty's hands. Wouldn't that be nice? I wonder if it could fit in the drawer next to the Artyarns Handpainted Supermerino that I can't figure our what to do with...

Electric shock... now that might work. I really don't like pain.

PS... Pictured is my progress on Wicked. Love this yarn!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


First, I want to say "Hi" to all of you who are popping over from Wendy's blog after her mention of my Sahara. It was a very interesting and enjoyable pattern to knit and I encourage anyone who is considering it to go for it. The instructions are clear, easy to follow and offer plenty of advice and tips for customization if you desire.

If the cost of the Tilli Thomas yarn puts you off, there are plenty of other yarns to choose from. I loved the Cascade Pima Silk that I used for the SKB and Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece would be another even more economical option that matches gauge as well. (I plan on making a sleeveless summer version in one of these options in a few months.)

I used a DK yarn which knit up at 22 st/4 inches and went up a pattern size. Had I thought it through, I could've also gone up a needle size and gotten gauge with the DK weight as well. (What can I say... thinking ahead is not my strength, casting on is.)

On another note... I became aware today of a fellow knit blogger whose infant son has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. In addition to requesting your prayers, I would also like to refer you to Supercrafty, her business, so we can support her financially as well. While I've never met Allison personally, I have done business with her and have always been impressed with her selection, prices, and speedy delivery. So, check out Supercrafty for any knitting or craft supplies you may be looking for and support a fellow knitter in need. (Heck, I bet she has some great options for Sahara!)

Lastly, my Noro Silk Garden Mondo Cable Vest stole my attention from Wicked last night (I'm captivated by the colors) and accompanied me through both "24" & "Prison Break" (both great shows... but is anybody else slightly bothered by the thought that it all comes down to Jack and his brother who, between the two of them, are apparently the masterminds of instigating and solving all terrorist plots in the USA? I guess the world really does revolve around Jack. It makes me think they should just sit down and arm wrestle and get it over with.)

Anyway, the vest... bad idea for intense TV viewing knitting... especially when I'm at the shoulder decreases... which were done... and redone... etc. But the back is done and I'm ready for the front which concerns me because I tend to like things lined up and I know the front is unlikely to match the back. Again, lack of forethought left me unprepared for this moment. (Good thing I'm only a wanna-be perfectionist so I will proceed instead of frogging and re-knitting it in the round... at least for now.)

Monday, January 29, 2007


Some serious sock knitting (and finishing) going on here...

Vesper Socks in Neapolitan
K3 P1 Rib, Size 0 (gulp) needles

I knit the second one in 4 days (a record for me) then started this today...

Grumperina's Jaywalkers
Claudia's Hand Painted Yarn
(I love the rich colors!)

I'm trying the Magic Loop with Knit Picks size 1 circular needle.

I'm really liking this method as I get the hang of it. Nice even stitches, no gaps, long smooth rows... and the Knit Picks needles are so pointy, slick and flexible.

It was certainly awkward at first but once I got the hang of it, the needle switch at the end of a row is not much more effort than moving between dpns.

I think I'll give 2 on 2 circulars another shot on my next pair. I liked this method a lot... I just wish you could get color coded needles to make keeping track of the dangling ends easier.

But for now, several days of itty, bitty needle knitting, has left my hands crying for mercy so the Jaywalkers will have to wait a bit for more attention.

That's okay... tonight is 24 and Prison Break which means a couple of roundabout hours on Wicked.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Today was Saturday and you know what that means, actually you may not, but for us today it meant Basketball!

And surely you know what that means... a day of Knitting without guilt! Yay! You know away from all that "I really should be cleaning or doing laundry" guilt. And I do mean a day... a whole day... 4 kids, 3 teams, 2 games each, first game at 9:00 and the last one started at 6:00... all day! I'm now ready to separate the sleeves on Wicked and got halfway through the back of the Mondo Cable Vest. In hindsight it doesn't seem like much for a whole day but there was a certain amount of cheering and chatting going on as well.

In knitting news, this came in the mail today...

I tried the Magic Loop for the first time on the first sleeve of Sahara, but what I failed to tell you was that I gave it another shot and actually did the entire second sleeve ala Magic Loop. Once I got the hang of it, I really liked it. Instead of constantly twirling the whole sweater around on my lap, I only had to flip the sleeve back and forth. Not only that, the sleeve turned out beautiful... nice even stitches, no gaps or loose stitches between needles. A true perfectionist would have most likely re-done the 1st sleeve to achieve the same quality... good thing I'm only a wanna be perfectionist!

Anyway, I decided to order this booklet and some longer size 1 and 2 circulars from Knit Picks and give it a shot on some socks.

Today's basketball pics feature my youngest (and smallest) basketball player. He may not have been much of a threat but he was certainly the cutest boy on the court (this is, of course, an unbiased opinion). He is the little guy in the middle of the pictures . He may be small but he's makes up for it in determination! Besides, his imagination is at least 6 feet tall!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

On a Roll... of Some Sort

I recently came down with the strangest of ailments that can only be called "finishitis". While I struggle chronically with knitter's "startitis", this was a new one for me, and I was on a roll. Upon completion of Sahara, I was struck hard with a great sense of determination and, of all things, focus. I finished my sister's birthday scarf... a lovely pattern from the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk book knit up with 2 hanks of the required DB Pure Silk. The yarn was a luxury to knit with and the pattern was engaging so it was a pretty quick knit. I even finished it in time for her birthday... although I have yet to deliver it. (But considering I haven't mailed my dad's Christmas present yet, this is to be expected.)

Then I finally got around to finishing up the second Lorna's Laces Seaside sock. It may look like I ran out of yarn for the toes, but it was completely a design decision... based on my decision to not open and wind the second hank of yarn just to complete the second toe. That's all.

Next I started in on the 2nd Vesper sock. I'm telling you, there was a spell there where I truly thought I was going to finish up all my UFOs and cast on something new with complete freedom! Can you imagine? I actually met somebody once who only knit one thing at a time but I never for a minute thought I might be the strange one in that conversation.

Anyway, just when I was on a roll, just when I thought my finishitis might be terminal, I stumbled upon a cure. This. Yep, this and the fact that I had leftover yarn from Sahara to return to the LYS. And since, yarn can only be exchanged and never actually returned, I grabbed this...

An (almost) even exchange. And, yes, that is a swatch you see... a S W A T C H!

Sadly though, So Cal is a fickle place and I guess I should've known that grabbing more wool immediately after finishing a wool sweater was sure to be seen as a dare to the gray hazy clouds and weeks of record-breaking lows that we, well at least I, have enjoyed. Alas, the clouds parted, the sun streamed through, and our temperature shot up into 70s. Yes, friends, it is my fault.

And, btw, I know what you people in other states think and say about us "crazy, loony, sun-baked" Californians (I have plenty of relatives out there who keep me in the loop... then there's the whole Governator thing...) and I'll tell you what... I agree with you. I was at Park Day today where, besides learning that I can't talk and turn a heel at the same time, I listened to women around me enthuse about the wonderful weather and complain about the bitter cold that tormented them for, well, hardly more than days. It's 75 degrees in January! I came home and put on shorts! In January! This is not okay... it's not normal, nor reasonable, nor acceptable! So, it's really not about politics, religion, wardrobe, or hairstyles... it's about weather... and people who really think it is wonderful to spend 365 days a year in the same cloudless, blue-sky, moderate weather! That, I'm sure, is the root of the so-called "looniness". (Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful place to live... and maybe it's just because I'm not a native Californian, but I think variety is a good thing... even in weather, not just in hair color.)*

Oh, sorry... I was talking about knitting right? Yeah about that... my son made a lego model of me. That would be my computer off to the side and hmmm... what do you suppose those could be in my hand? I bet I could take on Darth Vader with those knitting needles!

*ETA: I don't mean to offend anyone but I feel safe expressing my thoughts here as I know that any So Cal, fiber-loving knitter who is likely to read this would surely agree with me. Two weeks per year of wearing handknit sweaters is simply not enough! :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I just couldn't leave it alone!! I put it aside but it so wanted to be finished... I so wanted to wear it!! I even purchased a brown skirt from Coldwater Creek during their big year-end sale just for Sahara. And finally, here it is...

It turned out even better than I'd hoped. The pattern was so easy to work with and, once washed and blocked, the yarn is wonderfully silky soft.
I was truly caught here in an honest attempt to catch my hair in the breeze. Really! However, it was the best picture we got and my 14 yos was clearly unwilling to keep trying. Unfortunately I don't get very clear pictures with my camera when it is turned sideways and I can never tell and always forget until I post the pictures here (although I'm sure the dead grass and weeds in the background do much to make up for that... sigh).

Also, because of our typically mild weather, I chose to do 3/4 length sleeves so I'll be able to get more wear out of it.

Details: Sahara by Wendy Bernard

RYC Silk Wool - just over 9 balls
(Which means I get to return 3 for store credit - Yay!)

Knit Picks size 6 & 4 circulars
Size - M (mostly... my gauge was off so I went up a size)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Evening View

I was just over at my mom's house where this was the view.

Such wildfires are almost unheard of in January, but in spite of the recent freezing temperatures, our weather remains windy and dry. The So Cal firefighters do an absolutely amazing job of saving homes in these fires. The pictured hillside is covered with homes (as you can see by the scattered lights) but the firefighters had done their job well and the fire was moving away.

When we left, we passed a helicopter reloading for a water dump in a large parking lot that had been closed off by police. Very surreal. We drove home praying for the brave firefighters and the families whose homes are threatened by the flames.

(On a lighter note... I didn't have my camera so I took these pics with my cell phone and e-mailed them to myself. You might do this type of thing all the time but it was the utmost in technological achievements for me.)

Sneak Peeks...

A special gift knit up with Debbie Bliss Pure Silk... (shhhh) And what might this be? Hmmm... Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Knit, Purl, Dribble, Shoot

Today was game day for two of my boys. They both did great, but I have to say, my oldest son was amazing. (I do get to boast here as a mother for a moment don't I?) He didn't play last year so I was way surprised to see him play like he did... especially since he is by far the smallest guy on his team. Look at that jump... and his ball handling. (I know they're crumby pics but are you feeling my enthusiasm? And besides, I'm still struggling with getting a decent photo of yarn on the table... I was thrilled to catch any kind of action with my woefully pathetic camera skills.) I actually don't know much about the game aside from the fact that you want to get the ball in the hoop but I know that he did well because everyone was cheering for him the whole game. I guess I get especially excited because he struggles so much in other areas, like academics... and common sense, that I'm so happy for him when he gets to excel at something. (Thanks for sharing my joy. :)

Of course I had my knitting in hand. I have no hesitation knitting in public, but do you know how hard it is to casually take a picture of yarn on a chair? Maybe it's just me... maybe I don't have the full knit bloggers heart yet... but I must say that I felt, well, just plain old weird!

Friday, January 19, 2007


We have dogs... 3 dogs. Two big labs, one little beagle.

We have a neighbor, many neighbors actually, but one in particular who lives right behind us.

Our dogs bark sometimes... our neighbor doesn't care for this.

Our neighbor tore down the wooden fence between our properties, put up a wrought iron fence (to improve their view), tore out one of my big bushy bushes in the process... and now... complains about our dogs.

Our neighbor put a pool in right next to the fence and doesn't like it when our dogs run around and bark as his kids noisily jump, laugh & play.

Our neighbor has loud parties... late parties... keeping us awake type of parties... we've never said a word.

Our neighbor's son shot our beagle with an airsoft gun last summer... now she howls when they come home everyday. He doesn't like this either (yet refuses to acknowledge the logic of the beagles fearful reaction to their presence).

Our neighbor calls if one of the dogs bark for dinner.

Our neighbor calls if we are not home and our beagle howls... he calls a lot... he calls and leaves recordings of our dog howling. He calls and leaves "teacher voice" messages like we are stupid fools who are simply letting our dogs bark. (He's an 8th grade teacher and his voice radiates condescension.)

Our neighbor ignores my children when they say "hi". (Did I mention he's a teacher?)

None of our other neighbors hear our dogs. I'm thinking I don't like this neighbor too much. I'm thinking we're going to put a big thick wooden fence along the back of our yard so our dogs can't bother him, he can't bother them, and... most importantly... he stops bothering me!

Just saying... now back to knitting. Hmph!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Little Distraction

I decided that in order to succeed with Sahara, I must persevere in the best way I know how... cast on for something else! As I lay awake last night pondering the disappearance of my knitting mojo, I realized that all of my favorite knits spent several brief spells in hibernation while they were in progress. A-ha! Remember, I mentioned that Sahara needed just such a rest last week? Yet, while en route to "the drawer", I (against my own better judgement) tried it on once more and decisively determined that it must be finished!

Well once I realized the much needed rest I had deprived Sahara of, I was quick to set about correcting my mistake. Considering that "the sleeve" had not only left me more than a bit blue, but had cost me sleep as well, I knew that I couldn't just settle for a simple quick fix like a scarf. No... this was going to require something much more rejuvenating, something fresh, something exciting! This was going to require a new pattern and, most definitely, a trip to the LYS.

Now, while the new Artyarns Supermerino wasn't technically *in* my stash... I did "purchase" it by returning quite a bit of yarn from my stash that I had picked up for little things, like hats and gifts that never got knit, as well as some sweater yarn I wasn't using. So really I was very resourceful and the yarn ended up costing me very little. Really!

And yeah, I know, I should just remove the stinkin' button from my sidebar. But the guilt (& humiliation) it imposes will eventually make it impossible for me to stumble without dying of shame.

Anyway, the pattern is Zephyr's new Wicked sweater... So tonight I cast-on (big contented sigh) and spent some quality time with my boys playing ESPN Sports Scene-It. I was the official card reader. The card-reader gets to knit. I was happy, they were happy... it's all good.

I also found this Cabled Cardigan pattern in the latest Vogue for the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that actually is in my stash. Isn't it pretty? Maybe I'll start it too. Maybe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

'Til Death Do Us Part

The sleeve...

Maybe I'll try the 2 circulars... nah.

I know... I've always wanted to try the Magic Loop... but I'm just not sure. It seems fairly speedy but a little awkward with the dangling cord and having to stop to pull the needle around all the time.

Ah... here we go... dpns.

Still knitting a sleeve here...

Ta-Da! A finished sleeve...

that's too (gulp) short and (here's that word again) too snug.

Sahara and I are developing a real love-hate relationship. I love this sweater! I hate to take the time to get the right gauge, properly measure and try things on as I go. Really Sahara is not to blame at all.

It is really not a difficult knit... REALLY! I would hate to discourage anyone from knitting it just because I've lost either (a) my knitting mojo, (b) my patience, or (c) my mind. The pattern is clever, interesting, well-written and full of helpful advice that I seem doomed to repeatedly ignore (such as the continual advice on sizing and trying it on as you go). I mean, come on now, really... I could've tried the sleeve on easily at any time. I even knew, knew, knew that I should try the sleeve on before I finished. I KNEW IT! Yet I didn't.

Now I could deal with just redoing the trim, but I really need to back up a bit and remove one of the decreases... which, I admit, I suspected at the time, but ignored that wee voice in my head that constantly presents such common sense advice (and sadly is mostly ignored).

I wish I could blame the pattern... it would certainly make me feel less foolish... but I can't. I knew I had a gauge issue from the start (read I settled for close enough), so my sleeve pick-ups didn't match the pattern (size medium sweater with size x-small sleeves). While clearly this should have warned me of danger like a stampeding bull, for some reason it only barely concerned me... except that I KNEW I should've tried it on. So why didn't I??????????????

Socks and scarves... apparently it's all I'm good for right now. I'm going to go read my new book, A Deadly Yarn, because yes, it is.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Little Reading, A Little Knitting

I finally finished a book I've been reading called Mother Carey's Chickens by K. Douglas Wiggin. It's the story of a widowed mother and her 4 children set in Maine (I think) about century or so ago. The mother is an example of what, I believe, ever mother truly aspires to be within. Her very loving, well-behaved kids adore her, she is well respected by all who meet her, she is able to make any house a home, and is a hostess extrordinaire!

I must admit that I had a hard time relating to the sublimely perfect Mother Carey. I generally prefer to read about people whose maturity challenges me but have at least a few faults and struggles... lest I find myself depressed and hopeless. For this reason I found Stepping Heavenward to be a great treasure as I think the author of did an amazing job of creating just such a character.

However, while I have little hope of ever comparing myself to Mother Carey in any positive way (you can see my boys being groomed into manhood above), I greatly appreciated her total devotion to her task of being a mother and her certainty of her goals for her children. What seems like a complicated and often overwhelming task (raising children) she singles down to a very succint task and purpose which is the basis for everything she does and every decision she makes. So for me, simply keeping her perspective in mind is a goal I'll hold on to...

And while I do, I think I'll opt for a little lighthearted mystery in A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton. (I certainly wouldn't want to strain myself too much... or add further to the twinges of guilt I sometimes feel for knitting like I do!)

The yarn is some Araucania Atacama alpaca that I picked up in exchange for some yarn that never became the gift it was intended to be. I never would've given it a second glance in the hank but it knits up beautifully so I'm making a scarf. BTW - Little Knits has this on sale right now for a ridiculously low price that is taunting me ruthlessly.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Maybe It's a Matter of Perspective

I'm a pretty casual person. I get up in the morning, throw on a top and sweats or jeans and begin with barely a glance in the mirror. I've noticed over the last few days, that if I scrutinize myself in the mirror on any given morning, the same way I scrutinize myself in a newly knit top or sweater (such as, say, Sahara), I would quickly conclude that most of my sweaters don't fit. However, with some more contemplation I began to realize that the problem was not nearly so much with my clothes, they do fit, but more with my, um, maturing over-40 figure. I am a woman who has had five children and, well, that baby-carrying belly has not forgotten. Okay, so I don't have the figure I had when I was 24 and no magic sweater is going to make me look like I do. So, I will accept it, get over it, and, I suppose, after a 40 years of never needing to exercise or watch what I eat, I will begin to do that as well.

That said, as I started to tuck Sahara away the other night (in my drawer of knits that need to be out of sight for a bit) I decided to give it another chance. And, with a little blocking, I think it's going to be a-okay! So I started on a sleeve today. I have to tell you that this design is absolutely ingenious! And the diamond rib... ooooh... the diamond rib... it just bowls me over every time I look at it. Above is a peek at the start of the sleeve.

The very best part of my weekend thought was finally getting the chance to meet up with blogging friend, Lynda, at a LYS for a little shopping and lunch! I really enjoyed meeting her in person but felt like I knew her already! My friend Julie came along with her kiddos as well (who were amazingly good in the LYS). I wanted to get some pictures but, here's a shocker, the battery on my camera was dying so I only had time for Julie's daughter to snap one quick pic. How cool is it to meet a new friend you never would've known if it weren't for this whole knit blog world?! (I should also note that our wardrobes include an Essential Stripe sweater, a Starsky, and an Ella. Such fun!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What's a Gal to Do??

I've panicked, I've grieved, I've agonized, I've tossed and turned, and even, for a moment, I've laughed. I've considered and reconsidered all of my options for the stunning and elegant, yet somewhat too form-fitting, Sahara and so far this is what I've come up with:

  1. Frogging (thus the panic).
  2. Blocking like crazy.
  3. Dieting and/or exercising (that would be the laughing part).
  4. Giving up and returning the unused balls of expensive yarn.
  5. Seeking out some clarity on the term "negative ease" and be aware of its true nature in the future.
  6. Finishing the gorgeous sweater and gifting it to a dear friend of mine who would look stunning and thoroughly enjoy it (I like this one).
  7. Knit myself a summery one in a more casual yarn like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (from stash!) which actually matches gauge and is much more suited to my lifestyle and our weather.

The only actual decisions I've made...
  1. Make no decision at all for at least a couple of weeks.
  2. Start getting low-fat milk in my Starbuck's Iced Mochas.

In the meanwhile, I finally (and I do mean finally since this was knit last May) weaved in the ends to my Starsky and wore it to Park Day today where it kept me amazingly warm in our crisp 54 degree weather. (Would you believe it was 84 degrees two days ago! Ugh!) I even started the belt... in Jamba Juice.

So I can finish the belt, work on my socks and maybe start a scarf... like Backyard Leaves or Lady Eleanor as there shouldn't be any fit issues with these.

And finally, after some careful contemplation, most likely initiated by the agony of defeat, I have most reasonably decided to reconsider my stance on sock yarn as stash and accept the terms as outlined in the original Knit from Your Stash guidelines (see button).
I find my change in position here most acceptable because, well, buying new sock yarn makes me happy! (I was wearing a turquoise t-shirt today :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Maybe It'll Stretch?

Wow - I love this pattern. I just finished up the diamond rib neckline on Sahara and the stitch is so pretty. But something very strange and disconcerting is happening as I knit this sweater... this puppy is actually shrinking while I'm knitting it! Truly! I know this doesn't sound possible but I'm sure it's a tad smaller, a bit tighter, every time I try it on. I was shooting for slightly loose and drapey, but now I'm nearing, well, snug... snuggly snug. Hmmmm.

My dear husband was kind enough to suggest that I had started the sweater a couple of weeks before Christmas and, you know, we've had the holidays and all. I was about to glare, okay, maybe I did, but yep, he's right.

So I guess that leaves me with 2 options... visit the frog pond, or *big sigh* the other thing. Okay Donna, tomorrow I start walking... most likely... probably... I'm really gonna try... really. In the meanwhile, I think I'll start a sock.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pizza, Clean Underwear, and a little Sahara

I love having a big family... I really do. And, most of the time, I really love homeschooling too. It certainly hasn't been an easy journey but I don't think I would've ever learned so much about my boys or myself any other way (I'm a slow learner). I also really enjoy peeking around the homeschooling internet community a bit. There are some amazing women out there whom I really admire. Women who are really devoted to enriching their roles as mothers and wives. Women who are devoted to expanding the education of their children beyond the basic expectations of today.

Before I go on... let me stop right here and say LOUD and CLEAR that I am not writing in judgement of any other educational choice or putting homeschoolers on a superior plane! I am equally amazed by many other moms I know. I'm just sharing from my perspective which is that of a homeschooler. Afterall, this is mainly a knitting blog and the last thing I want is to create division among knitters!

People always, always ask me how I do it. How I manage five kids, boys none the less, let alone homeschool them. So let me share a bit along these lines. I do get a lot of encouragement from these women... from their commitment and goals. By reading their blogs, as well as books by other homeschoolers and amazing Christian women like Elizabeth Elliot, I am often inspired or challenged to reflect on my own role and personal growth as a wife and mother. However, and this is my point, I have learned to not compare myself to these women or to become discouraged by my own shortcomings. I've learned to be encouraged from such women but instead of trying to become them (ha), I will often glean some insight into one little area of my life in which I'd like to grow... as a mother, a teacher, a wife... and work on that. There's always room for personal growth... but ya can't do it all at once!

So, my bottom line secret is... I set my goals very low! I don't bake my own bread, we don't keep a perfectly (ha, who am I kidding, how about "sort of") clean house, Jeff Corwin teaches science each day, and some days we forget to do math. Survival! That's my goal in a nutshell. I'm shooting for sanity, clean underwear, and, most importantly, boys who love the Lord.

Keeping food in the house is actually my greatest challenge, yet a necessary one that I must keep working on. My kids moan when I order pizza again and still don't understand why they have to shower or comb their hair if it's not Sunday. They quite frequently fight like cats and dogs (actually we had a cat and dog that got along much better than my kids do) but even in this they are learning self-control, to accept/tolerate people whom they may occasionally find annoying (afterall they can't tackle their future co-workers), and to respect different opinions and perspectives. They are pretty good at sharing and the older ones are even capable of playing a board game without ending up in a fight. (For this I find that immediate chore assignment has been especially effective.)

And as for me... while many of my personal goals are often focused on my relationship with God, my DH and boys. Things like patience, gentleness, time management, laundry and dinner. I try to be realistic in my expectations and I have no guilt in taking an hour or two (or so... usually late at night) for myself each day either. I need this time of knitting, blogging, or reading to be me... to be enriched, and not lose myself in the chaos. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Anyway, I am not trying to offer advice. That would be a joke. I am simply trying to give you a glimpse into "how" I do it. Basically, not well... but I think we're all pretty happy.

PS. Funny thing is... it just occurs to me that absolutely none of this thinking carries over into my knitting. My expectations are extremely unrealistic, I try to do way too much at one time, and I (ashamedly) always compare my progress & results to others. Hmmmm... sounds like the dysfunctional side of me simply found a new hobby.

BTW - The pictures highlight my progress on Sahara. I love the shirt-tail hem and diamond ribbing! So much so that I'm even willing to forgive Wendy for the K3tog tbls. :)