Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Just Kept On Knitting

Considering the last shawl(ette) I knit turned out way too small and had to be frogged, this is a bit ironic.

But it is so soft and squishy...

Any awkwardness could only result from my own....

Grace and finesse.

The yarn is amazing so wrapping away.

Taygete by Romi Hill
String Theory Caper in Jade and Fusion Lake
Size 4 needles
Camp Loopy Project #1

I loved everything about this project.  The pattern was most mindless with a kicker of intrigue and the yarn was simply amazing.  The final dimensions are appx 90" by 26".  Sure, I could've blocked it to smaller dimensions but I seriously wanted to be able to wrap myself up in this.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Camp Loopy Challenge #1

Camp Loopy started on Wednesday and I didn't waste any time diving into my new yarn.

I chose Taygete for my 2 color shawl/scarf because, being a fan of Rosemary Hill,  I've been wanting to knit it for a while now.  It's part of her collection of 7 Small Shawls to Knit that she came out with last year.  The whole collection is gorgeous and I plan to work through most of them.  I also intend to sign up in advance for Year 2 so I will receive the patterns as they are released throughout the year.

Anyway, ordering colors that will complement each other over the internet can be a bit risky, but boy did I get lucky!  I am thrilled... thrilled!... with the colors I received from The Loopy Ewe.  The yarn, String Theory Caper, is absolutely luxurious as well.

Beautiful yarn does wonders for speeding up tedious garter stitch!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh Anna...

That's what's going through my mind these days as I read Anna Karenina.  Expelled with a sigh, this thought goes through my mind in regards to Anna herself as well as in general regards to Tolstoy's love of verbosity and farming.

Don't get me wrong, for the most part I am enjoying the book... but it is clearly a book that is meant to be enjoyed, savored, lingered over.  I am mainly disappointed in my own 21st century desire for action, adventure and speedy reconciliation or closure.  (Reading the book on my Kindle*, however, has allowed me a to lend a certain touch of 21st century to the experience and also informs me that I am currently 59% of the way through the book.  This is excellent news because I was seemingly at 42% forever.)

That said, I am fascinated by 19th century Russia.  High society, politics, religion, and even the agricultural concerns all interest me.  My first exposure to pre-Communist Russia came in the form of The Brother's Karamazov a few years ago.  Since the extent of my knowledge of Russia could be summed up with the word "communism", I was very disoriented at first to be introduced to a complex society full of ideas and religion.  And unlike the typical historical fiction, these authors were recording the very complexities and ideas that were circulating, and eventually culminating in (or being defeated by), communism.  History in the making!

One of my favorite quotes so far has come from the (obsessive) studious farmer who is determined, through great amounts of (tedious) research, to revolutionize agriculture and peasant relations.  At one point he concludes,

"It was the same with the socialistic books: they were either beautiful but inapplicable fancies which had carried him away when he was still at the university, or they were improvements and patchings-up of the order existing in Europe, with which agricultural affairs in Russia have nothing common."

A couple of word substitutions and, as they say, there is truly nothing new under the sun. This alone was enough to endear me to Tolstoy and keep me reading.

*Several translations of Anna Karenina are available as free downloads, but I spent the $2.99 to get a Kindle-friendly version of the Maude translation linked above.  The Maude translation seems to be the number one choice of those who are willing to sacrifice the original Russian proper name forms in order to actually grasp who's who.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Who's Building Whose Character?

"Character Building"... the great parenting buzzwords. 

Last night we watched our oldest son graduate from high school.  It's been a week of emotions and reflection for me.  As a homeschooler, I feel a bit of pride/relief that he successfully transitioned to public high school after 8 years of homeschooling.  I hadn't ruined him.  Yay!  As a mother, I'm feeling incredibly proud of the young man he's become... and continually amazed at his hard work, dedication, and determination.

Next year we will graduate son #2 who chose to stay homeschooled along with his 3 younger brothers.  It might seem like at this point in my life I should have some wisdom to share with moms of young children.  You know... wise words about character building and such.  But I don't.  And not only because anyone who knows me personally would laugh out loud if I tried, but mainly because I've found raising these boys has had at least as much impact on my character as I hope I've had on theirs.

So my advice to you... don't miss out on the lessons your kids can teach you!

1.  It really starts when they are born... the sleepless nights, the spit up on a new sweater, or the colic that keeps us walking and bouncing for hours.  From their very first days, they are stretching ( think of this as exercising or growing) our patience, compassion, and ability to hide our frustration behind grace.

2.  Our children will disobey.  They will challenge us, disappoint us, and ignore us... and they will each do it a bit differently.  We learn quickly that what works with one might not work with another.  So we evaluate and learn to respond accordingly.  And if we are lucky, we learn to see these qualities in others and learn to appreciate and relate better to people in general.

3. This is a tough one... but the trait that annoys you most in your child, is most likely your own worst attribute.  Nothing is worse than the moment you realize that, in the worst way, your child is just like you.  But this gives us a chance to grow along with our child as we learn to adapt our behavior or attitudes to better coexist in society.

4. Then there are the qualities that we see in our child that are completely contradictory to the way we function.  My instinct was often to "correct" these qualities or "mold" them.  But I urge you to take the time to appreciate these qualities and learn from your child!  I have learned so much about perseverance, compassion, mercy, hospitality, and confidence by watching my children in their young journeys.  I can honestly say that they have made me a better person.

5. Your relationship with your child can teach you more about God than any book on the shelves.  Our love for our children gives us a glimpse at God's great love for us... and really, who better to keep us in prayer than our children?!  I still remember clearly an incident from my early years as a parent...

I had given a 4 year old a bowl of cheerios to nibble on.  He didn't want to share with his 2 year old brother.  This caused great grief and misery for all.  I urged him to share (because sharing is right, right?) and explained to him that he could have more when these were gone... in fact I had more cheerios than he could eat in a week in the box in the cabinet if he could just share what he already had.  He didn't care.  I finally had to pull out the box and show him just how many there were. And it struck me... God has more grace, generosity, mercy, strength, and good gifts for us than we can possibly imagine... if we would just seek Him.

Nothing is too much for Him.  And it is His grace and love I see in the lives of my children as they mature into fine young men.  Because I'm pretty sure that praying over them without ceasing is the only thing I've done right as a parent so far!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Camping with Yarn...

Count me in! 

Discounts, challenges, prizes... how could I not?   If you're interested, find out more here.
This is my yarn for the first challenge, a two color shawl, wrap or scarf.

String Theory Caper Sock in Jade and Fusion Lake.  :)

Eventually I'll get around to posting some finished knits...

but right now I need to prepare for my son's high school graduation!

Blessings to all.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Time Flies When You’re Going Crazy!

So, it's been a while. But I realized a couple of things earlier as I was perusing some old blog posts… (1) I'm a complete dork at least half the time, and (2) I have recorded a wealth of history and photos here. Since I'm not into journaling, scrapbooking, or even photo album-ing, this blog is quite the treasure trove for me. 
For example, here's a photo of my oldest snapped not long after I started the blog 6 years ago. Here's a photo of me sending him off to prom last month.

He will graduate high school in two days and we really couldn't be any prouder.
Another example, here's a group photo from about the same time. And here we are following D's baptism this past winter.

 As you can see, I've shrunk.
I continue to knit like crazy and homeschool the other four who will be entering 12th, 9th, 7th, and 3rd next year. I'd like to get back in the swing of things here and see where it takes me. Ideally I'd like to share not only my knitting (and I have lots to share!) as in the past, but my homeschooling adventures, favorite TV shows, and books I am reading. (Currently I'm thoroughly enjoying Anna Karenina, although I could do with less time on the farm.) So… We'll see how It goes J