Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Playing with Color

I've finally been knitting, a little. When Karen knit her Pincha shawl it caught my eye, and I have plenty of beautiful variegated skeins hanging about my stash, so I dug one up and cast on. This is Knitting Knotions Superwash Sock yarn in all my favorite colors, a colorway called "Earthshine," which I believe has been discontinued.

What's more exciting, though, are these lovely little skeins.

A cool new organization has sprung up in Pittsburgh called the Steel City Fiber Collective, and they hosted a yarn dyeing even at a bar in the city. (Yarn. Beer. Pretty colors. how much better does it get??) It was so, so much fun.

And now ... I want to keep on dyeing. This process was really simple, definitely something I could just do in the basement during naptime. I sense an addiction coming on. (Maybe after I'm done with this class, though!)

I need more patterns to knit with these beauties. What are your favorite patterns that play nicely with variegated yarns? (If you have blog posts showcasing said patterns, please, link them in the comments! I'd love to see them.)

Linking up with Ginny's yarn along.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Not quite committed ...

Still not much knitting around here. I am about to embark on some (possibly over-ambitious) Easter projects--more on those later. But right now the only active project is this ten-stitch blanket. I had a lot of worsted weight leftover from various hats, so that's what I'm using. (Pardon the odd lighting ... those are lovely shades of teal and purple, if you can't tell. But there's foxy orange and a pretty blue in the middle.)

I keep having doubts though. Is this really the pattern I want to put my leftovers into? Is it just going to be kind of ugly looking, and am I okay with that? I like the fact that it's knit all in one piece, but maybe something with granny squares bordered in a neutral color would tie the different colors together better ... like this. (Or if the colors still clashed, it would be more like a kaleidoscope, which sounds more interesting to me.)

I am looking forward to reading these essays published by Wiseblood Books. Poetry is not my "thing." I can receive a good poem, even fall in love with it. But I don't have the instinct to delve more deeply in without guidance. And I certainly don't sound intelligent when speaking about poetry, which perhaps doesn't matter except as it affects my own ego.

Linking up with Ginny.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I haven't done any knitting since last week. I think I'm having trouble committing enough to anything to cast on. Nothing seems to be calling my name, not even the slippers, which I haven't really needed thanks to this mild winter. Cold feet would probably motivate me.

I do, however, have some yarn to show you. A group of women are working to set up the Steel City Fiber Collective, and I contributed to their Kickstarter drive a few months ago. And then I forgot about it. So it was a very nice surprise to receive this gorgeous hand-dyed skein in the mail!

The only crafty thing I've accomplished lately is that little chickadee, and though it's definitely beginner's work, I'm pretty proud of it. (If anyone has any advice for a neater blanket stitch, or for cutting out small felt pattern pieces, I'm all ears!) I'm hoping to make another felt birdie for my brother's birthday (tomorrow ... we'll see if it happens). He's an amateur ornithologist, and I've been wanting to try my hand at felt ornaments, so when I stumbled upon an amazing collection of felt bird patterns, it seemed providential!

I have been doing quite a bit of reading. I got this book from a friend, and am enjoying it so far. I need more nonfiction for my Catholicism & Literature course, and this fits the bill!

Linking up with Ginny.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What I'm Doing (Instead of Netflix)

Hi Friends.

I've been trapped in a cycle of not-blogging. It has many sources, but one of them is wanting to come up with a REAL post to jump back in with. Something with nice pictures and/or profound thoughts, organized and coherent and thoroughly spell-checked.

Well, enough of that way of thinking. It's naptime. I have a moment. I have a job that I need to do that I'm currently procrastinating. What better way to do so than by posting here?

I am trying really hard to reclaim my precious naptime from the black hole that is Netflix. I binged on the first season of Fixer Upper (which I loved, but now I can't stop thinking about cased openings), and the shows I watch regularly (Once Upon a Time (don't judge) and The Walking Dead (yes, zombies)) are gone until spring.* So!

I will tell you what I'm working on instead.

Several months ago I got an email out of the blue inviting me to teach a course on Catholicism and Literature ... and I accepted! I am very grateful, and excited, and just a wee bit terrified ... because now I have to manage my time wisely. What part of it I am in control of, which has not been a lot this year ... we seem to have been beset by illness after illness, ear infections and tummy bugs and eye infections and the croup and sinus infections ...

As it happens, I do have a picture for this blog post, a knitting picture so that I can link up with Ginny. Well, a pre-knitting picture, I guess. I am going to make myself a pair of thrummed slippers, and the yarn is wound, and the thrums are all made, and there they have sat for about a week, untouched. But it is very pretty to look at, isn't it?

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Hello friends.

It's been a while, so let's do a little combination day-late-yarn-along/life-dump, shall we?

I finally--FINALLY--finished knitting the last of the boys' Christmas stockings. Holy cow. That's four inches of stockinette that just gets tucked INSIDE the stocking to give the cuff a little substance. Pure torture at the end of such a frickin' huge sock. I still have blocking to do, and little i-cord loops for hanging, and maybe, maybe they will get their names embroidered on the cuffs before Christmas. But I realized that all the names in the pattern are 3-4 letters--"Emma" is the longest--whereas our kids all have seven letter names. This is going to be interesting.

The book--I am greatly, greatly enjoying it. It had been on my to-read list for some time and when I saw Karen reading it that pushed me over the edge into buying it, and honestly it is worth every penny.

So, life.

On Saturday I fell down the stairs holding Gregory. It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds--my feet slipped, I slid down a few steps and landed backwards on my bum. It has happened before. (Usually when I'm wearing socks ...) But this time my elbow landed on Gregory's foot, and now he has a cast on his whole leg, and will for about a month.

If you are looking for a way to slow down your Advent, physical injury works. But I would not recommend it.

We've been lighting our Advent wreath and singing "O Come Emmanuel" at dinnertime. And opening doors on our advent calendars. And I have been reading a story a day out of this book with Michael, as well as other books from our seasonal book basket.

And our unoccupied stable is out on the mantle, as well as our Little People nativity, with Baby Jesus who gets put to bed with a binky in Dominic's crib for his nap by helpful little hands.

That's it.

And it is more than enough.

I decided that wrangling three kids--one no longer mobile--plus cookies to our local Catholic mom's cookie exchange was a bit much, but a sweet friend is stopping to pick up cookies from me this evening AND bring me some back from the exchange. Such a kindness!

And this weekend, on Gaudete Sunday, we will get our tree.

So really, we want for nothing in this season of preparation.

And I? I need this advent so much. My heart is crying out for Jesus to come, to be with us, and for the grace to keep the door open for him. He will find no humbler home than this, but He is more than welcome here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Yarn Along

I type this riding on a writing high.

After receiving an email about it from a dear friend, I have decided to jump in with both feet and participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

Two days ago I wrote. And I hated it. And it made me so depressed. Like, incredibly melodramatically depressed. I won't even go into it. So I turned around, jumped ahead in the story, and inflicted those feelings upon my main character. End Day 1 of writing.

Yesterday I continued from that point in the story rather than the beginning. And while I would tremble to go back and look at that writing, it left me feeling excited, and happy. I guess tormenting your characters can lead to good things? ;)

And all of these things are just emotions, dangerous things to ride without caution. But after two days of writing and meeting the daily word goals (although I'm still one day behind), I feel like I am legitimately "doing" NaNoWriMo for the first time in years, and that makes me very happy. It seems that naptime is usually just enough time to pound out 1500-1600 words. So we'll see.

Right now I am working on a test knit for Little Woolens. It's worked up in chunky yarn and thus flies by very quickly! Malabrigo Mecha is delicious, and I find myself calculating how expensive it would be to knit a sweater for myself out of it ...

If it weren't for a knit-by-Christmas list as long as my arm I'd immediately cast on for all of Annie and Ashley's other designs, because seriously, how cute are those little knits?? Especially the Winter Hoodie and Trane Vest.

I set aside Possession for a bit to read a Catholic book about a teenage vampire for Halloween. (Yes. Maybe a review forthcoming?) So I'm still not that far in, but I'm enjoying it and stayed up far too late to read it last night.

Linking up with Ginny.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


The other day, I had a day that was ... not bad. But halfway through I realized: I really needed to get out of the house. Without kids. Everything I confronted--not just bad or difficult things!--filled me with a sense of, "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE."

(I realized later that I'd had way too much caffeine that day. I'm pretty sure that helped fuel my angst.)

So I texted a friend to ask if she wanted to get together that evening. (The exact text was something like "Margaritas tonight????") We crashed a Mexican place and ate wonderful food and reveled in being ourselves together, just the two of us--even if most of what we talked about was still our children. ;)

Then we hung out in the car for an hour and just talked. (And saw a pair of stormtroopers ride past on bikes. For real. Pretty sure that was not the margaritas.)

The next morning, my mom came down and I took Michael out to breakfast while she watched the twins. I've been meaning to do something one-on-one with him for a while. I think it did a lot to lift up both of us.

Coloring is serious business. 

I've come to realize that I'm not very good at self-care. It took me a while to discover, because the typical picture of lack of self-care is a mom who spends all her time pouring herself out for others: caring for the children to the extent that she doesn't eat, take a shower, make any sort of space for herself, until finally she burns out. 

That isn't me.

I possibly make too much space for myself. Often in little bits throughout the day. But I also have about an hour to myself each day for naptime, and plenty of time after the kids go to bed. Throughout the day I hide in the bathroom and read. Or, more likely, I check my phone, since bathroom breaks don't last long enough to sink into a book. I follow rabbit trails on the internet, catch up on Instagram. I indulge far too often in treats while the kids are napping.

In short, I spend a fair amount of time on myself, but much of it isn't on things that fill me up. That takes a little more work. A little more intentionality. It's easy to pull up Facebook for a few minutes--a few minutes that extend into a longer period of time until a child interrupts you and you get grumpy because sheesh, they interrupted my me time. 

I do knit, and that fills me up. I think blogging more regularly would too. Or actually calling someone or writing a letter during naptime, rather than spending the whole time scrolling through Facebook groups filled with too many women to make real connections with. (Wonderful women, mind you. People I probably could connect with if I invested beyond the scrolling.) Or setting aside a little more time each day for prayer, conversation with God over a cup of tea.

But unless you have some solid routines, it takes work to do something healthy that refreshes and renews your spirit rather than just consuming an empty spot in your day. I am not good at working up that mental energy, and I really stink at routine maintenance. (I don't blame this on motherhood. I've always stunk at routine maintenance.)

So I'm trying to give those things that really feed my soul their proper place. The Instagram and Netflix (or their equivalent) will always be there to fill in the cracks, I'm sure; but I'm making an effort to use naptime, bedtime, the times when I'm actually free, on things that ask a little more of me, but give back in return. And I'm trying to be willing to make time for myself for things that matter. For prayer, for connecting with friends.

Every day's a new opportunity to try.