wee autumn wardrobe, part 4

I picked up Sherlock Holmes again, and am back to knitting Iain’s sweater along with other bits and pieces throughout the day.

The final dress!  This one is clearly a picnic dress.  It even has sleeves like a gingham tablecloth and cherries for tea.  I did a plain hem for the sleeves on it and I’m glad I did because all of the long-sleeved dresses are already getting too small and unlike the other ones there is no elastic to get tight higher up on her arm.

The sweater is MOMO in a green tea colored cotton yarn from Knitpicks. Both hats are older projects.  Details for the Apple Green Pilot Cap can be found here and the Newborn Blackberry Beret here.  The beret fit her as a newborn, but looked completely ridiculous on her wee little head!  Thankfully it still fits.  Now that it’s more proportionate, I think it’s quite charming.
Frontier Dreams KCCO

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kindergarten in the garden

Honestly I sometimes resent the amount of time and energy it takes to homeschool the older boys.  We now have one at middle school level and one high school.  That is a lot of work, not just for them, but for me as their teacher.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teaching them, very much (well, most of the time!  There are days…).  Add in a third grader and baby and my days are full, full, full.  I’m sometimes nostalgic for the quiet, slower paced days when we could just “do kindergarten” all day long.

Mairi Rose had a challenging summer.  I spent a lot of time meditating on how to approach the coming school year with her, trying to figure out what would nourish her soul, ease her troubles and hopefully nurture her into a calmer phase of development.  It didn’t come all at once, but eventually, what became clear to me was that this girl needed a deeper connection to the natural world around her.  I set about planning ways to immerse her in the magic of the ever changing seasons, to give her the chance to be grounded by the earth.

After much frustration last year, I decided it was better to do one thing in a day well and with great care and attention then to be frazzled and frantically trying to create a “full day” for her.  We now have one yoga day (I’ll try to post more on that at a later point), one project day, a nature walk day, baking day and story day where I try to do something a little special with, say, props or puppets.  I do wish we were getting out for walks every day, but right now that is just not happening.  I try to make our one day as unhurried as possible.  Even if we do make it out other days, this is the day where we don’t have to rush back home, in theory anyway.  Even with this simplified arrangement there are days and even the better part of weeks that we miss.

In the notes section of my calendar I jot down the planned projects and baking items assigned to each week.  I’m working from a general theme that everything is related to.  We started off with “herbs” and have moved on to include both herbs and the harvest.  We made dream pillows full of sweet herbs from the garden.  Rosebud has been enjoying mixing her own herbal tea blends and takes great pride in serving them.  Together we made lavender-chamomile lotion for the girls bedtime massages.  Actually Elijah swears by it for sore muscles after riding!  We’ve planted garlic and daffodils.  I’ve been sharing stories about herbs with her.  After learning that chamomile is good for teething, she began bringing in bunches from the garden for her sister, whenever she thought her uncomfortable.

Together we made a garden loom.  I was going to make it myself and just show her how to weave with it, but we had the gift of time together, apart from the others and I thought I’d give her the chance to do some building herself.  She really got into it and again showed a lot of pride in her work.  These are her special things.  They are dear to her heart.

A Kid’s Herb Book: For Children of All Ages by Leslie Tierra has been a wonderful resource.  I have two minor criticisms regarding this book.  I wish they used more natural sweeteners in the recipes and maybe less sweets in general.  I also feel like occasionally they ruin the magic of the stories by over-explaining at the end, stating exactly what you were supposed to have learned, instead of just letting the lesson sink in through the power of the tale.  But both of those things can be altered for personal preference and otherwise I find it invaluable.

I try to keep a list of ideas on hand to give our life and lessons some continuity while kind of rounding things out for her, so if I have a spare moment I can implement them.  Little things like harvesting some herbs to go with dinner, playing a game of Wildcraft, turning her normal bath into an herbal bath or simply brewing a pot of tea together.  At the moment we have one day a week where all three boys are at their own nature program for a full morning and afternoon and I take advantage of that time together trying to channel that laid back all day kindergarten mindset of yesteryear.  It’s rapidly becoming my favorite day of the week.

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finishing work

“Knitting is power and can be a fulfilling means of self-expression, with a useful and lovingly made garment as a side bonus.” ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman

As feared, I’ve run out of yarn for Iain’s birthday sweater.  No matter how many times I refresh it, the tracking page persists in telling me that the yarn will not arrive until next week.  A watched package never ships?  With a bit of time on my hands I thought I would see if I could cobble together enough leftover yarn to make a Christmas hat for Mairi.  That one came together quickly enough and I don’t think it’s obvious that I pieced together a combination of yarns for it.  I’ve cast on for another, much needed, pair of tights now.  This is for times when knitting is the only option.  Mostly I’ve been trying to finish off several projects that I’ve put aside; working in ends and adding buttons.  I don’t think it’s wise to keep scissors in my lap while say sitting on the floor playing with the baby or riding in the car.  The knitting is for those times.  And also times when I just want to pick something up and knit a stitch here and there.  It’s far more portable.  I wish to start crossing some things off my mental to-do list, which I can’t do until they are really, truly done, not just mostly done.  Last year I read a book that classed unfinished projects as clutter.  That really struck a chord with me.  While I am forever trying to cut down on clutter around the house, I’m terrible about that kind of mental clutter and I don’t think it does well by me.

I chanced upon Cynthia Harnett’s historical fiction in the form of The Wool Pack, also known as The Merchant’s Mark.  It came to us through a friend just as we were studying the Tudor time period and turned out to be a perfect companion for our studies.  I’ve raided the library for additional books by the same author to see it they are also ripe for passing on to the big boys.  The Writing on the Hearth is excellent so far!

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wee autumn wardrobe, part 3

Last year

and this year….

More into the leaf play this year for sure, though not quite up to the crazy antics of her siblings!  She does enjoying sitting and watching them.  They make her giggle like mad!

If the first dress was the simple one and the second one the whimsical one, this one, with it’s reproduction kitten fabric and vintage notions, must surely be the retro one.

This newborn bonnet I made was too small from day one.  I thought I would alter the pattern to make one that actually fit.  I can’t decide if it’s goofy or cute or both!  This is a strange pattern, giant needles for a tiny hat!  I couldn’t find the recommended size 19 needles anywhere.  Finally the boys made me a set out of dowels.

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garden fresh

Kale and parsley salad topped with the lemon-tahini dressing from the Oh She Glows Cookbook and roasted butternut squash.  Absolutely delicious!  Our squash this year has been amazingly flavorful.

Our neighbor remarked that it was like perpetual summer in our garden.  While that may be a bit of an overstatement, it’s true that we’ve been slowly working to extend the season.  Things are winding down, but there is still a lot of goodness coming in from the garden.  I think the ever-blooming strawberries are the most startling of the enchanted garden sights.  Despite several frosts the nasturtiums that remain in a somewhat sheltered corner are still blooming.  Almost all of the leaves have been stripped from the trees around us, but the calendula and all of the pansies and violas under Seraphina’s tree bloom on.   

We had one blissful, beautiful, warm and calm day.  I spent the afternoon in the garden.  I could use weeks upon weeks of that kind of afternoon, both because there is so much more to be done and because it soothes and nourishes my soul in a way that little else can.  When my children are grown I’m going to spend my days tending my garden and my nights knitting away, with occasional breaks to bake pumpkin bread for my grandchildren, using the fresh pumpkins that they help me to harvest.  Granted I haven’t a clue as to how exactly I’m going to fund this lifestyle, but do let me have my little day dream!

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wooly thoughts

Knitting is the saving of life.” ~Virginia Woolf (considering the source, this is perhaps not the best long term option for everyone…)

I’ve been having trouble concentrating this week.  It happens from time to time.  Looking back, I feel like this is the time of year when it’s most likely to happen, usually accompanied by visual disturbances, along with other little signs and signals, as a precursor to a massive migraine (something to look forward to).  Books of essays weren’t full enough to let me get into each story.  Books on all one subject felt like they were dragging on and on.  I took to bringing two books at a time with me when I cuddled up to nurse, just in case.  I didn’t want to be marooned with a book I had no tolerance for with no other options on hand!  It’s possible that in a bitter moment, in the back of my mind, I may even have accused the writers of not every trying to entertain me.  I finally seem to have settled into Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, edited by Ann Hood.

My knitting has been much the same…scattered.  Which may well be part of why I’m feeling out of sorts.  I am making some progress on Iain’s birthday sweater.  I finished the second sleeve and have joined both sleeves to the body to work the yoke.  The sleeves seem long, but then again, so are his arms.  A couple of observations from this project: this boy of mine, who came from me, that I bundled and carried for so long, is a giant.  Also, the yardage estimates on this pattern are way off.  There is a box of yarn headed my way and I’m praying it gets here fast before I lose all momentum again.  I have no real project at the moment for when Iain is around.  I’m in knitting limbo.  It is an uneasy and restless feeling for me to not have something to pick up and knit a few stitches on here and there.

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Wee Autumn Wardrobe (part 2)

The first dress I made on its own, just as a trial to make sure it fit and all of that.  The next 3 I made in rapid succession, assembly line style.  As I was sewing the ruffle on this one (the ruffle is my favorite part!) I was thinking that it’s rather whimsical and romantic, like if it were a decorating style it might be classed as French Country.  The bow came last and I questioned it up until the very end and after.  I couldn’t decide if it was too silly or too over the top, but I have to confess, more then any other dress, this is the one that makes me smile as I’m putting away laundry.

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Sukkot

With a third grader in the house, we find ourselves yet again celebrating many of the Jewish holidays as we work our way through the festivals of this particular school year.  I’ve really been enjoying eating out there.  Most days anyway!  Some days it’s quite cold and it’s always inconveniently far from the house.  BUT, it also drags us out into what may be some of the last days before serious cold hits.  Days that we might otherwise over look in our haste and let pass us by.  It pulls us out of the house, out of usual habits, out of ourselves and there is often something wonderful about that.  Tomorrow night we have some friends joining us.  Such a treat!

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