Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's not all about knitting, is it? - Yarn Along

Little T won't really model for me.  So, these pics will have to do.

So, I'm not sure when this blog became all about knitting, but it looks like that's all I talk about these days.  I haven't even mentioned homeschooling in a long while, but believe me, I've been thinking about education more and more these days.  I just haven't written anything about it.  It would seem that I spend all my spare time knitting.  Wait. What spare time? I fill in all the nooks and crannies of my life with reading and knitting and that translates to a minute here or there, but somehow, I've learned over the years that I can do a lot in the space of just a few minutes.  I don't need a lot of dedicated time to knitting or reading.  Any spare minute, I pick up my knitting and knit a round or even just a few stitches and amazingly, I'm starting to finish things quickly. I've learned that there's power in just a few minutes. I cast on for this on Saturday night and I bound off today. I guess it doesn't hurt that this little capped sleeve shirt is knit top-down all in one piece! It's knit in Liberty Wool and the crazy colors remind me of the Pacific Northwest.  Something about it reminds me of the totem poles I've seen in British Columbia.

Anyway, as I was saying, I've been pondering education a lot lately. I think about it while I'm knitting. Somehow, knitting frees my mind for contemplative thought.  I guess I'm late to the debate, but I just downloaded The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  I started reading it yesterday amidst other titles like Cinderella Ate My Daughter.  The latter title piqued my interest due to the fact that I detest much of contemporary girl culture. I don't like the Disney Princesses empire.  So much of all that pink plastic stuff is just so kitschy to me.  This book explores post-feminist girl culture and there's lot to think about here.  I'm nearly a third in on that one and I'll be reviewing it on Goodreads when I'm finished. I'm also reading this to Luke. Life's busier than ever so we usually only get about two nights a week for read alouds before bed these days, but I'm really enjoying this novel quite a bit. Luke still enjoys when we can snuggle in my bed while I read to him.  Last night, I read to him for about a half hour while he knit a hat on his loom.  I told him that I find that I listen better when I can keep my hands busy and my needles keep my hands both busy and happy. 

Please go visit Ginny for more yarn and books!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warm ears

I finally finished Luke's Thorpe today.  It looks like a Medieval helmet, but his ears are warm and that's
a good thing considering the temps the past couple of weeks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Simple Yarn Along

Last night, I stayed up late and finished reading The 100 Thing Challenge.  (As a side note, I bought the Kindle edition of this book rather than bring another item into my house, but it was a dilemma as the Kindle version cost more than the actual book). I think about simplicity a lot, but lately, I've been thinking about what
simplicity is not. I've realized that no matter how much I try to simplify my life that my life will never be simple. Do I really want that anyway?  Deep down, do I like the gritty challenges that every day brings me? Probably, most days, the answer is yes.  Elizabeth had a very thoughtful post today on this very subject. (I find it interesting that some of my blogger friends are pondering the same things at the same time.)

The 100 Thing Challenge is largely about breaking free from consumerism and living more fully with less stuff. It's true. Our stuff weighs us down and sometimes
incapacitates us to deal with it.  Less is more is a constant theme here on my blog.  I work hard to make sure that what we have is useful and beautiful. I work hard to unload myself of unwanted things quickly, but somehow I got it in my head that owning fewer things would make my life more simple.  I haven't found this to be the case. Yes, I don't have to spend nearly as much of my life dealing with stuff, but I found that what I need is to simplify what's going on in my mind. Remember, my word for the new year is calm. Simplicity has more to do with calming my mind.  My mind could use some de-cluttering and that might make all the difference. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe a calm environment will have calming effects on us physically.  It's just that I seem to focus more on my surroundings than my what's going on in my mind.
No wonder I still feel the anxiety of my non-simple life.  My life will always have challenges, but it's how I react to them that will make all the difference.

Knitting has become one of the most calming activities in my life. For some reason, I can literally feel stress falling off of me when I sit down to knit. Knitting is like a drug. I can actually feel my mind slow down and
I begin to feel less panicky about all the things I didn't/couldn't get to during the day. Sometimes, I am sad
that I didn't learn to knit much earlier, but perhaps I didn't need it as much as I do now. Last night, after finishing The 100 Thing Challenge, I cast on a simple sweater for my little girl.  I started listening to this on my MP3 and joyfully knit until my eyes started to close. I turned off the light and fell asleep quickly and peacefully. This is where Ginny comes in.  Ginny posted some similar thoughts as well. Go read her post. I think she articulates what I'm thinking  better than I can.  Simplicity isn't just our de-cluttered homes, but accepting that life is complex, but choosing to face life with a sense of calm.

So, I've mentioned what I've been pondering and reading, but here's what I've been knitting.  I admit, it's not that great a photo.  I was trying to take the photo quickly because little T wanted me to peel a banana for her.  Life isn't simple, but life is good.  Here's the sweater I started last night and two hanks of Chickadee
from Quince & Co.  I love those vibrant colors and I couldn't resist the navy color because it's name is Pea Coat.  I love Navy pea coats. 

Please join Ginny for more knitting and books.