I didn’t mean to take the summer off blogging, but I did.

In many ways, it’s been a time that I could categorize as ‘less talking, more listening’.

It’s been a slow time, a thoughtful time, a busy time, a laughing time. And through it all, I’ve felt compelled to listen and to think rather than to talk.

Quiet and calm

This morning I had planned to run errands, do housework, and generally Win Life. But I had forgotten the electrician was coming and so instead of winning life, I won a quiet morning…which just might be the same thing.

Good to see you again,
Sarah

I’ve been really very idle today. And that’s an accomplishment.

Imagine taking a holiday at the office.

It’s a little hard, mixing home and work, and as a homeschooler I find taking breaks – true breaks – difficult. All through the year I compile a mental list that begins with the phrase, “I’ll get to that when we’re on summer break.”

Homeschoolers need rest. Homeschoolers need recharging.

Homes need work.

There’s a conflict there, and I am looking for a solution that also matches the reality of a one-income family. (How I’d love to just throw money at some of these problems! Make someone else do the work…)

I asked two friends what I ought to do: 1) work hard for a few weeks and get a couple of big tasks off my list and have a feeling of accomplishment before my time off, or 2) rest a week now and have some positive energy for the tasks. They told me to ‘Pay yourself first’. It seemed a good bit of advice and so this is one of my weeks off. I hope to get another later this summer.

Of course, first thing as I jumped in the shower this morning my mind thought of 3 emails and 2 phone calls I ought to take care of. Great, I thought, How am I going to get mentally on board with this?

The solution I came up with is this: I am giving myself 1 hour per day for To Do things. Housework? Emails? Errands? I get 60 minutes per day, so I’d better pick important ones and I’d better learn to let go of the rest. (Now, I’m not counting cooking in there.)

It’s early days yet, in fact it’s early Monday. But I’ve had some fun, relaxed a bit, done a bit, and now I’ve sent myself to my room to start reading a novel. It’s book 3 of His Majesty’s Dragon, if you’re wondering.

20140707-150320.jpg

How do you keep a holiday at home?

Drawstring bags

Sandra will be done Monday, with Tias finishing up later next week. As the school year winds down, Sandra is doing a little bit of Home Ec to finish up her year. We are all doing a *lot* of soccer as we watch the World Cup. Oodles of soccer. And this World Cup the games are exciting, unpredictable, and fun to watch. I remember watching the round of 32 in South Africa with more of a sense of duty than delight.

We’ve been using this wonderful Drawstring Bag tutorial.

Drawstring bags

These are bags that I’ve done for myself, inspired by our shopping trip. The green one is the original size from the tutorial. The orange one I sized up to store bigger sweater projects. It’s wider than deep, and it’s a wee bit off in proportions, but I like it still. The blue one is a request from my sister who was looking to add something special at a very strict budget for a swap package.

I’ve never had a project bag that I bought, and the last round of bags I made for myself weren’t lined and the drawstrings and their placement weren’t very nicely done. Keeping my projects in these bags has been so nice. Up next I may try a box bag with a zipper.

Stomping all over the baby hat trend and tearing the streak to pieces:

Monster on the Prairie

Meet Müller. As in Thomas Müller. Knitting on this little scrap monster kept me calm during the beginning of the Germany-Portugal game, and then just plain happy during the rest of the game when we were just plain happy.

Germany get a penalty shot. Nerves.
::during the penalty shot. even the cat can’t look::

Since Müller had an astonishingly great game, Sandra has decided that he should give his name to the little striped guy, and has plans to stage a soccer-themed photo shoot for him. In the meantime, the juxtaposition of the monster against one of my dad’s photos of the prairie is just cracking me up. Little Monster on the Prairie.

Every now and then I go on a knitting jag. Might be afghan squares for Knit-A-Square, or too many cotton dishcloths, or baby hats.

It’s baby hats this time.

baby hat mania

Almost all of these are improvised, but the little sky blue and purple hipster slouch is Doodie from Woolly Wormhead’s excellent and adorable Wee Woolly Toppers book.

I’ve been needing to knit, but also needing no pressure to knit something that had to fit a particular person or have much in the way of failure points. Baby hats for our La Leche League charity sale is about as low pressure as I can think of. Baby hats are also fantastic for using up scraps and being freakishly, satisfyingly adorable.

The Must Stash podcast girls are doing a June “Stash Flash” – encouraging people to show their stash, to discuss what they’d like to change, organize, or improve. Here’s mine.

I store my yarn in our bedroom, mostly in our closet.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

With a little bit under the bed:

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

But what’s in those?

Starting to the right, here’s my bin of drawers. It holds a few tools and completed gifts in the top, and then lighter yarns.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

On top of those drawers is the only unorganized bit. It’s leftover from when I had 2 baskets on the main floor. (Before I realized that cat and dog hair will accumulate with such ferocity in open baskets, and before I realized that they were an open invitation to my dog to snatch a ball of yarn to be traded for a yummy treat.) I tend to throw things in there when I am done and have a bit of leftovers of yarn, or if I think I might knit something next.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Behind the drawer is the bulk of my stash. 3 bins.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

What’s it look like inside?

First, the oddballs of worsted container, which I’ve done such a great job of working on that it is now mostly filled with sweater quantities in DK and sport. (2 grey sweaters!)

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Here’s a shot of something I just love but am stumped by. I adore it in the skein. It’s art. But it’s scratchier than I can wear. And I worry that I wouldn’t adore it once it was knit up.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Remember the view to the left?

The green bin is probably my biggest problem: it’s stuff I want out of my stash, off my list, out of my zone of responsibility. But there’s such a tiny community of knitters here (or there are lots of them but they never congregate) that selling it seems hard. And shipping in Canada is expensive.
Some of this is fibre, from when I thought I was going to be a spindle spinner at least part-time.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

In that bin there’s also a tote bag of leftovers.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

Then another big chunk of the yarn.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

After that we have to go to the underbed storage.

Stash Flash: how do you store your stuff?

I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the years getting my stash organized and in shape, and I’m pretty happy with it. Last year I embarked on a campaign to deal with the ‘lurkers’, those yarns that I didn’t love or didn’t have a plan for. I wanted to love more of my stash. I’m still working on that but it’s much better.

I guess if I had to pick a goal to work on, it’s actually on my main floor. I’m not happy with how I store my needles and other tools. They seem scattered, and uncentralized.

Ravello

I can’t say enough about ravello! ‘Boyfriend’ in design, but sensuous to wear. Strong lines, great sweater!

Pattern:
Yarn:

Ravello

Everything about it is just right: the yarn, the colours, the style. I love that I can wear it next to skin – I’m pretty sensitive – and get that feeling of air moving through the weave while also feeling warm on these cool spring nights. I love the unfinished collar. I love the extra slouch I added to the arm length.

Ravello

Sandra spotted this amazing location for pictures while we were on a run. It’s the zig-zagging pedestrian ramp up to one of the bridges in the city. She’s got a real eye for structure. And a great touch with photography! I foresee a real up-tick in the quality of the photos of my my knitting projects.

She wants one of these sweaters. I want a second. This pattern is a real hit.

I wanted the sweater in the original colour (and judging by the photos on Ravelry of the other finished projects so did nearly everyone else!). The yarn store in Germany didn’t have a good red in this yarn line – it had a real pinkish, cherry tinge to it. I’m really glad I spotted this green, and that it worked (nearly) as well as the original. It was the last ball in the shop of that colour. On the first sleeve I measured and measured and measured, but when I came to the second I ran out of green way earlier than anticipated. Maybe my scale isn’t that accurate at small amounts; it is pretty old. So rather than leave people with the uneasy unconscious task of trying to figure out if I’m off or if my sweater’s off, I went back a bit, changed it to more light grey and then added a wrist stripe to highlight the difference.

June Joys

Sandra’s been done math for a week now. What a difference it makes to her day to have one less subject!

It’s the 70th anniversary of D-Day and @CBCDDayLive is doing a ‘live tweet’ of the day.

For those of you interested in history, should be an interesting thing to keep an eye on.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 176 other followers