Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Making Space

Cheap Target clock, photo I took at Crystal Bridges, and paper pennants made from rice wrapping paper and leftover sock yarn

We have a fairly small house. It's laid out really well, but the fact remains that we already have four people divided into three not-huge bedrooms, so fitting in a fifth was proving to be a logistical puzzle. Not that I have a problem with kids sharing bedrooms, and Brooklyn has already volunteered (once Juniper gets old enough to sleep through the night). And it's always baffled me that we take a new human who's just spent their whole life snuggled up next to someone's heartbeat, going along with whatever Mama's doing, and then think they'll enjoy being stuck by themselves in a big empty room.

So I turned to Pinterest (oh, perilous place!) and when I crawled out of the rabbit hole I'd tumbled down a few hours later, I had an idea. My very favorite place in our home is the knitting corner in our bedroom, and it just made sense to incorporate the junebug into that space.


and after:

I turned my little cube organizer perpendicular to the wall and moved my chair out of the corner, leaving a surprisingly large empty space that should be just enough for a bassinet or pack n play and a footstool - and set the whole thing apart with $20 in supplies from Target. One shower curtain, folded in half so it's pretty on both sides (there's no particular reason why it would have to be a shower curtain, that's just the print I liked); one super-cheap curtain rod (the U shaped kind meant for valances); and a cup hook. 

I screwed one end of the rod to the wall at the correct height, and suspended the other end from a cup hook in the ceiling by way of a bit of leftover yarn (fishing line would probably provide a more polished finish, but I used what I had). As viewed from the corner, it blocks the doorway (perfect - I can leave the door open so I can still hear, without worrying about a tiny napper being distracted by movement in the hall), as well as two of the three light sources in the room and the small television Brooklyn sometimes watches afternoon movies on. Also, I think because of the color, it makes the room lighter, so that counters the visual shrinking I was slightly concerned about.

The space is still somewhat in-progress. I'm still fiddling the art around to see where I like it. I ordered a rug (partly for prettiness and partly for sound absorption and partly because I scratched up our bamboo floor dragging furniture around) that should be here next week, I spotted some adorable wire wall baskets that I may have to go back for, and, of course, I'll have to either set up our old pack n play (the economical choice) or acquire a bassinet (the cute choice - it's called Juniper so obviously it's meant to be).

In the mean time, I still have my happy knitting corner and now my back is in the afternoon sunshine, which is delightful (although, at the moment, it's making me want to take a nap, instead).

Monday, March 5, 2018

Black and White and Mint

With a whole month of Adam being gone, I expected to have a little more knitting accomplished - but, looking back, I managed to complete several pretty huge projects, so maybe I did more than I thought!

First off the needles (and off my conscience), a Wickerwork shawl for Kandy to use as a shop sample. It was a somewhat difficult knit - there were three charts, each of increasing complexity, and about the time I started to get the hang of one, it was time to move on to another one. The black yarn was also a challenge, but it was a rewarding knit, in the end.

Then I started a knitalong of Batad - it was very similar to Dotted Rays (which I've made four of), but different enough to be interesting. I found two very pretty yarns to use (the mint is Hedgehog Fibres, the wider stripes are Primrose), and the sculptural ridges were well worth the slightly fiddly technique. I love how the finished piece turned out - I've made it to the point of pregnancy where I only have a few shirts that fit (because I cannot in good conscience buy maternity clothes that I will only wear for a few months) and my preferred way of surviving that stage is with plenty of scarves.

After working monogamously on it to completion, I spent an afternoon knocking out an Anthro-tastic Headband, by request of a barista at one of my favorite local coffee shops. She has an adorable curly black pixie cut that I think this will compliment nicely.

In a few weeks, Larissa Brown is starting a knitalong that I'm waiting impatiently for - the Lunar Phase MKAL won't begin until the quarter moon at the end of March. The yarn I ordered from Six and Seven Fiber is being dyed now, and I have some pretty stitch markers and a new enamel pin to tide me over...

...but until then, I may possibly have cast on for yet another Dotted Rays. I've made remarkable progress on it (crazy, this only-working-on-one-project-at-a-time thing...) and I'm hoping to finish it before the Lunar Phase knitalong starts. I feel like that's a reasonable goal - but, I should probably go do a few a rows on it before I go to bed...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Big Orange and Sundries

How about some knitting? It's been awhile! A lot of what I knit in December couldn't be posted because it was Christmas commissions...

Two ad-libbed hats, both commissions, one that took about a day (that would be the top one) and one that took several weeks (partly because it was finer gauge, and partly because I worked on it only during morning prayer, under the nose of the intended recipient, whose beanie I repeatedly borrowed under the guise of not having a tape measure but in reality so I could check the fit).

Also a simple headband for a swap (pattern is Calorimetry) and a pair of fingerless gloves for a "favorite things" party (that pattern is the Fast Forward Mittens and I have made four pairs of them and they're amazing. Five stars. Highly recommend).

And then. Finally. After three months of near-exclusive knitting (see exceptions above). I finished the sweater I was working on as a sample for my favorite local yarn store. Kandy asked me to make her a Bibbe, and gave me the yarn and pattern at the beginning of November. It wasn't particularly difficult, had some interesting elements, and I'm grateful that she had me do it in orange rather than the original black... and I'm also deeply grateful to have finished it successfully and handed it off to her.

The Big Orange Sweater finally off my conscience, I celebrated with a few small projects - a hat for myself (really, I just wanted something to put a massive pompom on top of) and three more pairs of Fast Forward Mittens, by popular request (I still may need a pair for me at some point...) Knitters may notice a difference in the thumb between the red pair and the yellow pairs - I found the few tiny rounds of ribbing to be fiddly and superfluous, and just bound off across the top of the thumb gusset once it was complete, more like the Elling Mitts I made last summer.

Now I'm back to work, with another shop sample (the Wickerwork shawl, this time she did give me black, but at least it's worsted weight and definitely the opposite of miles of mind numbing stockinette) and a knit along of Stephen West's Batad. I'm really excited about that last one, especially in the colors I chose - a little brighter than usual, but I think it will be great for summer and wearing with baby.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Caption from Instagram: I tend to be afraid to ask for help - but sometimes people are the answer to prayers, and they not only watch your kids while you fetch the car in the rain, but also lend you their umbrella // I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our dependents, and all our possessions. I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and cavalry to protect us from our enemies during the journey, since we had told him, "The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His fierce anger is against all who abandon Him." So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He was receptive to our prayer // Ezra 8:21-23

Last summer, while walking around our house and praying, I told God that I was tired of reading His Word like it was just another book, and I wanted a way to see it as "living and active." He told me to do a photography project of Ezra and Nehemiah.

A what now?

But I dived in. Read the first chapter - and spent my day watching for anything that might in the slightest way relate to what I had read, that was also something photographable (hey, God, why couldn't it have been Psalms? You know, lots of metaphor and nature imagery? But alas, no). To my surprise (why was I surprised?) something presented itself. As the week wore on, my enthusiasm increased - I was forced to be intentional, but I liked it.

Then I got to Ezra 8. It just. wasn't. speaking to me. I read and reread, and went through a weird cycle of grief, beginning with berating myself for my inability to find meaning in God's words, and ending with a resigned sort of idea that maybe there wasn't actually a personal message in every single passage.

That lasted for three days. The third day was a rainy Sunday, and while I herded my two cats - I mean, children - into church successfully, when it was time to leave, I could not face the deluge outside alone. The troublesome chapter sprang to mind, and I asked for help. It ended up being profound.

Our church is about to go through Nehemiah together, and it reminded me of that project, and that moment, in particular. I generally think of being intentional as putting forth effort, pushing through obstacles, and (if I'm being honest) blaming myself for any perceived roadblocks. But maybe I've got the definition wrong - maybe it's more about waiting for God's answers instead of making up my own, and trusting that the Creator of Time might, just maybe, have a better handle on the perfect timing of something than I do.

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Knit Together

I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
[John 17:20-23]

Mankind, He has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: 
to act justly, 
to love faithfulness, 
and to walk humbly with your God.
[Micah 6:8]

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Friday, January 12, 2018


As a general rule, I am an apparently disorganized person (I say "apparently" because my husband often despairs of the small stacks I leave in my wake, but I can always find what I'm looking for). But, paradoxically, I function best with a schedule. Not necessarily a "bossy list," but having repetitive routines that I can fall into without thinking, for the days when I'm out of thoughts and spoons and energy.

Structure simplifies my life. One of the "sanity rules" that I established while Adam was gone was that there were certain days for certain things, and only one thing per day - art on Mondays, museum or library on Wednesdays, groceries on Fridays, and so on. Everyone knew and had an expectation for each day, so I didn't have to spend every morning rejecting spontaneous outing suggestions, or come up with something myself. This is not to say that we didn't do unplanned things - just that the planned things were there to fall back on.

It was such a good system (for us) that I decided to miniaturize it for daily use. Our days are now broken into approximately two hour chunks - playing and eating and erranding and resting. Even on a hard day, I can handle life two hours at a time - and even though Brooklyn and Tobin can't tell time yet, we've got a few decorative lights around our house (a technically-Christmas star and a string of tiny lights around my mood board) that are on timers, so they know that certain things happen when the lights go on or off.

It took work to set up - but now that I've got an established routine, it's more or less self-sustaining, and we've all begun to look forward to it. I'm hoping it will also help us move more smoothly into "baby time" in June - not that babies care about schedules, but I'd like the rest of us to start getting used to the concept of doing things in small increments and finding a peaceful rhythm in that.

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here.

Monday, January 8, 2018


As part of preparing to welcome another baby Burch sometime in June, I've been trying to make our home a place that I won't mind being at a lot for awhile - I already told Adam that for the duration of his paternity leave, I'm planning on staying in the bedroom with the baby, where I will be willing to occasionally receive visitors and will expect to be fed regularly and well, not to mention wanting to avoid taking three tiny people anywhere for as long as possible.

So as part of those preparations, I've been organizing, cleaning, and redecorating a little. I did pretty well not staring at my phone while nursing Tobin, but failed catastrophically with Brooklyn. I'd like to lay some of the blame on postpartum depression, but I also didn't have any sort of plan in place for not doing that. So, preemptively this time, I'm putting up lots of pretty art to look at, and also trying to collect easy knitting projects and good books with soft covers (thank goodness Agatha Christie was such a prolific writer!)

We're also going ahead and incorporating "baby time" into our schedule, to keep it from being such a shock for Brooklyn and Tobin later. So, in addition to practicing peace every afternoon, we've added "morning peace," which is everyone going to their own rooms for an hour (or two - depending on how early certain persons who shall remain nameless got up that morning). Right now we're still in the practice stages - Brooklyn loves having a little time to herself and can be trusted to set reasonable timers to let her know when to come out, I've managed to take a few naps (growing a baby while taking care of babies is hard work, okay), but Tobin is still learning. The poor little extrovert considers solitude to be a punishment.

I've still got a little way to go - I'd like to get a fluffy footstool to go with my knitting chair, and we'll need to find something for the baby sleep in (I've fallen hard for Moses baskets with dear little wooden stands), and figure out where we're going to put them (somewhere in our room for the first while, since we're at capacity on bedrooms - but Brooklyn has assured me that she'd love to share her room once the baby learns to sleep through the night), things like that. But I should have about 6 more months to work on that - for now, I'm practicing "unforced rhythms of grace" and learning how to rest well.