29 April 2006

Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece

Okay, it's wonderfully soft. It's a little bit splitty, especially if you rip and reknit it several times.

But here's the Big Comment: I've spent at least as much time untangling the skein as I have actually knitting.

I'm starting to get sort of whacked out about it.

28 April 2006

"Aren't you glad you're sick today?"

KidV2 isn't quite as sick as KidV1. But she's loving the general air of illness about the house. She's allowed to grouse about how awful she feels and how much she's suffering! (Okay, she's always allowed to do that, but we pay less attention to her most days.) She has a good reason to stay in her pajamas most of the day! Mommy fixes endless cups of Apple-Kudzu (warm apple juice mixed with kudzu and cinnamon, recipe from Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Romm, which is my A#1 sourcebook and cannot-live-without-it survival guide).

Best of all, we're playing endless rounds of Princess . It's a cooperative game which relies on your imagination. Some knowledge of how fairy tales typically work helps, too. Let me tell you, we've got more imagination and fairy-tale knowledge around here than we usually know what to do with. So when it comes to rescuing a princess from a castle before nightfall, we're on the job, fording rivers, passing dogs and guards, opening doors, etc. etc. We laughed and laughed at some of the ideas we were coming up with to overcome the obstacles in our way.

It was after a particularly fun round that KidV2 burst out with the question in the title: "Aren't you glad you're sick today?" KidV1 looked at her in horror. No, KidV1 has had a fever, has been up all night coughing, and accidentally whacked her hand so hard she couldn't even write with it. No, KidV1 really and truly wasn't glad she was sick.

I've taken Hornblower's recommendation of prophylactic knitting to heart. I've been knitting away on Green Gable. All symptoms cleared up almost immediately. And I decided I had a better idea than the pattern about how to do the lace insert. As the knitting progresses, though, I'm starting to wonder if my idea was all that good. I've not got quite enough rows to make trying it on worthwhile, but if I went ahead and ripped it back now I'd have less ripping and reknitting to contend with. Hmmmm....

27 April 2006


So, I was busy yesterday morning caring for sick kids and doing a bunch of cleaning ... my method of dealing with most illnesses is to prescribe rest and plenty of liquids, then scrub every surface in the house. I was stripping beds, washing sheets, wiping shelves, vacuuming, when the doorbell rang.

It was the UPS man, dropping off a box from WEBS full of this:

And I was instantly transformed into Virtuous Mom, who ignores the box full of yarn on the dining room table, not even bothering to open it. Virtuous Mom went on cleaning, distributing liquids, taking temperatures, and, yes, even offering to play Sorry.

When I did open it, I discovered Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in color Tea Rose for the Green Gable I plan to knit. The Regia is obviously for socks, although I forgot I ordered it (and also forgot that I don't actually like knitting socks -- I like handknit socks, I like having knit them, but I don't like the knitting itself). And the Tahki Cotton Classic and the Debbie Bliss Cathay? Who knows what I was thinking .... I mean, obviously I had visions of summer tops dancing in my head, but other than that I'm really not sure.

Late in the afternoon KidV2 wrapped her arms around me and said that she feels better knowing that I'm home with her. So sweet. And so much the final reason to not go see Yarn Harlot last night. I stayed home and swatched instead. Virtuous Mom is like that.

Right now I'm hoping that Virtuous Mom isn't transforming into I-seem-to-have-caught-what-the-kids-have Mom. We shall see.

26 April 2006

Bits and Pieces


No Tuesday Teatime yesterday. KidV1 had a bad cold, and asked if we could postpone it. I had planned a baseball theme since she was supposed to go to the baseball game last night with Mr.V ... obviously, that got postponed also (Mr.V went ahead, though, and gave his seal of approval to the new stadium).

Of course, this threw a wrench in KidV2's plans. She had visions of An Evening With Mommy, starring a banana split and the 2 of us watching Bambi. But, since KidV1 was home and not too sick to vehemently object to watching Bambi, that fell to pieces. We did play Sorry (Disney edition, no less). That should count for something.

Most of homeschool got postponed yesterday. KidV1 did some math, then curled up in a chair with a book and a cat. KidV2 did some phonics, math (she's in RightStart Level B), put her weather leaf on her weather tree, then spent the afternoon driving her sister nuts by sitting on the couch reading aloud to herself.


I don't have any yarn here that I'm in the mood to knit. So I ordered some. Except it's still not here, so I keep wanting to order more. And I'm pretty sure it's all going to arrive and I won't be able to remember why I ordered any of it. So far it's all for short-sleeve summer tops like Green Gable and Ribby Shell (these orders were placed during the sudden heat wave last week, can you tell?). Of course, then I got a look at CeCe at Bonne Marie's blog, so, of course, I'd like to add that to my list of Things to Knit.

Actual knitting done: 0. I did wind some sock yarn last night while simultaneously watching Star Trek TNG and surfing the Internet for info on geometry, geometry without proofs, Euclid, history of math education in US, math education abroad, etc. It was a dumb episode of Star Trek, and a fruitless Internet search, but at least the sock yarn is ready to be knit now.



25 April 2006

More Math -- RightStart Geometry

KidV1 has started using RightStart Geometry now. When we received it last week I looked through the first few lessons and was surprised to find it was stuff we'd done already. It was so easy! Topics covered were as simple as how to stick a piece of paper on a drawing board, how to draw parallel lines with a T-square, how to divvy up triangles.

I gradually figured out what the author was getting at, though. Oh, she's a clevel one, that Joan Cotter.

When I handed the book to KidV1, I explained to her that she would be doing it on her own -- she would need to read through the book, gather her materials, copy off the worksheet (we copy off the worksheet so that we can make a fresh copy in case of major blunders -- it saves a lot of weeping and wailing that way). And, yes, she could check her own work with the answer key in the back.

Her first comment was, "What, no Mommy?!?" in an anquished voice. One of the great things about RightStart for this child has been that Mommy sits right there discussing math with her every day. Mommy is right there to hold her hand, tell her she can do it, prod her on. My reply? The first lesson is about how to stick the paper on the drawing board -- you'll do fine, honey. You already know how to do this stuff.

Aha. Yes, KidV1 does know how to do that. As a matter of fact, some of the directions were so simplistic that she asked me about them ("why does it say to hold your pencil like this?" "Because maybe another kid is using this book who, unlike you, didn't listen to me lecture 100 times last year about how to hold a pencil while drafting").

She's so confident now as she goes about her math lessons. Of course, I wander through the room several times and peek over her shoulder, offering the sincere comment that I wish I were the one doing the lessons. They look so much fun! Yesterday she was working with triangles, constructing a tetrahedron. In future lessons she'll be making tessellations, designing plaid, playing with the Golden Ratio.

I think perhaps a kid who hadn't used RightStart up to this point could use this book. The parent might need to preview the lessons to be prepared to answer any questions (assuming the parent doesn't feel confident about the subject matter themselves).

I'm going to make periodic updates on how RightStart Geometry is going at our house. It's such a new program, and so many people ask "What do you do after RightStart E?" -- I want to help chart that territory.

24 April 2006


A while back I knit this moebius basket out of Manos, then felted it. If you follow the handle around you see that there isn't really an inside or outside -- the entire basket has one side. It's sort of hard to see in the photo -- much easier to trace your fingers around and realize that the inside becomes the outside. Sometime I'm going to knit another, and needle felt a design along part of the handle and base. I think that this will make the moebius-ness of it more apparent.

I really have a "thing" for this moebius knitting. It endlessly amuses me.

The final lesson of RightStart Level E is making a moebius strip. We never did that lesson, though. It seemed pointless, considering how many moebii we have around the house. However, the RightStart lesson does have you cut the moebius into 2 pieces, and also has you cut on a line 1/3 distance from the edge. The kids will not be cutting into my knitting, so I suppose we need to try that out on paper.

The moebius basket pictured filled with long strands of golden beads. These began life as Christmas tree decorations. Earlier this year they began a new life ... I would lay them out on the carpet in the shape of various numerals. KidV2 was having trouble keeping her numbers headed the correct direction -- she kept flipping them around mirror image. So, we made huge numbers out of sparkly golden beads on the carpet, and we walked, hopped, skipped and jumped along them. We also used the Handwriting Without Tears slate and stories. And, mostly importantly, time passed. These days she usually writes them all facing the proper direction.

I've been thinking a lot about math lately. I'd like to capture my thoughts on paper or screen, to have them all tidily in one place. It's funny how much of our math is intertwined with our knitting and crafts. Some days I think I'd like to split this blog into 2 blogs -- one about homeschooling, one about knitting. But, where would the math go? It's part of both aspects of our lives.

21 April 2006

Scribble Lace

The shawl is done:

Scribble Lace Shawl, knit from 2 skeins of Rowan Holiday and 1 skein of Rowan Kidsilk haze on size 15 needles. Pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting . Love that book, although I don't read their blog all that often (to answer Miz Booshay's question).

It is sooooo soft, and has just the right amount of warmth for a cool spring evening.

A tip: don't try knitting this while using Rosetta Stone foreign language programs on your computer. It doesn't work. Yes, I know Rosetta Stone gets tedious -- "the boy is in the airplane", "the boy is on the airplane", "the boy is under the airplane" (hours and hours later, the only word I remember in Mandarin is "airplane"). I know that you think you're going to go crazy, starting to ponder whether there is some deep significance in being able to differentiate between "the boy is under the ball" and "the ball is on the boy" (and, really, why is the boy lying around with a ball on top of him anyway? just what is going on here?).

But, you have to keep clicking the mouse, which interrupts the knitting ... the stitches slide off the needle ... you discover that Scribble Lace is nearly impossible to pick up dropped stitches on ... the Kidsilk Haze gets tangled up, with is practically a death-sentence, since this stuff desires nothing more than to permanently bond with itself. Then, to top it all off, a large cat decides to jump in your lap while you're wrestling with the knitting and the computer.

As I was finishing up I was eagerly looking forward to knitting another project from Mason-Dixon Knitting. They're so fun! Should it be a washcloth? A rug? A chair cushion?

I haven't cast anything on yet, though. Yesterday was such a beautiful day here. I took the kids and the iMac out for a little jaunt. Yes, we have one of those relics from 2002 -- looks slick, nearly impossible to transport (thou shalt not lift by the neck, thou shalt only lift from the base; woe shall be unto them that need to take off the bottom, for they shall need some way to stabilize the whole mess). We all went to the mall, where I attempted to call the Apple store from the loading dock area so they could come down and carry the iMac up to the second floor. Alas, my cell phone went out. So we all paraded through Lord and Taylor together (KidV2 pointed out that maybe I could look for a new skirt, since I've been needing one) and on into the mall. There was some mild excitement in the Apple store, since not everyone had seen this model of iMac taken apart before. Then we all came home and ate popsicles, except the iMac didn't get one because it was still being a bit passive-aggressive about allowing me into the email program.

This morning, though, we're all back to being one big happy family. The computer is on, after 2 days of being dead. I can once again look up the weather, use MapQuest, blog, email, attempt Rosetta Stone. I just hope I haven't forgotten everything from earlier in the week with Rosetta Stone ... I can't take another day of that boy and the airplane.

19 April 2006

Tuesday Teatime

Our poems this week came from An Illustrated Treasury of Read-Aloud Poems for Young People .

We read through the section of poems on Friendship and Love. This contained Love and Friendship by Emily Bronte, A Boy's Song by James Hogg, The Pasture by Robert Frost, Laughing Song by William Blake, and Rondeau by Leigh Hunt.

I also read a few of the Laughing Lyrics: The Mock Turtle's Song by Lewis Carroll, A Trip to Morrow (author unknown), Mr. Nobody (author unknown; KidV1 had recited this at a homeschool art fair a few years back, so it was like visiting an old friend), Three Blind Mice by John W. Ivimey, and The Letters at School by Mary Mapes Dodge.

The book has occasional blurbs about the poets, which are fun to read. This is a great book for sharing with the kids, and I'll be using it again in the future.

Our menu was some Trader Joe organic lemonade along with leftover Arrowhead Mills gluten-free yellow cake made from a box mix, but without the eggs -- I used Ener-G egg replacer instead. I had made the cake for Easter, when it was topped with fruit and Soy Delicious. For the record, it's got an okay flavor but a sort of gritty texture. For Teatime we topped it with some berries.

18 April 2006

My Calvin/Hobbes score

A Bit Of Both

You are 50% Calvin and 50% Hobbes
Calvin & Hobbes, like a scruffy yin and yang, are in perfect balance within you. Like Calvin, you're weird, a bit insecure, and can be a trouble-maker. But like Hobbes, you're down to earth and sensitive. It's a risk to say it here, after just a ten question test, but I'll bet you're smarter than most. Both Calvin and Hobbes are crafty, clever characters, and any one made from equal parts of each is a force to be reckoned with.

Link: The Calvin Or Hobbes Test written by gwendolynbooks

HT to Mungo

17 April 2006

Post-easter Wrap-up

Sheep: Felted as of Friday morning. Never got around to stuffing and sewing up, though. KidV2 wandered in while I was working on them, and never told her sister about it. This is a miracle. I think I'll put them in a box for next year. Surely I can manage to stuff and sew them by next year, right? (Note to A from comments -- it's a Fiber Trends pattern.)

Scribble Lace shawl: Half completed. It was in the mid-80s on Easter, so wraps were not needed.

Community egg hunt -- completed. Dying Easter eggs -- completed. Stations of the Cross -- skipped, although we had some extra kids over during it so parents could go. People over for dinner the night before Easter -- completed. Household Easter egg hunt -- competed. Filled Easter baskets magically appearing -- completed. Number of Easter lilies at church -- 0 (Easter lilies really bug me. So does dying Easter eggs, for that matter. In a perfect world these things would not exist). Easter dinner at L-and-M's house -- completed. Backyard Washer tournament, in which we discovered that KidV1 is a washer-pitchin' prodigy -- completed (in spite of years living in places like Evansville Indiana, I had never seen anyone play Washers before ... who came up with this game? Are we doomed to have this be a new Easter tradition?)

Number of pictures I've tried to upload from iPhoto to Blogger in the past week -- innumerable. The 2 systems were having a bit of a tiff, so my Show Your Shelves entry (a homeschool blog thing) never happened. I was able to upload this photo this morning, though:

I look eerily like my Aunt Carolyn in this. I also look like I'm about to keel over. Which isn't to say that Aunt Carolyn typically looks like she's going to keel over. I guess I look like Aunt Carolyn would if she stayed up late Saturday night entertaining guests, then stayed up even later putting together Easter baskets and plastic eggs, then got up at about 6 a.m. to hide the eggs in her back yard. You know, that look.

12 April 2006

Tuesday Teatime

This week we held an Easter Teatime.

Our poetry came from A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme . I selected several Easter poems from the chapter on seasons. writers included Fiona Macleod, Martha G.D. Bianchi, David Kuhrt and J.M. Neale, as well as a couple of poems with no author given.

I baked Hot Cross Buns, using a recipe fairly similar to this one (I say "similar" mostly because I didn't really follow the recipe, not being much in the mood for following directions yesterday ... have you ever had days like that?).

Of course, the kids played Hot Cross Buns on the recorder. This was done sequentially, as they did not care to play together. KidV1 finds this type of music easy; KidV2 struggles with it.

And we discussed why Hot Cross Buns are eaten at Easter.

(By the way, I'm posting late today as I decided to reserve the early morning hours as Prime Sheep Knitting Time. Four hooves done, four to go, then 2 tails, 4 ears, and the felting. Woohoo. On the other hand, I finally figured out that one skein of Rowan Holiday isn't enough for a Scribble Lace shawl. We'll see what happens with that, but as hot as it is I don't really plan on wearing a wrap anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I've been told it's time to blow up the inflatable pool, it's so hot.)

11 April 2006


White sheep with black faces. We are over run with sheep images. In our morning read aloud, Little House in the Highlands , sheep are roaming around everywhere. In real life, Grandma just wrote that the farm at Prophetstown now has twin lambs, one black and one white. And all the local stores seem to be stocking as many sheep as bunnies. Sheep are everywhere in my life right now. I'm thinking about getting a fleece so we can try cleaning and carding and spinning.

White and offwhite scribble lace. I decided at about noon yesterday that I'm no longer quite so enamored of the scribble lace. I have to actually pay attention to knitting it, or else I stick my needle in the wrong place. Heck, if I'd wanted to pay attention to what I was knitting I'd have knitted real lace. Also, the concept was to make a quick wrap for Easter. This isn't as quick as I thought it would be. And the forecast for Easter is 84 degrees, so I probably won't be wearing it anyway.

By the way, the Scribble Lace how-to is out of Mason-Dixon Knitting . This book has restored my interest in knitting books. It's a hoot.

I was going to include KidV2's white scarf in the montage pictured. It's a scarf she made for one of her dolls. Apparently, though, she's hidden it away to be an Easter surprise for the doll. She cast on 7 stitches in ... some white Lion Brand yarn we had around here, using her official personal knitting needles (the ones with the ends painted hot pink so we know they're hers). And knit until she was satisfied, then bound off. She's now decided it's time to figure out how to purl. She's also told the 12 year old next door that she'd be willing to teach her to knit (KidV2 is 6). I think this conversation came up when they went exploring in the woods and KidV2 took her knitting along. Because, you know, that's how it's done -- you drag your knitting around everywhere, you fiddle with it, you make it up as you go along, you learn new things by teaching someone else, you give it away.

Now I'm off to fiddle with sheep hooves. So I can give sheep away.

10 April 2006

Mail Call!

Ta-daa! About 48 hours after ordering from Jimmy Bean's Wool the first part of my order arrived in my mailbox (which, if you knew how tenuous our mail delivery is, you'd be really amazed)

This shipment contained 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces, a ball of Rowan Holiday in white (it probably has some cool Rowanesque name, but I ripped into the ball right away and instantly lost the tag) and Kidsilk Haze in offwhite (ditto on the name).

The Rowan yarn is already being transformed into a Scribble Lace shawl, which is really a fun thing to do, folks. Really. You ought to try it.

The Sonlight catalogue also arrived in the mail. Sigh. Last week I was babbling about how tempted I was to go with Sonlight, since, you know, something about it is soooo alluring ... you look through the catalogue and find yourself thinking, "if only I spent several hundred dollars on this curriculum, life would be better. My kids would be smarter, my bathrooms would be cleaner, I would finish those felted sheep in time for Easter, I'd remember to floss my teeth every night." But, last Monday I got the Memoria Press catalogue, which contains Mungo's new book The Latin Centered Curriculum .

Well, I really really want to read this book. And I really really want to think about this book, and how it applies to how we homeschool. So, I was all pumped up on my new Latin-centered sensibilities, and pretty sure this would shield me from the siren song of Sonlight.

But, alas, Mungo's book isn't actually being shipped yet, so I can't physically hold a copy in my hand with which to beat the Sonlight catalogue into submission. (Total aside: I was initially sort of weirded out that the author on Mungo's book was listed as Andrew Campbell. IS NOT! IT'S "MUNGO"! I've come to terms with the fact that his book is supposed to reach beyond this ephemeral blog-world we occupy, unlike those by other authors who emblazon their blog persona right onto their books.)

So, anyway, when I looked throught the Sonlight catalogue ... oh my ... I started to get a little dizzy. A little swoony. That Core 6 ... what a core. Ancient history. I could get it for KidV1 for next fall, and maybe parts of Core 1 for KidV2 (niggling voice: wasn't I planning on doing a Waldorf-inspired block of Saints and Heroes for KidV2 next fall? ). Heck, why wait? We're not doing any history at the moment, so why not get Core 5 NOW and whip through the history and readers of it during this late spring/summer season. And we could even get out our Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese (core 5 is about Eastern hemisphere, for those who haven't yet memorized the catalogue). Then, when we switch to Core 6, we could start really concentrating on Latin. Maybe we could combine Sonlight and Latin Classical Ed, with a side helping of Waldorf. Wheeeee! Sort of blows that entire "multum non multa" (less is more) concept of Latin Classical Ed, but wouldn't it be cool?

It's moments like these I really sympathize with knitters who purchase more yarn than they can possible knit up in their lifetimes. I'm careening down the path of purchasing more homeschool stuff than we can possibly read through in a lifetime. It's exhilirating. You know it's so wrong, but it feels so good. Well, it feels so good until the books actually show up on your doorstep and you realize you need to shoehorn them onto the bookshelves, not to mention that since the moment you pressed the "submit order" button you've totally lost interest in that style of homeschooling and really want to pursue something else.

Whew. I need to cool down by going to read the new Knitty . I expect to find something I'd rather be knitting, but, you know, yarn is cheaper than curriculum.

07 April 2006

Bits and Pieces

Homeschool bits:

We are currently operating without a math book. I tried to get Singapore 5A from the local homeschool store last week. It was the one and only Singapore math book they did not have. So, we've been using a combination of Zaccaro's Challenge Math , Calculadders, and a bit of Quarter Mile Math. I've decided, though, to order the RightStart Geometry course (I've linked to a review rather than an order page there, because I think the review explains the course better). Apparently it includes within its geometry about 90% of the math topics a middle school student needs. Given KidV1's love a geometry, I think we may have a winner here.

By the way, you wouldn't believe how long it took me to get to the homeschool store. I drove up and down the street I thought it was on ... up and down, up and down. Finally I came home, looked again at Mapquest, looked again at the store's website, and tried again. Several hours and several gallons of gas later I finally found it. And then they didn't have the math book I wanted. Gees. The moral is, I'm not in the mood to discuss the glories of buying locally.

Speaking of which, knitting bits:

I was ordering a boatload of yarn from Jimmy Bean's Wool . By "boatload" I mean, "Wow, I'm so close to free shipping I should go browse through the sale stuff, since my next $4 worth of yarn is virtually free". But, alas, after I placed my order they emailed to notify me they were out of some of the yarn I chose. We sent several emails back and forth -- they described the situation, suggested substitution, then I described what I was making and my time frame. Back and forth we went, and within a very short time we had everything resolved and my package was shipped. All in all, less time than it would've taken me to figure out how to get to a yarn shop here in town (basis last week's "let's go find a little shop on a sidestreet" adventure).

All of my transactions with them have been great. Plus I like the picture of the dog they use when they don't have a picture of the yarn.

Self-improvement bits:

I am actually thinking about doing this (Latin by the Dowling method, aka really-long-tedious-way-to-pound-Latin-into-your-brain). Remember this moment, for some day we will look back upon it and laugh.

06 April 2006

Sheep update

Monday: Decide to dig out sheep and finish them. Realize I don't have the pattern, the yarn or the needles. Fret about what to do.

Tuesday: Blog about impending sheep disaster. Afterwards, totally forget sheep exist. What sheep? Huh?

Wednesday: Recall that earlier in the week I wanted to do some sheep-thing, but have lost interest by now. Plus, you know, the kids are always hanging around and I wanted the sheep to be a surprise (there was a discussion a few weeks ago on Mothering.com Learning at Home about the disadvantages of homeschooling; I would go back and change my answer to "cannot knit sheep whenever I want", but figure that would be too cryptic to be helpful to others). On the other hand, really really want to be knitting something, and have by now realized that the felted backpack was such a dorky idea that I'd rather trim my cat's toenails than work on it. Trim cat's toenails. Cat prays I find something worth knitting soon.

Thursday morning: Get up hours before kids get up. Feel guilty that I'm not down in basement searching for black yarn for hooves. Decide that feeling guilty is progress -- a couple of days ago I didn't even remember I was working on this project! Whoopee! This is enough progress for today, as a matter of fact. Spend rest of morning reading Melissa Wiley's blog (She's the author of the Martha series of the Little House books, a homeschooling mom, and due to deliver a baby any day now. We just started Little House in the Highlands as our breakfast time read aloud. Cool coincidence -- a couple of days ago she posted a bunch of tie-ins to the Martha books. It's sort of like an instant unit study!).

Plans for rest of day: Purchase yarn that has no bearing whatsoever on any project mentioned up until this time.

05 April 2006

Tuesday Teatime

Our big discovery: the Butterfly House is free admission the first Tuesday of the month from 9 to 11a.m.

I printed out a page of Caterpillar/Butterfly poems from CanTeach, and we headed on over. I'd never been to a butterfly house before. It was fun. It was a sunny day, and a lot of the butterflies were active.

KidV1 had a theory that if she kept her hand near a butterfly long enough the butterfly would eventually crawl onto her hand. It didn't work out quite as planned; since she was standing still for so long, butterflies began landing on her. None ever crawled onto her hand, though.

We sat on benches in the house, and I read a few of the poems. I realized after we got there that most were about caterpillars, eggs, cocoons and all -- very little about actual butterflies.

We hit up the gift shop on the way out, and made up for our free admission by buying stuff there. What's a teatime without some sort of snack? We bought a box of Buttery Cinnamon Butterfly Shortbread Cookies . After we paid and headed out of the shop we discovered the display of candy-coated insects. My kids are so lucky we found that display after we paid, as I'm always intrigued by the idea of eating insects, and would've bought those instead.

It turned out the new playground in this particular park had just opened up, so the kids decided we needed to try it out. This would've been okay if I had some knitting, but as it was I just sat there in the sun and fantasized about what sort of socks I would knit if I owned this yarn .

Home for lunch (Moms with more forethought had packed lunches to have at the park picnic benches, and made an entire morning out of the Butterfly House, the new playground, and other park attractions; honestly, I felt like crap and was impressed that I was remaining upright during this whole adventure).

We continued Teatime at home, where I found a couple of decent poems. We went up to the top of the playset, high in the air like the butterflies. We took along our cookies, our drinks (Trader Joe's Strawberry Kiwi, served in sippy cups with bendy straws; the butterflies had been served some sort of red liquid, and the bendy straw echoed the proboscis). I read William Wordsworth's To a Butterfly. Then KidV1 and I read Chrysalis Diary from Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices . We had never done that type of poem before, and it was fun.

The cookies were great, by the way. We highly recommend them for a butterfly-themed teatime.

04 April 2006

Why Fiber Trends is so cool

About a year ago I bought the pattern for A Felt Flock . I had one of those crunchy moments where I thought it would be wicked cool to have all sorts of wooly, natural stuff in the kids' Easter baskets. I knit 2 sheep, both topside and tummies. And started to realize that I was going to end up felting them late the night before Easter and trying to blowdry them with a hairdryer or somesuch to get them done in time. So, I set them aside for the next year, figuring that surely within a year's time I could get them done.

Of course, all of this must take place in secret since it's actually the Easter Bunny who is filling those baskets, not Mom. Although if directly asked I will admit to slipping a toy in, even felted lambs.

As you can guess, the sheep got set to one side and pretty much languished. When we sort of moved into an apartment/temporary housing last fall I took them along because the apartment had a topload washer (we have a front loader, which makes for trickier felting simply because most felting directions assume you have a toploader). But I never got around to doing anything with them because I frittered away my time on frivolous activities like looking at about 100 houses that were on the market (really, we had spread sheets to keep track of what we'd looked at). Then, of course, we actually moved, the pipe broke in the basement, the dryer overheated, blah blah blah.

And here it is, almost the last possible moment. I got out the sheep parts yesterday, intending to throw them in the laundry with a load of towels. But, wait, why do I have such long bits of yarn dangling off of them? Why are there safety pins stuck in various places, particularly their bottoms? Could it be that I shouldn't just throw them in the washer and then whip them together? I managed to dig up the pattern (you have no idea what labor lurks behind that simple sentence, given that most of the craft stuff is randomly heaped in the basement). I glanced through, and realized that I had left off somewhere in the 2nd page, with miles to go before they were sheep. Specifically, I need to sew the tummy to the body, knit hooves, then "see pattern insert for back hooves, tail, ear and horn instructions".

Ummm, yeah, that ol' pattern insert. The one that I sort of remember being stuck in the pattern when I bought it, but it was in my way while I was knitting so I took it out and put it someplace safe. "Someplace safe" in our old house in its pre-moving state, which is quite different from the house in transit, and hugely different from our house now.

So yesterday morning bright and early I emailed Fiber Trands and asked if there was a way to get the insert. And, you know what? Within a couple of hours I had a PDF file of the insert. Of course, I have no idea what yarn I was using for hooves, or where I would've put it, and I'm uneasily aware that I have no memory of needle size used thus far. And I have no energy in the wee hours of the night to work on this due to this stupid stupid time change which is a stupid thing to for us to do with clocks and only a stupid society would do such a stupid thing (plus allergies this time of year that are putting me in some sort of proto-asthmatic condition, which is making me a tiny bit cranky maybe).

The Easter forecast shows only a 50% chance of sheep at this point. BUT, Bev at Fiber Trends has definitely done her part. She has come through for me.

03 April 2006

The weekend featured little knitting content (or, for that matter, sleep) and this post reflects it

On the other hand, some homeschool-related stuff did occur -- Mr.V met a homeschool family in the airport. A mom with 5 kids and possibly another on the way (he couldn't tell if she was pregnant, but follows the rule that you never comment that a woman you just met looks pregnant unless she's actually giving birth at that moment) was coming back to the US after 6 months in Mexico. I immediately leapt to the conclusion that they use Sonlight, and had a tremendous urge to waft around the Sonlight forums looking for someone with 5 kids moving from Mexico to the US. But, of course, I can't get into the Sonlight forums, since we don't use Sonlight anymore. We used Sonlight K for KidV2 a couple of years ago, but those days are gone.

Also, I realize that I'm making all sorts of wild assumptions that a larger family homeschooling while overseas would automatically use Sonlight. It was just that "larger family" and "overseas" tend to be popular profiles in Sonlight.

Then, some things were said in church that made me think about Sonlight. I forget what was said, but I found myself musing about ordering, say, Sonlight 6 ... the thrill of getting all the books together, knowing what we would be studying all year. Oh, the fantasy of it all, that we would suddenly transform into one of those families pictured in the catalog. And to think, the new catalog is on its way here, even as I type this.

The reality is that if I ordered it we'd throw out their schedule within about 3 weeks. KidV1 would run off to her room with all of the books that look interesting and read them immediately. She would refuse to have anything to do with the rest. They'd whine about the science not being what they're interested in. And I would totally loose interest in the whole shebang within a month. Long term focus isn't one of my strong points. I mean, look at this blog -- I say it's about not just one but two subjects (knitting and homeschooling), and even then I can't stay on topic.

Other things we did this weekend:

Prepped entrance for painting, which involved washing old wallpaper paste off of wall, filling in dings with spackling, etc.
Set up the swingset, which is 8 feet high; the swings aren't attached yet, though. This doesn't bother the cat, who likes to walk along the top of it.
Changed clocks, which I think is really really stupid and should be done away with. Really.
Hung out in the basement when the sirens went off during a bad storm featuring tornado warnings. Mr.V took a bit of a nap, the kids played cards, I picked up Barbies and Playmobil.
Ate a box of Thin Mints. Okay, that was just me doing that. I considered it my contribution to making the house gluten-free. I'm self-sacrificing that way.
Met another neighbor.
Had swarms of kids running through our yard, going down our slide, playing on the trapeze. Okay, actually it was only about 6 or 7 kids, but it lasted about 8 hours straight and they were in constant motion most of the time, so it seemed like more. I'm wondering if this is a foretaste of summer. If so, we need a separate freezer for all the popsicles we're going to need.