The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along: A Tale of Three Sweaters


Firstly, I promise I’ll be back here soon with an update on the whirlwind that is Our Life. However, I also said I’d post a picture of Haus Meister in the sweater, so here we go, and as a bonus, I’m in it too, for once:us

Unfortunately, that looks like it was the only day he’s going to be able to wear it down here until November. ūüėČ ¬†Downside to living in the South; wool knitting is kind of overrated. ¬†But so comfy when it gets that cold!

So onto the current knits. ¬†After Armas was finished, I did indeed cast on the Evelyn sweater. ¬†Because our weather was warming, I didn’t quite know if I felt like more wool (it’s Alafosslopi again, just a different dye lot), but the braided cable caught me and I was enjoying it. ¬†It’s on the right in the picture below:


But then! Easter is coming, and the charming dresses I found this weekend for my oldest daughters could use an adorable little shrug, no? ¬†Enter the Chloe stage left, now on the needles for Sunshine in Knitpicks Billow. ¬†I’m planning a lighter blue color for Princess, mainly because that’s what I have in my stash. ūüėČ ¬†So Evelyn will have to wait on Chloe.

Reading-wise, I finished “The Life Giving Home” and thoroughly enjoyed it. ¬†I’m rereading parts of it. ¬†There’s a lot to think on, but it’s good.

The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along — It’s Really Done! Plus a lot about books….

Other Knits Here!

A few days ago I published a teaser about the Armas sweater, and while I don’t yet have a picture of my beloved wearing said “beloved” sweater (“Armas” is Finnish for “beloved,” if you haven’t actually read the Ravelry description), he did try it on and do I ever wish it were a COLD WINTER down here so I could see him wear it more often (cue starry eyed expression)!

However, the winter sun was kind enough to shine this afternoon and I snapped this picture. ¬†I confess I am still preparing myself to block the sweater… I had a nightmare one night after working on the second sleeve that I accidentally felted it … I’m sort of afraid now to let water touch it… I mean, eighteen months in the knitting, heh heh heh….


I’m in the post-project breathing phase. ¬†I gauge-swatched for the Evelyn sweater, and should be posting about that in the next Yarn Along post I manage to write.

In the meantime, I have much to report about BOOKS. ¬†For Christmas my mother gave our girls some of the “Shoe Books.” ¬†Anyone who has seen “You’ve Got Mail” remembers the “Shoe Books” (in below video, skip to 2:24 or so). ¬†I confess before the Christmas season¬†was really over I read all three that we have (“Ballet Shoes“, “Skating Shoes“, and “Dancing Shoes“). ¬†“Ballet Shoes” is my favorite, too. ¬†Although, I never knew these books existed before the movie. ¬†Same with the Betsy-Tacy series! ¬†I was reading a book I’d bought¬†for my girls’ home library when I found myself quoting out loud: “…whose name, I’m sorry to tell you, is Thelma.” ¬†I love this movie.

Then there is my winter project to name that Austen quote’s source. ¬†I have read “Pride & Prejudice,” “Northanger Abbey,” and I was reading “Sense and Sensibility” the week my sister called to say: “Did you hear that Col. Brandon died?! And by the way, happy birthday.” ¬†I finished the book with the nostalgic memories of many a weekend spent with my sister watching and rewatching and rewatching again the classic “S & S” movie with Alan Rickman as THE HERO (sorry, Edward, but it isn’t you. You got out of a jam with considerable good luck. ¬†We all like you immensely, but that’s true). Even ten years later or so, when the newer movie came out and gave Col. Brandon his due with a much larger role in the film, it wasn’t the same without Alan Rickman’s voice.

But I’m sharing this clip which doesn’t have him talking, because this song was in my head all day on my birthday after that phone call.

Rest in peace, Col. Brandon.

Now, on to those quotes.

‚ÄúThe very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone‚ÄĚ Definitely¬†Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey‚Ķ. And she has no heart to give, incidentally.

‚ÄúA woman,¬†especially¬†if she¬†has the misfortune of knowing¬†anything, should conceal it as well as she can.‚ÄĚ ¬†Definitely¬†Northanger Abbey.

‚ÄúOne half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.‚Ä̬†I was wrong about this one. It’s from Emma. I’m nearly halfway through this novel at present but I actually have two reads on my bedside table at the moment. ¬†It depends on what I feel like.

‚ÄúI wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.‚ÄĚ ¬†Ok, the almighty Internet tells me that it belongs to¬†Sense & Sensibility¬†and it did indeed. ¬†I thought it would be Marianne or Willoughby but it was, in fact, Edward. ¬†Ironically, he says this as he visits the Dashwoods in Devonshire after having visited his secret fiancee. ¬†And at the time he was saying this, he was pretty miserable.

Will you bear with me a moment more, dear reader? ¬†I finally decided to do the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge.¬† I haven’t decided on all the titles I want to read, or the order I wish to read them, but I’ve got one done already.

January: A book published this year. ¬†“Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo. ¬†My pantry never looked better¬†after reading this one. ūüėČ ¬†Just don’t ask me about the corner cabinet. We’re getting there…

February (other current read): A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. I chose for this one “The Life-Giving Home” by Sally Clarkson. ¬†It actually just arrived today and I’m working on the first chapter. ¬†To be honest, I don’t go to our local library since I’m not “in city.” To get a library card at one time cost $50 for us non-citiers. So I decided to spend $50 on books I can keep and use our buy/sell/trade bookstore as an easy “library.” ¬†If I pick out something we don’t want to keep, back it goes for credit. ¬†Now, the general type of workers at the bookstore would probably suggest “Game of Thrones” for my reading pleasure, and that type of book just….isn’t. So I went with Elizabeth Foss’ recommendation via Facebook because let’s be honest, I get many book ideas from other moms on the internet. ¬†You ladies are wonderful. ūüôā ¬†I had already pre-ordered the book, so I’m glad it was highly praised.

Now for a cup of tea.  Good night!

The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along: Armless Armas



IMG_4679Well, not exactly entirely armless Armas… I’m 3/4th done with the first sleeve, if you can see past that shaft of winter sunlight that wasn’t quite as blinding in person. ¬†Illuminates that yoke detail, though! ¬†The other sleeve is still absent, and the sweater¬†looks rather lopsided without it. ¬†I’ve customized the sleeve decreases for him, and I need to make sure I properly note that before beginning the next.

No real reading this week, unless you count the Tintin anthologies the kids received for Christmas. Even Posey Pie sits and looks at the pictures for quite a time.  We have almost all seven sets of books, with #3 still en route from somewhere.

Meanwhile, my parents gave me this wonderful mug for Christmas, covered in many quotes from Jane Austen’s books!


There’s just one problem… I feel like I should know where all quotes are from. ¬†I’ve been reading Austen since high school; my senior thesis for my BA was on¬†Emma, Persuasion, and Pride & Prejudice… my devoted husband one year gave me every novel she wrote–in hardback, even the hilarious¬†Juvenilia. ¬†Why don’t I know all the quotes?!¬†So, while many other literature minded friends and ladies on FB and blogs are writing out lists of new books to read in 2016, I’m going to go through Austen and figure out the quotes I’m unsure about.

It’s just for my vanity, but also curiosity.

So, the quotes I know–and please correct me if I’m wrong:

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” George Knightley, Emma.

“In vain I have struggled.” Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice.

“A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman. He ought not. He does not.” Frederick Wentworth, Persuasion (he writes a better letter than Mr. Darcy, by the way).

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” ¬†Pride and Prejudice, opening lines.

“Till this moment I never knew myself.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice. ¬†Also, “The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my disbelief of the inconsistency of all human characters.”

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery” ¬†Mansfield Park

“Friendship is the certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.” Northanger Abbey

Now, the quotes I’m unsure about:

“The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone” That sounds like Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey….

“One cannot have too large a party.” ¬†Mr. Elton? in Emma?

“A woman,¬†especially¬†if she¬†has the misfortune of knowing¬†anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” ¬†Again, I’m almost sure that’s Northanger Abbey.

“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” That sounds like about three or four of the novels… but I want to say¬†Persuasion

“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” ¬†Ok, I look at that and think Batman Begins… which I only saw once. ¬†So where is it in Austen (mainly so I can tease my brother-in-law that the writers of the movie must have read Austen! ;))?!

One more quote that’s not on my mug but which I have recently seen: “I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.” ¬†The almighty Internet tells me that it belongs to¬†Sense & Sensibility but I want to know for myself who says it, because to be honest, there’s a lot of characters in that book who don’t always have the nicest¬†ways of getting their own happiness.

Advent/Christmas · family life · The fine art of crafting

Goodbye 2015!

YARN ALONG! I can’t seem to get the tag to link up, so I’m just linking in ye old-fashioned way.

Well, it’s been months since I posted on my knitting because frankly, it didn’t seem to change much from week to week. ¬†Some weeks I had only managed a row or two on the way to Mass on Sunday, but I’m happy to say this Christmas break I’ve been able to seriously step up the knitting progress. ¬†The day after Christmas I was able to bind off the body of the sweater, and have been working down the first sleeve ever since. Will I finish it for him during the 12 days of Christmas? To be honest, I have no idea. I want to be done by January 18th, though, as that was the date I cast this sweater on the needles. ¬†Also, I signed on to participate in the Evelyn knit-a-long, this time for something for me, and it starts sometime next month.

Altogether, though, I’m very pleased with the Armas project. ¬†It took a good deal longer than I thought it would, but that wasn’t the design’s issue but rather my everlasting struggle with time management. ūüėČ

A little light reading this week. ¬†I’m kind of on an Astrid Lindgren kick, having scored Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, as well as Happy Times in Noisy Village on Thrift Books this month. I am not above reading the books I buy for my children, nor do I think anyone should ever be.

Meanwhile we had a very Merry Christmas here at the Haus. ¬†My parents came down for the main holiday, and on Boxing Day we had a big dinner for them, my in-laws, some friends, and our parish priest. What fun! ¬†We aren’t doing a big dinner tomorrow for New Years, but we are expecting more friends to stop over for the night on their travels back home. ¬†It promises to be a fun beginning to a new year.

My resolutions for 2016 seem to be trending toward keeping things running smoothly. ¬†Yesterday I sat down and pencilled out a menu plan for the entire month of January. ¬†Today I began to work on the lesson plans for the month, knowing that I would not want to do that while having our friends over. ¬†My workstation in is the foyer, where I can have a central space to keep track of things. It consists of an old dresser from my grandmother’s house, that keeps our binders, maps, mailing materials, and lesson plans out of sight. ¬†A shelf on the wall above–from my great-grandmother–is the year-round place where I keep¬†the¬†books I’m reading, stationary (if I ever get around to hand-writing an actual letter or sending a real card!), a letter holder for bills, a plant, a picture of Jacob, and a favorite icon. This year I’m trying something new and have Susan Branch’s desk calendar on the wall between shelf and dresser. ¬†My menu plan is to the left of that (with chore rules above), and to the right are favorite drawings from my resident artists.

Now, I would love to say having this workstation means that everything stays neat and tidy, but my husband will be the first to tell you that is not the case, if he were inclined to do so. ūüėČ ¬†And it’s a constant struggle not to let the workstation become the dumpstation. However, at the moment it is looking nice and tidy, which is more than I can say about it’s appearance an hour or so ago:


And that’s another struggle constant in the household: keeping things running smoothly while raising toddlers!

Here’s farewell to 2015 and a blessed 2016 to all of you with love from all of us!




The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along: The Weeks of WIPS that Weren’t

Knitting.  Yes.  Knitting.  Perhaps I can get back to you on that one.

First were the dishcloths that I cast on and ravelled off and cast on again…until Sunshine decided to yarn bomb my room with it when she gained entrance on the sly. ¬†She pretends she’s a kitten. What can I say? Except that the dual yarn dishcloths do not exactly work after all with the Lions’ Brand Recycled Yarn. ¬†The yarn is good in itself but it does tighten up a bit after washing.

Then I decided I’d hurry and make knitted cupcakes for Littlest’s birthday. Once upon a time we had the Melissa & Doug wooden cupcakes for the kids’ kitchen set but for some reason those wooden cupcakes proved irresistible to puppies. ¬†I kept the plastic cupcake tray and intended to use a pattern like this adorable one to make cupcakes that would fit inside it.

Dear reader, you will note that Littlest’s birthday was Saturday, and as of this morning the first of four cupcakes still looks like this:


It is sitting atop a ball of yarn I bought last year and packed into my hospital bag intending it to become a blanket for her.  This one, remember?


The blanket never materialized. ¬†But perhaps, by Christmas, the cupcakes will be done? Perhaps? That book in the picture is still a great Mother’s Day idea, by the way. ¬†Amazon Prime, too.

Back to projects… Haus Meister laughs and chided me to just get back to his sweater. Perhaps he is right. ūüėČ

But reading? Oh, I’ve been reading. ¬†Except for the snippets in Roses Among Thorns, and 33 Days to Morning Glory, my reading has mainly consisted of children’s books. ¬†For Mother’s Day I requested Time to Sew and Time to Go to the Favorite Buy/Sell/Trade Bookstore. The date for the latter has been set and I’m bringing a dear friend along with me. So yesterday I rearranged the bookshelves in the family room, just in case I find any treasures, you know. ūüėČ Also, we’ve cut back on our “TV Time.” Nowadays it doesn’t matter if you actually own a TV or not. We don’t, but we have a computer with Netflix and Amazon Prime, so there’s really not a ton of difference. However, Haus Meister and I have mandated that there can be three times of watching. ¬†Thursday afternoons on we find two of the kids’ favorite shows. ¬†Friday night they can watch a movie, and Saturday morning they can either watch EWTN’s kids shows or some approved kids’ episodes somewhere else (that’s where Kipper, Thomas, Little Bear, etc. come in). ¬†During the week the boys can play games on¬†the LEGO website only after school and chores. Princess has her own interests and the rest of the time finds us coloring or reading. ¬†It’s been great.

The fine art of crafting

Yarn-Along: Action Shots!

Spring in the Deep South is not exactly the most motivating time to knit a dark gray wool sweater (it’s already 80 down here). ¬†After sinusitis, school, and solemn days (Holy Week, but hey, it followed the “s” pattern) forced me to take a break, it had been three weeks since I’d stashed Armas back in the bag. With flowers blooming and the pollen dusting everything chartreuse. I decided to do something about the bright cotton yarn instead. Haus Meister gave me his bemused blessing, so over the last week I didn’t take out Armas but instead I knit a giant dishcloth.

I used the tried and true “Grandmother’s Favorite” pattern but this time I used two different colors of cotton yarn at the same time. ¬†It knit up nice and thick and I kind of enjoyed it (although I think I need a new quick dishie pattern). ¬†Today at lunch we tried it out, since I’ve converted the household to handwashing the dishes. ¬†It’s almost too thick for thin glassware, I believe, but it scrubbed everything else beautifully. ¬†Gets a little heavy, but there’s plenty of it so when you wash down that table it really gets a good swath done. ūüôā I think I am going to put a few of these on our Etsy store!

Meanwhile I’m reading and pondering how best to implement The Everyday Family Chore System.

Here’s very unprofessional action shots of the giant dishie, with Posey Pie trying to help. ¬†She liked it so much she didn’t want to give it back. Remind me to make more pink dishies for my little helpers….

photo 2 photo 1

The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along: Armas continues

The rest of my yarn arrived!

photo 1

It was before I necessarily had to have it, but I’m glad it’s here for when I 2

Sorry for the blurry, grainy iPhone photo. This is a quick look at the front of Armas, scrunched onto the largest pair of circular needles I have. ¬†I’m a row from casting the sleeves onto waste yarn and finishing the front & back, so hopefully next week I can lay it out and show it off a bit better.

photo 3Here’s my mountain of Alafoss Lopi. Think I have enough? ¬†I’m knitting for a rather tall man so ideally this should get me through. ūüôā

My Lenten reading this week: G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy

The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along–finally a picture!

Hello there! The attack of the plague last week delayed my knitting a bit, and as of last night I am about to begin chart row 32. ¬†I was just at or a little over row 37 when the previous sweater disappeared, so I’m thrilled to be practically caught up in less than a month from cast-on. ¬†I’ve made some mistakes but they haven’t required unravelling back to the start (well, except for one early on, like on row 3 of the collar, so that doesn’t really count, right?) and my darling Sunshine girl has had mercy on me and so far has left the project untouched. Sometimes she tries to “help” and pulls the project off the needles in the process. ¬†It also helps that I keep it locked in my room more often than not.


I went ahead and ordered four skeins of the Istex Alafoss Lopi that Haus Meister chose for this sweater. ¬†As we only know of one yarn shop that carries it for sure, and that yarn shop is in another state (he visits it if he’s on outage nearby, hence the reason this type of yarn becomes a Christmas present for me]….. Interesting side note: I just lost my right parentheses/zero key. Could this have anything to do with the toddlers spilling milk on my keyboard last night? Hmmm… ¬†Anyway, I ordered it from The Nordic Store, meaning soon I’ll have a package from Reykjavik, complete with viking helm on the label. Huzzah!


I am thoroughly enjoying “Armas Redux” as I call it and hope I do get it finished before the warmer weather settles in next month.

On the table with Armas (and the roses, and a conch shell picked up on our honeymoon] is a sneak peek of one of the Lenten books I’ve picked out. ¬†Well,¬†it’s not really a Lenten book, but a book I’m going to read when Lent starts next week. ¬†Last week I read a book called “See you in Heaven,” a memoir of a mother of eight written by her daughter. ¬†My mother-in-law picked it up while on a recent retreat. ¬†It was a nice book, a good look at a life of a woman who truly realized the irreplaceable value and dignity of motherhood.

Right now, though, I haven’t picked up any book to read but instead have been doing damage control from the plague, soothing the remaining coughers, trying to knit, and also trying to make sure Lent doesn’t totally sneak up on us. ¬†See you later!

family life · The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along: First of 2015

Well, it’s been a few weeks. ¬†I finally finished one more blue dishcloth, bringing my total number of dishcloths knitted between November – January to…. 4. ¬†I had intended something on the order of 18. ¬†My ambition always is greater than the reality. ¬†Just imagine what I’ll accomplish when the kids are older! ¬†Or so I think….;)

I have accomplished a goodly bit of reading. ¬†I bought my mother Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson as part of her birthday present. ¬†I heard good things about it and meant to preview a page or two to see if Mom would like it. ¬†Instead I ended up reading 85% of it and I may just get my own copy! ūüėČ

My sister-in-law gave me¬†The Unknown Ajax¬†by Georgette Heyer. ūüôā I enjoyed that one enough to rank it somewhere around #4 on my top 10.




This is the last picture of 2014 knitting, working on the final dishcloth. ¬†That’s also another current read, and one which I thought was simultaneously very good and rather creepy. ¬†I haven’t read enough C.S. Lewis, and will remedy that this year.


Finally,¬†Armas is back! Version 2.0 was cast on January 18, and this time there will be no thugs to steal it from me (or at least, there better not). ¬†I am determined to complete it¬†this¬†winter! And yes, I know, what did I say about ambition? ūüėČ