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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yarn Along: Birthday Sweater and Test Knitting

So, I have four days to be completely finished with this sweater for Elijah. I'm starting to get a little stressed about that. However, it shouldn't take me as long on the second sleeve as this one did, because for some reason I had the wrong row count and was trying to figure out the rate of picking up sts for that wrong number and had to redo it five times before I realized what was wrong. Even though Elijah is 13 today (!), I bought myself some time to get this finished, because his party isn't until Sunday. I've called this a Weasley-ish sweater, as it is more fitted, rather than baggy, since I had just enough yarn for it, and I used the font for the text from the film rather than what was shown on the sweaters in the film.

The test knitting and final editing of Saint Helena is complete, and the pattern should be available on both Nimblestix and Ravelry in the next day or two. I'm formatting the pattern with photos and uploading the description to both platforms. This makes me rather excited, and I hope you are, too! I will post the links on the blog and in my sidebar once they are live.

Nothing has been heard yet about my submission that was just sent, but I did get my contract and proof pages from Storey for the Little One-Skein Wonders book which has a publication date of August, by the way. That was super exciting! Though, I have to say, both Rich and I were thrown a little that the model baby was blonde rather than brunette. Not that they have any reason to try to choose a model that looks like our children, and it is possible that the child was actually one of the employees' children from the publishing company. It was still a surprise to us, for some reason. We pictured Saint Catherine of Alexandria on a dark haired child. But I want people with all sorts of children to buy the book, buy the pattern, and knit it up for their children and their friends' children. I do love this little design, and think it is a great layering piece for small people. Right now I am working on two design projects, one for submission to Knit Picks for a collection they plan to put out next year, and one for me to self-publish. Speaking of which . . .

I'm looking for people willing to test a pattern for me in the next month or so. I should have the pattern ready in a couple/few weeks. My goal is to have it published in mid- to late May, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern, and if it can be tested pretty soon. This is a bit more complicated than Saint Helena, being knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. It is an adult sized, kerchief style headband. I made a doll sized version as my sample, which is what is in the photos (if it matters, the color is truer in the second picture), but this would be sized for an adult. It shouldn't take more than a few nights to a week once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Yarn required is a fingering weight. I made mine out of a cotton/wool blend. I would not recommend a variegated yarn, either a solid color or subtle semi-solid. Skills required: Basic knitting, yarn overs, decreasing by k2tog and ssk, casting on at the end of a row, knitting in the round, reading a chart. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern as soon as you can. Then, request to join Ventus Test Knitters on Facebook. Please also check out Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, for updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

I entered a contest on a fellow Yarn Along-er's blog some weeks ago and won! I won two soaps from her Etsy shop, and because I liked them so much, Rich encouraged me to order some candles from her as well. Two of which are now in our candlesticks on our icon shelf. I should get a photo of that. My package arrived the Friday before Amira's birthday party, which was also the weekend I was working hard to get my submission to IK finished, and we had extra kids staying with us, so I just never got the pictures posted here. I did want to share with you how beautifully Lisa packaged them, and how wonderful they are in themselves. Go buy lots from her shop!

The sweet pea soap smells so good! Rich claimed it right away. He says he will share it with me. I have given the gardener's soap to the oldest kids to scrub themselves when they come in from working or playing outside. As I said, the candles are set apart to use on our icon shelf and prayer wall. Thank you Lisa for your generous giveaway, as well as for your lovely products!

As for reading, I did finish A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family. The closing chapter contains probably the best apologetic for large family life that I've read. I still have mixed feelings about the book because, although I learned a lot of different ways to manage different challenges that come up in a larger family, and gained perspectives that helped me, she still ends up promulgating a worldly view about family size that I just can't get behind. It is not her fault, and I doubt it is on purpose; I'm sure she either has some ignorance or misunderstanding about the orthodox Christian understanding of reproduction and married life, but it was still a little sad for me to read it from someone who is also a Christian, especially since that message is already so pervasive in our culture. It's just another voice expressing what the world says about children and family size, and adding piety to it.

Three things that struck me were: her way of looking at the cost clutter has on a family, in terms of cost per square foot per year, based on home size, and rent/mortgage cost; the prioritization of teaching our children into building relationship with them, teaching them the idea or skill, and accomplishing the task or concept; how large families, rather than making people less aware of the limited resources in the world and the necessity of sharing them and using them wisely, teaches up close, every day, about that, as children in larger families don't expect their desires to be satisfied at the expense of others, immediately, or even all the time. It just can't happen. They learn, quite personally, that they are not entitled to every whim or wish. Even if it is a good one. Large families already know that the idea that they use more than their fair share is ridiculous. There are numerous studies that show that bigger families have a smaller environmental "footprint" than the average family, and especially two household families that are created because of divorce. However, this was another charge that I have heard leveled and while I knew it wasn't true, her perspective on why it wasn't true was good. Our kids cannot have or do everything they want, or at least not when they want it.

Elijah's birthday is a prime example of that. He came to me with a LONG list of games and foods for his party. I took it and talked to him and said that if he wanted all of that, his party would have to last a lot longer, and in order for me to facilitate it, we'd have to push his party to a week or two after the Paschal feast. He was open to negotiating on some of the games and foods, and we came to an agreement that would permit him to have a party this weekend. There were no tears or angry outbursts. Our children learn that we cannot provide everything for them, that they need to have realistic expectations, and that they need to participate in receiving or attaining the things they want. And that is a beautiful thing that will prepare them for adulthood and independence that is not selfish or oblivious about the needs and wishes of others.

We're still reading A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter together and I'm still reading Christ in His Saints. I wanted to finish this book during Lent last year, so maybe I can for this Lent.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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