Saturday, April 9, 2016

Words and Wool

It's high time for another post about knitting, sewing, and reading.

I finally finished my Ramona Cardigan which I started in January and had nearly finished by Valentine's Day. I got within 7 rows of finishing when my hands and arms took a fit and refused any more. Many thanks to my sister for finishing the cardigan for me (including complementary blocking!!). Next up was where to find buttons. I refuse to spend money I don't have on buttons. It took me over a month but when we were in NC my aunt took me to several thrift stores and I found a sweater with the 7 required buttons for only $2. Yay! Now that our weather has taken a downturn and is frosting and snowing I can put my new cardigan to good use!

It took three weeks for my hands and arms to return to normal after that last weekend of knitting. It seems that any repetitive motion is causing joint pain and carpal tunnel like pain. I had hoped to avoid these problems until I was in my 80's!!! Ten or fifteen minutes every day or every few days may be all that I can manage on knitting or crochet. This has certainly thrown a small wrench in my idea of creative enjoyment.  I am still thinking through what this means and how I can change my creative outlets. It's funny that I have specifically prayed recently for God to lead me in which areas of creative expression I should pursue more in depth. It seems that perhaps this may be a way of showing me that handwork may not be the area!

I stitched up these lavender sachets for the shower I helped host in March. I used vintage sheets, vintage trim, and recycled linen which had all been thrifted.

And I managed to get Mr. Basil Fox sewn together as a baby gift. I love these animals from Posy Gets Cozy.

And I managed to finish the owl bunting for the shower as well. It was so cute! I used Bunny Mummy's free pattern and then just crocheted the owls together.

Two of the boys got time with me to sew things in the past month or so. David is all about foxes and we found this pattern on Etsy to make this pillow. We all love it!

Fortunately, I had the pieces of this tea cozy made before my hands gave out. This went out the door to a friend.

James chose one of these Purl Soho Puppies and our twist was to use leather as the contrasting fabric. It was so cute!

Everyone was eager to make Lithuanian Easter eggs this year. It's now a tradition! Grandma joined us too.

So thankful for our friend Daiva who opens her home for this each year.

James made an intricately dyed dragon egg.

These were my eggs this year. I think I like the black one best.

I took a tea cozy to my aunt when we visited in North Carolina.

James came down the stairs this week with something to show me: his raccoon covered in raccoon armor! How cute is that??!!!

And I have finally pulled out my Jane Brocket inspired quilt and begun quilting it. I love the freedom of quilting these days -- using large DMC thread to quilt in long running stitches. Couldn't get over how my tea cozy matched the quilt!

I was at Rachel's school this week when I spotted this van and driver. Turns out this is one of the vehicles that brings all the umpteen books I request to my library each week. I think the driver thought I was a bit crazy with how profuse I was in my excitement about the library and how thankful I was for his work!!

As for reading, yes, there are a few books to catch up on here:

Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter. This was my first time to read anything by Gene Stratton-Porter (hard to believe!). She was a native of Indiana and wrote in the early part of the twentieth century. She wrote many novels incorporating nature into them in large doses. She also was heavily involved in nature conservation and education. She reminds me a bit of an Indiana version of Beatrix Potter. We all enjoyed this book set in Indiana's Limberlost forest about 100 years ago.

A Girl Of The Limberlost  by Gene Stratton-Porter is a lovely novel in which some of the characters from Freckles appear in the sidelines. It also takes place on the edge of the Limberlost and is the coming of age story of a girl (Elnora) neglected by her widowed mother. Elnora loves nature and collects rare moths. The novel tells how she puts herself through school and seeks to win her mother's affection.

  Applesauce Needs Sugar by Victoria Case was a lighthearted novel that almost seemed to be based on true facts (perhaps from the author's family). It takes place about 100 years ago mostly in the Canadian Northwest and tells of the rollicking everyday adventures of a very large family, the heroine being the mother and how she manages to care for her family.

Idol Lies by Dee Brestin was a very good and challenging book aimed specifically at women. It discusses the things in our lives that can so easily take away the affection that is mean for Christ, leading us into spiritual bondage and dysfunctional living.

Malice at the Palace: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen is an easy mystery set in London in the mid-1930's. It is told from the perspective of a "lesser royal" who happens to solve mysteries. I wish I had known at the beginning that many of the incidents and people in the story are based on real facts and persons.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah McKenzie is a short but excellent book for homeschoolers on how to foster a sense of peace and rest in the midst of what is often crazy everyday life. Of even more help to me has been the author's podcast which is called Read Aloud Revival. I can't recommend it enough!

The Minute Boys of Bunker Hill (w/glossary) by Edward Stratemeyer. This is a sequel to the Minute Boys of Lexington involving the same characters and of course the Revolutionary War. This book involves the Battle of Bunker Hill and being a prisoner of war. Parts of the book (battles) were not as fast-paced and interesting as the first book but I think that's because the author was trying to put in a lot of true details from history. The children still enjoyed it!

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl was such a fun read that I ditched nearly all the other books I was in the middle of to read right through. The book is actually a cookbook but most of the recipes are ones I would never be interested in attempting. It's more the actual memoir that gripped me -- Reichl takes the reader through the sudden closing of Gourmet magazine and the difficult year in her own life that followed that.

Eating for England: The Delights and Eccentricities of the British at Table by Nigel Slater. I loved this book with its short little snippets about all kinds of British foods from scones, to puddings, to farmer's markets, to rock candy. Slater is probably my most favorite food writer. The only thing to beware is that he has no qualms about throwing in off-color comments here and there.

The Silent Traveller In Edinburgh by Chiang Yee was a brand new discovery for me! Yee was a political refugee in the UK in the early twentieth century and took up writing travel memoirs all over the UK. He also illustrated his works with his own Chinese painting renditions of these British scenes! Not only that, he writes like an Englishman but quotes all kinds of Chinese poets and writers! It's the strangest mix, which made it intriguing to me. It's a little slow for modern readers but a fun discovery.

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. I couldn't wait to dive into this book organized by the months of the year and full of tons of practical ideas on how to make a home atmosphere and develop a family culture. This book is full of lots and lots of ideas to use with one's own family! One thing to remember is that Sally and Sarah are giving you lots of ideas on what worked for their family and you need to consider what works for your family -- it may be different, but this may inspire you to new ideas.

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin. This is SUCH A GREAT BOOK! If anyone wants recommendations on Bible study and how to do it, this is where I will point them. It is a short, easy to read book that communicates why we need to do Bible study and how it can be done. This book and Tim Keller's book on Prayer would be my go-to for practical assistance on developing and growing one's relationship with God.

Lady on the Hill: How Biltmore Estate Became an American Icon by Howard E Covington was the perfect thing to read in the days before we went to tour the Biltmore with my aunt and uncle. It tells the story of Biltmore's beginnings in 1895 up to the present -- how it passed through the family and how the family figured out how to make money in order to keep it up and running. If you are headed to Biltmore anytime soon you may find it worthwhile reading.

Phew! I think that is all for now!!! Hop over to Ginny's Yarn Along for more ideas on knitting and reading.

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willow said...

Hello Heather, I enjoyed this post, you certainly have been very busy. Sorry to hear about your wrist pains. I can only mange about half an hour at a time if I am knitting and I certainly knit slower than I used to. When you mentioned other creative outlets, are you still comfortable painting, your watercolours might fill the gap. I use my camera more than I used to though sadly the photographs often end up on the computer rather than being viewed and enjoyed. I need to think what to do with them.
I read through your book list and treated myself to a book. I expect you can guess which - The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh. Having visited a few times since David has been living there, I think it will be an interesting read and the cover illustration looks beautiful.

Pom Pom said...

Our Kelli loves Teaching from Rest and I ordered the Life Giving Home a few days ago!
You are SO inspiring, Miss Heather!
I do love those sachets. Adorable!
Did you get my message (on I-gram) about a few more brooches in bubble gum pink, blue bell blue, and purple?
I have a little bitty pain from knitting, too. It's smart to take a break and your sweater is perfect! So practical and warm-looking!
Take care, good girl. Sending love your way!

Elise said...

So many gorgeous makes! I love your own bunting and the scented sachets, I've got a few of those to make myself. Well done on having a finished cardigan, that seems like such a huge task to me! :)

Anonymous said...

I can't quite get over how many things you create! I'm so sorry you're having this pain, and very glad your sister was able to help you finish the cardigan. It looks fantastic! I hope you can continue to use your hands every day, albeit perhaps only for a short time. And thank you for the fascinating book reviews. Your blog is a treasure trove for me!