Friday, March 16, 2012

FO: Stripey Socks

Project: Stripey Socks

Pattern: Socks are basically formed in the same way, but I referred to the Sock Recipe from Knitting Rules.

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks in Blue Striped Ragg shade. It took me a little bit to hunt it down since I lost the ball band pretty much the second I started knitting the socks. Someday when I'm a super-organized knitter and take care to keep track of that sort of thing this part won't be so difficult.

Needles: Size 1's, bamboo this time because it's what I had on hand. I have a shocking number of metal DPNs but not a single set of size 1's. Must rectify that soon.

For: Myself in an effort to find that perfect fit.

Notes: These cuff-down socks came together in 1 month of scattered knitting time, and seeing as how I didn't even finish a second pair in the whole year of 2011 I'd say I'm off to a much better start this year. I have to say too that the stripes made the knitting seem to go faster. I could easily look down at the color repeat and say "only 4 stripes to go before I start the heel flap" or whatever, and that made it seem that much faster.

They did turn out to be fraternal twins instead of identicals. I think if I would have been patient enough to give 1 or 2 row rounds before starting the heel flap they would have turned out exactly right, but I also didn't care quite enough to back up when I realized what had happened.

Things I Learned: I did a better job of picking up stitches along the heel flap this time, and overall I'm much happier with the fit on these socks than with the mint socks I knit in January. a smaller needle size and a the helpful little bits I learned about fit in Knitting Rules really helped this pair of socks to become the socks I wanted.

Overall: Another good knit. I was happy with my progress with them despite the limited knitting time, and I was able to make progress in my sock understanding.

Now I have an important decision ahead of me:

Do I continue with vanilla socks a little while longer,

or do I dive into a sock with a little more to it?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I *heart* school planning.

It is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling to be honest. I love planning our trajectory for the year and then breaking it down into achievable pieces. I love watching the plans play out through the year too, but it's the anticipation that comes with those brand new plans that I so enjoy.

Phase one consists of gathering ideas. I look at a ton of curriculum online, I check out what other people with children in that particular grade are doing and get a giant list going of materials that have a possibility of working for us. Basically, I induce curriculum fog upon myself and when I'm good and muddy about all the choices out there I sit back for awhile to think.

Phase two consists of writing down goals for the year. I take all that muddiness in my brain and clarify what is important to me and my husband, what I know my kids love, and what developmentally appropriate skills they need to obtain by the end of that grade.

I've been hanging out with these goals for several weeks now, tweaking anything that didn't seem quite right, and flat out eliminating some of them that I finally decided didn't fit with our overall homeschooling goals. I think they're set now, and I'm ready to move on to phase three.

Remember phase one where I looked at a million and one books to see what was out there? Phase three is defined by culling that giant list. I eliminate anything that doesn't fit with our goals or educational philosophy. And then comes all the outside factors, and this is the land I'm currently living in:

Does this material best help us accomplish our goals?

How does it fit in our budget?

Can this material be used again with the next child?

Will my kid(s) enjoy using the material?

Am I interested in this material because it looks like "another good thing" or because it will truly add value to our homeschool that I don't have anywhere else?

It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle really. I'm trying to decide which curriculum is a must budget-wise and then the rest is a bit of give and take- if I buy a certain curriculum I may not be able to afford another curriculum, and I always want to make sure I'm getting what will truly help us most. I'm fortunate to have access to a truly awesome library system and I take full advantage for our literature, history and science book lists so that I ony have to buy spines that we'll be using for a full semester or year.

And when I make the final decisions on curriculum I'll get to the truly fun part- dividing our year into four 13 week quarters (leaving 4 weeks unplanned to account for unexpected time off or rabbit trails), then dividing the work down into weeks.

I'm really liking the look of our plans for next year so far, and as soon as I get some decisions made you know I'll be sure to share!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yarn Along

{Yarning Along with Ginny again this week}

Now that we're really moved in and baby is getting closer and closer to showing up I've been casting on a ton. I ordered a bunch of yarn for her just before the stash busting challenge was announced, but because of packing and all that much of it has been boxed up. I'm trying to get a move on a few projects I've really wanted to make for her.

This is where I've been hanging out in any spare time- at the kitchen table with the current knit, and laptop up while I work on finalizing school plans that my husband can manage while I'm resting up post-baby and generally getting things ready for these last few weeks before she comes and the several weeks after. Plans make me feel like I can actually relax so it's worth making up a few copies of our usual grocery list, setting up meal plans for the weeks after she's born, and having a list of "stuff" for the boys to do if they need to be busy for a little bit.

The knit is the very beginning of the Hemlock Ring Blanket, knit out of (what else) Berocco Vintage. I've long loved this baby blanket and was determined to make it for my next child. I've actually never knit a baby blanket (or any kind of blanket for that matter) so I might be getting myself in trouble. But being my usual "what's the worse that can happen with yarn and needles" self I jumped in last night and we'll see how this goes. So far it doesn't seem any harder than any lace I've knit before, and with worsted weight yarn it's easy to catch anything that drops.

Any blanket knitting advice for me? I'm ready to get in some serious rows before she comes and I'm dedicating a couple of hours each night to this blanket.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Learning In Progress, February 2012

This was a really odd month for school. February can be a difficult time for homeschoolers at the best of times, but with our move and pregnancy-related issues for me it was the perfect time for a break.

We took a full two weeks off amidst all the craziness which means we did just a little bit of "regular school" and tried to read and have free art time each day. Because I was in bed for some of this time my record keeping was a little spotty.

Ender is 6 years old, in first grade.

Ezra is 4 years old and having a very relaxed K4 year because of his desire to be included in our school time. Very little is required of him on a daily basis, but he often chooses to read along with us or work on various projects of his choosing.

Reading Ender's weekly assignment from church every week.
Finished the review verses for the Wingrunner book for Awana
30 minute Bible Study with Brian each week, Genesis 3 & 4.
Ezra- memorizing his weekly verse for Awana Cubbies.

Ender completed Lesson 25-35 in Saxon Math 1A
Continuing calendar skills with learning to write dates.
Ezra working with dominoes and dice to match numbers.
Both- playing Too Many Monkeys and Monopoly Junior.

Language Arts:
Copywork and narrations based on our history, science and literature readings
HWT (yellow)- p. 49-59
Ezra: Moveable Alphabet practice with CVC words, working with short vowels.

Both: Still learning to use our new microscope.
Watched Animal Atlas on Netflix
from Christian Liberty Nature Reader K, letter J
Read independently from the Christian Liberty Nature Reader

Scrambled States of America game
Memory work- the names of the continents and oceans

History/Science/Literature: (These are read together unless marked IR)
Fables by Lobel
If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern
President George Washington by David Adler
(Many picture books, probably around 20-25 that I didn't keep track of)

Memory Work
The Caterpillar by Christina Rosetti

Ender: PeeWee Basketball 1x per week
Ezra: Indoor soccer 1x per week

Fine Arts:
Ender: daily violin practice
Lots of free art time.

Ender's Free Reading:
Finished Magic Treehouse: Dark Day in the Deep Sea
Magic Treehouse: Polar Bears Past Bedtime
And several picture books read to his brother while I rested.
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