Friday, April 11, 2014

Spin Share: A Spinning Link Up

{I love to see what everyone is spinning up. Would you share a photo and a few words about what you are spinning this week? Share a link to your work in comments to share the spinning love!}

I started spinning this fiber back in December or January before my hands went haywire. Over the last few weeks or so I've been working on spinning a little bit each day trying to help my hands get back into spinning shape. The singles are more or less turning out fine, but consistency is iffy in places. I definitely feel like everything is coming together better each day, but there is certainly more improvement to be made.

What are you spinning this week? I'd love to see your work! 

Please link to your own progress this week in comments so we can visit.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Color Chicken

The Exploding Socks have really been a journey for me. See, I LOVE color, but I really struggle with how exactly to use it. That leads to me knitting with tonals or solids, and without a lot of color variation unless specifically directed by someone else, simply because I'm a color chicken. I truly love the colors in these socks and have ever since the yarn first crossed my screen, but I was so nervous that it took awhile to actually buy the yarn, even though I loved it every single time I came back drooling. And then when I did buy it, it took me forever to actually cast on and then actually finish.

I was nervous the whole time, and I shouldn't have been.

I've said it before, but the Leyburn pattern is such a lovely pattern to knit. The stitch pattern is simple and easy to memorize, but looks really complex. It helped break up some of the potential pooling, but left some as well in a really cool "tiger stripe", as my boys call it. I did adjust the pattern somewhat- I really like the fabric I get for socks on a size 1 needle, so I did go with 64 stitches around as I usually do and I fiddled around with the numbers to get the pattern to go across the top of the sock exactly as I wanted it to.

I'm working hard this year on overcoming my mental color struggle. It's really strange, to be honest. I'm really drawn to brighter things and interesting color combinations (pretty much everything dyed by Nerd Girl Yarns and JulieSpins), but I freeze up when it comes to actually doing it myself. I need to be willing to experiment more and remember that it is JUST YARN. It can be ripped back and re-knit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I finished my Exploding Socks last week, and finally felt the first urge to move on from socks for a bit. Oh, I still have a pair on the needles (Comicon Socks, just past the heel turn on both), but I plan to keep it at just one pair for awhile so that I can work on a few other things, namely a "YAY for warm weather" Citron:

This is Nerd Girl Yarns base w00t (lace weight) in the colorway Earth Death that I received as part of the Doctor Who club last summer. I love the way this is knitting up, and it's going to be an awesome summer shawl out at the ballpark in the later evenings. I'm in the middle of the second section, and I'm going to see if I can get eight sections out of the yardage I have.

For reading I'm finishing Shirt of Flame by Heather King and I've just begun Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I first read Celebration of Discipline back in high school as part of one of my classes my senior year. It is quite a different read 15 years, 1 marriage and 3 kids later. I'm reading it slowly in the mornings and writing later in the day on it as time allows.

{If you are a spinner, would you be interested in coming back to this space on Fridays for a link up? Similar to this one, it's a "post whatever you are spinning" type of share. I hope to see you and your beautiful spinning on Friday!}

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homeschool 2014: Planning

We started our last official term for this school year a couple weeks ago and we'll be moving full steam ahead through mid-May to officially finish the year so that we can take a break (read: still do math and read for an hour every day) for about 6 weeks before starting the new school year in July.

Back in February I started working on our 2014-2015 school year in order to be ready for our local homeschool conference this past weekend. When I plan I tend to gather every bit of information I can, then whittle it down to what is useful and necessary. I re-read the books that mean so much to our homeschool to remind myself not to view curriculum as a solution, but as a tool. What do we really *need* to learn? Not much it turns out. Books to read and paper to collect our thoughts, mostly, but a few excellent tools can really smooth the process.

This year my brain is in overdrive as I've been trying to absorb so much information these last several weeks. It all started with reading Sarah's wonderful series on Teaching from a State of Rest. If you are a classical homeschooler (or even begin to bend that direction) and you don't subscribe to Sarah's posts, go over there right now and subscribe and read. But be warned- it's a slippery slope toward thinking longer and deeper about your homeschool than you had ever thought possible.

It was her writing and her Listen Up podcast and audio lecture links that led me on to Circe Institute and listening to back episodes of Quiddity and to listening to Andrew Pudewa and Susan Wise Bauer and so many more.

At the conference this weekend I also went to sessions with Steve Demme of Math-U-See fame that focused on family discipleship as well as sessions on our state laws and teaching your child to write. I walked the hall and looked at all the curriculum,  I talked with vendors about why their curriculum may or may not be a useful tool in our home, and I checked out all sorts of opportunities for my kids in extracurriculars and part-time schooling options.

My head is crowded, y'all. It's a mess of educating methodology and trying to translate it to practicality.

What I know right now:

1. We have some tools in place that are working wonderfully and getting the job done for the kids I am responsible to educate. We use some curriculum that isn't necessarily classical, but it is really getting the job done and with good attitudes from my boys. I don't need to change something that is working, even if it doesn't fit the classical mold perfectly.

2. Latin. The more I read the more certain I am that we should we studying Latin together NOW. We're going to start in June when we have a lighter schedule so that we can give some focus to getting started. In the meantime, does anyone have a suggestion on best ways for me to learn latin at my own pace as well (meaning faster than the boys)? I've seen recommendations for Wheelock's and Henle so far, but I'm just beginning my search on learning latin as an adult.

3. Starting my morning early is the best benefit I can give our family right now. It gives my slow-to-respond body time to get moving before the rush of kids needing breakfast, and I still have enough time to enjoy my coffee while I read Scripture and study a little. I'm able to write in assignment books and lay out the boys' Scripture readings before they even come out of their room for breakfast.

4. Starting our mornings focused on listening helps our day go more smoothly. I refresh our classical music playlist on Spotify every so often to focus on a new composer, and while it does seem like they aren't listening most mornings, I know it gets in their heads at some point because someone will say "hey, Mama- you play this one!" every once in awhile. We move from listening to music into listening to French and then listening to a read-aloud or two. I'm looking forward to adding Latin listening and Shakespeare readings over the summer in this morning time.

What I'm still pondering:

1. A writing program for my upcoming 3rd grader, and whether or not we need one. I'm looking particularly at Writing and Rhetoric and IEW's Student Intensive A program. I think Ender would particularly like watching the IEW videos on Mondays and then working on an assignment through the week. But can we accomplish the same thing through letter writing, narration and dictation?

2. History. We really like Story of the World, but I don't feel like we are retaining much as we read, narrate and do map work. I know something needs to change here, but I'm not sure what. More support reading? A timeline book?

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