One knitter's battle to conquer the intended gauge . . .

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Postcards from Spring Break Day 4: I am Terrified of Heights. My Sons have No Sense of Self-Preservation. Bad Combo.

Our traditional camping photo. This is totally Joel's idea and I love all the silly photos we have taken the last few years. And don't you just love the matching hats for those two gingers?

I did my duty. I took my children up to Delicate Arch. And I am not going back. The hike up, a cliff on the side of the sandstone, is scary enough for me. But then you get to the top with tons of people walking around right on the side of huge drop offs. I was trying not to have a panic attack up there. I know it is mostly an irrational fear and I try to tell myself that,  but I had a tight grip on my boys. They couldn't understand why this was as close to the arch as we got. They were dying to walk over to it. But I just couldn't do it. They truly have no sense of self-preservation and I was a nervous wreck. Someday when they go there by themselves and I am not responsible for their safety they can walk to the edge of the rock. But not on my watch!

Happy Easter!! We are home safe and sound, thank goodness. How grateful I am that because of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I am able to spend eternity with this beautiful bunch. What a blessing! 

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 
-Matthew 28:6

It is true! He is risen. And because of Jesus Christ's victory over death we will live again too. Forever. With our families. With God. 

Here are two great Easter videos I showed to my youth Sunday School class today: Because of Him and His Sacred Name.  Go watch them. Feel the peace and love God wants you to feel today!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Postcards from Spring Break Day 3: Canyonlands National Park

(my favorite arch -- Mesa Arch. The view out the arch is unbelievable)

Ancestral Puebloan granaries built around 1200 A.D.

This was my first time to Canyonlands. I couldn't resist sending you all these "postcards." It was so beautiful! This last picture of Roman with his two junior ranger badges does not show the immense pride and joy those badges gave him. He was so proud of himself for earning them! He even prayed that night to "bless his badges." Could this boy be any cuter?!?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Postcards from Spring Break Day 2: Seeing Another Arch Never Gets Old

 (Skyline Arch)

The rain cleared enough for us to enjoy a few short hikes after attending church in Moab on Sunday. But then it poured down when we were headed to our campsite to cook dinner. We decided to attend the BYU-Idaho musical fireside (meeting) at the church building that night to wait out the rain. It was great hearing a trombone duet and a saxophone quartet. I saw instruments that I had never seen before, like a soprano saxophone. And no one looked at us too strangely when we walked into the chapel dressed like this. It is Moab after all. We hadn't build a campfire yet so at least we didn't stink too bad.

After all the rain cleared we were able to see the most amazing moons this week. This was the night before the full moon and it was still so bright above our campsite. Adelle, Joel, and I were able to wake up at 1am to see the lunar eclipse. That was really cool. Being out in nature strengthens my belief in God. He created all this for us!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Postcards from Spring Break: Arches National Park

Excuse the crappy cell phone photos. Spending the week tent camping with my little family near Moab, Utah. So far experienced sun, rain, wind, snow, and hail but having a great time hiking around. Note to self: double check what the children actually pack for themselves (Maeve has been hiking in her pajamas) and what husband packs for them. (Only one boy actually had his pants packed. Luckily they are close in size. Jude wears them the first day, Roman pees in them the next day, and they go into the laundry :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Learning to Design with Lace -- Is it possible for Craftsy to Spy on Me?

Last summer I bought this yarn at sidewalk sale for my local yarn store in Kansas. It wasn't on my list of yarns I needed at the time. It isn't a color that I usually buy. But something about it just kept calling to me as I walked past it several times. It is Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox. It is 60% alpaca, 20% merino wool, and 20% nylon. It is amazingly soft and squishy. I just love it.

As I was driving across Kansas in our move to Utah, the fields we past just reminded me so much of the color of this year. And I was inspired to knit a shawl that represented those Kansas fields to me. Since last summer I have been thinking about how to design this shawl. Then a few weeks ago I saw the call for submissions from Knitscene with a suggestion of "golden." I thought this yarn would be perfect to swatch for that submission.

Unfortunately as I started trying to put my vision on paper I realized that I did not have the know how to actually knit what I wanted. So I spent a lot of time looking up shawl shaping and shawl construction trying to learn. One of the resources I found on line was this Craftsy class, Lace Shawl Design. It looked really interesting and exactly what I needed. But at 49.99$ it was more than I wanted to spend.

So here comes the part about Craftsy spying on me. I wasn't logged into Craftsy while I was searching shawl designing. But the next day in my inbox I received an email from Craftsy offering the lace shawl design class at half off. Crazy right? So however Craftsy is tracking what I look at online, they totally got me this time. I bought the class and have already watched 5 lessons as I folded about a million pounds of laundry yesterday. So far it is really educational. Not sure I'll be submitting my idea to Knitscene this month but I at least have the confidence that I will get to knit the shawl in my head.

Sharing with Andrea and Linda today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yarn Along: Why Do Women's Conversations Always Include Birth Stories?

by: Jennifer Worth

I now have 200 yards of single ply Peruvian highland wool yarn. Nicely stored in this great basket my neighbor purchased for me at the local garden store. She said it had yarn stored in it at the store and she immediately thought I needed it. How sweet is that?

I've always plied my handspun until this bunch. I just really wanted more yarn that I was able to spin when I plied the yarn. I've finished the yarn and let it "rest" so hopefully the singles will not be so energetic. We will see. I have a bit more roving to spin and then I am thinking of dyeing it with my walnut dye in gradient color before knitting a shawl. Still deciding on what that shawl will look like. I've spent way too much time studying shawl shaping lately.  I like this visual image of shawl shapes done by Holly Chayes. She has written simple instructions for this crescent shaped shawl that I might use with my handspun. I am just a little concerned with knitting stockinette stitch with singles. I don't necessarily want it to lean to one side. Any advice?

I love the show Call the Midwives, on PBS. It was only recently that I realized it was based on a book, really three books, memoirs by Jennifer Worth. I've finished this first book and two things really stood out to me.

1.  In the late 1950's the midwives were delivering 80 to 100 births a month. The birth control pill was introduced in the 1960's. In 1963 the number of babies delivered by the midwives had dropped to four or five a month. That pill brought on some serious social change! My husband thinks that when ever you get a group of women together there is always talk of birthing. I've not sure it is every time but it is pretty frequent. I cannot imagine what it must have been like back then, when some women had 24 birth stories to share!!

2. I love this conversation that was shared.

What had impelled Sister Monica Joan to abandon a privileged life for one of hardship, working in the slums of London's Docklands? "Was it love of people?" I [Jennifer Worth] asked her.

"Of course not," she snapped sharply. "How can you love ignorant, brutish people whom you don't even know? Can anyone love filth and squalor? Or lice and rats? Who can love aching weariness, and carry on working, in spite of it? One cannot love these things. One can only love God, and through His grace come to love His people."

I love the truth and honesty in that statement. I am a selfish, judgmental person. It comes really naturally to me. :) As I allow Him to, God is changing my heart. When we love God and pray for His love to fill our hearts we come to love His other children, no matter how different their lives may be from ours. I've felt that happen in my life and know it is true.

Sharing with Ginny and Tami.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hearts Knit Together #37: Cooking with Children - Mitt and Ann Romney Family Table

My weekend was wonderful. I spent it with my family listening to General Conference and knitting. I imagine that most people of faith are concerned about how to help their own children develop faith and commitment to their religion. That was the main concern I brought to this conference and was what I was listening for answers to. How do I help my children come to know Jesus Christ is their Savior and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church restored to the earth? I was comforted when answers were given by numerous speakers at the conference. Read scriptures as a family daily. Pray as a family daily. Have Family Home Evening (one evening a week spent with our family that includes a gospel centered lesson and a wholesome recreational activity) weekly. These things are habits in our family already. I know that they are great blessings to us. And this is how we build faith in our children. The messages from this conference gave me confidence that I am on the right path and encouragement to continue.

On a separate but kind of related note, I don't like to cook. It is not something I enjoy at all but I have learned to tolerate it because of the benefits it brings into our home and family. Besides it being healthy to eat home cooked meals and the financial savings it provides to eat at home, it really provides needed family time. There is all kinds of research out there that shows the benefits of family dinners from closer relationships to drug free kids.

As the stay at home parent the responsibility of making family dinners happen mostly falls on me. It takes a lot of planning and time, even with a very supportive and "kitchen capable" spouse. Recently I was tired and frustrated with the amount of time, energy, and money feeding my family of 6 was costing me! I was burned out on what we had been eating and needed some new, tasty ideas. When one of the woman at church talked about how she has 6 weeks of meals planned so deciding what is for dinner and doing her grocery shopping is simple, it got me thinking of how I can streamline this whole feeding thing. (Did I mention I hate grocery shopping too?)

About this time I saw Ann Romney's cookbook at the library when I was taking the boys to story time and decided to check it out. I have mixed feelings about the Romney family politics but am still intrigued by their life and we certainly have our faith in common so I found her cookbook inspiring. She talks about raising and feeding 5 boys (can you imagine how much food that required?!?) and the importance of the daily family meal together. And the role her mother and grandmother played in her life and how much bonding took place in their kitchens. The parts I read made me want to be a better mom. I loved how she use to dress the five boys for church on Saturday night so they could make it to church the next morning on time when Mitt was serving as the Bishop of their congregation and was gone early to meetings. So funny to have the boys all sleep in their clothes. Maybe if I tried that we'd make it on time to church when Joel is out of town. :)

We've tried several recipes. Our absolute favorite is her chicken pot pie with buttermilk biscuits. It is really, really tasty. I like her minestrone soup recipe too. I had one I liked but Ann's is even better. And the chocolate mint bundt cake is really good too. Of those that we've tried these three are keepers.

So a few weeks ago I typed out 6 weeks of meals with a grocery list for everything those meals requires. If I don't need some of the ingredients that week I just cross it off the list. So far it is working pretty well. We don't always eat all 7 meals in a week. If Joel is gone we might go back to our lazy ways of popcorn, cheese, and apples for dinner or eat breakfast food twice a week for dinner. But I don't feel bad one bit about that. Here is four of my weeks.

The boys are pretty much my constant helpers in the kitchen. Most of the time I really enjoy it. Jude is pictured here helping me make the chicken pot pie. For our wedding we were given a crock pot cook book with several good recipes but the one I use most is the usable chicken recipe. I can throw frozen chicken (bones or no bones) in the crock pot in the morning with  1/2 onion, 2 tablespoons parsley,  1 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, and 4 cups hot water. It cooks all day on low until I am ready to make dinner. And provides me with chicken easily shredded to throw in many different recipes.

If I keep having the boys help in the kitchen eventually they will be so capable I can just pass the cooking of meals on to them right? Isn't that why we have kids? So they can do the chores we dislike? :) Kidding. Only kidding.

Happy Monday!