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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lace Shawl: I know, I know, I shouldn't be surprised this is taking FOREVER!

I am still knitting this shawl. I am still loving knitting it and the fabric it is making. But I am getting impatient for it to be done. I feel like I've hit the black hole of knitting and no matter how much I knit it isn't getting any bigger nor is any of the yarn in the ball disappearing. A bit discouraging. But I am trying to be monogamous with it. Or at least the best I can. I knit that swatch for my other shawl design. But have not knit on any other projects besides this one. I've started to look at patterns though and think about other yarn in my stash so I don't know how much longer I can hold out. :)

Ginny shared My Sisters the Saints in one of her Yarn Alongs awhile ago. It peaked my curiosity so I checked it out from the library. I am not Catholic. But I have this sort of fascination with the Catholic faith and I enjoy reading about it. I attended Mass once in college, on Palm Sunday, as an assignment for my religion class and found it very interesting. I think this is one reason why I like the Call the Midwife PBS series and books. I know the nuns are from the Anglican Church but reading about life in any convent is intriguing to me.

My church believes that if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy we should seek after these things. And I found much in this book that fits into those categories. In reading my scriptures this morning, I am studying about discerning between truth and error for my youth Sunday school lesson on Sunday. In Moroni 7:16 we learn how we can do this: everything which invites us to do good, persuades us to believe in Christ is sent by the power and gift of Christ. Again I found so much good in this book that inspired me to strengthen my faith in Christ.

With that said, I have a fundamental issue with the idea of Saints or my understanding of the role of Saints. I think Catholics believe that Saints act as intercessory between us and Christ. That we can pray to them to speak to Christ on our behalf. I don't believe that. I believe that is the role that Christ plays between us and our Heavenly Father, who is a separate being from Christ. But in the lives of these Saints on earth are many times that I can emulate, full of virtue and loveliness that are an example to me.

I'll share a few with you. The first is Edith Stein, a Jewish born philosopher turned Catholic convert and Carmelite nun. She recommends that a woman should spend time with God in the morning, midday, and night. That can be attending Mass or praying and reading scripture for a few minutes during those three times. Following this pattern will bring peace. I like what she said about the night time with God.

"And when night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much which one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as it is, lay it in God's hands, and offer it up to him. In this way we will be able to rest in him, actually to rest, and to begin the new day like a new life."

Can't you totally relate with days like that?

The author, Colleen Carroll Campbell, shares her struggles with infertility in the book. One comment she made really stuck with me. She talks about how the Catholic Church doesn't believe in IVF, what was appearing to be her only option for motherhood. She knew that God would forgive her if she chose to do it, and would love the child conceived that way. But that it would change her relationship with God if she chose something that she believed to be against His will. She thought the presence of a child conceived with IVF would be tinged with sadness since it would be a reminder that at a critical juncture in her life, she had chosen her need for control over God's invitation to trust. I don't have her same feelings about IVF but certainly can relate with her struggle of needing control over trusting God. 

She didn't choose IVF but came to the realization that the highest call of every mother is to nurture the spark of divine life in another's soul. And genuine spiritual motherhood lies in leading others to freedom. That is beautiful. 

She writes about Mother Teresa too. And I love the conclusion she draws from Mother Teresa's struggles for years with feelings of desolation:

 "How liberating it must be to stop evading, questioning, or complaining about your trials and start embracing them as opportunities to draw closer to God, to realize that even if Jesus is all you have, He is enough"

Such truth. A very inspiring and uplifting read. I highly recommend it. 

Sharing with Nicole, Ginny, and Tami today.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hearts Knit Together #38: Making a Stepping Stone and Why You Should Never Wait For a Better Time When Children are Involved

My sister in law, Joy, gave us this stepping stone kit for Christmas in maybe 2005. At the time we only had Adelle and were a state of transition/uncertainty as Joel was applying to graduated schools. We were no were near being settled down. I thought we would wait and make the stone when we were in a more permanent state, thinking it wouldn't really move well.

2006 took us to California for graduate school, 2009 took us to Kansas for more graduate school (among other things), and here we are in 2014 finally settled down. We now have 4 children with too big of hands to make a print on our stepping stone.

One grouchy day after school we pulled out this kit to make, while Roman finished his nap in the car. The childrens' bad attitudes changed and they enjoyed mixing the cement stuff but were disappointed when only one person's hand would actually fit on the stone. We opted for using the glass shapes that came with the kit and making an R, which Roman was thrilled about when he woke up because he thought the R was for Roman.

The children love the finish project (thank you Joy!) and it looks pretty in our garden. But I feel a little sad that I didn't just make it years ago so the children could make hand prints to preserve. It is a good lesson for me that you can't wait for a better time when it comes to childhood. It passes too quickly.

Happy Monday!

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.