It has been a whirlwind couple weeks of hard work and fun, and I have so much catching up to do! In the past two weeks we have finished the spring semester, I finished a couple crazy projects, Jared graduated, Naomi got baptized … and I’ve started on homework for the summer term. I finally have an evening on which we are home, just us three, and Jared is free to play with the Nomes for a bit so I can blog. I’ll catch you up on all that stuff in good time, but I have to begin at the beginning – with my first Mothers’ Day with a baby.
That weekend was weirdly chilly, which meant a renewed opportunity to put Naomi in as much knitwear as possible. She’s got a head start on that knitterly practice of not matching oneself at all. Thankfully she’s a baby, so she cares even less than the average knitter. Just think – this baby is wrapped in the love of three different knitters and a crocheter. (Actually four knitters and a crocheter – I knit the booties for another knitter who gave them back when they were outgrown!)
May is a month of purple surprises in the garden. Right now the columbine are in full steam in the front and back. The whole front of the house is lavender with them, with a single cluster of indigo columbine. The irises have just started to come out and the snowball-things (I forget what they are called) are almost ready to pop.
I make a point of sitting outside with Naomi for a while every day to enjoy them. Flowers are just one more reminder of a new skill I’m learning: enjoying the moment. I tend to be the sort of person who is so busy thinking about the next thing I’m going to do that I have trouble living in the present. It makes it all too easy to take everything for granted. But with my entire life at the beck and call of a little person who requires all of my focus, I’m learning to appreciate the other things I get to do, even if for short periods of time.
That’s what we did all day last Sunday.
You’ve probably picked up from the last several posts that Naomi’s first few months have been very difficult – unusually so, from what I have been told. Combine that with a rather intense end to Jared’s semester, and we needed some help. For almost two months, Mom put her whole life on hold and spent more than half of her time up here in Pittsburgh. She helped us to get through a phase during which feeding Naomi was a full-time job for three people, to a time when we finally get to just feed and care for her like a (relatively) normal baby that we (more or less) understand (for the moment).
By Mothers’ Day, we finally got to reap the rewards of our hard work. Naomi being fairly manageable, sharing the duties of caring for her between us was downright easy. And during our down time, we took the whole day to spin.
Okay, so we’d been inspired by Sheep and Wool, and spent much of that long weekend spinning. Mothers’ Day was just the only day we allowed ourselves to spin all day.
Mom worked on some fun merino that she will post about soon. I started the week finishing up this silk hankie I’ve been working on on-and-off for a year.
I started spinning this hankie nice and fine, with the intention of keeping it a low-twist single. My goal was to spin it fine enough that I could get 6-700 yards out of it, enough to knit Rock Island. But I might have overdone it. The final yarn has no less than 1160 yards. And weighs 1.1 oz.
Having only worked with it at tension, and only seen it tight on the bobbin, I was surprised and delighted when I took it off the niddy noddy and it was incredibly soft and fluffy. The dye had also sunk through the many layers of the hankie to different depths, so spinning the layers in order resulted in a yarn that shifts slowly through many different shades of rust. I’m not sure if I could have gotten it any less neppy if I knew what I was doing, but I decided to embrace that part of it. I like a handspun yarn with a little character.
On Mothers’ Day itself, I got to start on a roving that’s been next in line for a very long time: 4 oz of merino-silk blended gradient roving from Fiber Optics, in the colorway “St. Patricks Day.” (Yes, I am totally on a gradient kick. No, I’m only getting started.)
I’m spinning it in the vague category of “pretty thin.” I didn’t feel like sampling, so I just found a thickness that seems like it’ll make a fingering weight when tripled, and I’m trying to be consistent. This stuff spins like softened butter, so thus far it hasn’t been difficult. At this point in my spinning career, I kinda know what I’m doing, but I find it just as effective to rely on gut and luck. I just watched the new Star Trek movie the other night, and this description makes me want to fancifully refer to myself as the Jim Kirk of spinning. Doing so would be pretty arrogant, but that would be very appropriate to the description in a way that is very confusingly meta. So maybe I just won’t.
We spun late into the night, watching Doctor Who and chatting, like we do. It was such an apt reward to have gotten to the point, on the other side of all that hard work of parenting and feeding and loving (not to mention keeping up with schoolwork) to just be able to enjoy ourselves together doing something completely superfluous and beautiful. I am thankful for every such moment I get.
Thank you, Mom, for being there for us during this phase. Thanks for learning all our funky routines and being so adaptable when they changed all the time. Thank you for teaching me what being a mom means – giving and giving and giving, and being grateful for anything you happen to get in return, which could never measure up to how much you’ve given. Thank you to Bethany for having such a good attitude about coming up and being with us too, and to all the family back home who helped Mom be able to come up. I am glad that phase is over, but I will miss you, and am so thankful for all the joy that came through it. I love you, Mom!