April Check-in: All the Birthdays

Hi folks. April: oh my word.

Four of our five birthdays are in April (apparently I didn’t take any pictures on mine). I decided to throw parties for all of us this year, and they were all super fun. I think everyone got to feel special on their day.

Knitting

My main project has been the sweater I haven’t blogged about yet. I’ll write about it soon, but suffice it to say for now that I have accomplished my months minimum goal of finishing with the body.

That picture does look rather the same as last months, doesn’t it? May needs to see the sleeves behind me at the very least. Sleeves and yoke would be better, since there’s a hood and a lot of finishing.

I’m continuing to be happily distracted by hats. There’s Martha’s Roamin’ Heid:

I also made a wee hat for an incoming nephew. I don’t think my brother or his wife go anywhere near this blog, so I’ll post it here:

The pattern is “Pirate Hat” from 60 Quick Baby Knits. This was a pattern suggested by a friend, with yarn provided by the same friend – I just knit it! Something I probably would never have agreed to if it weren’t late on a goofy knitting night. But this will be the first baby on my side of the family that isn’t my own, and the first boy, so I wanted to do something! Thank you baby D for modeling. This will get popped in the mail shortly.

Finally, I made a tiny entry for Kate Davies’ “Warm Hands” competition. I wasn’t going to, but something snapped in my head a week ago, and I had to give it a go. I don’t hold out much hope for them, since there are at least twenty designs submitted that I like better than mine. But I find the design process very life-giving, so I’m glad I did it. Here’s a glimpse, and you can see the rest on the competition ravelry thread.

Sewing Mending

I have sewing projects coded in my planner with an M, since S is already taken with spinning, and sewing in Inuktitut is miqsuqtuq. This is convenient, since all I’m trying to do now is work through my depressingly large mending pile.

I spent several days giving a new lease on life to this faithful old pair of socks. I bought the yarn ten years ago in South Africa, and they were the first pair of socks I made that really fit me properly. I wore them for seven years before they threatened to give out. They wore in a remarkably even way on the ball of the foot, so I ended up duplicate stitching a very wide area. It might have been faster to just re-knit the foot, but I couldn’t quite face that. It was a lot of work, but after all the service these socks gave me, it seemed they deserved it. It’s nice to wear them again. They’ve been in the mending basket far too long.

I mended a few more pairs of socks, and decided I needed a break. So next I made a plan to attack the girls’ leggings.

I started reading Mending Matters by Katerina Rodabaugh, which is a beautiful book-object, and quite inspirational. Unfortunately she mostly talks about jeans and woven fabrics, and my kids don’t wear jeans. N won’t wear them for sensory reasons, though I might get M to wear them. Instead, they wear comfortable leggings, and the older they get, the shorter they last.

Mending my children’s clothes, or trying to, has made me increasingly angry. It seems like children’s clothing is made to fail, like everyone wants to buy new clothes for babies and small children, so why bother making it nice? It seems like flimsy, disposable fabrics made from petroleum byproducts are the price of comfort. I guess I always knew that, it just didn’t bother me in a personal, visceral way until I started giving my precious crafting time to keeping my kids clothes in circulation.

I don’t buy new clothes for my children; they have existed entirely on hand-me-downs, thrift stores, and a few items from generous grandparents for their whole lives. That had mostly worked out because there’s just so much little kids clothing floating around that we can catch enough items that work. But N is getting old enough that she’s much harder on her clothes than she used to be, and hand-me-downs are getting scarcer.

So I’m trying to mend her beloved leggings. But I’m annoyed about it, since they’ll sprout new holes so quickly.

Can anyone recommend a company from which we could buy a few pieces that could possibly survive three girls, and be worth mending?

Spinning

I’m very pleased that I got through all three Icelandic spins for 51 yarns this month. You can find them here: Tog, Thel, Both coats.

Ever since completing my awesome swatch from the last sample, I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to spin up the whole pound of Icelandic batts. I convinced myself I would do it during Jared’s wee fishing trip last week. I thought I’d start during another free night.

But the truth is, I’m tired, and I’d rather knit. I really want to get the above sweater done before we move, and that’s going to take a lot of work. The idea of starting another big project – and it feels big, even though I know it wouldn’t really be that many hours – I just can’t right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind and do it in May; if not, I’m going to throw the batts out. I have literally four other sweater quantities I want to spin that I’m keeping.

Moving

Did you catch that blip in the last paragraph? We’re moving. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before because it’s only been public for a few weeks.

We are moving to Rankin Inlet. It’s in a different region, but same territory, same diocese, same language (different dialect). It’s a two-hour plane ride due west of here. Same latitude (so same sunlight) but much flatter, both warmer in summer and colder in winter, and windier with lots of blizzards. We will be moving our things by boat. We leave here July 2, will have our vacation, and get to Rankin in time for N to start first grade and M to start preschool. Jared will be rector of the parish there; I’ll stay home with the kids.

So that’s also been part of this month: Jared seeing our new house at the end of March, thinking through downsizing our things (the house is a bit smaller and we’ve gotten a bit cluttered), sharing the news, decluttering, registering for schools, starting to grieve leaving this place that has become home, starting to look forward to making a new home. I haven’t always handled it well, and it’s one of the factors that has made April pretty tough, to be honest.

I’m looking forward to sharing a little about this process. Home is something you make, in many ways, and changing homes takes a lot of creative and emotional energy. So it deserves a place here in this increasingly diverse making blog.

I’ve done a good bit of initial decluttering, but I’ve mostly held off with all the incoming birthdays. In May our goals are to finalize vacation details, book shipping stuff, pack up the study (yarn purge has occurred; book purge looms), and declutter as much as possible.

Spring, man. It holds so much promise, but I often find it a struggle. New life comes forth only with pain! How is spring for you so far? The weather is getting lovely here, but if there are flowers where you are I don’t want to know about it.


4 thoughts on “April Check-in: All the Birthdays

  1. Sweetie, I’m in “Merlin” and there are flowerish things going on. We miss your incredible creativity here, but rejoice in the adventure the Big “Guy/Gal” has planned for all of you. Prayers abound!:)
    Joan aka fuguestateknits

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  2. Argh, cheap clothes irritate the heck out of me! Partly because I despise shopping for them and partly because I hate how quickly they fall apart. Luckily, with only the one boy, he has grown out of things so quickly that he hasn’t torn them to shreds by that point but it is starting to change. And I resent it all on so many environmental and waste levels too. He is hardest on shoes so far and I can’t really repair those very much. But the holes in clothes make me cranky. If you hear of a good place that charges more for a reason (rather than more money for the same fabric with a different brand name) please let me know!

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  3. That is a lot going on and you are handling it well. Sorry I don’t have a suggestion for children’s clothing, although Lands End is have a big sale on all kids clothes right now.

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