April Roundup 2020: Quiet Birthdays

April is usually a bit of a headache, since four out of five household birthdays are in April. In that way, this year’s silver lining is that the pressure was off. I made nice desserts and favorite dinners for everyone, and I’d really already had my birthday treats in Vancouver. I wonder, when all this is over, will we all have developed a little more of an allergy to being unnecessarily hard on ourselves? Will we be a little more accepting of peace? Of being small, of having smaller circles, of doing less? As a teenager I would have hated that. Now, I am so totally okay with it.

We did do one really awesome birthday thing. For Jared’s birthday, he wanted to spend a few days at our friends’ cabin. We were able to do this last week, and it was a highlight of the year so far.

Navigating on the sea ice
My favorite ice formation that we found

We had a glorious time, and thanks to the generosity of our friends, we hope to spend a lot of time out there over the next six months. This should be significant compensation for our vacation probably being canceled.

Knitting

While at the cabin, I was determined to get out of my doldroms on Ringle.

I haven’t been knitting on it much, for reasons you will see below. I do still like it, and it’s my only plain knitting, so I want to keep it going. I’m through the body except for the ribbing, which I think I’ll do in the handspun contrast color, and I still have the sleeves to go. It’ll get done.

I’m also making some progress on my “A Sign of Spring,” part of the Made-With-Love-Along, in support of Crafty Jaks, that is going from April through the end of June. though it’s slowed down significantly. I’m through all the speedy sections I could do with my eyes closed, and I’m into the long lace section that I can only do in the evenings. It’s going slow, though, because I’ve been spinning rather a lot.

Spinning

This has been a banner month for spinning! I’m so very pleased. It all started with my 51 yarns samples:

And finishing my lopi-style icelandic sweater spin.

That was all in the first week! I had checked those two boxes so I could start on my new Targhee sock spin, which took another week and a half.

By this time I had settled into a happy habit of doing family work during my afternoon breaks – homeschool prep, cooking, etc. – and saving evening free time for spinning. It felt really good to cozy up behind the wheel, setting aside everything else for a while. This gave me the impetus I needed to sample for my next big spin.

I’ve been carding up a storm for the last week. What started as a means to using up my oldest stash has turned into a dogged determination to card up all the raw fleece in my possession. Which isn’t very much, compared to what many people have, but it’s been sitting in my stash far too long.

26 batts down, 14-odd to go. (They’re small batts.)

Weaving

No weaving this month! Just fine with me; it’s spinning season.

Mending

I repaired another pair of jeans this month, though they’re too tight to wear in the winter. (I always wear some kind of leggings under my jeans in the winter.)

This was a pair I had repaired before, but the fabric I used to repair the hole was not thick enough, and had its own hole pretty quickly. This time I did not mess around.

I then made a pile of the shocking number of leggings into which my daughters have worn holes, decided which ones were salvageable, and prepped some patches for them. They’re now sitting, waiting for me to find some desire to sew them on.

Homeschooling

We’ve settled into a happy rhythm. This is the seventh week since we started homeschooling, and I can say we’re mostly enjoying it. We’re blending some of the stuff I had prepped with some of the new work Stringbean has gotten home from school. I think it makes her feel good to have some choices. She’s doing really well for a beginner narrator. We haven’t gotten outside as much as I would like, but we did plenty of nature study at the cabin at least!

Sketching some caribou antlers found near the cabin

I’m trying to keep expectations low. I’m always full of new ideas, but they all require prep time I don’t have. One season at a time. But let’s celebrate what we did get done! Establishing the habit of narration is the biggest deal!

I hope you’re staying sane and safe, wherever you are. This quiet life is becoming very normal, though I’m missing my local people, and it’s a treat whenever an excuse comes up to see them. We have our first official COVID-19 case in Nunavut as of today, so even though it’s thousands of miles from us, we’ll probably stay socially distanced for some time. We’re just thankful to be able to enjoy our land. I’m letting the anxiety go – trusting God to show us where and when we can help.


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