Baby-Girl6 Soccer-Boys3 Baby-Girl7 Soccer-Boys Baby-Girl1 Snow Baby-Girl2 Socer-Boys2

Emma-Tunic Baby-girl8 Baby-Girl5

Joining Ginny for Yarn Along

Sun, snow, sun, snow. The ever changing cycles of this time of year, as spring and winter dance together. I love the randomness it of it all. In just a few short months we will go from talking about this crazy winter, to wondering when the heat will break and give way to cooler weather. Spring offers change, every day, and in just an unpredictable way. Tomorrow we are due to see snow, but come soccer game time on Saturday, it should be near 70.

Speaking of soccer, good gracious are we seeing a lot of that. My older two love the sport, and I am just thrilled beyond belief that they chose something that is only 50 minutes in length, and played in the cooler months. Most days I have to scoot the boys outside to get the ball out of the house and away from the dog, furniture and baby. I feel like it is constantly bouncing off of one of their feet, and almost everything we own can somehow become a makeshift goal if needed. One of my kids has practice at least once a day and games most weekends, which means that I am  becoming entrenched in my minivan driving, soccer mom chauffeuring ways. Perhaps Landon will do theater, dance, or play a musical instrument. Those can’t be anywhere as drive intensive as youth sports.

Of course I have Emma Jeanne and my knitting to keep me company on the sidelines (Landon is always off schmoozing the preschool ladies on the swings), and I do believe that more yarn related projects get completed on the field than anywhere else throughout the year. During yesterdays practice I managed to get Emma’s Diamond Pullover and a new pair of Picky Pants off the needle. Both projects had sat with just one or two rows left to complete for months, and for some reason I could not find the motivation to get them done. I knew the sweater was a tad big for Emma Jeanne, so maybe I just felt that there wasn’t a rush to get it on her. I have to say that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed knitting with this yarn, and how well I think that it is holding up. I have an Emma Tunic on the needles again (I love that pattern), and I am making it in the same fiber and colorway. There hasn’t been any piling, and it holds its shape beautifully.

With two kids on the field, one making a bee line for the playground, and one so very close to learning to crawl all over the place, trying to keep my knitting in order can be a challenge some days. Having a small drawstring bag to help me keep my yarn from tangling, or even worse, getting dirt and baby puffs in it, is a lifesaver. I use these bags two different ways, and carry them with me wherever just to be sure that if I ever have an extra minute to knit, I have it ready to go.

The bags are super easy to construct, and can be worn around the wrist while walking, playing with the kids at the playground, or enjoying times with friends. The bag can have the yarn drawn right up through the top opening, which allows the project to be taken in and out, or the yarn can be drawn through the hole that we make in the side. The tutorial below shows you how to make a crazy simple drawstring bag with the addition of the side opening. Once you know how you want to use it, you can decide which way to put your yarn in.

Wristlet Yarn Bag for Knitting or Crochet

Materials

1 Fat quarter or small piece of fabric
Rotary mat and cutter
Quilting ruler that measure at least 18″ long
Sewing machine
Needles and thread
Sewing supplies
Ribbon or cording for the drawstring
Yarn for your knitting project

Knitting-Bag1 Knitting-Bag-Tutorial-1-copy Knitting-Bag-Tutorial-2-copyDirections

:: Wash and iron your fabric. Cut your fabric into a 18″long x 10″ wide piece of fabric. Fold down the fabric on each 18″ side by 1/4″ and iron. Fold and press both 10″ sides by 1″. Top stitch each short side in order to hold your drawstring ribbon and cord.
:: Fold your fabric right sides together and pin. Beginning on the right side of the fabric, sew around one side and the bottom (beginning under the drawstring sleeve), ending 2″ up the left hand side. Back stitch to secure your work. Leave 2″ of open, and begin sewing the sides of the bag together again, stopping just before the drawstring sleeve once again. Backstitch to secure.  Trim your corners and excess thread, clip your corners, turn right side out and press.
:: Using a safety pin, draw your ribbon or cord through your drawstring sleeve and tie off to your desired length. Place your yarn through the side hole, or simply thread it through the opening on the bag, and taking your knitting or crochet wherever you go!

AsleepNow that we have the knitting down, lets get to the reading. In the final edition of ROTH, I had the pleasure to interview a local up and coming children’s book author who was trying to fund her first book through Kickstarter. Marissa Bloom was taking her first book from inside her head, to fully illustrated, to self-published and now, distributed. Over the weekend I had the joy of picking up two copies from Marissa, and my family is in love with it. All Are Family is a sweet book about the many different types of family that are found not only around the globe, but in our own communities.

As part of my Kickstarter donation, I received a second signed copy from Marissa, and I would really like to share it with one of you. I think that every family should have this book on their shelves, and every child a chance to read it. If you are interested in winning a copy of All Are Family, simply leave a comment here and I will draw a winner on Sunday evening through the random number generator.

I love to see see someone living their dream and making things happen. It gives me hope that when I tell my children that they can be anything that they want, they can grow up to be just that.

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An Authentic Voice

March 24, 2014

Authenticity

Authenticity is a subject that has come up a lot in my household lately. There has been a shift in our schooling of the older boys toward larger amounts of writing and public speaking, and that process has brought questions on what makes someone’s voice not only unique, but authentic and real. I have been writing, to some extent, since I was a child. I have stacks and stacks of journals that were on my bedside table, newspapers I created in my basement, books I wrote and loved, and eventually articles and  blog posts that are out in the world. Every time I hit the publish button on something, I have a moment of fear if my voice, my perspective was truly my own. In this world of social media it feels so easy to write, say or do something simply because it will be viewed more often, or pinned more regularly, or shared all around the globe. There are numbers to look at, or page rankings to consider, or any number of factors that at times, frankly, feels so draining and odd. On the flip side of that, there is an amazing community of writers, parents, teachers and artists that are out there, everyday, sharing a piece of themselves in the hopes that their authentic voice will be heard and that their opinion will matter and make a difference.

It isn’t an easy task to teach children to find their authentic selves. We all remember what it was like to be a young kid, to want desperately to fit in, to have our friends like us, to walk into school or onto the field, or into the dance studio and feel accepted. It is easier that way, in reality. However, in the long run giving our children permission to be authentic does set them up to be able to take a stand later in life. We need strong youth, the world shows us that every single day. We need our children to grow up and not only know who they are and what they truly believe, but to be able to convey those feelings and opinions without hesitation. When I read an article, an essay, a book, or hear a talk from someone who is speaking with their authentic voice, I am compelled to act, to listen, to take in and truly asses what they are saying. Even in my relationships, the more authentic, the more they impact me. Our children need to find those books, or movies, or relationships and interactions. The younger the better.

As my own kids are embarking on this journey, or at least the first steps of it, I am reminded that it is my actions they look to emulate. That scares me more than I can say, because I am on my own path, and I make a lot of mistakes along the way. They remind me that they are watching what kinds of relationships I value, who I let into my life, and what comes out of my mouth. They want to see how I treat others, what kind of friend I am, and what I value as important. If this is not the most important time to be authentic, I have no idea when it will be.

The process of authenticity is an always evolving one. We are constantly becoming better versions of ourselves as we grow and age. I think that one of the biggest obstacles in authenticity that I have faced is not in accepting others, but truly accepting myself. I feel like I am getting to know myself deeply now, something that has come with time and patience. I don’t wake up and wish that I was someone else, no matter how beautiful or deeply inspiring their lives may look. That isn’t to say that I love every aspect of who I am, more that I am grateful for the things that I bring to the table, to the discussion, to the world. How can I teach my kids to value their own opinions if I can not value mine? How can I teach them to be soft and gentle with themselves, to see their talents and their benefit, if I can not acknowledge mine?

As these kids of mine grow (oh so fast), they remind me that parenting is so much more about our actions than our words. It is the value of modeling that they learn most from. They need to see that we take seriously creating relationships that are based on meaning, that we create value by being authentic and honest, and that we value that in others as well. They need to have open discussions with us that have ample space for asking questions, and sharing their own opinions. They need to hear that those opinions are of value, even if we do not agree with them, and most importantly they need to be encouraged to figure out what they believe and think. Our society asks our children to conform in so many ways, on so many subjects. Society is a collective group of people and conformity to some extent will always occur. However, as parents we want to cultivate the unique, the individual, the authentic that is our child. If we can do that, if we can even give that to them even in small doses, we just may succeed in this thing we all call parenting.

 

 

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