J’s Cardi F.O.- Yarn Along

J's pumpkin Cardi

J.’s Pumpkin Cardi was FAST- for me at least. One week!  I have never in my life knitted any item of clothing in a week.  J’s Cardi was based on Katrina Ballerina and is knit in one piece which I lengthened into another LCOEP and I changed the bottom pattern a little because I didn’t like the chunky looking bottom edging.  I used Berroco Vintage which for me was a bit of a gamble: acrylic yarn &possible squeakiness.  **Shudder**  Fortunately it was fine and as I said really really fast.

However I had a full two months before I could give it to J for her birthday, and I had grand plans for the dress I  wanted to make her to go with it so I procrastinated on finding buttons for it and I just hung it in the closet to wait for the right time.  It did finally get it’s moment in the light: she loves it and it looks sooo cute with her classy little Autumn Jersey Dress.

J's pumpkin Cardi and Autumn dress.

J’s pumpkin Cardi and Autumn dress.

I have been re-reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  Previously when I read this book it was as a mother of young children living in a village community with easily accessible and kindly woodlands and moors that my children were able to have some measure of freedom to explore.  Meanwhile they had friends who were never allowed to play outside a yard and then were never allowed to get dirty even in the yard: so they played video games and watched TV of course.  Now my kids are older our surroundings have changed as have their needs… I was hoping the second reading would be as inspirational to my as the first time but sadly it has just felt rambly and a desperately narrow-minded.  Part of the problem is mine: I have been learning more about food insecurity in America for a future home-school subject and when you know more about hunger in food deserts it makes “nature deficiency” sound like a first world problem.

I’m joining up with Ginny for a Yarn Along.



Happy Birthday to Me… Almost: Yarn Along

My MeritanceStill… Going… On… And…. On… And…. On…  I had intended to have it done by my birthday this weekend but… uhhhh, no.  Not happening.

It is partly my fault, or rather: it is all my fault.  I decided to lengthen my Meritance from the sensible hip length cardi it is patterned as into a Long-Cardigan-of-Epic-Proportions (LCOEP).  This thing reaches almost my knees. At 5’9″ that is no mean feat.  Naturally I got bored half way through and finished two other knitted projects I have yet to share.  Then on top of all that 99% of my day is spent multi tasking.  That makes making real daily progress on a LCOEP difficult.  But now I am about 10 cast off stitches and some finishing away from it still being too hot to wear till winter!

I am currently reading Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.  It is a fabulous book intended for younger children perhaps 3-5th grade but J. and I are using this semester as a platform for creative writing and critical thinking in her 7th grade home-school lessons.  As reading material it is far too young for J. but the quality of the writing makes it great for a learning spring board.  So after a trip to Alcatraz (which we frequently call Azkaban my mistake) we have started our school year with a bang!

Linking up with Ginny today for a Yarn Along.

xx Jo

All Change

The armies of changes seldom lay siege to the bulwarks of Peace without first preparing a sizable force to form battalions.

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Such is my life.

Sadly I am both the Offence and Defense in this war and my Offence is stronger over all.  So I prepare an army and attack the only things I really really wish to preserve: daily peace and quiet.

This is just to explain my months of absence… I have had a lovely summer but I was so busy throughout that it feels as if it never properly got going.  Things are still crazy and will certainly not stop being crazy for the foreseeable future but at least for now I can see my way to blogging a bit again.  So hello lovelies!  How nice to be back.



The Empty Week- Yarn Along

IMG_7542Welcome to my wonderful, glorious, shiny, happy, no obligations, totally, completely and unexpectedly free week. This is the thing I wait and long for… always.  A week with nothing in it.  This is a close as I get to vacation.  I am a stay at home mom, and I home-school.  Any holidays we have as a family include being a stay-at-home Mom so vacations are just every day life but with the added stress of keeping everyone entertained including a husband.

This NEVER happens!

Never.  Ever. Ever.

Of course my kids are here working on their education and I naturally have a list of things to catch up on… all of which I am studiously ignoring as I relax in the sanctuary of my home office in my Grammie’s old chair knitting Meritance and reading a load of total trash.  As befitss a do-nothing week I am joining up with Ginny  rather late in the day for a Yarn Along.


xx Joanna

Olive and Pit

Olive and Pit

Olive and Pit

Living in the sticks is challenging.  We have no cell reception. If the power goes out it can stay off for days and days while PG&E search the hills for the fault.  Our cars need new tires… a lot.

BUT we also have found ourselves in an amazing community.  We know every one of our neighbors and if we need some support (or they do) then there is always someone who has the knowledge or time that can help.  One of our neighbors used his tractor to plow our field the first year we were here; in turn when they were away and a tree fell on their drive M. went up and cut it up and moved it off the drive so when they got home late they would come home to a clear road.  We Llama-sit occasionally for another neighbor and in turn they chicken-sit for us. Equally one of our neighbors give E. a lift to her volunteer program in Boonville and we have yet to find something that can repay that generosity.

The Chicks: Stupid, Dash, Newsa, and Nutmeg

The Chicks: Stupid, Dash, Newsa, and Nutmeg

So last week when we got the call from  one neighbor about another who had been bereaved in January and just desperately needed to be rid of a Bantam hen and her chick to ease her worries: of course we said yes.  We really aren’t Bantam people (useless pet chicken anyone?) but the need was there and we had the space and time to help.

Olive and Pit

Olive and Pit

So it is that Olive and little Pit joined our farm.  She is a masterful escape artist and a little firecracker with other chickens but she is sweet and placid with us.  We are having to keep her in a separate enclosure as one of the white Delaware took an instant dislike to Olive and while she has that little chick Olive has no intention of making peace.  The younger chickens are still in the broody-hen hutch so Olive and Pit are in a rabbit cage adapted slightly for her needs.

The Chicks: Pigwidgen, Baby, Stupid, Dash, Newsa, and Nutmeg

The Chicks: Pigwidgen, Baby, Stupid, Dash, and Nutmeg

I know she adds to our daily chore list but really that’s what living in the country is about: we look after each-other and in the end our lives are all the richer for it.

xx Jo

Meritence- Yarn Along

IMG_7507I did decide to cast on Meritence for myself, but I am probably going to have to start the other project before I get too far done with My Meritence.  Oh my Giddy Aunt is this pattern a headache!  Its all correct and it works just fine but the way it’s written requires so much mental gymnastics I dread picking it up and figuring out where I’m at!  I’m sure it will all get easier once I’m past the armpits and onto the looong stockinette section.

I have just finished reading  The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice.  For years I have been avoiding Jane Austen spin offs after an unfortunate run in with Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (followed by a sad encounter with Death Comes to Pemberly) but I actually really enjoyed The Forgotten Sister!  It is a first person narrative but set against the back drop of Pride and Prejudice it feels much broader because you already know what was happening the room next door!  I actually didn’t believe the love story but the rest of it was magnificent!

I’m linking up with Ginny for a Yarn Along.

xx Joanna