FO Friday: Kerrera

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I finally finished Kerrera last Saturday. I would like to note that I actually did finish it in about three months, which is about a month less than the Brennan cardigan took. I’m pretty sure that we aren’t keeping score, but I just thought I’d point that out because I can.

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Anyway, I had a photo shoot with it, a mug of tea, and a good book…because that’s how I roll.IMG_1230

The downside of doing a photo shoot on a Friday evening after working all week is that I tend to be a wee bit tired. IMG_1233

Like I said, I tend to be sleepy. But Kerrera is warm and snuggly…IMG_1235

I have a feeling that this isn’t the best picture of the back, but it’ll do.IMG_1237

More precise project details: I used madelinetosh tosh vintage in “composition notebook gray” that I bought from a destash on Rav. It took about 1360 yards (or 6.8 skeins) to make my sweater. I love the yarn, and I will definitely use it again. IMG_1234

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But I love the sweater. It’s not perfect…because I made it a size too big, which means that it’s not really something I’ll wear to work, but it’s warm and cozy. Simply put? I love it. IMG_1239And that book I’m reading? That would Jasper Fforde’s newest book, The Woman Who Died A Lot. So far, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read.

 

(In)Sanity?

I’m currently a first-year teacher who is questioning her sanity. And no, it’s not because I’m giving a test the day before Christmas break.

I finally finished my Kerrera sweater Saturday. But instead of going ahead and making the Royale that I’d be planning on starting, I decided (in a fit of sheer madness) to start a Vaila instead with the intent of finishing it in time to wear it on Christmas day…and then I’ll start the Royale after the Vaila is done.

So why is this the result of madness? Because I also need to make two pairs of mittens, three little girl sweaters, two shawls, a scarf, and a headband by the end of December.

If you’re counting, that’s ten projects by December 30. I have all the yarn. I have all the needles and all the patterns. I even have a spreadsheet telling me what I’m making, who it’s for, when I started it, and when I need to have it done. I also have a schedule for when I knit what. I work on Vaila every day. Trillian is for Sundays and Wednesdays. Owlet gets Mondays, Fridays, and any time I’m in desperate need of purse knitting. Martinmas gets Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. And as those go off needle, the schedule will fluctuate to accomodate new projects and projects that need to be rushed.

And in the middle of all of this, I need to do my real job. Teaching, planning, grading…and knitting ten projects. Work needs to be my first priority, and knitting needs to come second.

But because of my struggle with insanity, I need to make sure that I also have enough time to meet all of my knitting goals. Somehow, I believe that I can knit three children’s sweaters, one adult sweater, two pairs of mittens, one scarf, one headband, and two shawls on time. I really do believe I can do it. And don’t even try to tell me otherwise.

And that, my friends, is insanity.

In Thanksgiving

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

-Psalm 107:1

In honor of American Thanksgiving, here’s a quick list of ten things for which I am grateful this year. This past year has been a very blessed year, and I am grateful for so much.

  1. A loving family
  2. A warm house with all the necessary amenities
  3. A car that works
  4. A job…and not only that, but a job where I am allowed (and encouraged) to talk about my faith
  5. Some of the best friends a girl could ask for
  6. Living in a country where we have the freedom to choose our leaders and freedom to choose our religion
  7. A church community that loves and supports me
  8. Supportive coworkers
  9. Yarn…to keep me sane
  10. All of you who take the time to read my ramblings

There are many more things for which I am grateful, but that’s a quick list. I am blessed in so many ways, and I am so grateful for all my blessings.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

 

A Letter to My Future Daughters

The following is inspired by my encounters with adults and with teenagers over the past twenty-four years. It is also inspired by my faith and my love of literature. It is intended to be both humorous and edifying.

And, of course, only God knows if I will ever have daughters to read this letter. But for now, it’s for the blog, which at times is like a child to me. And perhaps through this blog post I can help a few other women.

Darling Girls,

Read. If I could teach you one thing in your life, well, actually, it wouldn’t be to read. It would be to love the Lord with all that your heart, mind, and soul. But if I could teach you two things, I’d teach you to love the Lord and to love to read.

Please read. Read things that inspire you, things that challenge you, things that make you ask serious questions, things that make you think, that make you laugh, that make you cry. Read.

Read literature that helps you to live, to love, books that will help you to become a better person. There are books that I have read and re-read a dozen times because every time that I read them they have a different impact on me. I’ve reread the last few chapters of Anne of the Island so many times that I could practically recite them to you. I know The Ordinary Princess inside-out and upside-down…and I own two copies of it, one of which I keep in the front seat of my car. You want to know what happens in Certain Women? Have a seat because I’d love to tell you, but I’d love it even more if you sat down and read it for yourself. (Certain Women lives under my bed with my copy of Little Women and my other copy of The Ordinary Princess.)

And each of those books has helped me to become the woman that I am today. Anne Shirley, Elizabeth Bennet, Meg Murray, the March sisters, Vicky Austin, Beatrice-each of these heroines has shaped a part of me. Gilbert Blythe, George Knightley, Adam Eddington, Henry V, Aragorn-each of these men has a played a role both in shaping my present self and showing me what I want from my future.

That’s the power of literature.

Literature has taken me on journeys to a thousand worlds both real and fictional. I’ve traveled through Middle-Earth with Frodo and hurried across melting ice in Narnia with Lucy. I’ve been to Antarctica with Vicky and Adam. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wanted to spend curled up in Mr. and Mrs. James Dillingham Young’s $8/week flat.

Derbyshire, Prince Edward Island, Africa, Florin and Guilder, Paris during the French Revolution…literature has given me wings.

The War of the Roses and the reign of the Tudors, the American Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Trojan War, the Third Age of Middle-Earth…literature is about as good of a time traveling device as the TARDIS. And have I ever mentioned that I thoroughly enjoy traveling through The Time Traveler’s Wife? But I digress.

Reading has taken me through time and place. And from those times and places, I have learned about the human condition, the human soul. I have learned what it means to love and to hate, what it means to be Good, the meaning of service. I have learned how to love and how to live.

That’s the power of literature.

More importantly, literature has made me (I believe) a better and stronger person. While it’s easy to judge Lizzy Bennet for her pride or her prejudices, it’s a little harder to look at her and say, “Oh, crap, that’s something I struggle with too!” Or a person might look at Emma Woodhouse’s need to meddle in others’ lives and shake their head, but it’s a little harder to realize that I can (and do) have tendencies to do the same thing.

Reading provides a (sometimes unwanted) level of self-awareness.

If you know me well, which, well you’re my daughters so you may or may not know me well, you know that I am a self-declared modern Elinor Dashwood. Now, I have to admit (because I try to be honest) that Elinor is not perfect. Similarly, I am not perfect. I do have flaws. I have a tendency to become easily frustrated but to not share these frustrations with others, to vent my emotions to easily when I am alone in my car, to stew over my emotions (both the positive and the negative) et cetera. (One of my flaws is actually a refusal to admit that I am flawed. I must be human or something.) But anyway, I have a tendency to idealize Elinor because I look at her and think, “Man, that’s me! That is ME! She must be fan-freaking-tastic.” And then, I see things in her that I’m not so crazy about. And that’s hard (harder than seeing flaws in Emma or Lizzy, if I’m being honest) because I’m seeing flaws in her that are also flaws in my own character.

(Side note: Reading the chapter on Sense and Sensibility in Peter Leithart’s completely amazing book Miniatures and Morals was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. It made me aware of some of my own weaknesses, and while I needed to have my eyes opened, it hurt like crazy to have to remove the proverbial plank from my own eye. But again, I digress.)

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, wait a second. You want me to read. You want me to love literature. And now you’re telling me that reading literature will cause me to recognize my own flaws. Count me out.”

I know. That’s why I’m going to darnedest to get you hooked on reading and literature BEFORE I let you read this letter.

But regardless, I want you to look at literature and to see both the good and the bad, the positive and the negative. While Pride and Prejudice has awakened an awareness of my own pride, the character of Mr. Knightley in Emma has taught me a great deal about humility and love. Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing has taught me the benefits of a merry spirit and joyful heart. Hermione Granger of Harry Potter fame has taught me the importance of strengthening my mind to help others.

(By the bye, Hermione is another literary character with whom I share a few characteristics. And while I would love to say that I’d be right next to her in the heat of fighting a battle, that’s not it. We’re both know-it-alls. And seeing her has awakened my awareness of my own tendency to be a know-it-all and has helped me to look at myself and say, “You know, right now might be a really great time to shut my yap and keep my supposedly enlightened views to myself.” Like I said, literature can be enlightening, and sometimes, that hurts. But I’m digressing again; I’ve got to work on that. I wonder what literary heroine that makes me like.)

Literature is a window to the human soul. It opens our eyes (and hopefully our minds and hearts) to the world around us. It shows human history and how people have evolved and not evolved over the course of the past several thousand years. It is also a way to understand both ourselves and the world around us. Literature has the ability to open our eyes to the lessons of the past and to inform our hearts and minds to impact the present and the future for good. It has the power to change us both at an individual level and at a societal level.

Reading (and thereby literature) has the power to shape the people we become from a very early age. It has the power to change the world.

That’s the power of literature.

Literature can make you laugh. It can make you cry. It can make you think. It can inspire change.

So read. Change your destiny and read. Please.

With all of my love,

Cecilia

FO: Trillian

This is just a quick post to flash a finished object from about nine days ago. It’s Trillian by Martina Behm, and I liked the pattern so much that as soon as I was done setting this one up to block, I started a new one. And as soon as that one is set up to block, I’m starting a new one with this yarn. (Please don’t judge me just because I’m buying a skein of yarn just because the colorway is called turducken. It’s the simple things in life, people.)

But anyway, here is my first Trillian. It was donated to a school-related function. The next one is a gift. And the turducken one will (finally) be (probably) for me.

That’s all for now, folks. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll have FO pics of a sweater coming up in the next week.

 

We Love You

I found this on on Simcha Fisher’s blog on the National Catholic Register today. And I had to share it because it is awesome.

As a member of the John Paul II generation of the Catholic Church, I love this. It’s been about seven and a half years since JPII left us for eternal glory, and I am glad that we have him as an intercessor in heaven. But as Simcha said, I have missed his voice. I have missed his voice sooo much. I just loved hearing him say, “Perhaps I love you more.” He probably did love us more.

But Blessed JPII, we love you. And we miss you. And we are sooo grateful to God for the time we had with you and the love you gave us. We’ll see you again soon.

Confessions

I fail at blogging. I have become the kind of blogger that I swore I’d never be, the kind of blogger who drives me insane.

I have become the blogger who never updates, the blogger who makes promises and doesn’t keep them.

I epically failed at everything I planned to do in October as far as the blog goes. There were no knitting updates. The “10 Things I Learned from Literature” series crashed and burned. I still haven’t finished the “Letter to My (potential) Daughters” post. I didn’t write the 100 Things About Me post.

Now, I know that I have good reason to be busy and stressed. I know that it’s all right that I have no time for blogging and that my real life is getting in the way of my virtual life. I know that is acceptable. But it’s still hard to look at my post from early October and realize that I’m failing at something.

My only goals for November are the following: I’m going to try to be a good teacher and to finish one sweater. I can’t handle much more failure right now.