Mermaid Yarn (thought process)

I’m going to ramble about yarn. Brace yourself.

I’ve ordered the tail yarn for the mermaid for the pattern example. Berroco Espresso – this time I got Pistachio. I’m waiting to see it in person before I order the rest of the yarn for her top, skin, and hair. Espresso is a 50/50 cotton/acrylic. This violates my “earth-healthy yarn” code. I’m using it anyway because it is a) perfect and b) novelty yarns are typically a compromise. While a hand-dyed wool would work beautifully, I’m trying to find readily available yarns for the Mermaid. She’s such a mix of yarn types, I don’t want people struggling to make her ‘look like the picture’ because they can’t get ahold of the yarn I used.

Her skin color is problematic. Once you factor in a less popular yarn weight (chunky) and my earth-healthy preferences for fiber…there’s not a lot left. I’d like a smooth organic cotton (not a fluffy one like I use for animals). It would be nice if I recommended a yarn that didn’t need doubling and one that is relatively easy to find (not a custom yarn from Etsy). Finding skin tones is just tricky anyway. Everything is dyed in beautiful, bright, clear colors right now. There are very few browns, tans, neutrals, or whatever the pale shades are called (haha ‘ecru’) available right now. I may end up with Pakucho held double. I’ve ordered a sample card so I can see it in person. Pakucho is color grown cotton which means lots of cinnamon, olive, and tans. Unfortunately no dark browns, but I’ll keep looking. I have to use a lighter yarn for the pattern example so that the stitches show up in the pictures, but people come in all kinds of colors! A doubled worsted does give people more options to fine turn their mermaid’s pigment so this might actually be better than a chunky that’s only available in a couple colors.

Are you following my thought process? All that to say, I will go with doubled, non-organic cotton yarn if one has a variety of ‘neutral’ shades. If anybody has a suggestion? I’ll include other recommendations in the pattern notes no matter what I actually knit her with.

P.S. Ruth has pointed out a couple South African yarns that look great but don’t have retailers in the US yet: Nurturing Fibre and Vinni’s Colours. I don’t mind international shipping, but neither of the companies has color cards with the yarns actually attached. It’s a big gamble to take if you’re trying to match colors, so I’m not ordering for the Mermaid I’ll keep you posted (Nurturing Fiber is first on my list: bamboo/cotton chunky).

Hello, World!

Right after I posted yesterday, Claire (the Air) slowed way way way down and started acting weird. I tried very hard to shut her down for a rest but she beat me to it…and wouldn’t turn back on.

Logic board. So meet Claire III!

Same model, same name.

Same model, same name. I miss my other stickers.

Best Buy sales and a backup from 10:30am made my downtime minimal. Not like last time.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Lesson 2

I felt a little more cramped for time this week. We had hair cuts one morning and a new friend over during our usual school time one afternoon. Both events were totally worth it but effectively knocked out an entire day of school. We ended up doing a chunk of Language Arts work Sunday morning. My first reaction was I AM A TIME MANAGEMENT FAILURE, but it’s really fine. It’s only Week 2 – we’re still adapting to the idea that school doesn’t have to happen on a weekday.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really not. There’s a lot to do! And we get Involved! And we’re new at this! And Ellie talks a lot*. We’re still trying to sort where some of the daily things fit into our rhythm. For instance, knitting a couple rows now happens during bedtime reading (she started her scarf).

So this week: knitting, form drawings for math (harder than you’d think), more about China,

finished up her mask (meant to be part of our China study but came out a kitty anyway),

she finished up her mask (meant to be part of our China study but it came out a kitty anyway),

body systems for health, science was ants (really, science was learning to make extended observations and take notes),

the weather was perfect, our mornings are getting cooler,

the weather was perfect, our mornings are getting cooler,

more work in the Main Lesson Books as expected,

that's the science entry about ant survival techniques (her foot with an ant biting it is over to your left),

that’s the science entry about ant survival techniques (her foot with an ant biting it is on your left),

and language arts was more sentence structure, composition and comprehensive attention to detail along with a review of blended consonants and vowels sounds.

Another full but well-balanced week. Weirdly, there aren’t as many pictures. I didn’t get as much knitting done (although I finished the little Rooster and the Mermaid) because the first Girl Scout meetings are looming ahead and I thought it would be smart if I did a little planning…

*Ellie chatters constantly from when she gets up in the morning to when she goes to sleep at night. Unless she’s reading to herself. When she’s reading to herself, I may as well not exist. I have a little bit of we-should-have-done-this-sooner angst every time I think about her in a classroom being good, still, and silent. And not asking any of her questions. And keeping all of her thoughts inside. And not having a hug every time she finishes writing a sentence because apparently that is also vital to her learning process.

Yay!

She can sit on her own!  Even with all that hair.

She can sit on her own! Even with all that hair.

I am really happy with how she turned out!

I am really happy with how she turned out!

Her wig is knotted on through her scalp (like blanket fringe) and then tacked around the bottom of her head. It worked great. This one’s hair has three different yarns since I was using scraps, but I’ll find something for the pattern example that will help me get a more accurate idea of yards needed. I’ve also got to locate a line with skin tones (I’m thinking EcoButterfly but it’s floofy so I’m on the fence). What I used for this one (KnitPicks Simply Cotton in Ginger, doubled) has been discontinued. But I looooove her tail (I’m so glad I though about that little picot edging, it’s a great detail) and will use it for the pattern. That one comes in other colors so I’m trying to decide which way to go for he pattern example’s tail.

Two Arms to Hold You

I finished her arm! And then I started messing around with her hair! And THEN I thought, “Argh I forgot to take a picture!” So I took one:

From my phone.  Yes, that is a bird's nest on the table behind her.

From my phone. I wasn’t paying attention to my background, but I probably should have been.

I’m trying something different with her hair than I did with the Girl’s hair. So far it’s not too heavy.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Lesson 1

Best. Week. Ever.

We explored the five senses, talked about territory, started piano lessons,

had cats in the classroom

had cats in the classroom,

played a bunch of games, studied China,

started a mask (expect a tutorial)

started a mask (expect a tutorial),

reviewed word families, sang songs, knit, recited verses,

played word games - the whiteboard was an excellent decision by the way

played word games – the whiteboard was an excellent decision by the way,

read books, composed sentences, had a friend over after school, went to Play Group at the park on Friday, and

worked in the Main Lesson Books

worked in two of the Main Lesson Books.

That’s not even everything. In case anybody is sitting around wondering if Oak Meadow’s curriculum actually has enough to keep the student busy: we could have easily made all of the activities in Lesson 1 last for a week and a half. I sorted out our weekly schedule for Lesson 2 and I feel like the same thing is true. Ellie and I do tend to get really involved in most everything we do, but I have a hard time imagining anyone just blowing through these activities, stories and projects.

In spite of our longer-than-anticipated school days last week, I managed to make all of the Mermaid but one arm and her hair, kept up with the house, fixed all the meals but two*, and read to myself for fun. Oh wait. All the meals but three. I forgot about the donuts on Monday morning. I will also say (lest you think that there is too much Donna Reed over here) that I wrecked one dinner with my illiteracy and had to make Emergency Substitute Dinner from the freezer. I like to cook, but I am not always good at it.

MY POINT IS: It was a full week but not hectic or rushed. It was a full week with a relaxed pace.

I’ve got to start planning for Girl Scouts this week, so we’ll see if I feel as relaxed at the end of Lesson 2.

*That sounds super domestic and like a weird thing to be proud of. If you need to judge me for it go right ahead. When you’re finished, please cross your fingers that Devoni’s Pizzeria reopens in September like the sign says they will…

Kitty Knitting

Just a sneak peek at what went on the first week of school:

teehee

teehee

The little kitty pattern can be found at The Magic Onions. When I saw that post, I knew the scarf would just have to wait a week. Our only modifications were to seam flat across the top of his head (to make ears with the corners) and i-cord on 3 stitches for the tail. Ellie insisted that her cat have eyes.

Also: I totally framed her first knitting.

So fancy.

So fancy.