Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Work on Wednesday - Wikki Stix

Today at the yurt we made our own Wikki Stix. These seem to be a staple in homeschool environments, and after one day using them, it's easy to see why. You can use Wikki Stix to shape letters, trace patterns, make a maze, and countless other things. Go take a look at Pinterest. You'll be completely overwhelmed and totally inspired.

I decided we should make our own because it's way less costly than buying them, and I knew the boys could help with the creating. The recipe is all over the blogosphere, so I won't go into details here, other than to tell you it's super simple. And it's a great way to use up all your extra scraps of yarn.

While I heated the wax, I set the boys to cutting the yarn. What happens when you ask four year olds to cut yarn? You end up with Stix of every length, which is just fine. Once the wax was warm, the boys dropped the lengths in and I dipped them out with tweezers. I wanted to let them do the dipping out, but after I did it once, I realized it was going to be too challenging (and too messy) for them to do.
I created a "measure guide" for each of them to cut with, but only one actually used it...
The other two cut a million different lengths of yarn. It's cool, the important thing is this: they are getting cutting practice.

We waited patiently for the wax to harden, and then the fun began!

I love seeing what these kids come up with when left to their own devices.
Let's think about the dexterity it took to create this snail shell with no help from me! 

The twins are using clothes pins to make creatures.

Once they discovered the sticks stuck to the glass, they spent over an hour creating "wikki stick trails."

E hatched this idea - he brought me the two sticks to make an umbilical cord, then asked
for a baby, and he made the placenta himself.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Blanket Disaster

When I found out I was pregnant in early May, I cast on a lovely baby blanket and began to knit those early days away. Superstition prevents me from knitting for the baby I'm carrying until later in pregnancy, and I don't like to finish (sew in ends and block) anything until I'm well into pregnancy. Twice now I've started knitting projects during a pregnancy that ended in loss, so these superstitions hold strong.

I started Poplar Blanket early in my pregnancy, and was finished the knitting by July or so, but I didn't finish or block it. Instead, I folded it and set it aside. A few days ago, I decided it was time to weave in all those ends and block it to really show the lace pattern. I ran it through the delicate cycle to prepare for wet blocking, and pulled it out to find - horror! - mouse holes that had unraveled.

The first hole was near the top of the blanket, so I ripped out that whole section, removed the damaged yarn, and reknitted with the good yarn. You can't even see the problem area.

During the repair

After the repair, the damaged area is no more!
The second large hole is near the cast on edge. I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out if it would be better to try to remove the damaged yarn and reknit those stitches, or just rip out the whole damaged bottom, reknit and graft the new CO edge to the middle section of blanket. After looking carefully at the section, I knew it would be a major headache to try to recreate the lace pattern and remove the damaged yarn without making a huge mess, so I removed the whole bottom section to rework it from the bottom up.

As I'm reknitting the cast on edge of this blanket, piecing together the small balls of yarn, I'm meditating on this thought: I've been mulling over how difficult this labor and birth will be. I've been scared of what obstacles we will need to overcome to get to the end. I worry about the emotions that will come up, I dread reliving the fear and hurt and heartbreak of four years ago, and of a year and a half ago. But I know I can do it, and that it must be done.

When I knitted this blanket, I had a picture in my mind of wrapping my newborn child in this lace pattern, this soft, supple wool. When I pulled it out of the washing machine and spread it out to see the disaster before me, tears sprung to my eyes. It was unfixable. It was ruined, and I needed to start all over. As I stepped back and analyzed it, though, I realized it was going to be hard work, it might take a while, but I could make it come together. I could fulfill the dream, and prepare this blanket once more to wrap my new little love.

And in that way, this blanket became a symbol of a greater journey. With every stitch, I knit intention right into it. Intention for a safe journey through labor, the courage to face my demons, and the wisdom to release what isn't serving me.

the grafted area, from the wrong side
a right side view
the finished grafting, ready to have the ends woven (again)
As I now look down at this pool of yarn, sitting finished in my lap and ready to be blocked, I can easily see the seam where the grafting happened. Like a scar, it disrupts the otherwise perfect rhythm of the piece. Once upon a time, I may have gotten so disgusted I turned the whole blanket into something else, something more perfect, without a scarred visage. But I'm not afraid of scars anymore. I carry scars, both physical and emotional, that remind me of my story, and mark my journey to become who I am today, and who I am becoming. Just like me, this blanket will carry a scar, a story, to tell its history, and remind me that things aren't always perfect, but a dream can still rise out of what looks like a disaster.