Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Knit Hat for the Hubby

One of my friends gave me a skein of Patons Tweed (Aran) yarn over the holidays which the hubby really liked.  I have some dark blue 100% wool yarn I got at the thrift store for ridiculously cheap (like 5 skeins for $1 or something insane like that).  The two yarns paired together really well.  I started the project using Size 8 16" circular needles and the Karlchen pattern for top-down hats for the crown.  I then went into a 3x3 ribbing for the body of the hat.  For the brim, I dropped needle size to 5s, decreased one stitch in each rib, and did an inch or so in 2x2 ribbing.  The hubby really likes it!  I completed it last night and he wore it today.  

Ravelry Link

I'm currently working on a Ridged Lace Cowl which is a pattern that requires me to focus from time to time but is not overly demanding on my mental faculties which is a good thing.  I think once I finish this, I will start working on another scarf of some sort.  I'm thinking maybe something bulky for a change.  We'll see.


Z1 is learning how to write cursive.  He wanted to learn it so he could read the notes that Nate the Great's mother would leave for him.  (Nate the Great is the main character in the wonderful detective series written by Marjorie Weiman Sharmat.)  He also didn't like not being able to read the notes left for silly Amelia Bedelia (main character in the popular books by Peggy Parish).  I would have happily waited until second grade to start cursive instruction but since he was interested, I went along with it.  I know that it's not longer taught in many schools and there is debate about how useful it is but as far as I'm concerned, it's necessary.  In this technological age, the art of handwriting is being lost.  And if you know me, you know I don't believe that we will all have unlimited access to e-mail and texting and all that forever.    I definitely think thinner, simpler days are ahead so we only do ourselves a disservice by writing off basic skills like handwriting (pun intended).  We still need to know how to write different kinds of letters and how to send thank you notes.  We still need to know how to take written notes.   We need to to be able to communicate and preserve information on paper.  Anyway, not to go off on too much of a tangent.  

There are many styles of print and cursive handwriting.  Z1 has been learning handwriting using the Handwriting without Tears program.  I just love this program for learning to print because it's straightforward and fun--simple.  The HWT style of cursive is also very plain and straightforward and we went with HWT for cursive just because we were accustomed to  the materials.  
But it's not the style of cursive I learned or use.  The way I write cursive, a combination of the Palmer style and simple Zaner-Bloser, is decidedly more ornate:

So writing things for Z1's copywork takes a whole lot of looking at the HWT letter chart and extra thinking on my part.  I've asked Z1 if he'd like to try a different style but he likes the HWT style precisely because it's not so curvy. So we'll stick with it.  We practice handwriting every day for 10-15 minutes and over the course of a year, I am really blown away by how his handwriting has improved.  

Here's a New York Times article, The Case for Cursive, which I read some time back.  I agree with many of the points.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Very rarely am I a part of the morning rush hour but today was an exception.  I needed to run out and pick up some groceries and I wanted to do it while the hubby was still home.  That meant that I had to leave by 8:00AM and be back by 8:30 the latest.  So off I went into the frigid cold.  I picked up the groceries and on the way home, there was a bit of a traffic jam.  A traffic signal was broken and was staying red indefinitely.  As I sat there, I thought to myself that I kind of miss the morning hustle and bustle.  The morning energy.  Everyone experiencing the freshness and optimism of a new day. You know, the rhythm of it.  The purposefulness of getting up, getting dressed, heading out the house to go do a job that has a broader effect than on just one's family.  Having a job that pays; a job that has a title.  I kind of miss just being me for a portion of the day.  Not Z1 or Z2's mom.  

I don't miss the stress, though.  And it was a lot of stress.  But there's a lot of stress as a stay-at-home mom too.  Minus the social interaction.  Which sometimes makes it difficult for me to decide which stress is less intense.  I think, sometimes, that at least the stress of working yielded a pay check and some recognition from time to time.

I'm not planning to go back to work full-time anytime soon.  Being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom is important to me and I think it's the best fit for my family.  And it won't last forever because kids do indeed grow up.  But I think how life would be different if I did make a switch.  I'm not always totally sure it wouldn't be good.  

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