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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Hi, folks. It’s been a few months since I’ve gotten in here, and I’m sorry. Crazy abounds around here, particularly lately, and it makes keeping up the way I’d like difficult.

We’ve been very lucky (knock on wood) to have avoided contracting the virus, which is all to the good, but quarantine is definitely taking a toll. Because of underlying health conditions, even though restrictions have been lifted somewhat, we haven’t been taking advantage of that fact. The kids are still streaming their classes, despite school having reopened part time, and they probably won’t be going back this year at all. The lack of social contact seems to be very much affecting Bryony, and last month we had to admit her to inpatient care at the hospital. My ten year old child had several plans in her mind for committing suicide, and had been cutting herself as a coping mechanism.

Ten years old.

My heart broke. There is no other phrase for it.

As a family, we sat down and discussed it with her. We told her that the fact that she had made actual plans meant that we were officially over our heads. We could no longer deal with things on our own, and she would have to go to the hospital. She agreed; she wanted to go. She wanted to get well. And her mama just fell apart at that point.

Bryony told me to think of it as a really long sleepover at a friend’s house. And she told me that no matter how close or how far she was from me, she would always be with me. My youngest child, my baby, so brave. I was a wreck.

And so, I drove her to the emergency room, where she was admitted, and we were told that she would be there until such time as a facility opened up that could take her. Until then, they acted as a holding facility, keeping her physically safe, but not doing any actual treatment. I would be the only point of contact because of Covid rules.

There has been a distinct division in the family lately. On top of everything else, Aneira had come out as trans, feeling more comfortable identifying as male and pansexual, something that I am struggling to reconcile within myself. Understand: I love my children. There is nothing they could do to change that. And I am not phobic in regard to the LGBTQ community. I want to be supportive of my child, but where he says he has been thinking about this for years, this is an entirely new concept for the woman who gave birth to two daughters, and now has a son and a daughter. Loving him and supporting him does not mean that I don’t mourn the daughter I no longer have, and I hope that makes more sense to someone than it currently does to me. I have a son who is a stranger to me in many ways, who has the face and form of the daughter I bore, and it’s very hard for me to wrap my head around. And because she is now he, I am no longer the go-to parent. He and the hubby have become very close, where he and I have lost that closeness. He feels more in common with my husband, particularly in light of my husband’s own preferences. So there is a division right down the midline of the family, with Bryony and I on one side, and Aneira and the hubby on the other.

With Bryony in the hospital, and the buddy-buddy closeness of the other two, I felt very alone, and I pulled back. I spent all of my time either in the studio or the bedroom catching up on tv shows I hadn’t watched in awhile. And though both of them professed to be missing Bryony as well, I couldn’t feel that they did. They had each other, while the child that remained close to me wasn’t there. I was depressed and scared and sad, and it didn’t feel as though anyone else was, so I withdrew more and more.

Bryony stayed at the hospital for two long weeks, with me visiting as often as I could. She wasn’t the only child there, and in fact the doctor said that they are seeing a spike in the number of children in the pediatric behavioral health ward, believing that parents are seeing more behavior issues because of the quarantine. Because of that spike, beds were in short supply at treatment facilities, and Bryony was released to outpatient care after two weeks because a facility never opened up for her, and it was decided that it would be worse to continue her exposure to those who had worse mental health issues than she did, so home she came. In addition to ADHD/ODD, she has been diagnosed as borderline bipolar, something we feared happening because we had our own issues.

But the familial division has made itself felt. I haven’t quite come back all the way from my own withdrawal, and I still feel very much in the middle. Bryony is still acting out, though a bit less than before, and her brother and father have very little patience with her, so I am acting as a buffer between one child and the rest of the household, while struggling to maintain my own equilibrium and failing. It doesn’t help that I can see both sides of the problem, because I can’t seem to find a way to fix the problem.

I’ve continued working on different projects in weaving and crocheting, and even cooking, and I’ve posted on Instagram (@sibelabmom, if anyone is interested in following me there), and I’ve begun therapy myself, but this is the first time I’ve felt settled enough to blog in awhile. So, sorry for the long ramble!!

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Things are rough. My BPD is starting on a downward spiral like I haven’t seen in awhile, I think because so much is going on, and I don’t really have access to my normal space that keeps me sane.

More and more, what we are seeing is that our children are having mental health issues, and we had hoped that it wouldn’t happen, but this world we’re living in…I don’t really know how anyone manages to stay sane.

Bryony is ADHD and ODD. ADHD is a common acronym nowadays, but I’d never heard of ODD before. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. The title pretty much describes it to a “T”. She argues with every word out of everyone’s mouth. It doesn’t matter if she’s right or wrong, and you can prove it. She can’t help but fight you on it.

I’ve always said that with her argumentative nature, she should go to law school, but as the years have passed, the arguments are less cute and less amusing and more frequent. It’s a near constant situation now. I don’t know if it’s the months of quarantine or a natural progression, but everything is a battle now.

Because she has to be supervised nearly constantly, her own room is not an option for virtual school. Because of an open concept main floor and four loud, rambunctious dogs, the dining room table wasn’t an option either. The only room left was my studio. And really, if my choices are risking my kid’s life by putting her back into a brick-and-mortar school or protecting her by giving up my studio for the majority of each day, well, the choice is pretty obvious to me: she gets the studio.

Of course, the situation is less than ideal. The studio is my area, my retreat, and I don’t have access at need. And I’ve been needing it.

Tempers are fraying all over the place in the house. The kids both being home day in and day out means that there is a lot more fighting and no breaks from it. Hubby not being home so much of the time means that everything is shouldered by me, which in turn means that I spend an inordinate amount of time arguing compliance issues with a ten year old for whom argument is a lifeblood. By the time hubby gets home, I’m so worn down I dump the whole mess on him, which means that he ends up yelling at her almost as soon as he walks through the door. Resentments are simmering across the board, with no outlets anywhere in sight. We haven’t made a lot of friends since moving here, which contributes to how much we miss Colorado and the community of framily we had built there, and missing those things adds to the general downward spiral we’re on.

And I joined a group for parents of ADHD children, and I’ve got to be honest here: I’m not sure it helps.  On one hand, reading so many stories that sound like your own situation makes you feel less alone. On the other, it makes you wonder about the light at the end of the tunnel. Is that sunlight streaming in from the end? Or are we simply approaching a light bulb and returning to more dark tunnel once we pass it?

My own negative mindset makes me think the latter. Negativity breeds more negativity, so I’m trying very hard to avoid it, but I’m struggling. Part of the recent addiction to the more portable fiber arts is because my studio access is so limited. I thought that still being able to engage would help — and it does, to an extent — but I guess environment has something to do with it too.

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Tiny loom from Hard Maple Looms. It’s 7″ long by 4″ high and cute as a button!

The weavebrain is back to running amok. I currently have four looms under warp. Two are weaving the same design in different colors and yarn thicknesses. One is under a practice warp. And the last, a teeny little loom, is under an inkle warp. My last loom and my wooden heddles haven’t yet arrived, and I have no idea when they will. The Ukelele is coming from Windhaven, and they had a major flash flood, so the shop was under water. No telling when they’ll be able to resume work. That’s a horrible thing to have happen, especially now when there’s already so much going on in the world.

The heddles are coming from Latvia. They shipped on May 7th, but there’s no tracking number for them, so I have no idea where they are. Given the state of the world, they might have gone to Outer Mongolia, for all I know!

Staying on point is hard because I am seriously wanting to try my hand at Baltic pickup weaving, but I don’t have a loom free. At least, not one for that. Two of my three rigid heddles are free, but they don’t fit in my lap. I need to swing by WalMart and get a tv table of some sort. Maybe I’ll do that today. 

In other news, both kids will be moving on to their next grades. Aneira did well with homeschooling, and we’re looking into keeping her there until graduation. Bryony, not so much. And I am no teacher. Her passing had absolutely nothing to do with any help on my part. We spent more time fighting over her actually doing her work than cooperating to get it done, primarily because it is her contention that “help” means that a parent does all the reading and tells her which item to read to get the answer she needs. Naturally, that’s not happening!

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As we were sitting in the living room the other day, Bryony asked me a question: if I could do anything, have anything, be anything, what would I do, have, or be?

We had each been doing our own respective things in the same room, which is pretty common. She was engrossed in Minecraft because she’s somehow managed to lose Animal Crossing — again — and I was wrapped up in weaving, vaguely listening to her chatter. It’s not that I don’t listen to her, it’s that she is a child whose tongue starts wagging the second she rolls out of bed, and it literally does not stop until she rolls back into it. I’m not the worst mother in the world, but neither am I the best, and I simply cannot listen actively all the time, or I’d never get anything done. So, vaguely listening, but she insistently repeated the question, and I picked up on it the second time.

My first inclination was to laugh — only a child could ask such a question and think it was simple to answer, but then I realized that it actually was. If money was no object, who and what would her mother be? What dreams would I fulfill if I could do so, just because I wanted to?

It didn’t even take much thought. I’d move the family north, probably to the New England area. I’d build a house. Not a mansion or something ridiculous, just a house. I’ve never felt that a family of four needs a house with thirty bedrooms and sixteen bathrooms, with a home theater built in, complete with reclining leather seats. I don’t want a place so large that maid service is pretty much a requirement. Five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen with plenty of storage, living room, dining room, and a weaving studio with lots of windows for natural light attached to the house. Maybe a barn, so we could have some horses. The house would be on a couple of wooded acres, but still have city water, sewer, and gas, because I don’t ever want to deal with a well, septic, or propane ever again. Central air, of course. A pool? No, darling, probably not. Maintaining animals is one thing, maintaining a pool is something else again.

Was that it? Was that all I wanted, just an awesome house to hang out in? She wanted me to take it further. Well, okay, I’d also like to travel to different places and learn different weaving techniques from different cultures.

She grinned at that, completely unsurprised by that answer, and I laughed. My kids know me pretty well. Mama is fairly predictable.

Then came the big question, the one I suspect she really wanted to know: would I still have her, her sister, and their dad? Absolutely!!! That didn’t even need to be asked; I would never give them up! They are my family, and I love them. They go where I go!

She went back to Minecraft after that, curiosity — and maybe insecurity? — satisfied. I, however, was daydreaming about the things I would do if I could.

Clearly, I need to hit the lottery.

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Variegated thread vs. unmitigated black.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been bouncing from project to project because quarantine is playing merry hell with my ability to focus on any one thing for very long. So the other day, I decided to see how a variegated thread would look against a dark one in weaving on my inkle loom.

As I also mentioned previously, I’ve been working through Laverne Waddington‘s band weaving books. I’m still bouncing a bit, but it’s within the same medium, so it doesn’t really count, right? In working through the books, I’ve been doing one repeat of each of the motifs that catch my eye. See? Bouncing within the same medium, but with a purpose. I’m learning something.

I love variegated yarn. Pretty sure that’s yet another thing I’ve mentioned before. I am absolutely powerless against variegated yarn. I can’t quite visualize what I’m going to do with it when I see it, but I do look at it and think, “Ooooooo, pretty!!!” And like a magpie or a crow with shiny things, I have to have it, usually in an amount of at least five skeins, so I can do at least a throw with it. But that’s knitting yarn, and you can find dozens of colorways in variegated knitting yarn. I also have some unmercerized variegated cotton that I can weave with, but haven’t yet figured out how I want to use it, or how I can. (Or even if I want to. I’ve discovered I’m not a huge fan of unmercerized cotton.) With certain patterns, many of them in fact, I don’t feel as though a variegated yarn would work, unless it’s as background to the pattern itself. On the larger looms, I’m still working on the basics, never mind something like overshot or ikat. I’m not there yet. The inkle is a little more forgiving, especially since you’re working on a much smaller scale. Ruining an inkle warp is far from as painful as ruining a floor loom warp.

In this experiment, I picked up some #3 Lizbeth variegated tatting thread, putting it together with what I thought was the same size crochet cotton in black, with unmercerized weaving cotton in blue, for borders, in the same size.

Well, once I was warping the inkle, I quickly realized that what appears to be the same size thread looks very different under tension. The Lizbeth thread is a hair heavier than the other two threads, which are the same size. But since this was an experiment, I decided to continue it. And I love it. Even better yet, Laverne loved it when I posted it in Facebook’s inkle group. How cool is that??!!! It doesn’t get any better than the creator of the pattern you’re working with enjoying something you did with her pattern. That is a happy moment!

The inkle group has turned out to be quite dangerous as well, as nearly any fiber arts forum is, because we are nothing if not great enablers. Many people post their work, and you see a number of bands woven from these vibrant, popping yarns, and if you don’t ask, guaranteed, someone else does: “What yarn are you using?”

And nine times out of ten, if it’s an excessively vibrant yarn, the answer is going to be Lunatic Fringe Yarns Tubular Spectrum. Naturally, this meant I had to go look at the website and, having looked, had to place a small order. And believe you me, keeping myself down to ten mini-cones was hard. I haven’t got them yet, but, buddy, do I ever have plans for them!

Then came the deal from White Wolf and the Phoenix: order so many balls of yarn, get so much off the order. Well, had to do that too. Both these orders are slated for inkle weaving; I didn’t make any purchases big enough for the floor loom or even the big rigid heddle. And I’m giving some serious thought to trying my wools and acrylics on the inkle, too, as well as silk.

I’m keeping myself busy, for sure…I wish I could say I was dedicating a full day to housecleaning, but my soul is not that pure. I haven’t. The best I can say is that with four dogs all blowing their coat at the same time, I’ve been trying to keep the fur level down. And I spend time in the kitchen making meals. I supervise Bryony’s homeschooling journey from a distance, lest we kill each other. I did manage to get rid of three more moving boxes, and I cleaned out the truck, finally. Ye gods, did it need to be cleaned out. It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, but it was worse than it should have been. It still needs to be vacuumed, but all garbage is gone. So I haven’t been utterly lazy, but I really do need to take a day away from what I want to do in order to accomplish what I should do. Fortunately, now that the girls are older, the worst of the household messes and clutter is confined to their bedrooms, which are their responsibilities, not mine!

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Several rows of Apache Trail of Tears in Scheepjes Catona.

The governor of North Carolina has issued a statewide “shelter in place” order, effective this coming Monday. Not that we weren’t pretty much doing that anyway, but now it’s official, and it’s a class 2 misdemeanor if you don’t follow it. Not a problem; I have every intention of following it. But sanity, what little of that I can claim, is now seriously lacking, what with the girls home until at least May 15th, and having to homeschool Bryony.

I have learned that I am not cut out to be a teacher. I’ve always respected them, but my respect has increased since dealing with Bryony’s schoolwork. She knows exactly what buttons to push to piss me off, and does so every chance she gets. I know she doesn’t behave like this at school, at least not with adults, but at home, when it comes to schoolwork, it is the stuff of nightmares. Teachers have twenty or more children to deal with per class. I can barely tolerate my one. If I had to go into a classroom to teach, I’d be out of work in less than a week. I don’t know how they do it. My hat is off to them!

As you can see, retaining my temper and staying out of prison is key at this point. To that end, I’ve got a number of works in progress going. As mentioned previously, there’s the attempt at soutache, a weaving project, and a spinning project. I’ve added another one, as if I didn’t give myself enough already. But there’s a blanket pattern I really, really love, and I’ve wanted to try it for a couple of years. And it so happens that I also have this box of Scheepjes Catona cotton. There are 109 little skeins of yarn, the entire colorway, and they’re perfect for this blanket, which has what I consider an odd name: Apache Trail of Tears. It’s odd, because historically speaking, the Cherokee move west to Oklahoma is called the Trail of Tears. I’ve never heard anything Apache referred to by that name, except for this blanket pattern.

Educational note for those interested: Cherokee and Apache are the European names for the nations. They don’t call themselves by those names. The Cherokee call themselves Tsalagi. The Apache call themselves Inde.

Anyway, I’ve started the blanket after watching several tutorials on it. I had to do that, because for some reason, anything that involves front post crochet is difficult for me, which means waffle stitch and this blanket, among others. I don’t exactly hate front post crochet, but it’s not my favorite thing to do either, simply because it never seems to look right when I do it. I’ve seen other crocheters do it, and it looks perfect. The front post stitches are absolutely ramrod straight, where mine are invariably curved or diagonal or some other nonsense. And I have a lot of trouble keeping track of which stitches to skip because I’ve crocheted around a post. The good thing about this particular pattern is that once you’ve got the first row of “tears” (ie front post crochet) done, every row thereafter, the post goes next to the one from the previous row, so I don’t need the stitch markers, or to keep track of too much. The repeat is an odd number of stitches, as in odds/evens, not strangeness. I chose to do mine as a repeat of 7, so it’s six single crochet, then a triple crochet tear, and it continues that way across the row. Since I know where the next tear is going to be, I count backward six stitches from that point to my most recent tear, instead of moving it aside to see what stitch to skip. It seems to work better for me that way.

I’m truly loving the Scheepjes Catona. I really wish the larger skeins were available locally! The skeins in the Color Pack boxes are tiny, 10 grams each, which works out to 25 meters of yarn per skein. I’m horrible with math, so I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that is in our American math system, and I’m not even going to try. Suffice it to say, it’s not as though you can use a single skein to make something like a scarf. My blanket is 322 stitches across, so I’m doing one row in each color. I do still have yarn left in the skein at the end of the row, but I don’t know that there’s enough to make it across a second row. I guess I’ll find out after I’ve done 109 rows, then I’ll pick up some of the leftover yarn and try to get across a second row!

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A soon to be done chain maille bracelet in rainbow niobium.

Nope, I’m not a Game of Thrones fan. Before anyone who is flips out, I did read the books, years before the series, and didn’t like any of the characters. I’ve gotta be able to connect with a character, and pretty much none of them were really likable people. I re-read them again after the series began, and tried the series itself, and just couldn’t do it. The only characters I liked were the direwolves. Sorry, no converts here.

But the post is more about the fact that winter is coming, which means the holiday season, which starts with Halloween in this house. And which honestly didn’t occur to me until just this second. After I’ve started on the Yule-themed tatted bookmark. Well, it won’t be the first time I’ve had more than one project going at once! Time to find my Halloween thread!

I started Yule shopping for the kids a few months ago, so I’m just about done with that, except for two items. Which I’m not going to mention, as Aneira is now more internet connected and may read this! I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’m done a couple of months early, actually, and now I’m thinking in terms of handmade things I can add to the mix. Fall, winter, and holiday themed things maybe. Some amigurumi toys. Bracelets and necklaces. Bags, although I did that once already. Fortunately, they’re girls, and we can never have too many bags, bracelets, necklaces, or stuffed animals. And don’t think I don’t have my own stuffed animals, because you’d be dead wrong!! There’s a whole box up in my bedroom waiting to be unpacked as soon as I make enough room for them! And I’ve no shame in admitting it; I even sleep with a Stitch pillow, and no one better touch him!

L – R: beaded kumihimo, Byzantine in niobium, Byz in titanium, box weave in aluminum, JPL3 in aluminum, and three more JPL3 in niobium.

I’ve worked on a few things since we’ve been in the new house, all portable crafts, since I can’t justify tying myself to the looms just yet, until the house is fully unpacked, as much as I’d prefer not to wait that long. But I have to be a responsible adult for some things, so there you go.

I finally learned some beaded kumihimo, which is somehow both challenging and yet easier than I expected it to be. I learned a couple of new chain maille weaves, and expanded the tatting shuttle collection a bit. One day, I’ll have to photograph that as a group. And the plier collection has grown as well.

I honestly thought I was crazy with that one. I think I have about ten sets of pliers currently, and I thought I was going overboard with that many, but I’ve since discovered that many maillers have a lot more than ten!!

Dreamlit tatting shuttle

As much as I usually say something pro/con about my many tools, it occurs to me that I’ve never said a word about my pliers! Never even thought about it! I think it’s because the other tools I’ve talked about here have been tools specifically made for fiber arts, where pliers are a common household tool almost from birth. Yes, the ones I have serve a specific purpose, but still fall into the category of pliers, and I’ve never thought much about them. So that’s an idea for a future post.

There’ll be one about the Dreamlit tatting shuttle too…those are new, and I’m just trying them out for the first time.

Ooooo, and I learned to make tandoori chicken!!! What a hit that was with the kids! Not the hubby, so much, but the kids loved it. Aneira and I had gone to lunch at a little Indian restaurant while waiting for her eye exam, and it was the first time we’d had tandoori chicken. SOOOOOO good! And Aneira asked me a month later to try making it, so I did. I didn’t expect it to come out all that great, not the first time, but it tasted just like the restaurant! Needless to say, that’s been added to the repertoire!

Well, the dogs have just put in a howling appearance, so I’d better go see what’s going on with them. Happy crafting!

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Yes, we made it to North Carolina. We arrived April 18, closed on a new (much smaller) house on May 2, the movers arrived toward the end of May, and we have been unpacking since then, trying hard to get everything done and in place so that we can catalog everything that got broken in the move and make a claim on it all. Sadly, so far there is quite a bit.

The ferrets stayed behind in Colorado with friends, until we could get settled. I didn’t think having incredibly aromatic animals in a hotel was a good idea. The gliders did go to the hotel, and the dogs went to boarding.

Unlike our last move, the long-term hotel was very different. The last time, in both hotels, there were separate bedrooms. This time, we were all in one room, with a kitchenette, which made for some tension. Nobody wanted to be boxed in like we were, but we had to deal with it. There were definitely some days, though, where it was tough.

With two glaring exceptions, the trip across country was pretty uneventful. Flat all the way, although the Mississippi River gave me some trouble, with my fear of heights. The next thing to terrify me was the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. I think. You don’t realize you’re going up until you reach the point that you have to go down, and it’s a very steep grade that also twists and turns all the way to the bottom. And the speed limit is 55. With trucks and cars speeding by you. Needless to say, I thought the speed limit should be 10 mph. By the time I got to the bottom, white knuckles all the way, I was shaking and crying, and couldn’t bring myself to take the truck above 60 (it was a 75 mph speed limit). This is saying something, as I’m a leadfoot and always have been. I’ve been much better since having children in the vehicle with me regularly, never going more than five mph above the limit unless I’m alone–then all bets are off. But I couldn’t even get to the speed limit after that experience!

Oh, wait, there was a third harrowing occurrence! This one involved the dogs. Well, one dog. The youngest one.

I’d bought a topper for the truck bed, specifically for this trip. Brand new. I had it one day before putting the dogs in it to hit the road. Within an hour of getting in the truck, miss Valkyrie ripped out the wiring of the topper. How kind of her.

Then we made it almost all the way to NC without incident, until Hwy 20, where she proceeded to rip the screen out of the topper window, and tried to jump out of the moving truck. Mind you, all dogs were anchored to the steel loops of the bed. So hubby, in the rental car behind me, was honking and trying to call me, and my kids are having a meltdown, while I, having already seen what was going on, was trying to get off the highway. We rearranged the dogs at that point, so she couldn’t get to anything. And I was very happy to drop them off at the boarding kennel, finally, that afternoon.

I’ll leave the story of our move here, and get back to it next time!

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Rings for a basic amamani puzzle ball

I’ve been searching for things to make to stock my Etsy store, small things that work up quickly while I’m still creating larger items, so that I have an inventory ready to go. And I decided to give a look-see at one of my affiliate ads, the one for amamani puzzle balls. These things are adorable!!! So I ordered the pattern book. Yup, snagged by my own ad, thus the title of this post. But I couldn’t help it.

I found a free pattern for the basic ball on the author’s blog, Look What I Made, and gave it a shot. The crochet part is fairly easy, especially if you’re familiar with making amigurumi figures. Assembling and stuffing it was a little bit more difficult, but not enough to put anyone really off the idea. It took me two days to create the ball, pretty much non-stop crocheting. And for my first effort, I think it came out pretty well. There were a couple of mistakes that I found after the whole project was done and assembled, but overall I like it and enjoyed making it, and the time frame is pretty much in line with what it takes me to make spa cloths, so not bad at all.

This particular ball is going to my friend’s son, who is two. I figure that’s a good age for this type of puzzle, so we’ll see if he likes it. I’ve already started another tester ball for another two-year-old boy. Yes, I enjoyed making it that much. Amigurumi patterns challenge me and keep my brain engaged, but not so much of a challenge that they make me want to give up, which is key for me. I occasionally run across things that intrigue me and I want to try them, then discover that the challenge level is beyond my abilities, try it anyway, and get irritated and never touch them again. I haven’t yet had that problem with amigurumi. They’re just challenging enough.

The completed amamani ball

The biggest issue I run into with amigurumi type patterns is matching the crochet hook to the yarn I’m using. With amigurumi, you use a hook one size smaller than the one recommended on the yarn label, so that the holes are tighter and the stuffing doesn’t show. I used the hook and yarn sizes recommended on the amamani pattern, but I’m trying a smaller hook on the second ball. I just want to see if that will work better for me.

I’ve pulled out all of my amigurumi books to start making things, and my kids are already after me to make little toys for them! I guess I can’t complain…it’s nice that they appreciate the things I make. Bryony dragged around the receiving blankets I made when I was pregnant with Aneira for years, until they fell apart. She wouldn’t be parted from them. She was like Linus in the Peanuts comics, except she had two security blankets. She wouldn’t sleep without them, and would have a fit anytime they had to be washed. Nine times out of ten, they went through a quick wash cycle and never made it into the dryer before they were back in her hands. They finally disintegrated from all the love last year. By then, they were twelve years old, so they held up pretty well! When we moved into the new house, we found two more blankets I’d crocheted at the same time, one of which was incomplete. Guess whose bed they’re in now.

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It seems that the dragon loom and I have finally come to an agreement. I have a system now that helps me keep better track of where I am in the pattern. It seems kind of obvious in hindsight, but it took me awhile to realize the way the pattern worked, because I wasn’t looking for it. I was simply following the directions by rote, not really paying attention to it. Once I did see it, though, it was easy to work with. The pattern sequence is 8 turns of the tablets, made a bit more complex by the fact that I’m actually working with five packs of tablets, and they go in two different directions for half the sequence, and in the same direction for the other half, but it’s two consecutive picks for each turn. So I started counting off each pick, one and two, change direction, one and two, change direction, etc. That wasn’t working, because while yes, the two picks were identical, the next two weren’t, and carried the same numbers, so I was still losing my place. I had to count them off as one through eight, and once I started doing that, everything flowed much better. If I’m in pick five, I know exactly which direction the cards are turning, and therefore which way I need to turn them next in order to continue the weave, or to unweave in case of a mistake. It has been much easier!

Aneira is doing well with therapy, and she and I talk each night at bedtime about how her day went, rating everything on a scale of one to ten. Lots of hugs and kisses are given, along with lots of “I love you”. There are those who would say that all the repetition of those words devalues them, but my personal belief is that your kids can never hear them too often. Kids too easily fall into the habit of believing that their parents hate them. Not only that, but there’s also the fact that anything can happen during the course of a day, and sometimes whatever happens can mean that you never have the opportunity to say those words to that person again. So I say them as often as I can, to make sure the girls know how much I love them. So far, I’ve been lucky, and both of them are still tightly bonded to me. I don’t know how much longer that will last; Aneira will be thirteen in a couple of months!

Valkyrie is rapidly becoming the queen terror of the house. It’s a good thing I’d bought a whole bunch of Clorox wipes at Costco, because they’re getting a lot of use as we work on potty training. She and Vanir are very close, but the old man, Thor, still wants nothing to do with this little upstart. And she’s way too smart for her own good: she has already figured out that doorknobs are what allow one to open the door and escape a room. I have watched her working on them, and she’s going to get it right sooner rather than later! She stands on her hind legs, takes the doorknob in her mouth and tries to twist it. If she had opposable thumbs, I’d be in deep trouble already!

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