Friday, September 23, 2011

So far, so much fun . . .

Our new nature center. Most beautiful modern building I've ever been in. So excited- it has a planetarium!
butterfly and bee gardens from native plants

beautiful interactive exhibits about our local area

some of Lyra's main lesson work- we are really enjoying our weights and measure block

Kindi set enjoying some book time in their hideout

Hazel entertaining herself at lesson time

Lyra-made scale

peaches preserved in their own juices ( and a little white grape).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

washing up song

Wash my hands and wash my feet,
make my body nice and clean,
Soon be ready for inside time,
at the end of this pretty rhyme.

While we wash up to come in from outdoor play, the older girls and I sing this nice and slow and quite. It helps not only to make clean girls for lunch, but calmer ones too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


 These mittens are a favorite of mine. They are based on a pattern from my grandma but I've adjusted it over the years as my mittens are often made for the smallest people and get the most constant use. I love knitting these and thinking of the little fingers they will keep toasty- and it is satisfying to see them doing their job when the winter comes. Plus, because they are so small- its a pretty fast project.
Using worsted weight yarn cast on 23 (25, 27) stitches on size 5 needles. These mittens work great for grown ups too, add an additional two stitches to make small women size, etc.  
Row one: P1 (K1, P1) across. 
Row two: K1 ( P1, K1) across. 
Repeat rows one and two until piece measures about 3inches ( increase length of cuff if you are making larger mittens) . End by working row 1.

 Knit across increasing by 5 stitches evenly spaced. ( increase by 7 if making adult mittens).
 Purl across.
Shaping: Row 1: Knit (13, 14, 15) stitches. Place marker, increase twice, place marker, knit across. (30,32,34)stitches.
Row 2: purl across
Row 3: Knit to marker, increase, knit to within 1 stitch of marker, increase, knit across: (32, 34,36) stitches.
Repeat rows 2 and 3: (1,2,2 ) times
Work until piece measures 5inches from cast of edge, end by working a purl row.

Knit to marker and slip these (13,14,15) stitches onto a stitch holder. Add on 1 stitch, knit to marker, turn. Add on one stitch and slip these remaining (10,12,12) stitches onto another stitch holder.
 Work until thumb measures about (1 1/4, 1 1/2, 1 3/4) inches. End by working a purl row. Tog 2 across ( 5,6,6). Cut yarn with a long tail. With a needle, weave yarn through these stitches closing tightly- then weave the thumb seam.
With right side facing, slip stitches from 1st stitch holder onto needle. Pick up a stitch in each of the added on stitches at the bottom of the thumb ( this is hard. sometimes even when I do it just right I am left with a small hole to stitch up). Slip stitches from 2nd holder onto other needle. Knit across. 
Work until piece measures about 6.5 inches, end by working a knit row.  
Purl (14,15,16) stitches, place marker, purl across. 

Shaping: Row 1: K2, slip 1 as if to knit, K1 PSS0 ( pass slipped stitch over), knit to within 3 sts of marker, K2tog, K2 slip 1 as if to knit, K1 PSSO, knit across to last 4 stitches, K2 tog, K2. (24,26,28)sts.
Row2: purl across.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 ( 1, 2, 3) times. (20,18,16)sts. 
Next row: k2 tog across ( 10,9,8)sts. 
Cut yarn leaving a long end for sewing. THread yarn needle, weave through remaining stitches, pulling firmly to close hole, weave seam. 
Now- do it all over again for the second mitten. Weave closed any holes at the base of the thumb ( Hazel very sweetly showing you where she needs some stitches).  I suggest finger knitting ( or braiding) a cord to hold the two mittens together and wearing it through the arms of the coat. Its a pretty sad day when a handmade mitten goes missing. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

First day of the 2011-2012 school year

Nothing says the summer in done in Maryland like a bowl of cream of Md crab soup, and hard rain on the roof. So tomorrow is the day we put our feet onto the path of a little more structure and a little deeper thought. Just like the changing of the seasons, the change in our rhythm is subtle. Autumn is often filled with outdoor lessons and projects- documenting our days in drawings and poems. And as the winter rolls in and more time is spent bent over the kitchen table, our lessons get deeper and longer too.
The first week of our autumn rhythm is a slow turn towards those colder days. So over the next few days we will be making lesson books and painting blackboards. I will give Lyra some review work for the various subjects that pop into our day, but no new lessons or time consuming projects. The younger girls will get a little circle time and a reminder/nudge towards the tasks they should be handling at any given time. I do this as both a way for me to test the rhythm and a way for them to absorb the rhythm without any pressure. By next week when monday rolls around, we will be swinging in our "natural" and "leisurely" way- with them being none the wiser that we are working. Just living day to day and learning on the way.

Lyra will write and draw this poem at her morning-work time tomorrow. And review her multiplication by starting a new multiplication wheel for our kitchen.

Labor Day by Marci Ridlon
First Monday in September,
that's the day that we remember,
to honor workers who toil long,
Their efforts make our country strong,
We give a gift they all like best;
We give them all a day of rest!

Summer, Maryland Style