Liam is teaching me to crochet a baby blanket!

Liam is teaching me to crochet. They have this lovely 12 ply wool at school which I have bought several skeins of in different colours (okay, two different purples, two blues and a cream – I’m nothing if not predictable in my colour choices). They use this same wool in school for all their projects, starting with twisties, finger knitting and French knitting in kindy.

Liam's knitted satchkin patchkin dollThe big wool project of first grade was knitting a satchkin patchkin doll (all in knit), second class was a rainbow hat, using rib and then stocking stitch, and now in third class they are learning to crochet, which Liam has shown a much greater affinity for than knitting. First they made hacky sacks, and a bag to keep them in, and now they’ve moved on to making either a cushion cover or, if they want to, a blanket.

Liam’s chosen to go for the blanket, and that’s what he’s teaching me. It starts basically like a granny square, but then instead of finishing at a small square, then making more squares, then crocheting them altogether, you just keep going around the outside of the square, adding more rows of trebles, until it’s big enough.

Of course, I stuffed mine up already, putting two sets of three trebles somewhere there was only supposed to be one set, but I didn’t notice until I was half way around the next colour so… I just left it. It adds character you know. 🙂 Plus I think I also stuffed up something in the beginning, though I’m not sure what. I’m knitting this to be a gift for a friend’s baby though, so at some point I’ll have to decide if I’ve learned enough that I should finish this one off (maybe it could be a long promised blanket for Mikaela’s teddy), and start again, or if I should just keep going with this one.

I imagine it will depend on just how long it seems to be taking me and how much better I seem to be getting. Liam’s definitely looks better than mine so far. Mine seems a bit lopsided – I think I am mixing up the tension too much and mostly doing it too tight. I don’t think it really matters though, when all is said and done. I think it will still work out and hopefully you’ll have to look close to see that it’s got rather a lot of imperfections!

Here they are at the moment. Liam’s is the bigger one!

two growing granny squares, one in blue and cream, one in red, orange and yellow

Liam's making a rainbow blanket - red and orange is just in the process of giving way to yellow and green, then will come blue and I guess indigo. Mine's just going to be blue and cream, but there are two different blues that I will use. The blue I've started with is actually not as bright as it looks here - that was the flash!

Mindfulness and simple living, one small step at a time

Oh the jealousy, the greed is the unravelling, it’s the unravelling
And it undoes all the joy that could be.

Joni Mitchell is one of my all time favourite singers, and my favourite Joni album is Blue. That quote is from the first song, ‘All I want’. The song is about a love affair, but I was singing it as I cleaned my kitchen yesterday and thought how truly it applies to living a sustainable lifestyle.

It’s hard to reduce consumption when you are always seeing what other people have and wishing for it. It’s hard to be happy with your average size, west facing, three bedroom home when you are busy envying your mother’s lovely sunny north facing living areas, or your friend’s big north facing, fruit tree filled back yard with all its great nooks for kids, or another friend’s four bedroom home with large separate living areas and perhaps a study.

And importantly, if you are busy envying your friends, or even just lusting after the lovely homes you see (but can’t afford) in the real estate pages, it’s hard to busy yourself making the most of what you have.

I’m currently reading Buddhism for mothers of young children by Sarah Napthali, dipping into it here and there when I have a few moments. The idea of existing in the moment ties in well for me with the idea of learning to be happy with what you have and where you are. How can you live in the moment if you are constantly longing for more and better? Or to be more and better?

square baby bean worn by Eliane

Eliane modelling my first attempt at knitting a beany.

But by the same token, it’s tricky to appreciate the moment if you are constantly comparing your eco/sustainability/simple lifestyle creds with your friends or blogging mentors too (who me? would I do that?). Napthali is big on being kind to yourself. Living mindfully doesn’t mean beating yourself up everytime you notice your thoughts straying to how much happier you would be if only you had that extra bedroom, or how much better your life would be if only you could declutter your house a little quicker. It means noticing those thoughts and then moving on.

Rhonda Jean from Down to Earth says there are no simple living police checking to see how well you are doing, to take things one step at a time, just do something. Make a start. Napthali has a similar attitude to living mindfully.

I am taking simple living, living mindfully and decluttering each one tiny step at a time. When I covert my friend’s house, I notice my desire and move on. When I feel overwhelmed by the extent of the clutter, I pick up one piece of paper and file or recycle it, or put one toy back on the shelf or into the Vinnie’s box, which sits by the front door. At least, that’s my aim. Tonight I really wanted to start on a new square beanie for Eliane, since the one I knitted last year is really a bit small, but I ran out of time. So I have wound off a ball of wool to be ready to start tomorrow. One small step at a time.


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