Even in the Darkness

Turn on the news, and what do you see? Unrest, war, corruption, displaced peoples, natural disasters, vindictive violence.

The world is a dark place. It seems even darker now that we have so much direct access to the suffering of people everywhere in the world.

At the beginning of this year, I found myself getting really caught up in the stories of tragedy that filled news headlines. My heart broke especially for refugees being treated callously in my nation and around the world. I found myself praying almost daily for justice to be served, for God to make things right here and now and end the hurt of this world.

He did not come down from the clouds in fire, casting judgement on wrongdoers and lifting up the faces of those oppressed. Not yet. But He has reminded me of his divine nature and eternal power.

In a time that seems so dark, God is working some of his most powerful miracles just out of sight.

While the world reels from the darkness that resounds loudly, God is working his plan to save all who will believe.

Christians have unprecedented opportunities to share the Gospel with people who are hurting and traumatized.

The church is spreading powerfully in places where it is most suppressed.

The number of unreached people is shrinking every year.

God is responding to prayer for miraculous healing.

The lives of men are being radically transformed for God’s glory.

Where the Word cannot be preached without oppression, people are seeing visions  and dreaming dreams of Christ.

What a time to be alive! What a time to serve in the glorious work of spreading the Kingdom! Even in the darkness – especially in the darkness – God is spreading grace and salvation.

If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
Psalm 139:8

Out of Context Linguistics Quotes

Following is a series of quotes carefully dissected from my favorite group of people: linguists. Many of these are taken from the classroom, some from conversation, and a few come from professional presentations. I hope they make you chuckle. (But if they don’t, I understand. We linguists are our own breed.)

“Today we’re going to talk about ARRRRRguments.” [instructor pulls out a pirate hook and eyepatch]

“It’s like giving a bandaid to person having a heart attack.”

“What do we call this language situation?” [student] “Partial bidirectional fusion?” [instructor] “Nah. It’s just perverse.”

“Phrasal affixes are promiscuous.”

“His native English is French.”

“Let’s put away the puppet. It’s getting distracting.”

“What might be an ideal situation for language learning in community? [the author starts a list of suitable situations, including:]…being in prison with speakers of the host language.” (From an assigned reading.)

“Shift happens. Get it? Shift? Like, language shift?”

“She’s got South in the mouth.”

“It’s going to be alright, monolingualism can be cured.”

“Red wine essentially has the same effect on the affective filter. A glass of red wine before your language lesson can go a long way.”

“In France, nobody is out to nurture you.”

“No one wants to be the subject of intransitive love!”

“Look at all the ‘basket’ cases!” (laughter ensues)

“If an elderly speaker no longer has any front teeth, it can be very difficult to work out which sounds are being produced.” (Uh, I think that goes without saying.)

“Bewilderment ensues. Where does the markedness of perfective aspect reside? Perhaps it is nomadic, and does not enjoy being cooped up in a single element of form?”

WIP Wednesday 2.9.17

Let’s pretend it’s Wednesday, just for a moment.

I’ve been in classes every day for about 10 days in a row, so I am a little disoriented about time. All the same, this post came into my mind yesterday, and I think it is important to share.

As I stepped into the fiber art scene, I heard a lot of people claim to be either “process knitters” or “product knitters” or some combination of the two. Being a newbie, I didn’t have much experience to claim allegiance to either camp.

Yesterday, though, I was looking at one of my FOs (Finished Objects) and thinking…

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…how did that go by so fast?

I loved this spin. I agonized for weeks over whether to buy this fiber with some of my Christmas money. (Missionary spending guilt is a real issue for me.) When it came in the mail, I thought it was so beautiful that I didn’t touch it for almost a year. A year! And when I did start spinning it, I sampled like a crazy person to find the “right” ply for my precious fiber.

That sounds like product orientation to me.

So then I started thinking about my other WIPs. A Lilli Pilli wrap from last February: I was only still knitting because I wanted the finished wrap, and because of the time and money invested in the yarn. I certainly wasn’t enjoying the repetitive lace or the miles of garter stitch. A crochet blanket from before I was married: again, I was only still trying to finish it because I didn’t want to think about how much yarn I had purchased for it. A scrap blanket: I wanted it finished so I could justify dragging all that yarn down to Texas after my friend said, “You don’t think you’ll need all this, will you?”

I don’t want to disparage product orientation; if running has taught me anything, it’s that having a realistic goal can be an incredible motivation to press on and stretch yourself. But as I examined my motivations, I realized I was seeing a pattern in my knitting that revealed a lot about my life in Texas.

I started knitting as a means of stress relief and creative expression. I started my pursuit of missions as a way to follow God and grow deeper in my relationship with Christ. Somewhere along the line, though, I got lost. My knitting stopped being about the next stitch and started being about the FO. My ministry stopped being about relationships with classmates and teammates and started being about “getting out of Dallas faster.”

Which is better? If I can speak to my own situation, I would say I’ve been miserable focusing only on the end goal. The people and experiences of my daily life have become utilitarian – simply a means to an end. And when that end seems far from sight, the means can be disappointing at best. Then, when I finally slog to the finish line and receive my prize, am I really happy with it? More often than not, the answer is no.

So what happens now? How do I radically shift my perspective? This is something I will need to pray about. I need peace in the process. I need joy in Christ.

I sincerely hope my crafting can continue to reflect the life I want to live.


That being said, in celebration of the process, here is some of my work in progress!

Above, Rainbow Tweed battlings by On the Round, spun 3-ply for ultimate squishiness. I overspun the singles before I plied, so I wound it into balls to run through the wheel again. Hopefully that will take the edge off and result in a balanced yarn.

I am still working on my Lilli Pilli, but I am in the home stretch! I am very proud of the lace section. That was a learning curve for me! It single-handedly delayed the project for several months. But isn’t it beautiful?

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Last year I (accidentally) spun singles from a Yarnhollow Fibers braid. I am not comfortably with thick and thin yet, so I figured it would make a beautiful Honey Cowl. I am really enjoying how the colors emerge in each row!

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I have started running a couch-to-5k plan with a friend here in TX. It is so nice to wake up every other morning knowing there is someone waiting to run with you and chat about life! I am also enjoying the effect of interval training on my body. I can already run longer than I did at any point last year.

This year I have a goal of reading a book a month. My hope is that it will keep my attention off of social media and onto something productive. (Did you know screen time is related to increased anxiety? I certainly didn’t! And here I thought Instagram was relaxing…) Last month I read Let Justice Roll Down by John M. Perkins. It gave me a lot to think about – possibly even a few ideas to blog about. This month I am tackling King’s Cross by Timothy Keller. Maybe. I am also reading a case study on literacy and development that I find fascinating, so we will see which book wins my attention.

Eating Healthy, Eating Whole

It’s been a long time since I’ve written.

In the last two months, I’ve visited ICOM (the International Conference on Missions), unpacked and repacked twice, spent time with friends, celebrated Thanksgiving, and generally spent a lot of time cleaning and trying to get back into a routine after PNG. Oh, and let’s not forget, we got to go to Papua New Guinea!!!

I want to talk about that experience and unpack some of the things I felt God showing me there, but not yet. Tonight, I’m feeling inspired to talk about one of the unexpected lessons I took away from our time overseas: health.

While our time in PNG was far from rigorous physically, we heard a lot of the health horror stories that can affect long-term missionaries, or nationals, for that matter, in the country. Bar far the most persistent threat is the sun, which beams down a lovely 12 hours a day. Thanks to the heat of the sun, PNG stays hot and muggy year-round, scarcely leaving the 80-90 degree F range (25-32 C). The heat alone means you need water, and lots of it! Some of the ladies in the office frequently holler “Water!” to remind everyone to drink plenty. The intense tropical sun means you also need good skin protection to avoid sunburn and skin cancer. I thought my 70 SPF would sustain me with a few reapplications for a day out on the water. Wrong! The sun has a great knack for finding unprotected spots and burning them anyways. Hats and clothing are a good idea if you are as pale as me, or if you’re taking Doxy to prevent malaria.

Then there’s the challenge of food.

Papua New Guinea is blessed to be a country with abundant resources. In Madang, where we stayed, there was no lack of choice for food. Thanks to the grocery stores (that’s right, plural!) in town, shopping for a bite to eat could also be fairly convenient. Our first week, for lunches, we bought what we might normally eat in the states: peanut butter jelly sandwiches. Unfortunately, the stores consist almost entirely of imported food from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. On top of that, the food that is imported is what they think the average national buy (read, what they will be able to afford). This unfortunately means food that is highly processed, containing little or no nutritional substance.

Now, truly, I don’t expect that the average Papua New Guinean shops as much at stores like these as we expats (short for expatriate) do. At these stores, I came face to face with one of my biggest shortcomings: I don’t know how to prepare much food without it coming from a can, mix, or box.

After a week of eating our peanut butter jelly sandwiches, I was pretty sick and tired. From what I could read of the nutrition labels, we were consuming an extraordinary amount of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and manufactured goop. At the same time, I could walk through the market, marveling at the buffet of delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish available for much cheaper than my grocery store bill: papaya, avocado, boiled peanuts, cabbage, carrots, coconut, onion, garlic, yams, taro, leafy greens, pineapple… What a shame, to be missing out on that array of food for something less that would crush my body in a few years!

Watching and helping my peers cook that month, I realized just how far behind I was in cooking knowledge. With a few ingredients and some spices from home, they could whip up delicious pizzas, tacos, salads, and a whole variety of dishes from around the world. Their grocery bills were much lower, and, to top it off, they were much healthier than we were in the states.

So, inspired, as I sometimes am, I resolved to learn to cook from scratch. My official goal was to cook nothing from a box for the next year, but I knew I would need to bend the rules from time to time (I am still a full-time student, after all). I am incredibly excited about this. November, while crazy, was a bit of a trial period for my resolution. I started buying more produce, and planning my meals around it and its shelf life. I also snuck more vegetables into the cheesier, starchier dishes (sorry honey). In a few weeks, following recipes came more and more naturally. This last week was an incredible success, which is what really inspired me to write this post!

The biggest factor in healthy eating, in my opinion, is planning. If you don’t plan, and then prepare, to have healthy, whole foods available, you will lapse back into the easy, packaged foods. I’ve experienced this in the past when I tried to eat healthier. I bought whatever produce and foods seemed good at the store and tried to figure out what to do with them after. Not only did I end up resorting to Hamburger Helper when my hodgepodge of food failed to yield something tasty, I also ended up letting a lot of it go to waste.

Kudos to you if you’ve stuck around with this post so far without giving up.

There is another factor that has stumped and frustrated me many times before: sifting through the piles of information and claims about what makes a “healthy” lifestyle. Really. It’s annoyingly hard when you know little to nothing. I can’t offer a lot of advice, but I will say that Ted-Ed has some great shorts available that outline general dietary advice as well as the science behind healthy eating. It was fascinating to learn and helped me maintain steam towards my goal.

Last but not least, a big piece in our personal health puzzle is exercise. When we experienced just how rugged PNG is, we realized we will in for a lot of difficult trekking during our upcoming first term. Of course, plenty of people had warned us about that, but we didn’t take it to heart until October. With healthy eating and nutrition already on my radar, I knew it was time to start working more intentionally on my strength and endurance.

So, to conclude a bit, I was really, really inspired to work on my health after our trip to PNG. After a month of intentional eating and semi-regular, targeted exercise, I have noticed that I am more energetic, less ill, and certainly stronger. My confidence as a woman and homemaker has risen dramatically. I am inspired to make more food from scratch and am finding that I love, love, love fruit! I think about hydration on a regular basis. I’m happier with my body, just the way it is, knowing that it’s not my shape or weight but rather nutrition that dictates my energy and mood. I am really looking forward to seeing what changes over the new year in my kitchen and in our lives as we prepare to live in Papua New Guinea!

 

Cover Photo: A plate full of yummy local food cooked for us by a national, including chicken, boiled green beans, pineapple, aupa with carrots, cook banana, and kaukau (potato).

PNG Pre-field Notes – Part 3

So what are we even doing in PNG for a month?

Our organization strongly encourages field missionaries to take a “vision trip” before they commit to a certain position in a certain field. As I discussed in Part 1, this trip allows the prospective missionary to meet the team, experience the field, and hear the needs of the nationals firsthand and from their perspectives. If the missionaries know what role they hope to fill, it also gives them a chance to observe a veteran of that role on the field, or make plans to begin that role if nobody has filled it yet.

Our organization takes the term “Pioneer” quite literally. In my experience, we are very open to new fields, roles, and methods of work in order to progress towards our vision: to see “transformed lives through God’s Word in every language.” Sometimes, a vision trip is about exploring those possibilities. Has anyone ever worked with this people group? Are there existing social structures through which this work can happen? Has the region previously been closed off due to legal restriction, hostility, worldview differences, or dangers like war? I’m getting off topic, but it’s quite exciting. There is a lot of work left to do around the world, and we are not shy about stepping out and trying!

Keeping the previously mentioned goals in mind for this trip, here are some of the things we expect to do in the country:

  • Spend time (dinners, walks, prayer) with the current branch missionaries and members, getting to know each other and encouraging one another to continue in whatever calling God has for our lives.
  • Meet and spend time with nationals, either at home or in organized functions, like church and Bible studies.
  • Observe and participate in day-to-day branch work, as much as we have training and clearance to do.
  • Explore town and the general surroundings, to get a feel for daily life in PNG.
  • Do some shopping; support the local economy. 😉
  • Travel out to at least one of the villages to observe and take part in life there.
  • Practice our use of the language.
  • Take pictures and videos, and spend time journaling and processing. The goal, for us, is to discern God’s will for us in relationship to the branch. I may go into more detail in the future, but for now we will just say there are several possibilities that may be viable.

Thank you for following along with us as we take this journey.

-K

 

PNG Pre-field Notes – Part 2

Communication.

One of the blessings of serving as a missionary in this century is that you can travel all the way around the world and still connect with friends and family at home. In many of the towns and villages in PNG, a cell-based data connection is available to anyone with enough money to afford it. In Madang, the city we will be staying in, internet is a luxury available in homes and offices.

While we travel, how will we be communicating?

I’m glad you asked, blog reader.

M and I currently use Google’s Project Fi as our cellphone network. It works really well for two millennials on a budget! In the States, we have unlimited calling and text at the base rate, and pay by the megabyte for data. The less data used, the lower the phone bill. Fi is partnered with networks in PNG, so our data rates remain the same cost (huzzah!), SMS is free and international calls to the US are $0.20/minute (over network). That also means we do not need to purchase phones, calling cards, or new SIMs in the country. Australia, which we will travel through, has the same rates for Fi users. The future is here, and it is fabulous.

As far as I understand, our branch office has an internet connection that is limited only in bandwidth. For us, that means internet-based communication will be possible if we are in the office and if the connection is not being used by other branch members. That means Facebook, blog updates, Instagram, email, and Skype interactions are all possible, but I don’t expect that we will use all of those on a frequent basis.

If you need to contact us while we are away, it would be best to start with SMS, which we can receive anywhere we have cell signal with no cost. Next best would be email, followed by calling. Since international calls may incur charges on both ends of the network, please arrange with us first before trying to make a connection. You may write us messages on Facebook or other social media platforms, but we will likely not check those on a frequent basis until we are back in the States.

We do hope to carve out some time to upload pictures and send updates! Depending on how limited time is, we will focus on sending newsletter updates first. Contact me or M if you have not yet subscribed to our newsletter list. Facebook will probably come second, since the majority of our friends and family use that platform. Third, you might be able to catch some of our updates on Instagram or on this blog, if you’re lucky and we have the time! If none of those are possible, we will do our best to craft and send out a summary when we return in November.

PNG Pre-field Notes – Part 1

We leave for Papua New Guinea in 20 days.

AAAAHHH!

Friends and family keep asking me if I’m excited. I am. VERY excited! But I’m excited in the same way I was excited for college – the ‘I could spend a significant amount of my life here and it will drastically change the way I view the world’ kind of way.

I never realized stepping into God’s calling for our lives would bring so many unknowns with it. One of my linguistics colleagues recently said, “You don’t really make five-year plans. If you do that, you spend more time planning and preparing for things that probably won’t ever happen and less time participating in the things that are happening around you this very moment.” I can relate to that. We had no idea how long it might take to raise the support needed to move to Texas for training. I had no clue that I would discover my passions for language documentation, audio-visual production, phonology, language learning, and sociolinguistics in less than half a year. And not in our wildest dreams did we think God would let us travel to PNG so quickly after submitting to his call for our lives.

On the one hand, our trip is very well planned. We have had our itinerary secured for almost six months. We knew where we would stay from the moment we asked the team if we could visit. We have had a series of seasoned missionary-travellers to gather advice from. And each time we encountered an obstacle, God came through in glorious ways.

On the other hand, we have no clue what is about to happen. What will we be convicted and challenged by in the country? (or even on the way there?) What ways will we fit in or stick out? Will we feel at home, or very far from it? What will we experience in the city, and how will it be different from village living? The entire point of this trip is to answer those questions; the very nature of a vision trip is the unknown. (And besides, PNG is oft described as “The Land of the Unexpected,” so even having answers to those questions in advance may not fully prepare us.)

With so much of our trip feeling like a looming question mark, it’s helpful for me to keep in mind the reasons for going.

  1. To learn the ins and outs of our potential roles within the branch. How do our skills and training fit within the ongoing projects or projects that are soon to be implemented? We hope to sit down with many of the team members to brainstorm possible extensions of existing roles and plan for needed training and preparation in order to move towards full­-time work.
  2. To meet the team. We want to learn about the branch’s present and future needs firsthand, specifically by observing daily work in the field. We also hope to make friends! When we make the transition to the field, it will so beneficial to have a support network already in place.
  3. To experience and begin to understand PNG Culture. We hope to meet nationals, visit the market, practice Tok Pisin, and soak up all of the historical and cultural information we can handle. We also want to experience village life. A month is only a short time to begin to wrap our minds around the diverse experiences of culture and daily life, but we hope it will help us have a more accurate picture of the people God loves.

We are approaching this trip as prayerfully as possible. God has been gracious to expedite the process greatly. We know we are supposed to go on this trip and learn something of great importance, even if we don’t yet know what that will be. We appreciate your prayers for us as we continue to prepare over the next 20 days.


Friends and family, it is my intention to keep writing over the next three weeks to let you know more about this trip. Future posts should outline our schedule, our communication plans, and other fun adventures in the world of packing and preparing. If you have any questions or concerns, or you just want to send encouragement, feel free to send me an email, message, or call!

Blessings,

K

The Tiny House Movement Makes Sense

“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:8-9

I recently finished reading a memoir by tiny house builder and advocate Dee Williams titled “The Big Tiny.” I’ll be honest: it made me cry.

Dee struck a chord with me. For her, faced with sudden illness, her sense of security and purpose were upended. She began considering the sum total of her life, and felt that her dream of owning a home was draining away her opportunities to seize life: to spend time with friends, to explore, and to steward her resources. Her solution? Build her own house – a tiny one.

Now, I am not particularly fond of the crazy amount of tiny-ness championed by the Tiny House movement. I don’t think I have the sanity to live in only 80 sq. feet (or fewer), no matter how custom or beautiful the space. Plus, there’s the added headache of building codes and laws against living in an “RV” (as the tiny homes are often legally perceived) that almost requires all new American homes to be several hundred square feet at the minimum. I wouldn’t want to navigate that, but I respect the people who do! I digress.

What I really identified with in Dee’s story was her life turning upside down. When M and I felt the call to missions, our whole perspective on life was shaken up. What did it really mean to serve people? Where was our community? Where was home? It has been disorienting, exciting, confusing, and sad all at the same time.

While packing up our first apartment as a married couple, I finally began to see the perspective of the downsizers and tiny builders – and, maybe, the perspective God wanted us to have as semi-nomadic missionaries. I recognized how much stuff we had accumulated in our first year of marriage: books we read only once, home decor we couldn’t hang because we were renting, tools we didn’t have projects for, extra towels, extra silverware, extra lightbulbs, extra everything. Sorting through that was exhausting!

Dee prides herself in being able to list everything show owns on a single sheet of paper. If only I could say the same!

For Dee, living tiny meant having a sense of home. It also meant a commitment to reducing her impact by decreasing her consumption. This had the double benefit of making her a good steward of her personal resources and making her dollar speak to big companies about stewarding their resources (namely, the environment from which they gathered materials to make their products). Similarly, the tiny house freed Dee up to live the life she really wanted. She no longer had to spend all her free time cleaning a large house, making repairs, mowing the lawn, and renovating. Instead, she could volunteer more, spend time watching the clouds, and hang out with friends.

This all sounds nice and romantic, but it’s a little idealistic, right?

I’m starting to disagree.

The writer of Proverbs 30:8-9 asks God, “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” In a lot of the passages of Proverbs, we see warnings to be diligent and hand-working, and I think we really identify with those as Americans. But for us, we tend to see had work as a way of earning the kind of money we deserve, or need, to live a better life than the one we have. (I hope I haven’t upset anyone by generalizing too much. I don’t necessarily mean to condemn that line of thinking, but to offer an alternative to it.) The writer of this proverb isn’t asking for wealth to come of his hard work. Why? He fears that he may “be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?'” In other words, he’s concerned he might take credit into his own hands and deny the work of the Lord in his life. He also asks not to become so poor that he has to resort to stealing in order to live, and therefore dishonor God’s name.

What is he really asking for? I think the writer desires both humility and freedom from his earthly possessions. He doesn’t want to think about himself or his own gains and losses. What he really wants is to honor God in everything he does. His material wealth is inconsequential. He recognizes that to give God honor, he only needs his daily bread: “feed me with the food that is needful for me.” Not too much, and not too little.

“Tiny” living can be based on this mindset. We can downsize our lives and choose to live in a state of humility to God; and I don’t mean this in a philosophical way. When we literally give up our earthly possessions for a way of life more honoring to God, we are moving in the direction of Heaven on Earth. The less time I spend making myself comfortable (with a clean, decorated, groomed home), the more time I have to pray, read Scripture, and use my time to serve. The less money I spend on my garden or sun porch or furniture, the more I have available to give to servants of the Gospel and to my neighbors in need. We don’t need to be bound up by our material possessions; Christ has set us free to live a greater life directed towards Him and towards His Kingdom!

Do not forget, it was Jesus himself who said,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:19-21

I so strongly desire for my heart to be in heaven. I want my lifestyle to reflect the Glory of God, and not anything else. For me, material possessions and wealth can be a barrier to living that kind of life. Perhaps they are not for you, and I praise God that he has put you in that position and can use each of us in a different way! Either way, I echo the advice given by Jesus: place your treasures where they last and matter, and your heart will be in the presence of God.

Tour de Fleece 2016 – Part 3

Finished!

Tour de Fleece officially closed July 24 this year. If you haven’t heard, the TDF is a friendly online competition between teams of spinners (the kind who make yarn) modeled after the Tour de France. For some, it’s a way to connect with other makers around the world and take part in something bigger than their own personal craft. For me, it was a chance to finish off my fiber supply before going overseas and take a much needed break after school, PD, and a huge move from the Midwest to Texas.

I spun with Team Rookies and Team Spin Your Stash this year – and I was a terrible teammate in that I rarely participated in the group chatter online. After spinning for large portions of the day, it felt like too much extra work to photograph my yarns, describe them, and post to the online forums. I had decided this Tour would be fun, so I focused on the part that made me happiest: the spinning itself.

I surprised myself with my productivity. At first, it was hard to dig into my stash. There was something comforting about the shelf of fiber, knowing there was enough to sustain my love for spinning for a significant amount of time if I spun slowly. (That very well may be the kind of thought a hoarder has as she drowns in her own accumulation of stuff.) But I was motivated by a memory from our move six seven months ago. We were digging through closets with some helpful friends, trying to pack all of our worldly possessions into a compact car and an old pickup, and I found box after bag of unfinished crafting projects: knitting, spinning, painting, etc., etc. Why own those supplies – why buy more – if I never used what I had? Shouldn’t the joy of crafting come from the finished product and the process itself, and not simply owning the tools?

With that thought in mind, I started the Tour with an inventory of fiber supply in mind. I wanted to finish as many yarns as possible this year to give me time to knit the yarns by the end of next year. I also wanted to practice some new techniques and refine the techniques I already knew. Here’s a rehash of my goals:

  • Finish fiber prep on all “upcycled” yarns, and spin
  • Finish the sampling top purchased when I started learning
  • Dye 16oz of white fiber – merino and polwarth – and spin as much as possible (about 6 oz dyed and prepped so far)
  • Finish spinning and plying the languishing drop spindle project (another “upcycle”)
  • Catch up on my Bible reading/listening plan

In total, I spun 706 yards of new yarn (that’s almost half a mile), and plied 344 yards on two previously existing projects. Grand total: 1,050 yards of yarn! I also made it two-thirds of the way through another project that has yet to be plied.

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The full lineup of TDF yarns, start to finish (L to R). I didn’t intentionally finish with a yellow yarn, the symbol of victory for the actual Tour, but I’m glad it worked out that way!

I did not make significant progress on my upcycled acrylic yarns, though I spent the most time prepping those beforehand. I found that for long periods of spinning, they were too rough and too boring compared to my hand dyed wool.

I did finish spinning my Gotland sampling top, which I had been attempting to finish for over a year (turns out I bought 8 ounces of it, but I thought I only had 4 because the fiber is so dense that the braid looked small).

I dyed around 10 ounces of fiber, all of it polwarth. What an excellent learning experience! I really really love working with dyed fiber, and it was so rewarding to dye my own and see it finally finished! Since I lightly felted most of my polwarth in the dyeing process, I was too scared that I might ruin the merino doing the same thing.

I finished plying the project on my drop spindle, but I was in no mood for the slow process of spinning on it. There are still many, many rolags of that fiber to go…

I was able to catch up some on my Bible reading plan, making it through Nehemiah, Esther, Job, and the beginning of Proverbs. I also found I had time to listen to some of my audiobooks, including 1984, which felt like I was undoing all of the benefits of listening to Scripture.

All in all, I am SO glad I took the time to really dive into my craft for a couple weeks. I was blessed a lot by meditating on what it means to create, since we were made in the image of our creator. Several times I caught myself daydreaming of how I might be able to use the arts to connect with other women when we move to the field. I am confident that God has a way for me to use these skills for his glory!

Thanks for following along on this journey with me. Happy spinning!

 

Tour de Fleece 2016 – Part 2

Week 1 of the Tour de Fleece is coming to an end.

I never thought I would have this much fun or feel so accomplished with my spinning. Before the Tour started, I was working on a Sockhead Slouch Hat for my husband, made out of my handspun yarn. Seeing the yarn come to life in a garment has been quite fulfilling. Looking at the piece, I keep thinking, “I made that. From scratch!” It’s a small thing, but it gave my spinning a lot more meaning – just in time for the Tour, no less!

So far, I’ve been able to finish five hanks of yarn: four from start to finish, and one that was almost finished before Day 1. I have spun and plied 386 yards of original yarn, and plied 330 yards from previously spun projects. I’ve learned to spin directly from hand cards, and have practiced my Andean plying three times.

Two of the yarns were from my own hand-dyed fiber (and I dyed some patriotic fiber for the Fourth of July). Two of the projects have been upcycled material. I’m still quite behind on my Bible reading plan, and there is a mountain of upcycled fiber remaining, but overall, I’m very happy with my progress, based on last week’s goals.