Colleges, Patterns, and Time

Christine here.  My 17-year old son Jack has started the process of looking at colleges.

Let me retract that statement. Here’s a better description:

We, Jack’s parents, have started the process of dragging our child by the ear out of bed at ungodly hours like 10 am and forcing him to talk to people about his future.

On the way to the first college in the car, we prepped him about the college, so that he at least would appear to have taken an interest in the place. We talked about his potential major (History), about his extracurricular interests (Guitar), and highlighted aspects about the college that we thought would be good for him. Then, because he was going to have an interview, we asked what we thought might be sample questions and gave him sample answers.

Me, acting as Interviewer: “Jack, what makes you interested in Juniata College?”

My husband, acting as Jack: “Look, my parents dragged me here. I’m not awake yet so leave me alone.”

Me: “What do you think you might be interested in majoring in here?”

My husband: “History, but I don’t want to teach stupid kids about it or anything, so that’s probably bogus.”

Me: “We have over 50 different clubs to participate in at Juniata. What kind of extracurricular activities are you interested in at college?”

My husband, “Look, I just want to play my guitar and play video games. That’s it. I don’t want to sit in a circle or have to talk to people or anything.”

You get an idea of what we’re working with here.  Jack didn’t even laugh about his father’s rather accurate depiction of what his honest answers would be.

Anyway, we’ve got three more interviews scheduled this week, and then two more the following week, so you can tell we’re all having a delightful time.

The one good thing is that we’ve been through the process before, so we’ve learned a few things. One thing we learned is that our kid might not do well at college, so it’s better to keep him within a 3-hour driving radius if possible for emergency pick ups. The other is that we’re pretty sure Jack is like our daughter in needing a smaller college and not a big university. These items limit our college options a bit, so we’re not running all over the country to see places. I figure we’ll look at 6 or 7 places total and call it done.

But, in the meantime, all of these interviews are taking up my braiding time!! And, of course, my book-writing time.  I am trying, each day, to work on at least something related to the book on multistrands. Sometimes I spend a few hours, sometimes it’s a couple minutes.


Blank 6-strand braid



6-strand braid after grouped by strand

Today, I’ve been working on defining patterns that might be fun to make in multistrand braids. It’s a royal pain in the butt to group little blocks together so that I can change strand colors all at once, but once I have a template ready, it goes faster.

As an example: Here’s my blank 6-strand braid (left).

I click on each little “square” and “side loop” representing the path of one strand, and put them into the same “Group” within my drawing program. Then I change the color so I know what I’ve already done:  see braid to the right.

After all the paths are grouped, with one click I can change each strand to any color I want, so the process is a faster once these templates are set up. At the moment I’m working with a 6-strand braid. Since 6 is divisible by 2 and 3, I chose patterns that were multiples of two or three. For example, coloring every other loop the same color, or making each half one color, or rotating through 3 colors, or changing color every two loops for 3 sets of color.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 4.18.14 PM

Braiding patterns for 6-strand braids


I plan on going through this process for each number of multistrand braids… although some numbers aren’t as exciting as others (7, for example, has fewer interesting options). 20 is a good one: divisible by 2, 4, 5, and 10, it has some cool patterns.

I’m coloring everything red white and blue today for the upcoming 4th of July. (Went to see the Independence Day: Resurgence movie on opening night because I LOVE the old one… the new one wasn’t as good. Still fun, but I admit to being lukewarm about the new characters).

Anyway, I am trying to do some work every day on the book… interspersed between college visits to Allegheny, Dickinson, and Gettysburg this week with my pleasant teenage son.

10 thoughts on “Colleges, Patterns, and Time

  1. Interesting that you have a program that will allow you to see different ways of braiding.

    • Yes: I just have to draw it out first, which is tedious, and then click on all the boxes to unite each strand. It’s not so bad for a 6-strand braid, but I decided I would go as high as 24 strands and THAT is ANNOYING.

  2. Eventually they outgrow this phase; even though it seems like it goes on forever !

  3. OMG…LOL. CAN WE RELATE! unfortunately, we didn’t get far…our sin turns 20 in Aug. He’s working a regular job (praise God), but still no long term plans. Sigh. Good luck!

    • Lisa, I’ve heard from you and a few other people privately that their sons often take a little while to “launch.” I’m crossing my fingers for both of us getting to experience an empty nest at some point. Christine

  4. Relax. In a couple of years you will look back and laugh. Then you can wish a child on him that is just like him and get your revenge.
    Wish we all had access to a wonderful computer program. It really helps to visualize the whol thing before you make it. Thanks for the lovely pattern ideas.

  5. Hi Christine!
    I love your multi strand braids, they give rugs an air of elegance I think. Someday I want to make one and you are a great motivator!! I enjoy your “venting” !! My son now 42 and daughter now 38, were once like your son. Now that we are older I believe we should have taken my dads advice at the beginning, let them work for awhile, charge them for room and board! When they see what a minimum wage job does and does not buy them, a career and college doesn’t sound so bad!! My son is in forensics and my daughter is an art teacher! Our Lord does amazing things with young minds and thankfully keeps parents from losing theirs!!

      • You’re welcome Christine! Dr. Phil says our brains do not fully develop til we are about 24 years old, and so kids do not fully comprehend the needs of the future or the consequences of deeper actions, yet we put them behind the wheel at 16, hand them a gun to go to war at 18, drinking age is what 21? My twin granddaughters are 16, and thinking about their future but while the thought of being on their own is exciting it also scares them a great deal! Maybe your son feels at 17, like the girls do. I’m 62, sometimes I wish I could go back home! Ha!!

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