Breaking News

This just in. Abigail has completed her first crochet project!

This amazing ten year old took on an ambitious project for her first time – a blanket for her dolls.

Single crocheted to the last few rows, then switched to double crochet when she was ready to learn the new stitch.

She used up most of my remaining cotton from this project.

I think she did a fabulous job, don’t you?

And that ends our breaking news story.

What’s next, Abby?

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Watch Your Mouth!

When my sister was traveling around a lot, she found a little souvenir for my fridge. She said it reminded her of me.

It says:

“When I say the word exercise, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”

Works for me!

One Stitch at a Time

One stitch at a time. That is all it takes to knit something. Whether it is a tiny bootie for a new baby or a king-sized bedspread for your bed, you only have to do one stitch at a time. And that one little stitch sits next to another little stitch, and they all line up. Then, they start stacking, row upon row. Stitch by tiny, little stitch. Sure, it may take longer to get to the end. It may cost more to buy the yarn. But all you have to do is knit one stitch at a time.

Parenting is like that, don’t you think? The thought of making a whole person, all grown up, well educated and wise  – what an enormous task! I can’t do that! But, I can take the “project” moment by moment. A bedtime story here, a bandaid on an owie there. One “I love you”, one hug, one game of Memory, all lined up next to each other. Moment by moment, stitch by stitch. Then the moments, start stacking up, row upon beautiful row until I finish. When I bind off and they set out into the wide world to find their fortunes, they will be my greatest masterpieces.

Knit one stitch at a time

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PS – Some time ago, I submitted a short essay on a postpartum experience of mine to a wonderful woman who has a heart for helping moms in those first few weeks after they give birth. She posted it on her blog yesterday, but I forgot to tell you. If you are interested in reading about my struggles breastfeeding my first baby, click here. She is accepting essays from other moms, so I encourage you to check it out, and maybe write a little something. 🙂

Husbands Say the Darndest Things

Making the decision to use my stash as a design element in my living room was a risky move. For the most part, The Man takes my knitting in stride, although he does tend to harrass me just a bit about the time I spend with my yarn. I wondered how he would react when I brought out all my wool and stuffed a small bookshelf full, and then put the overflow into baskets on another shelf. Personally, I liked the look of it, and I felt like it made the room uniquely “me”, but the jury was out until The Man approved.

Surprisingly, he didn’t seem to notice. At least, not at first. Then, one day about a week later, we were sitting on the couch together, facing the wooly decoration, and out of the blue, The Man says to me:

“I like your yarn.”

Yup. He’s a keeper.

The Year of The Sweater Project Continues…

This year I set out to knit seven sweaters for myself. I realized that have been knitting for a few years, but I always for others. Until this year, I had not knit a single thing for myself, so I decided that this is my year. I picked out seven lovely patterns, bought a whole bunch of yarn and have been working on it off and on ever since. So, here is where it stands:

Sweater #1 – Vine Lace Cardigan in Malabrigo Chunky Pink Frost was the first sweater I made for myself. I knit it in one week (you gotta love bulky yarn!). It is big, squishy, and while not very flattering (I did say “bulky” yarn!), I am very pleased with it. Completed in April.

Sweater #2 – Tea Leaves Cardigan in Madelinetosh Merino Worsted Fig is my favorite so far. The color, the feel, the style, the buttons. Love, love, love! This is the sweater that makes me wish for winter to come quickly. The only downside is that I think it’s gonna pill something terrible! Completed in May.

Sweater #3 – Mondo Cable Cardi in Dream in Color Classy Dusky Aurora is the workhorse. A beautiful yarn, that also happens to be superwash, a simple pattern and an awesome color! I took this one camping last week and loved every minute that I wore it. This baby grew a bunch when I blocked it, but that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for it one bit. Completed in June.

April, May, June. Each month I completed an entire sweater! I didn’t realize that until just now. That is really very cool! So, what happened to July and August? Summer heat? That, or the allure of lace…

Sweater #4 – The Shawl Collared Cardigan in Wool of the Andes Worsted Cranberry is not in a happy place. I made some dreadful mistake somewhere, but I have gone too far past it and must now fudge some fix. That is why this sweater is hibernating. I am thinking that soon it will see the light of day, though. It’s been awhile since I looked at it…

Sweater #5 – Labyrinth in Louisa Harding Grace Whale is my current project. I thought that I would make some killer progress on the first sleeve last night while watching a movie with the Man, but I found “Edge of Darkness” a little too riveting for much knitting… (Either it was the intensity, or the fact that the speech was mumbled and we had the subtitles on so we could know what was going on. Too bad they had to use such horrible language. I really hate that.)

Sweater #6 – was Tissue Cardigan from Interweave Knits in Knit Picks Shadow Spice, but since I just finished the Wispy Cardi in Malabrigo Lace Amoroso, I have decided to bump the Tissue Cardi off the list and count the Wispy as Sweater #6! Perhaps the Tissue Cardigan will be knit some other time. It really is lovely, and I have the yarn – if I can manage to save it. It is lace weight. And gorgeous. I don’t know, it just might have to be a lace shawl or something lovely like that. (I have yet to make anything from “Knitted Lace of Estonia” and you know I am dying to do that!) Completed in September.

Sweater #7 – the plan is to make Vine Yoke Cardigan in Malabrigo Worsted Velvet Grapes. I hope that is what I do… 🙂

So, in summery- Seven sweaters intended, six started, of those, four completed. And it is only September. Cool.

Any ideas for next years goal? I am thinking socks. (I hear you gasping. I still have a few months to warm up to the idea. And I must say that having a drawer full of hand knit socks is mighty appealing!)

Drumroll, Please

At long last I am ready to show you my Wispy Cardi! (Please excuse the crappy pictures. If you remember, my camara go sand in it, so it’s Photo Booth pictures or nothing!)

Three things about this Cardigan:

1. It is so soft. I mean incredibly, wear it on bare skin, wrap your naked baby in it soft. I love how it feels. I used Malabrigo Lace Merino, and I am hooked!

2. It looks great…. from the back.

From the front, not so much….

I guess it is okay, but for some reason, I thought it would make me look like this. Nevertheless, I think I will still wear it. Fat girls are entitled to cute clothes, too.

3. I loved this knit, from the excellently concieved and written pattern, to the gorgeous yarn, to the speedy execution.

So, there you have it. The Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fettig in Malabrigo Lace Amoroso.

A BabyWearer, I Am Not

Out of neccessity, I wore my baby for most of our camping trip. She didn’t care for the sand very much, it was cold much of the time and it was the only way she would take naps while we hung out on the beach. This was a new experience for me.

Now, I now that there are a lot of you mama’s out there who live with a baby attached to your body. I know, because you preach it proudly. Some blogs even go so far as to ridicule and insult mama’s who don’t wear their babies. I stay quiet on the subject as a general rule. But here it is, in a nutshell.

I have done all five of my babies the same way – schedules, self soothing, not in my bed and certainly not kangaroo style. I have had only happy results. My kids are all outgoing, well adjusted, secure, happy people. They have slept through the night from 2-8 weeks of age, they have no separation anxiety issues and are thriving.

I don’t enter the debate because, I feel that this is a very personal decision. If you want to sleep with your baby, great. I would rather have a full nights sleep. If you want to wear your baby, go for it. I have back and hip issues that make that very uncomfortable. If you don’t ever let your baby cry, fine. I feel that it is important that baby learn to self soothe. I may not agree with you on which is best, (obviously, I do what I think is best for myself and my babies) but these are not huge issues to me. Parenting is about so much more than that.

I only bring it up now because of this last week. It was the most use my sling has ever seen. I felt like a kangaroo. And it wasn’t all bad. I liked rocking her to sleep, because I don’t really do that very often. I liked knowing where she was and that she was secure, especially in that environment. I can see why some mama’s are so sold on the idea. However, when we got home, and I set her free on the floor, it was so wonderful. I think she was just as relieved as I was. And, when I put her down in her bed for her nap in her own room with her wooly, she snuggled down instantly and fell asleep.

In short, I like the method that I have chosen. Doing something different for a week was interesting, but did not persuade me to change. Although some moments, like this one, were fabulous!

The point I am trying to make is not which is better, or who is the better mama. I don’t care if you wear your babies, sleep with them, or rock them to sleep. (I think you must be awfully tired, or strong, or resiliant!) I don’t feel that I have to convert you to my way, or to say that your way is wrong, or identify myself as a “Babywise Mama”. Why do we have to bicker when it really comes down to style or preference. If my children are thriving and loved, and your children are thriving and loved, then why all the posturing? Can’t we all just get along?

And that is all I have to say about that.

The Good, The Bad, And The Just Plain Awful

The Good

I was born into a marvelous family. Getting together with all of them for our annual camping trip is the highlight of the year, and this year was no exception. We all had a fabulous time (despite sketchy weather, freight trains all night and Emma’s smashed finger). Observe:

Abby went boogie-boarding for the first time. And loved it, of course.

Noah got to be totally covered in sand all day long. (Heaven!)

Beka, always dancing, made new friends and ate her weight in “camping food” (that would be sugary treats that we never get).

Emma got to spend her days with her favorite cousin, and they actually got along pretty well (unusual).

And Chloe, well, just look at her!

As for me, of course I got in some knitting where I could. (I couldn’t make up my mind, so I took the Labyrinth to knit in the car (long drive), some cotton washcloths for beach knitting, and the Malabrigo baby sweater for fun. I ended up using the Mal for a hat for Chloe when, on the first night, I realized that it was going to be freezing and, silly me, I had packed summer attire.) But I also spent a good amount frolicking and battling sand, as I suspected, so not a whole lot of progress in the knitting department. I did finish the hat quickly, though, as it was a necessity, and I started the Yoked Cardigan (Hannah Fettig again. I really like her patterns!) and got a few rows into it.

The Bad

I grabbed the bag with Labyrinth in it as an after thought, intending to knit it in the car. Upon taking it out and looking at it, I realized I had forgotten the pattern. Darn. I knit the body of it (easily, and previously, memorized), binding off before arriving at my uncle and aunt’s house and figured I was stuck. But then, in a blaze of genius, I used said uncle’s computer to get the pattern from Stitch Diva. (Thank you, Stitch Diva, for letting me download it again!) Very excited that I wasn’t thwarted after all, I printed it up and stuck it into my bag. Once again in the car on the way to the beach, I opened the bag, pulled it all out, and wouldn’t you know it? I didn’t have the DPN’s I needed. No, magic loop wasn’t possible with the 24″ needle I had been using on the body. Bummer. But at least I got the body done. Now that I am home, I can tackle those sleeves in my free time… Ha!

The Just Plain Awful

Okay, are you ready for this? No, I mean, really, are you ready? Here it comes.

Sand + Camera = Bad things.

Yup. I am rendered camera free as of day 3 of camping on the beach. Darn. Darn. Darn. And with no “new camera” category in the budget… well, you see what I mean, right? How can a blogging knitter go on living without a camera!?!?!?! We will have to figure something out soon.

I wish I had taken pictures of the Wispy before I left….

A Wispy Cardi, A Frantic Saturday and A Big Decision

We are packing up to leave for a week. I get to sit on the beach and knit and eat and watch my kids frolic on a beach with all my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers, and nephew. I am so excited that I forgot to post my Friday picture yesterday! And I am a busy, busy bee trying to get everything packed and leave a clean house. But I do have three things, albeit no pictures, to say before I start this frantic day.

1. Wispy is finished! You will have to wait till next week for photos and details, though. I am not as excited as I thought I would be. I think this sweater was designed for a more “wispy” physique. It kind of looks like a frame for my ample bosom and pudge belly. But, it will be fine, paired with the right outfit. I can’t wait to show you!

2. Trying to decide what to knit on the beach is a tough one. Do I choose the practical route and knit dishcloths and diaper covers all week? Do I go super risky and take a Labyrinth? (A whole sweater in my lap and stressing about sand in the yarn?) Or, do I take a baby sweater, that is nice Malabrigo, but is small and manageable. And, once I decide what to take, how much do I take? What if I knit everything the first day, and have nothing to knit the rest of the time? What if I spend most of my time frolicking in the surf and cleaning sand out of the babys diaper and don’t even open the knitting bag? Oh, decisions, decisions….

3. The Man and I were discussing my body today. I have some ligament issues and need to give more time to exercise if I want to retain my ability to move painfree. I said something lame about how “I try to find time” and he said something very true. “If knitting were a cardio activity,” he said, “You would be in such excellent shape that you could run a marathon!”

Too true, Dear. Too true.