A Collection of Unrelated Thoughts

1. I have a difficult choice to make. Last night I finished the center square of the baby blanket. It is gorgeous. I love it.

This is an Estonian lace pattern in DK weight yarn on size 6 needles. (Ravelry project page link) It is supposed to have a lace border. I cast on for the lace border last night…. and then realized I was using the wrong needles. So, I pulled it out and then that little evil voice inside my head started whispering. “Who needs a lace border?” it said. And, it is right. This is a perfect size even without the border. But, I want to do it completely and I think I will be happier if I knit that border…. maybe later. I do have until June, you know.

2. I have created a Linus… somehow. New Baby hasn’t even gotten here, yet, but the Munchkin is already showing some signs of insecurity. Maybe it is because she made the switch from crib to big girl bed. Maybe it is because I have been so sick and tired and crabby (read: not a very good mom). Maybe it is just her age. Whatever the reason, she has taken to carrying her wool fleece (which she has slept on since birth) and sucking her thumb all day.

Oh, and also chanting, “Weeweee! Weeweee!” in sheer delight. (That is “wooly” for those of you who don’t speak Munchkin) I had to cut a piece off the wooly so that she could have a portable wooly during the day – we call it the “Wooly-Bit”. I am not worried about it. I just didn’t expect this until after the New Baby came along.

3. I finished the lace shawl for the Bookworm’s birthday ahead of schedule.

It is a shawlette, and will fit her little shoulders perfectly. I made a terrible mistake at my first go, and didn’t realize it till I got the the border! So, I had to frog it all the way back and re-knit. For that reason, it took me twice as long as it should have. This is an excellent pattern for a last minute gift – I think I could make it again in a solid day. (Ravelry Project Page Link) I will do a post on it after her birthday when I can have her model it. For now, it is going from the blocking board to a little hiding spot. I am so excited to give this to her – she is going to flip. 🙂

4. I have three gifts to make today (on top of school, laundry and cleaning…. sigh). I am thinking about making some of these pouches. I have tons of cute fabric that gets left out of all the fun that my yarn experiences every day. Time for the fabric to get some attention. I may even make one for me. Yippee!

5. I passed my six month mark last week and didn’t say a word. Oops. I am happy about it, really, I am. I just feel lousy because of a sneak attack from a sinus infection. But, pregnancy-wise I am doing excellent. Baby is growing steadily and moving a lot. All my vitals are excellent. I would give you a belly shot, but I am still in my jammies and I am not ready to get dressed, yet. (Must finish the first cup of coffee…) Only 16 weeks left… (wow, that almost sounds too soon!)

6. I cast on another project. But that isn’t really news, is it? I have not made much progress, so I will keep you in suspense until there is something to show for it. (ooh, I am so eeevil!)

Now I am off to get something done. Maybe I will even get dressed and make my bed…


A Mama by Any Other Name

The other night, I had a killer headache. Not quite so bad as to relegate me to laying in the dark with a pillow over my head, but close.

So, there we sat at the table eating dinner, when the “Mama, Can I?”‘s began. If you are a mom, you know what I am talking about.

“Mama, can I have more potatoes?”

“Mama, can I have some milk?”

“Mama, can I sit by you?”

My head felt like it was going to explode, and The Man saw me gritting my teeth as I dealt with each “Mama, Can I?” that came along. Finally, he said, “Okay, guys. Mama has a headache. No more saying ‘Mama’.”

A pause in the onslaught, and then the Bookworm spoke up, “Mother?”

“No,” The Man interupted.

Another pause, and then, from the far end of the table came the Princess’s little voice, asking, “Woman?”

True Generosity

As most of you know, I have vowed to knit only yarn from the stash for a whole year. I will not be spending one single cent on yarn until 2012.

This is a very good goal, both for my brain and my budget.

And, so far, I have enjoyed the challenge. When one must knit only stash yarn, she finds that she must use a greater amount of creativity than if she could just buy yarn fitting to the project she desires to knit. It is fun to make it work. It is stretching me. Plus, I have so many nice yarns that I am happy to use up. I really don’t need to get any more yarn. The stash is full of lovelies that are yearning to be crafted into the next work of art.

But, this has also had a less than desirable affect on me.

You see, I am generally a very generous person:

You’re out of tea? Oh, no, we can’t have that. Here is 1/4 lb of Earl Grey to get you by.

No row counter? How do you keep track? I have three – take one, please.

You want to learn to knit? I have plenty of needles and yarn. Pick one. I’ll teach you with good needles and soft wool.

And, I am an enabler.

Want to try Malabrigo? Feel this. Nice huh? Knit a little of it. Now, I have you hooked.

Sure, it may have cost me a skien or two, but I am more than happy to spread the wooly love around. If I have it, it is yours. No problem.

Until now. A strange stinginess has come over me. I want every yard. Every inch. I have none to spare. This stash has to last me the year, and I may not have enough. Get your own. Especially the Malabrigo.

I guess that means that I am not really all that generous. True generosity is selfless, isn’t it? True generosity would give you my last skien of Madelintosh. True generosity wouldn’t hide the laceweight when you mention a desire to knit a shawl.

I set out to save money and use up what I have. And I have turned into a greedy, yarn hoarder. Or, maybe I always was a greedy, yarn hoarder. But now the mask is off and I have been shown a side of myself that definitely needs some work.

Maybe I will work on it next year…

A Good Day for Un-Schooling

If ever there was a critic of my homeschooling style, I sure wish he would have dropped by my house on Monday.

Monday is not a school day for us. It is one of the Man’s days off, and so we use it to do chores and work around the house and farm. But, after all the chores were done, and everyone dispersed to do as they pleased, this was the scene in our little home.

The Bookworm decided to write a report on the human body.

This report is complete with sketches of bones and muscles, filled with facts and information that she gathered from books and online, and was totally voluntary.

Then, there was the Boy. He decided to take apart that old camera that got ruined with sand last summer and try to fix it.

This is still a work in progress. I was impressed, though, when he was able to get it back together to test his success! This was also totally voluntary.

Later, the Dancing Queen offered to read to me while I folded laundry. She regaled me with “Go, Dog, Go” in true first grade form – a real milestone in her educational career. And it was totally voluntary.

Not all days are like that. There are some days when they play all day. There are some days when I have to sit them down and make them study. But, every once in a while, it all comes together and I see that I am accomplishing my goals for them – to instill in them a curiosity about the world around them, to give them the tools they need to find the answers, and to allow them to grow into the people they are meant to be.

Yes. Monday was a good day for un-schooling.


The Princess Gets Hers

Last winter, I knit each of my five kids a sweater. Well, everyone got a sweater except The Bookworm, she wanted a cape.

This winter, I set out to do the same.

Here is the last of the five – The Princess gets hers –

Diamond and Bobble Sweater from Petite Purls in Patons Wool Wisteria and Dream in Color Classy Wisterious

Three things about this sweater:

1. I wanted to do a top-down, round-yoke pullover. I wanted the pattern to be free, easy and basic. I wanted to incorporate stripes. Do you know how hard it is to find a pattern that fits that description? I had to settle for a bottom-up, round yoke cardigan. Other than that, it was a fine pattern. Petite Purls has some really cute stuff.

2. Using up the stash means that this knit had to be striped, and also that I held my breath the entire knit, wondering if there would be enough. I had to modify the contruction a bit, as well. I knit the body, yoke, buttonbands and collar first. To do this, I had to do a provisional cast on for where the sleeves would be. Then, I picked up the provisional stitches and knit each sleeve, top-down, until the yarn ran out. Three quarter sleeves were not part of the plan, but it works just fine.

3. I wish I could have made this in my size. I love the colors, the shape, the buttons, the sleeves. It looks great on Emma, and she is thrilled. But I can’t help but be just a bit jealous! 🙂

Each kid got a sweater this winter – (all of these can be found in my Rav Notebook)

I can’t wait to start on the Winter ’11-’12 Collection! 🙂

Feeling More Like Me

It looks like my days of one-at-a-time knitting are over. It was like some strange dream. But, I am feeling a little bit more like myself – see?

I’ve been working on the Bebe Blanket

…and a shawl for the Bookworm (whose birthday is coming up next month) –

… and a sweater for the Princess (who was next in line) –

But, notice that even though my Knitting ADD has returned, that last project is finished and blocking! More about that little gem tomorrow.

Now I am off to clean out my craft closet… again.

The Hardest Knit

This year I have done a lot of knitting. I have knit a man-sized sweater, I have knit cables and I have knit lace. I have even found some time to work on some complicated colorwork mittens.

But all of those were easy compared to this – the hardest knit this year so far:

Baby’s Bamboo Singlet in Knit Picks Risata, Buttermilk

See how hard that is? See all the entrelac? The cables, bobbles and twisted rib? The lacy yarn overs and the complicated stitch patterns? Me neither.

And yet, this one little top, which is newborn sized and used less than 190 yards of yarn, gave me so much stinking trouble! I didn’t like the pattern, so I started to wing it… but failed miserable and had to pull it out. Did I change my ways and follow the pattern after that? No, I did what I thought best… and again pulled it out.

I frogged this stupid little thing 5 times! Stockenette and Seed stitch proved too much for my pregnant brain, and converting it into a knit-in-the-round pattern about caused my head to explode.

So much for being a knitting genius.

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, however, I have decided to continue to torture myself and proceed to knit the other 4 tops that I have planned. Same pattern. Same modifications. Same yarn. Boring, and yet, somehow, the hardest knit so far this year. Weird, huh?

Knit Picks Risata, Buttermik, Waterslide, Woodland Sage, and Babydoll