Wrap them up

Hailing from the Boston area myself, I’m feeling a little raw today.  I’m so relieved and grateful that my friends and family members who were watching or running the race are all home safe.  But it really pains me to think of all the families who are hurting today, and I am hurting with them.

I was reading Facebook earlier today, and a high school friend asked how to explain this to his 4 year old son.  One person’s response was to just give his son the facts.  I am on the opposite end of this spectrum.  Perhaps I’m too naive, but if there is anything I can do to protect my two year old and five year old from the terrifying aspects of this world, I would like to do so.  I’m not afraid to talk about life and death, because this is the cycle of life. Yet, their young minds can not truly understand the rational details of such an event; is it really worth giving them “the facts”?  I just want to wrap them up and keep them safe and innocent, just a little bit longer.

There were a few hours yesterday when I was waiting to hear if my brother was safe; what an unsettling time.  Thankfully, I had to remain present with my kids.  Ella and I had a fun photo shoot, showing off her new Regina (to coordinate with mine – so Hanna Andersson!).

EllaRegina2 EllaRegina3 EllaRegina1

Wrapping her up.

 

* This post shared on Yarn Along and Keep Calm Craft On.

Instant Gratification

So I went looking for instant gratification, and here’s what I found: Regina.

Regina1 Regina2 Regina3

Regina!  What a great pattern by one of my favorite designers, Carina Spencer.  So unique in its construction: first you knit the band, lengthwise like an itty-bitty scarf, then you pick up stitches from the brim, join in the round, and knit the hat inside out to minimize purling.  It’s warm, it’s cute, it’s a great stash-buster, and best of all: there is no gauge swatching!  Seriously – you just measure and do a little bit of math and you’re all set to knit! (Did I mention it’s also a FREE download).  Go download this pattern now!

My Ravelry notes are here.

* Joining Keep Calm Craft On and Yarn Along

Little Oak

It’s done! I think this is the most lovely sweater I’ve ever made, and it’s a shining example of what happens when you follow directions and do everything right (which is unfortunately NOT usually how I roll when knitting!).  I knit a gauge swatch, I carefully took Ella’s measurements, I adjusted the sleeves and length up a size, I blocked the finished garment.  And it’s fabulous.

So, without further ado, may I present the Little Oak Sweater…

Little Oak 3 Little Oak1 Little Oak2 Little Oak4

The pattern is the Little Oak sweater, part of the Coastal Kids collection by Never Not Knitting. Ella picked out this lovely Malabrigo merino yarn, and the buttons are handmade by my very own husband; they are made from locally harvested Osage Orange wood. (My Ravelry notes are here).

And now I’m off to select an easy, instant gratification project for me!

* Joining the crafting fun at Keep Calm Craft On

Knitting

It’s hard to believe that winter has almost come and gone, and I’ve hardly a knitted item to show for it.  This fall, I seriously imagined that I could start and finish a sweater for Ella in time for her birthday on the Winter Solstice.  Nope.  Then, I imagined that Valentine’s Day would be a great goal.  Wrong again.  So I set my sights on a Spring Equinox sweater. And I do believe I may just achieve this goal!

What has changed?  Well, first off all, I finally finished the sleeves.  While I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned and practiced using the magic loop method to knit two sleeves at once, it took FOREVER!  But, the sleeves are the exact same length – something that has probably never before been achieved by this knitter!  (Just check out the sleeves on this sweater for proof!)  And second, and perhaps more importantly, we had grandparent visitors.  The kids so love their grandparents that dear old mama was able to just park herself in the cozy recliner and knit, knit, knit (as evidenced by this photo, taken by Ella)

Knitting

The pattern, by the way, is the Little Oak sweater, from the Coastal Kids collection. I do believe it may be the most gorgeous item I have ever knit.  The oak leaf pattern was a pure delight, and so motivating!  And when the sweater is complete (next week, I promise!), it will be the most beautifully fitted three-season garment.  I can’t wait to see it on Ella.

What are you knitting these days?

* Joining the fine crafty folks at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On!

 

Birthday vest, take two!

I had to do it. I simply had to make Everett a new birthday vest to make up for my gross error in improperly sizing his Milo vest.  So I searched for a super cute, super fast knit that I could whip up for his special day, and found the gloriously simple and adorable Plain Vest by Pickles.
Pickles is a rocking pattern and yarn shop, in that they offer one size of each of their many patterns for free!  The 12 month version of the Plain Vest is free on their website, and it was easy to upsize it to fit my 2 year old pumpkin (see Ravelry notes here).

Everett was very happy with his new vest, and so was I!

 

Joining the fine crafty folks at Frontier Dreams today for Keep Calm Craft On

 

Stash Busting

It is officially birthday season.  Me, Everett, and Ella all in November and December (oh, and a few other significant holidays thrown in there too!).  And with my sincere efforts to give my children handmade gifts, I have been knitting like crazy.  Drum roll please … I have FINALLY completed Everett’s birthday vest.  Just a few days before my sweet pumpkin turns two.

It is the Milo vest, a totally cute and very easy pattern (my Ravelry notes are here).  What made this vest great fun for me is that it was a stash buster.  So I got to revisit several yarns that I have used and loved over the past year.  The garter stitch shoulders – these fingerless gloves, the light blue Cascade 220 – the oh so cute Manda Ruth cardigan, the sapphire and brown – two Pebbles vests for very special little boys.  Such sweet memories. (Not to mention the fact that now I have a total free ticket to yarn purchasing!)
The only problem with this wonderful project is that it is too big for Everett.  SUPER big.  Like, it’s even a bit loose on almost 5 year old Ella.  And why? Because I was too darn stubborn to do a gauge swatch.  I HATE to gauge swatch!  And that, my friends, is what keeps me from being a really great knitter.  So now I have a total ethical dilemma on my hands:  do I let this superb sweater languish in a drawer for two years, or do I give it to Ev for his birthday, then let Ella wear it until he grows into it?  She sure looks cute in this vest!

What would you do with the vest?  Help me out here!!

(*check out more crafty fun at Keep Calm Craft On)

Finger knitting with children

Monday was an adventure day, as the kids and I joined a good friend and her children on a trip to the coast.  The whole day was so much fun – mamas chatting in the front seat, kids piled into the back of her minivan, picnic lunch on the sand, hunting for treasure, climbing sand dunes, and eating ice cream. It was such a necessary recharge for me; a chance to spend hours connecting with another women, another mother, who faces many of the same joys and challenges as I do.

Her 5 year old daughter, C spent much of the car ride finger knitting.  I had been taught a version of finger knitting by one of Ella’s Waldorf school teachers, but it was way too complicated for Ella – wrapping around 4 fingers, going over and under – too much.  But the method that C was using was so simple – just a single chain created on one finger.  Ella and I both wanted to learn!

So I found this Waldorf-inspired video on YouTube, that teaches finger knitting through a story about a fence, sheep jumping over the fence, and slipping a collar on the sheep.  With that story, and this verse:

Finger ring, finger ring
How many stitches can I bring?
Wrap around once, then jump over
Roll around in sweet green clover!

we began.  And within minutes she was finger knitting!  Every few moments she’d say, with amazement in her voice, “Mama, look at how long my finger knitting is now!”  And then she proceeded to finger knit for over two hours.  Parked on the sofa with blankets on our laps, and a few balls of wool, we sat together and finger knit.  And I cannot even tell you how happy this made me, to sit peacefully next to my almost 5-year old daughter, and knit.

Thank you so much to S, C, and C for inspiring us!

 

Manda Ruth

Hello! It’s been a mighty long time since I’ve written here.  We’ve had a visitor, lots of rain, and oodles of homestead work.  I’ve been diligently working in the garden, planting the last of the veggies into the ground.  Thanks to our winter and spring efforts, the sweet reward of harvest begins: Asparagus, peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, new potatoes, carrots, beets, and today, our first ripe strawberries!  It feels so good to be able to once again craft our menu around what is ready to eat from the garden.

Noticing that sweet Everett was growing bigger and bigger, and that my sweater-in-progress was not, I decided to make a strong push to the finish.  Thank goodness I did, because this 24 month sized sweater fits my 18 month boy just perfectly.

It’s the Manda Ruth cardigan, minus the hood, and you can find my Ravelry notes here.

Can you believe those cheeks?  I just want to eat them up, they are so chubbilicious!

What are you creating today?

* Yarn Along-ing today with the fine folks at Small Things.  Check it out here.

 

Rows and Rows

With the weather being so absolutely beautiful, we have been spending most of our days outdoors.  It is splendid.  The kids have taken to pouring water into and out of bowls of all sizes. I wish I had a photo to share because it is quite comical – Everett in a shirt, boots, and no pants (because I’m working on his potty training, and because he pours water all over them anyways!), Ella usually completely naked except for some mismatched boots.  They love this game, and it keeps them so occupied that both Brian and I have been able to spend quality time in the garden.

So here is a little glimpse into my little garden world right now:

Tomatoes are all in the ground and growing just fine. I could not control myself yet again this year and planted 73 plants.  No, I did not mistype.  And no, we don’t sell at a market.  We just happen to live in a hollow that gets fewer hours of sun and has cool creek-side temps.  So I have to plant that many to get an appreciable yield.

Beets and carrots coming along nicely in the greenhouse.  There’s Everett watching himself pee in the background. Oops – was that too much information?

Overwintered garlic, mulched heavily with manure-laden goat bedding.  Almost time to harvest garlic whistles.  Yum!

Some really gorgeous greens in the greenhouse. Anyone want to come over for a salad?

And outside, some freshly planted brassicas, onions, beans, carrots, lettuce, and beets.

All this time spent in the garden rows has been seriously cutting into my knitted rows.  When Everett turned 18 months yesterday, I realized that the sweater I am making him will not fit him for very long if I do not get moving!  So I’m back in action, and am SO very close to casting off sleeve number two.

Only hood and ribbed trim to go!

And because I love Ginny’s Yarn Along so much, and love sharing what I’m knitting and reading, I’m going to leave the title of my latest book as somewhat of a teaser for a future post.  Let me just say that this book is packed with incredibly interesting information that will challenge the way you think about nutrition and dental health:  Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.

Back to the needles, cause I have a quickly growing boy to catch up with!

 

 

Waiting

Knitting and reading with Yarn Along!

Ah, this waiting period is utterly (no pun intended) suspenseful.  Given how enormous Gilly is, we felt certain that she’d kid on the earlier side (depending on your reference, goat gestation is anywhere from 145-155 days, with an average of 150 days).  Today is her 150th day of gestation, and still no goat kids!  Each day I wake up with renewed excitement – could this be the day?  You’d think it was my first birth!

Patience, and a bit of knitting have thus become my companions.  I wish I could say I made more progress on the aforementioned Manda Ruth cardigan, but I did manage to complete the body, and am now cruising on down a sleeve.

And on the bookshelf are a lot of books that most likely will not get finished before I have to return them to the library!  Too many to mention all the titles, but they include references for teaching jazz dance (thinking ahead to my summer musical theater dance teaching gigs), a few sewing books, and a Paleo diet cookbook.  Because I am mighty curious about that Paleo diet!  But that’s another post for another time!

I’ll be back later this week with photos of baby goats!