Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh, Look, Another Milo

I just can't stop making these things. They are so easy, and so amazingly portable that I can stuff a ball of yarn in my pocket and knit while I'm walking around with Piper at the children's museum. I have re-purposed a little plastic pouch that was part of the shipping wrapper for some shoes, and it is the perfect size for two balls of Sugar n' Cream plus a 16" circular needle. This little project-in-progress now lives in my car, so I am never without something to knit and I don't have to drag my 5-balls-of-yarn colorwork project back and forth or wrestle with the giant skein attached to that frigging Tomten. So expect to see more of these little vests in this space. They are perfect for adding a little warmth without bulk (leaving those arms free for playground adventures), are lovely for showing off yarn I have some but not a lot of, and don't take forever to finish. They are also excellent for keeping paint off my kid's clothes while she is at school. 

This one was a gift for our little friend (the same one who received the shark lunch box). It's actually the second one I've made him, only the first one was in cotton. It took me a long time because I kept getting distracted. Piper has one I made last year in similar colors and I scavenged all my leftover skeins of this yarn to get this one as stripy as possible. Piper was pretty psyched about having "matching" sweaters with her buddy.

Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallam
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease (I know! But it's so sturdy!)
My Ravelry page for it is here.

I had a bunch of bits and partial skeins, so most of the stripes' length was dictated by how far I could go without running out of yarn. A couple places I split a bigger amount into smaller stripes so it wouldn't look weird. And I cut the yarn every time, because I didn't want to carry the colors a long way up the inside and leave loops to snag little fingers. So weaving in all those ends took me almost as long as the knitting. Whew!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Giant Cat Attack!

Huge Cats Terrorize Family of Small Woodland Creatures, Hello Kitty May Be Involved.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Santa Hat

A couple of days before Christmas, my child started asking me for "a Santa hat." After a few conversations, I sussed out that this meant any hat with a pom-pom, bonus points if it's pointy in some way. She requested red, and was quite adamant. We went to the yarn store and I let her pick out what she wanted (although I did have to steer her away from the $46-a-skein stuff ). She chose the brightest red we could find - some Cascade 220. I didn't finish it until a couple days after Christmas, but I think it's what she wanted.

This pattern is the "Vintage Pixie Cap" by Hadley Fierlinger from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.
My Ravelry details are here.

More blurry, grainy camera phone pictures, hooray! 

I got most of the way done with the front ribbing and realized that it was going to be all loose and floppy and that I should've used needles 1-2 sizes smaller to make the ribbing tighter. I don't know why I didn't think of it, because that's what I always do with hat ribbing. So it's kind of loose. Oh, well. It will fit her for a while, I guess. I did the strap in seed stitch and made the end pointy, and it fastens with these two wee little rabbit buttons that she picked out herself. Maybe someday I will remember to get a picture of the nice seed stitch strap with its rabbit buttons, but for now you'll just have to take my word for it.

I can say that the bright red is very nice at the playground because she's always easy to spot.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anatomy of a Snow Day

 6:55 a.m.: My husband comes in and shakes me awake to tell me that the local school district has canceled school. This means Piper's preschool is also closed. I roll over and think about going back to sleep but instead jump out of bed and ask him if he got some coffee.  "No, I didn't," he says. "There's coffee? Cool." We get to the kitchen and discover that although I loaded the brew basket, put water in the reservoir, and programmed the timer, I did not actually turn the timer on. There is no coffee. I feel terrible, but my husband just shrugs. He can't wait for it to brew, and goes back out to scrape the ice off his car and go to work. I feel guilty about the coffee after he's gone, even though I know he only drinks it when I make it and he doesn't notice when I don't. I watch his car pull out of the driveway and wish he could stay home with us.

7:05 a.m.: I crawl back into my lovely, warm bed, pull the covers up to my chin, and sigh.

7:06 a.m.: I hear Piper wake up and start yelling for me. She comes into my room and I ask if she'd like to snuggle in my bed for a while.

7:08 a.m.: Her version of "snuggling" involves sticking her fingers in my eyes. Over and over.

7:15 a.m.: I get up and after a brief disagreement about the appropriate sugar content of a 3.5-year-old's breakfast, pour her a bowl of plain Cheerios. She eats it and is allowed a bowl of one of my husband's super-sugary snack cereals. The snow outside swirls in the wind.

7:30 a.m.: I turn on the news and watch the coverage of the huge! snow! storm! Coffee in hand, I wander around the house picking things up and paying bills. Piper drags out various toys and scatters them across the living-room floor.

9:30 a.m.: I start wrestling the kid into real clothes and layers of coats so we can go play in the snow.

10:00 a.m.: We go outside and play. I teach her how to make snow angels. She keeps eating snow and I keep telling her to at least get some from the middle of the yard instead of off the car bumpers. We try to make a snowman, but this snow isn't good for packing. Tiny flakes fall as we run and yelp.

10:30 a.m. We are wet, cold, and freezing. We stomp through the front door, strip out of our soggy, muddy, chilly clothes, and hop into things made of fleece and jersey. Hot chocolate and a load of laundry. An episode of Kipper while we play with the dollhouse.

11:30 a.m.: Lunch. More snow outside.

12:30 p.m.: Naptime. For her, anyway. She's out like a light in less than five minutes. The house grows quiet and I try to deal with the heaps of laundry in the dryer.

1:30 p.m.: The neighborhood kids are coming out for the day. I hear noises and go to the back door. There are twenty teenagers and three smaller kids milling around my back yard, shouting and wrestling and posing and kissing. The eventually move into the soccer field and woods, throwing snow and howling. I smile a little bit, and force myself to think well of them. They're just kids, I tell myself. Kids with a snow day.

3:00 p.m.: Piper is awake. She does not want to go back outside, which is fine with me, since it's starting to look slushy out there and the freezing rain is supposed to start any minute. More hot chocolate, some Dr. Who, and an attempt to clean up her play room. We don't do much cleaning, but instead have a play-food picnic and a birthday party for her stuffed cat.

6:00 p.m.: Dinner is soup and fresh bread.

8:00 p.m. Daddy's home. Time for a story and some blocks before bath and bed.

11:00 p.m: I watch the news and discover that tomorrow will also be a snow day, and we will do this all over again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snapshots: Mid-February 2011

It has been really quiet around this blog lately, and for good reason. I spend half my waking hours in the car these days, shuttling Piper to school, running errands, taking care of business. I will be glad when we can move farther into town, closer to everything. 


You know when you hear stories about crazy families who scream at each other in hospital corridors and get into fistfights next to someone's deathbed and call the cops on each other and steal a dying relative's possessions just so the rest of the family can't get at them? Those people are my family. My mother's family, to be more precise. And all of those things have happened in the past two weeks.  My grandma died the other day, and most of us found out from an aunt who called because she saw it posted on an acquaintance's Facebook page. It was all very surreal and the truth is I have been too busy comprehending the scope of the craziness that is going on to really mourn my grandmother. We were close when I was little - she always had root-beer barrel candies and she would give me some. She drove me around in her big old Buick with the green bench seats and sometimes bought me those wax-bottle candies with the syrupy stuff inside. She liked Rambo movies and told me that she thought Bruce Springsteen's music was okay, but that truthfully she liked him because he had a cute butt. One time when my brother and I were at her house, he actually stuck a fork in her light socket. She met my husband a couple of times and loved him to pieces. I wrote to her about once a month, letting her know what was new with me and how Piper was doing. Sometimes she sent things for Piper, coloring books or stickers or whatever she could afford. A couple of weeks before she died, I sent a hat I'd made her, to keep her head warm during the last of her chemotherapy treatments. I heard from relatives that she did receive it. I hope she got to wear it at least once.


 We have carpet in our dining room, which you have to walk through to get to the entire back half of our house. I'd like to have a conversation with the idiot who thought it was a good idea to carpet a dining room. Between the eating and the constant foot traffic, it's in sad shape. We've made the decision not to replace the carpeting before listing the house, so I am just trying to get up the worst of the stains. Today I used a carpet cleaner that not only burned my skin and stank up the entire house, but stripped my fingernails of their lovely red polish. I would've used gloves, but our only pair of waterproof work gloves we have are bright blue, and I didn't think swapping red-velvet cake stains for bright blue smears of molten work glove was such a good idea.

For Christmas this year, we asked the grandparents for a family membership to the children's museums in this area, and that has turned out to be a genius idea. It was a gift they were more than happy to give, and which we use all the time, yet which does not take up any space in my house. And now I can just ask them to renew it for Christmas every year, thus heading off piles of crappy plastic toys and unwearable clothing for years to come. We've been going to the museum aimed at younger kids at least once a week, because it is awesome. The only way it could be better is if they put in a nice cafe like the main museum downtown has - lots of healthy options, organic and local ingredients, and super delicious to boot. It would certainly save me dragging a lunchbox full of snacks around the museum with us.

I have been knitting up a storm, but I've had to tear out the last four things I started. I just can't make anything work. I got 3/4 done with the 5-color yoke on a sweater for Piper before I discovered that I was doing the special stitch pattern wrong and had to tear it out. That dratted Tomten is still not done, because now I have to tear out the entire second sleeve because my decreases look like stair steps. I keep starting this sweater for Piper in a lovely gray merino, and I can't seem to get past the first row. I work sporadically on the shawl I started for my mom over a year ago, I keep screwing it up and having to frog every row I knit. Although I dearly loved this hat (so soft so warm so cute so perfect), I gave it to my mom because it was a smidge too big for me. It fits her perfectly, and she really loves it. Strangers keep walking up to her and asking where she got it or if they can buy it from her, which makes me feel pretty good. I'm making myself a replacement, in a different, not-as-soft yarn, and I am hoping that knitting for myself rather than everyone else will break the terrible knitting curse I seem to be under.