Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I have to admit, Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  I stress myself out a lot trying to come up with costume ideas for my kids.  Thankfully, the two oldest knew what they wanted to be this year.  We owned one of the costumes already, and I had a good idea of how to make the other.

My oldest wanted to be a cow girl.  My mom sent me this cow scrap fabric, from her and my father's costumes, and I made a skirt and vest in one afternoon.  I'm not great with a sewing machine, so I was pretty proud of myself.  And I found the red rick rack in my grandmother's sewing basket, and it added just the right finishing touch to her costume.  And the hat is her dad's from when he was a child.  I should add that I used the Lazy Days skirt pattern by Oliver + S to sew the skirt.  Great, easy (and free) pattern!

I had seen a fall fairy costume online in September for close to $40 and knew right away that I wasn't paying for that.  So I found this website with an idea of how to make a fairy costume.  I bought 6 yards of tulle for 50 cents a yard and I got the silk leaves for $1.50.  So for $4.50 total, I made this costume.  And I have to say that I absolutely love it.

My littlest's reaction to being a fall fairy was that "it's yucky."  She, in all of her 2 1/2 years, actually wanted to be Dominic the Italian Christmas donkey.  And if I hadn't bought the stuff for the fall fairy, I may have indulged her.  There's always next year!

Friday, October 28, 2011

::this moment:: Halloween parade

From soulemama

"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

First Snow

It snowed last night for the first time...brrr.  Time for warm mittens and hats, wool sweaters too.

My kids have been wearing hats and mittens to school this week.  Look at this sweet hat, knit by one of my test knitters, SheepTherapy, for the Give Thanks Hat pattern.  If you love it as much as I do, here's the link to her project page on Ravelry.

Stay warm this weekend and Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

yarn along

After finishing up my hat and mitten set for my friend's baby, I was really stuck on what to knit next.  I wasn't feeling inspired by anything.  But Saturday night, while looking through my stash and being irritated by the number of small leftover balls of yarn, I decided to make a scrappy lengthwise linen stitch scarf.  I'm following the directions from this pattern, but I've modified the number of cast on stitches since I'm using worsted weight wools.

So Saturday night I cast on 360 stitches and worked the first row of the pattern.  I got to the last stitch of that row and realized I'd made a mistake somewhere earlier.  Looking through that twisted up, long row, I realized I'd made it almost right away--about 300 stitches ago.  I tinked back one stitch at a time until I realized it could take me an hour or two to get back.  So I ripped the whole thing out and started over.

I did find the first two rows of this pattern challenging, simply because there are so many stitches and I hadn't quite gotten the hang of moving the yarn front and back and I sometimes lost track of where I was. But now that I'm several rows in, the pattern is a breeze and it's fun to see how the colors are coming together from all the scraps.  And the linen stitch makes a wonderful texture.

I'm reading Bossypants by Tina Fey.  It's hysterical.  That's really all I can say about it.

What are you reading and knitting this week?  Thanks for stopping by, and thank you to Ginny at small things for hosting another yarn along.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

yarn along

Today's post is a wrap up of sorts of previous yarn along posts.  I finished the hat and mittens for my friend's newborn daughter.  I gave them to her this morning and she loved them.  The yarn was a surprise hit for me.  It's Lion Brand Baby's First, a cotton/acrylic blend.  I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did.  Super soft and squishy and machine washable.

I worked on this cowl this weekend.  Big needles, big yarn, super satisfying!

And to wrap up my reading:  I finished The Dovekeepers.  I was surprised that I read the entire book--about 500 pages--in just two weeks.  But the story pulls you in.  It interweaves the stories of four women living around 70 C.E. during the fall of Jerusalem.  It was based on historical events but, because women's lives weren't recorded like men's, it's a fictional tale of what their stories may have been.

And finally, and most exciting for me, I'm going to a book group tonight about Melissa Coleman's This Life Is In Your Hands and Melissa herself will be there.  I read this book a month or two ago and it affected me deeply.  I'm looking forward to meeting the author, asking some questions, and hearing what other's reactions to the book are.

I hope you've been having a great reading and knitting week.  Please share what you're reading and knitting.  And thank you to Ginny at small things for hosting another Yarn Along.

Monday, October 17, 2011

weekend knitting

So technically I knit this on Thursday night.  But that's all the knitting I did this weekend, so it's going to have to count.  This is Malabrigo Rasta, a super bulky single ply merino.  My friend is letting me borrow her size 17 needles (thanks, Liz!).  This is the beginning of a cowl.

My local yarn store is once again carrying Malabrigo, which is both a blessing and a curse.  (I'm going to have to thank Liz again for telling me this.)   It's fantastic to be within a 10 minute drive of Malabrigo, and I was able to check out their Rios superwash 3-ply merino in person.  But I didn't need more yarn.  I have a hard time distinguishing between wants and needs when it comes to some yarns.  I can always rationalize the purchase by telling myself I'll make a gift out of it.  And so that's how I ended up with this gorgeous skein of Rasta.

My other way of rationalizing yarn purchases is that I'll design something with it.  That's how I acquired these two lovely skeins of Rios.  And so my purchase is now a "business expense."  Good thinking.

Friday, October 14, 2011

::this moment:: October in Maine

From soulemama
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yarn Along

This week's Yarn Along feels like an update of last week's.

I'm almost done with the hat and mitten set for my friend whose baby is arriving this morning.  I had lunch with her yesterday and I couldn't get over the fact that today she'd be holding the baby in her arms.  You would think I'd never had children.  But I remember that feeling the night before my third baby was born knowing that tomorrow all of our lives would be different forever.  And the knowledge that you know nothing at all about the little person you're about to bring into the world.  I'm thinking of her today as her family welcomes this beautiful baby who is already loved so much.

Who wants to talk about fingerless mitts when there's a new baby entering the world?  But there they are in the picture anyway.

I did much more reading this week than knitting, thanks in part to a strange virus that left me stuck in bed all day Sunday while it was 85 degrees outside and my family was at the beach.  I enjoyed the sunshine through the sky lights and thankfully whatever it was passed quickly and no one else got it.  I think my husband thought I was just trying to be lazy but when I passed up eating lunch because I was too nauseous, he knew I was serious.

I managed to read the first 300 pages of The Dovekeepers this week. The story follows several women who have fled Jerusalem around 70 C.E. (because the Romans have attacked it) and are now living among a community of refugees in the desert.  Their lives are complicated and engrossing.  I read a good chunk two nights ago between 3am and 5am just hoping I'd fall back to sleep, but the book really kept me engaged.

What are you reading and knitting this week?  Please feel free to leave a comment if you stop by with a link to your own yarn along post.  Thanks!

Friday, October 7, 2011

::this moment::

From soulemama

"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

My daughter hopped on a bike this week and rode without training wheels for the 2nd time.  She first rode a bike without training wheels 2 years ago but has refused to do it again ever since.  This week she was motivated by a little friend who was over for a play date who can ride a bicycle.  So she jumped on the bike, had me help her start, and then took off.

We had about 20 seconds of pure joy as she realized what she was doing.  When she tried to start up again on her own, she was having a very hard time, and she didn't want my help.  She couldn't figure out how to get the peddles up and over so that she could just get going from a dead stop.  And she wanted to keep up with her friend who could. So she dropped to the ground in the middle of the street and refused to get up.  And she melted down for about 20 minutes.

I'm trying to hang on to the feeling of excitement and pride she had when she took off riding for the first time.  And trying to remember that these little people are stuck between a place of wanting independence but needing help and balancing excitement with frustration.  This picture reminds me of how complex their lives are but how simple the joys can be.

If you stop by, please feel free to share a link to your moment.  And don't forget about my giveaway going on here.  Today's the last day to enter!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

yarn along

Joining Ginny at small things for another Yarn Along...

Since it's been raining since Saturday, I've found a lot of time to knit.  I managed to finish the sweater I was working on last week, and I started a baby gift for a dear friend and a pair of fingerless mitts.  The fingerless mitts are from my Low Tide Convertible Mitten pattern...I'm just going to make these without the mitten cap.

My dear friend is having a baby next week and we don't know whether it's a girl or boy.  I wanted to be able to bring her a gift for the baby in the hospital, so I chose a cream colored cotton/acrylic blend and I'm really happy with how nicely it's working up.  This is my friend's third child and I wasn't quite sure what to give her, but since we're heading into winter, I figured a hat and mitten set would be perfect.  I've finished one mitten and I'm almost done with the hat.  I can't wait to meet this little baby!

I'm about to start reading Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers.  I know nothing about this book.  I chose it because it was on the new fiction rack at the library and because Toni Morrison, one of my favorite authors, endorsed it.

While at the library, I also picked up Weekend Furniture Facelifts.  I have a cedar chest that belonged to my grandmother that is in desperate need of some paint, but I have no idea how or where to start.  I don't imagine for one second that any furniture painting project would take me only one weekend, but I can hope.

And I picked up a few children's books that I've wanted to read with the girls.  Two Strega Nona books, written and illustrated by Tomie dePaolo, and a Tasha Tudor sampler, based on one of your yarn along suggestions in the past couple of weeks.  Tomie dePaolo is visiting one of our local bookstores later this month, and I want my girls to be familiar with his work before we go.  They own copies of his children's bible but a friend recommended his Strega Nona series too.

I'm interested in seeing what you're all reading and knitting this week.  When you leave a comment, please feel free to include a link to your yarn along post.

And please feel free to enter my Give Thanks Hat and Mitten pattern giveaway here.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 3, 2011

in praise of rain (and earthworms)

I've been working on a new sweater design and had a self-imposed deadline of this weekend by which to have the photos done.  I imagined taking the pictures outside on a beautiful fall day, maybe in an apple orchard.  But it rained all weekend.  And my photographer (thank you, husband) did not want to get his camera wet.

So while he stayed inside our dining room, we asked my oldest daughter to stand outside in the (light) rain under an overhang.  So while it was drizzly, she didn't get wet.  He took the pictures through an open door and she posed for us happily enough.

Until she caught sight of the earthworm on the ground.  My daughters love worms.  Thank goodness.  I do not love insects.  And I don't want them being as squeamish around insects as I am.  So we promised her that as soon as she was done, we would take off the sweater, find her a different shirt, and she could play with the worm.

Which reminds me of last weekend when we found a garter snake in our front yard.  We hauled all three girls outside to see the snake.  They were really interested in it and we followed it until it was right next to our front step near the house.  My husband was preparing to pick it up when it found a tiny hole in our siding and slithered right in.  He went somewhere between our interior and exterior walls.

I didn't walk barefoot in our house for several days and had to keep repeating to myself that he'd rather be outside in the sun than in the dark between our walls.  The girls had a minor freak out about the snake entering the house but then seemed to forget about it.  I haven't.  I also haven't forgotten that my husband left me a pair of work gloves on the counter in case I found the snake inside while he was at work.  He told me--with a straight face--that's what the gloves were for.

So I'm thankful for little girls who love (some) bugs.  They certainly don't love them all.  And I'm thankful I didn't have to use those gloves.  Really thankful.

What are you thankful for?  I'm giving away a copy of my Give Thanks Mitten and Hat patterns here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

weekend knitting

I had high hopes for this weekend.  Fall weekends are rare things of beauty.  Time to pick apples, work outside in the yard, attend a festival where the kids can ride a pony and paint a pumpkin.  I had a photo shoot at an apple orchard planned for a sweater design I'm finishing up.

But it has rained for the past 2 days.  (And in the case of the photo shoot, my photographer has decided to take a Sunday afternoon nap.  That's what happens when the photographer works for free and it's cold and dreary outside!)  So I'm resolved to being inside and knitting.  I have two friends having babies in the next two months.  One of these babies is arriving next week.  So I'm making him or her a pair of newborn mittens and a matching hat.  I haven't knit on dpn's in a long time and, while I don't love the fiddly-ness of it all, I do love bamboo needles.  I started Friday night:  one mitten down, one to go.  And most of the hat is done too.

Tonight I need to get started on some fingerless mitts.  I'll have the pleasure of working with Three Irish Girl's Springvale Superwash merino in her "Ice Blue Raspberry" colorway.  I have a thing for blue raspberry.

I've got a giveaway going on now for my Give Thanks Hat and Mitten pattern set.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


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