Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 knits in review

Well, my completed sewing for 2009 was pretty sundress for Daughter and one quilt completed that sat around since 2004.

At least the knitting was more impressive (to me, anyway). Here's the breakdown:

2 pair wooly pants/longies for AJ
16 soakers (both personal and sold through Etsy)
9 pair socks (5 adult, 4 kid)
5 sweaters (4 baby, 1 kid)
3 vests (1 baby, 2 kid)
3 Christmas stockings
3 hats (1 adult, 2 baby)
4 dolly garments
5 ornaments
28 granny squares (technically not knitting, but I am counting them anyway)

Holy crap. That's 59 total items without the granny squares, and counting each sock separately.

Unfortunately, the one project I said I wanted to finish this year was a Central Park Hoodie...and I didn't make it. The parts are all knit, and the shoulders have been joined. I need to pick up the gazillion stitches around the front bands and neck, and knit the ribbing and hood, then sew the sleeves in and it will be done. Maybe sometime in the next couple months...

For now I have the crazy idea to knit socks for my 3 peeps (2 easy, small pairs, 1 giant pair) for Valentine's Day gifts, and I have to get going on baby items. There are 2 very special babes on the way, one in April and one in July, and they need some warm wooly knits!

And then there's the Etsy shop, which needs serious attention and restocking. Busy, busy, busy. But that's ok. Looking back one year ago to the posts I was writing in January of 2009, I see how far I have come with my little family. I have truly taken Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice to heart: "knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises."

I wish you all a happy, blessed new year. May 2010 bring you peace and joy.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Ah, Christmas. The whole season and holiday seems to whiz by faster and faster each year. Feels like we just put up the tree, yet it was over 3 weeks ago. It's starting to look dry and drop lots of needles now. Time to pack up and return to regular time. Boo. I like the magic and wish it could last a little longer. There's something about soft white twinkle lights that makes everything seem wonderful and happy.

The holidays tend to cause me some anxiety and tension, what with all the family visiting, trying to get together with everyone and spend as much time as possible with people we hardly ever get to see, the excess of gift-giving and food It all adds up to make me want to crawl under a blanket in my comfy recliner and hide away.

So that is what I'm doing this week. I have set aside the plans I made to keep frantically knitting gifts and items for sale, ditched my plans to clean up the Etsy shop (for the moment), and dumped all thoughts of doing anything unpleasant. We have a couple of playdates lined up with friends and cousins, so I've vacuumed and straightened today. I intend to continue cleaning up a little each day, slowly packing away Christmas, easing into the new year.

After all the crazy holiday knitting, I feel compelled to pick up a hook for a change. I dug out the ziplock baggies of leftover 100% wool I've been stashing and began crocheting pretty little granny squares. SO easy, so fun, so satisfying. I've made about 20. I'll see how the color selection holds up. Maybe I'll put them together into a little blanket for AJ to snuggle under on very cold nights (100% wool is very warm, even with holes in it!), or maybe I'll pack them up and wait till the next time I have a whole bunch of leftovers and make lots and lots until I have an afghan's worth. Doesn't matter. What matters is that it's mindless and fun, and allows me to relax and ponder 2009 into 2010. As I stitch cluster after cluster my hands just know what to do, so I can mull over the past year, what I did well, where I could have done better, what I am thankful for...and consider 2010, thinking about what I'd like to accomplish over the next 12 months.

Nothing too intense, though. Mindless stitching, mindful work. A peaceful, calm end to a tumultuous year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

last of the knitted gifts (for Daughter)

I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been running around like a headless chicken these past few weeks.

Got a few more things done:

Knitted vest for Daughter. Free pattern from coats & clark website! (Too rushed to edit out the carpet in the pic, sorry.)

Knitted dolly sweater to match Daughter's vest.

Knitted dolly dress (from Handknit Holidays...a horrible, very poorly written/edited book, this pattern being no exception!)

Dolly petticoat (also from Handknit Holidays, mercifully this one was error-free.)

Dolly pullover, pattern found on Ravelry.

Now, in light of all that, I feel I deserve this:

A warm cup of (decaf) coffee, and some mindless dishrag knitting to relax with, while the children watch Rudolph for the seven-hundredth time.

Although there are still two days till Christmas...I could probably get another gift or two knitted...must fight the urge! Time to relax and enjoy!

(If anyone wants specific pattern/yarn info, leave a comment please, and I will answer. In a rush, trying to make this a quickie today!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

no time to blog...




for Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Ugh, we are sick AGAIN. Head colds for me & the kids this time around. If this keeps happening it's gonna be a loooooong winter.

Time to watch Tinkerbell for the seventy-hundredth time and try to catch a cat nap while the kids are otherwise occupied!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the best vest

I am so excited about this.



My son will be sporting this wee vest for the Thanksgiving holiday. I love it, love it, love it.

Size 18 months, Patons Classic Merino in dark gray mix and cognac heather, US 7 needles. The pattern called for some kind of weird ribbing pattern, so I modified it to regular 2X2.

Did I mention that I love it??

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Nativity Story

Yesterday I sat down with Daughter, while she peacefully played with play doh, to try and gently explain "the reason for the season." As I started talking about going to church and celebrating baby Jesus' birth, she interrupted me.

So here is the Nativity Story, as told to me by Daughter, age 4.5:

"MOM, mom, mom, I know this story. Mary and Joseph looked for a place to stay. They went to the place but it was all stuffed with people. So the man pointed to where the cows and the donkeys and the horses stay. There they made a bed of straw for Mary in the hayloft. Then they went to sleep. But Mary woke up in the middle of the night, because she saw that the baby was born!"

(Daughter shrugs)

"And they wanted to name him Jesus."

So there you have it.

(Apparently Grandma has a book called "The Baby Jesus" and has read it with Daughter. I had no idea.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

just what i needed

It's amazing how bad a day can be, and then how equally good another can turn out.

Today I am basking in the glow of watching Daughter at her last swimming lesson, and being told by the teacher that she can move up to the next level after the holidays.

My to-do list got mostly accomplished over the weekend, and my family actually thanked me for scrubbing the bathroom.

Two nice, respectful, efficient men came to my house this morning and replaced our old, beat up, drafty, hollow-core wooden door that leads to the garage with a brand new, tight-fitting, fire-safe steel door in an hour and a half. My gosh, it looks gorgeous.

I took AJ for his second flu shot, and asked that he be quickly weighed. Turns out he is gaining steadily at about 1 lb/month, which is above average, even as we play around with his tube-feed calories to try and get him eating orally. Yes!

I am still reveling in thankfulness that the washing machine was not actually broken and did not require a several-hundred-dollar service call.

And the best, best, best thing - the mailman brought back the package containing two wool soakers I knit for an order and mailed over two weeks ago. The recipient moved and the forward didn't work for some reason. I thought the package got lost and I would have to reknit the items and mail them again at my cost. For some reason I was totally beside myself about it, and just about fell to my knees with relief and gratitude when the package showed up today. I will be re-sending the package priority mail with tracking this time!

Now I can make some tea, relax with the Christmas music playing on the radio, and work on the other knitting projects in the queue, while AJ naps and Daughter plays with play doh. Dinner is all ready (pulled bbq pork, defrosting, from a huge batch I made a few weeks back). The house is...well, it is clean enough! And there are no current laundry emergencies.

As you all know, I really, really, really needed a good day. And I am so thankful to be having one.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

to do:

  1. All on-line Christmas shopping
  2. Any Christmas shopping that cannot be accomplished on-line (hopefully none)
  3. Clean crusty bathrooms
  4. Change burnt-out bulb in funky hanging hard-to-reach light fixture in bathroom
  5. Finish washing sheets and remake beds
  6. Finish AJ's Thanksgiving vest
  7. Dress kids in Christmas outfits and take photo (do I trim AJ's hair before or after the photo attempt?)
  8. Order Christmas photos
  9. Empty dishwasher
  10. Refill dishwasher
  11. Make chili and cornbread for dinner
  12. Divide and package up bulk meats purchased this morning and freeze
  13. Iron
  14. Make Christmas cookie list
  15. Purchase and replace smoke/carbon monoxide detector that keeps beeping randomly for no reason
  16. Figure out what to put in the advent calendar, especially for the baby (really, what can you give a baby?)
  17. REMAKE two wool soakers to replace an Etsy order that apparently was lost in the mail
  18. Get butt in gear working on rest of knits people have requested
Now, that does not all HAVE to be accomplished today, but most of it does. Tomorrow is Daughter's final swimming lesson, which will be the first time we have actually seen her swim (spectators are only allowed at the last one), and after that poor AJ will be so tired we'll have to shoot straight home for nap. This week is going to evaporate in a flurry of therapy, home repair (outside person coming in to do some work for us), and Thanksgiving. Then it will pretty much be December, so it's time to bust a move.

Things I am thankful for:
  1. That I was able to diagnose the problem with the washing machine that I mentioned a few posts ago. I got lazy about replacing the lint filter on the drain hose, so the utility sink drain clogged up with lint, and was not draining properly. That caused the washing machine to back-fill with rinse water, so I had to manually re-run the spin cycle each load. Went to walmart last night for some drano, let it work overnight, replaced the lint filter today, and voila, we have a functional washing machine again. Take it from me: do not be lazy about replacing your washing machine lint filters.
  2. My awesome mom, who made two pairs of mittens for my kids in about two days before leaving for her Vegas birthday adventure. Both kids need them, and I asked her to whip them up for use in the advent calendar, because I just do not have time to knit anything more right now. She rules.
  3. The amazing weather we've been having, which has allowed us to keep the heat set at 60 degrees in the house. Our gas bill is low, our expenses are under control. It feels good.
  4. The amazing markdowns in like, every store. I have been able to pick up some amazing bargains to feed and clothe my family in recent weeks, and our dollars are stretching farther than I thought they would, living in this more expensive place.
Ok, deep breath time. I'm off to begin chipping away at my to do list. And I'm going to try very, very hard to have a good week.

I hope you all do too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

it smells like vanilla barf

So far we have had a pretty nice day. Some friends came by for a quick playdate this morning, then mom stopped by after lunch so we could give her a little birthday present (she is 60 today! wow!), and now Daughter is painting while I scurry around tidying up.

But dammit, if my son's feeding tubes come apart in his crib ONE MORE TIME, you will hear me screaming wherever you are.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

seeking peace (oh, and an F.O.!)

Thanks for all the kind words yesterday and today.

I guess what I am looking for in my life is some serenity. These other moms I read about in blogville seem to have the market cornered on serenity. That's really the best word I can think of to describe the feeling I get from these inspirational women...they and their children just appear to be so...serene.

I'll likely have a little more to say on that subject in the near future, as I've been perusing two books - "The Children's Year" and "Festivals, Family and Food" - and ruminating on what they say. I bought "The Children's Year" over the summer and have been slowly looking through it when I have a minute, and just got "F, F and F" from the library but I am heading over to Amazon after I finish this entry to buy my own copy. It is awesome. I think I'll also pick up "All Year Round" as these three books seem to go hand-in-hand. I just can't believe all the great, beautiful ideas they contain, from recipes to crafts, from songs and verses to clothing patterns, from fables and stories to directions for making household items we use often.

Today was a better day than yesterday...but I let Daughter lay around on the couch and watch two videos after lunch while AJ took his nap. Yeah, that's an ok thing to do, but not everyday. At least not for me, that's not what I want for my family all the time. So I am searching, searching, searching to find rhythm for our days that makes sense and makes us happy...something to help us find that elusive serenity.

I'm also going to do the very simple step of investing in some more storage for our toys and whatnot. Perhaps if it is better contained, and somewhat hidden away when not in use, then I will not feel so surrounded by it all the time. I'm also going to go through with Goodwill/trash bags and purge some stuff, Hubs' opinion be damned. I don't care if he does think I'm a cruel Scrooge. I'm the one who does the most battle with small plastic parts around here.

Also helping me feel some inner peace today are: the chicken soup simmering on the stove (smells divine), and Daughter's finished vest:

Loosely based on the baby vest pattern in "Knits, Knots, Buttons and Bows" just for rough measurements/stitch counts, but liberally adapted to suit my needs (such as knitting in the round...I hate seaming).

I made the ribbing into seed stitch because I think it's more feminine. I also used seed stitch around the armholes and neck, but need to steam it because it keeps curling in. She was so excited to wear it, she took it from me as soon as the last end was woven in.

I'm flattered that she likes it so much. She has even declared that she will wear it tomorrow as well "because it's not even dirty!"

I used about 1.5 skeins of Patons Classic Merino in woodrose heather, on US 7 needles. Next up (and cast on while Daughter watched Tinkerbell today), AJ's vest. I hope to have it done for him to wear on Thanskgiving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

bad mommy

I'm in the middle of a Bad Day.

I think it started when Daughter burst out of bed with even more than her usual verve...oh wait, no, it actually started when AJ found Daughter's little guitar leaning up against the couch where she left it last night, and then did a face plant when he tried to use it for a walking support. I had my back turned (OF COURSE) so I did not see the actual fall, just the bleeding chin and goose-egged forehead that followed. THEN Daughter came flying to see what the hubbub was about. And was snotty with me when I asked her to head back upstairs to change out of her pull-up. ("Mom, I just came down here. Do you really think I want to go back upstairs?")

Then, while we were having breakfast, we noticed we did not hear the shower, and discovered that Hubs was still snoring right through his alarm. Daughter went up to goose him, and once he got himself ready for work it somehow became my fault that he was running late. ("Why did you guys let me oversleep?") Excuse me, grown man, but your alarm has been going off for 2 hours...I already have 2 children to care for in the morning, I am not taking on wake-up duty for the other adult in the household.

Then we somehow ended up running late ourselves, for a library Thanksgiving event at 10:30. On the way out the door Daughter managed to step on AJ's fingers. I spent what felt like an inordinate amount of time bundling everyone into their warm outerwear, only to have them rip most of it off the second the car started. Got to the library just at 10:30 and had to do that inelegant dance of rebundling the children and stuffing the small one into the stroller while making sure the big one didn't get hit by a car.

During the event the adorable wee girl sitting next to Daughter kept coming out with this horrible, deep, wet chest cough. Great.

And is there a full moon? Because I've never experienced such poorly behaved children in my life. Kids were literally doing somersaults and skipping around the room while their parents mooned at the ceiling or wrangled their smaller kids. In what was perhaps my best moment of the day, I noted that both my children were behaving beautifully. However, I did feel slight annoyance that the woman leading the event chose to read a Dora book and a Clifford book, which were both only loosely about Thanksgiving. Dora the explorer? I would think we would hear a story about Pilgrims and Indians. I realize it's not PC, but it is the whole basis of the holiday, no?

Got in line to check out our books afterwards, then moved off to the side to get bundled up again. A dad from the storytime event said, "you in line?" And I said, "oh, I'm sorry, no!" and moved over a bit more. And then he said, "PHHHT! I've been standing here behind you!" Whoops, I guess it's my fault that you're an idiot, dude.

And then we came home, and while Daughter ate lunch AJ really did not, and instead cried and cried. And I just got angry. I got more and more irritated and angry trying to get him to eat, and he was smearing baby food all over his face and in his hair, and I was just so mad about it. Finally I gave up, washed him off, and put him in his seat for the stupid tube feeding. Then I emptied the dishwasher with a liberal amount of cupboard door slamming and silverware clattering, and started crying halfway through because the day was just sucking so much and it was only 12:30.

In the next 30 minutes I cleaned the entire kitchen, and vacuumed everywhere because, oh joy, we had PT today for AJ. Which he does not even need anymore but I don't know how to get out of it. And she comes at 1:30, which is totally his naptime now that he doesn't sleep in the morning anymore. And today? Today she was almost 15 minutes LATE.

Daughter has been crabbing and whining at me (no surprise, she is totally feeding off my mood) so I finally made her lie down on the couch - she is now sound asleep but I hear the baby fussing upstairs.

The washing machine has decided the spin cycle is for suckers, and I just found a load of diapers sitting in about 4 inches of water (clean rinse water, thankfully), even though the dial says the cycle is complete.

I'm not even looking forward to the holidays because it will just be a month of trying to keep the baby from hurting himself in/on/around/hanging from the Christmas tree. And then more stuff will come into our house, and where am I going to put more stuff?? We have too much stuff as it is. I want to get rid of a bunch of it, but I am accused of being a cruel scrooge when I suggest that perhaps we could donate some old toys and stuffed animals. (Also, as an aside, my MIL dropped off the kids' Christmas outfits last week. If you've been reading here long enough, you know what I really mean when I say I appreciate the thought [even though she bought Daughter a 3T and AJ a 6-9 month size].)

You know, this is totally a 24 hour job, and while men's jobs have generally gotten easier and less physical over the years, women's jobs have not. Sure, we have washing machines and dishwashers, but otherwise? I mean, I don't yet have a self-scrubbing bathroom, do you? I don't have babies that can dress or bathe themselves, or change their own stinky diapers. And while generations ago women were expected to stay home and do their work (with the help of their children as soon as they were big enough, I might add), now we also have to run errands and take our kids to events, and if we demand that they do some chores we're being unreasonable and mean. And I can't just let it go, people, because I have therapists coming into my home several days each week. I'm not going to allow my home to descend into a sloppy mess. I just can't. The rug has to be vacuumed if someone is going to be crawling around on it with my baby. The booster seat and surrounding floor cannot be caked with old food if someone is going to be working there with my baby.

I just don't feel happy and joyful. I feel like a maid. Daughter is becoming mouthy and obstinate, and while it pains me, it doesn't surprise me. Again, she feeds off her examples. I want to be a good mom, I really do. Not just in the general providing food, clean clothes, and shelter kind of way, but the creative, stimulating, fun kind of way. I'm just not sure how to do that when the work seems never to get done. We are so cluttered, and I never want to even get the paints out or play with playdough because oh my gosh, I don't need more mess. Which is a terrible attitude!!! I don't want to have that attitude!

Ugh! This is just such a rotten feeling day.

Ok, ok, dinner is at least in the oven (roast chicken and cheesy potatoes, don't you want to come over? You know you do!) and both children are still asleep. Which bodes poorly for bedtime but whatever. I'm going to sit down and knit a few rows and try to fix my head.

Thanks for 'listening.' I feel a bit better blowing this all out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

why I am not able to blog very much just now

Oh boy. I've got a teething, mobile, wild man on my hands. You guys. AJ has, in the last week, gained the ability to CLIMB THE ENTIRE FLIGHT OF STAIRS.

Yes, that's right. My poor, weak, low-tone baby, who one year ago could not lift his head from the mattress, can now scramble up the entire flight of stairs to our second floor without batting an eye. One day his big sister was sitting a few steps up talking to me, and he wanted to get to her, so he just up and did it.

This kid is AMAZING.

He also took about 3 totally solo steps a few nights ago, but hasn't repeated that feat. He is an absolute tornado of activity every minute he is awake. In fact, he is starting to really dislike having to sit still in his baby seat for feedings, which I am hoping to use to my advantage as he grows and understands more about what is happening. Maybe once he can understand that the choices are to eat food or sit still for 45 minutes, he will come around.

I took both kids for their first H1N1 flu shots today (now praying that was the right choice, of course), and they are both out, so this is precious mommy free time. Which I am going to use to clean the disgusting kitchen floor under the table, and finish laundry, and clean the bathrooms, but I really quickly wanted to post something pretty.

I finished one Christmas stocking for my sis and her husband. It still needs a hanging loop, and a good wash 'n block, but it's done. Yay! This is made from about 1.25 skeins of Wool-Ease in cranberry, on US 7 needles. I wanted to use all wool, but couldn't find the colors locally and did not want to wait for an order to arrive. I needed to get going on the holiday knits. Only what, 6 weeks till Christmas? We've had such unseasonably warm weather it doesn't feel like holiday time at all.

Ok, so now the order of operations is: finish vest for Daughter (almost done), make vest for AJ, make second Christmas stocking, make sweater for baby of Hubs' boss, make ornaments*, make mittens for AJ, make knitted items for Etsy shop (I am dreaming of longies).

*Wee glitch in the holiday gift plans: one of our therapists is Jewish, but because her husband is not, I had thought they put up a Christmas tree. But they do not, they just get Christian holiday treats from their grandparents, but not in their home. ANYWAY, was going to make ornaments and give them with a Starbucks card or something. Can I still do that? I was going to make the wee sweater ornament to hold the gift card. Should I still plan that, and just make it in blue & white instead of traditional Christmas colors?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Wow, I have written lots of dorky blog titles in 4 years of blogging, but that one is a real groaner.

So here's the deal: I have sweaty kids. In the summer my poor son has near constant sweaty wet head, and I change his clothes at least once a day, especially when he is on the move. Daughter prefers to be barefoot all the time, and it is all I can do to get her to at least wear an undershirt when it is cold. In winter, she is at least amenable to wearing socks (most of the time) and AJ seems quite comfy in just a one-piece outfit, or one layer of cotton shirt and a pair of pants.

But I have to knit for them! What's a mom to do? We have an overflowing basket of hats and scarves. The sweaters I am making are sitting on shelves and in drawers, largely unworn. Boo!

I think the answer might be...vests.

I have never liked vests much, for myself. Yeah, I went through a phase in high school when I wore men's suit vests with my grunge clothes, but never sweater vests. But on kids? Kind of cute. And I do believe it's important to keep their core warm, especially as temps dip toward the 30s and 20s (and hopefully not below, but probably).

Here's the other part of the deal: Michael's craft store has my all-time favorite workhorse yarn, Patons Classic Merino, on sale for $2.50 per skein. That is the cheapest I have EVER seen it, and I am dying to just buy and buy it, stocking up on every color I like.

We went yesterday morning. I let Daughter choose two colors for herself (wisteria and woodrose heather), and we chose together for AJ (dark gray mix, and then a striped one with dark gray and cognac heather). This is my kind of retail therapy, people! 4 vests for my kids for $17.50!

Now I just have to find time to make them.

(currently in the queue: red xmas stocking (1/2 done), green xmas stocking, pink baby sweater & hat, mittens for AJ, xmas ornaments for therapist gifts, and now vests...and that does not even count the 2 sweaters in progress for me...oh help!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

one goal accomplished

I've been having a difficult few days...or maybe more like a week by now. Sometimes it just comes over me and I simply have to give in for awhile. It's really stressful having a child who doesn't eat (much). So many issues surround eating, and the pressure is kind of all on figure out what I can try to feed him, to shop, to cook, to puree to just the right sounds so simple but it is an overwhelming job.

And when he won't eat more than a few mouthfuls at a time...well, it feels like a personal failure. No need to leave me comments about how I'm doing a good job, doing all I can, etc....I appreciate the thoughts and the support, I really do, but this is not a mental issue for me, it is an emotional burden that I cannot shake off no matter how hard I try. Yes, he sometimes eats well, like that one day last week when he wolfed lunch, but it takes only one day of three-mouthfuls-and-I-quit to undo my feeling of success.

So when I feel I am failing in one area of life, I turn to working really hard at other areas, just to feel a sense of accomplishment. This weekend we raked and removed millions of leaves, trimmed trees, cleaned up the patio and put away the rest of the summer stuff, and I even climbed up and cleaned out the gutters so we don't end up with ice dams again like in our old house. I mopped all the sticky gross floors, cleaned all the bedrooms, and caught up on the laundry. By Sunday night I was wiped out, but at least I felt that something got done by my hands.

I also finished up one of my knitting goals - I made AJ some sweet little knitted pants/long johns/longies. I don't intend to use them as an actual diaper covering, so they are not technically longies, but they would certainly work underneath another layer if needed. Though we don't have the draft problems of our old house, so they will likely just be pants.

The kid is in near-constant motion these days, and I just can't believe that one year ago he couldn't lift his head from the mattress. He's cruising along the furniture, the walls, people, anything he can get one or two fingers on, just for a bit of balance. It won't be long till he's running around after his sister.

Anyway, this project accomplished two goals: make knitted pants, and use up some stash (though I did a bit of, uh, stash replenishment today, which I will share tomorrow). I used two balls + part of a third ball of knitpicks sock yarn purchased several years ago for socks for Hubs. Turned out this yarn felted terribly (sock garden, maybe?) so I ripped the socks and the yarn sat. I don't know the color...labels are long gone. The pants were knit on size 2 and 3 needles, and I loosely followed a pattern in an old Leisure Arts book for size 6 month pants, just increasing stitch and row count where I needed to. I LOVE THESE! And I would make ten more pairs for him if I had time.

Unfortunately after one wearing the knees are already a pilled mess. C'est la vie, it is 100% merino wool. How many kids can say they had 100% merino wool pants that were soft as butter? Someday he will appreciate it.

Back tomorrow with (what else?) more projects added to the queue.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

big step

I've been writing crafty posts lately, but I need to interject a personal one.

Today my son ate almost 200 calories BY MOUTH at lunchtime. Then he made the sign for "all done." And I wept with happiness over both.

That doesn't sound like a big deal, probably, but when you consider that each of his 4 tube feedings per day is 237 calories, it is HUGE.

It means we can safely cut out several ounces of Pediasure given through the tube., which will encourage his hunger and reduce tube dependency.

I met with our totally amazing, awesome nutritionist yesterday and she gave me lots of ideas for fat-filled but healthy foods to substitute for tube calories, if he will eat them. Right now it's a lot of baby cereal made with whole milk, and 2nd foods puree with oil in it to boost the fat and calories, but I am thrilled with whatever he will eat by mouth at this point. He is also finding cheerios and rice krispies to be acceptable, and happily shovels them into his mouth by himself.

I am cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

so many soakers

They go by many names in our house: "those underpants" (my dad), "those soakers you have to knit for the ladies who order them" (Daughter), "those thingys" (Hubs), and of course, their actual name, "wool soakers."

Over the past several weeks I've made about 6 or 8 of them, mostly for custom orders through Etsy. (The gray and red one is still up for sale over there.) Interestingly, they have all been newborn size, so I have now memorized the numbers and can knit one of these little guys over a couple nights of TV watching. I just finished up my final custom order (the brown one above, and the green one you see started there).

Now I can move on to making mittens for my son, two Christmas stockings for my sister and her husband, and a 12 month size sweater for the baby of Hubs' boss. I made them a 6 month cardigan and they liked it so much they requested another in the next size! They offered to pay for it, but come on. I couldn't take money from the guy who goes to bat for my husband at annual raise time.

Problem is prioritizing. Daughter is also begging for some handmade doll clothes (her dolls/animals "are all FREEZING, mom!"), and I really want to make more stuff to list over on Etsy, like some longies and toys. Ay-yi-yi. Oh, and there's the Knitpicks ornament kit I the cuff of one mitten ornament knitted at Daughter's swimming lessons two weeks ago, and that's it. Christmas is going to be here in like 5 seconds, so I'd like to get a few of those made for gifts.

One final word about soakers: I've got 3 very lightly used size 6-12 month soakers up for sale. I made them for AJ, used them a few times, and he has outgrown them. They never saw solid waste, only wet, and have been washed and air-dried. They're over in the sidebar - drop a line or a comment if you are interested!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

lil' punkins

I'm not positive, but I think these might be the cutest, sweetest things I've ever made.

Two wee pumpkins for our entry table in the front hall. The dark orange is Knitpicks palette, the lighter gold is Knitpicks merino style (both old leftovers). The stems are a bit of green Knitpicks sock yarn, quite old, which I haven't even used to knit socks yet, so I guess it can't be called a leftover.

I wish I'd had time to whip up some more of these to list on Etsy. The little one (about 2" diameter) has a jingle bell inside - so fun for a baby to safely throw around! I think I will do some of these knitted balls as Christmas ornaments/toys and list those instead.

Monday, November 02, 2009

4 years (?!?)

Happy Blogiversary to me! I can't believe I started writing here 4 years ago! November 2005...amazing. Daughter was 6 months old, I was lonely and bored out of my mind. I loved reading blogs and finally thought, hey, it might be fun to try this out. 4 years later and I have shared more than I ever dreamed I would. I have made wonderful friends. This medium is really incredible.

We are finally back from Stomach Virus 2009. It was a doozy. Now we are in flu-avoidance mode.

Being sick for almost a full week put us totally out of whack schedule-wise. And now, on top of that, we have appointments or activities 4 of 5 days this week. So we are playing catch-up even as we race forward...lots going on.

I have several orders to finish up for Etsy, and as I type I can see semi-completed projects languishing everywhere. Hopefully I can scrape up some time to post them throughout the week!

Monday, October 26, 2009

dispatch from the sick house

We are sick. Sooooooo sick. Mega super-duper sick.

Friday my wee baby woke at the crack of dawn coughing and heaving, and would have thrown up if he were physically capable of it. He was lethargic all day long. He did not play, he just wanted to be held.

That night I gave both kids a bath because they desperately needed to be cleansed, and while in the tub, poor AJ...well, he can't throw up, so when he is sick it comes out the other end.

We cleaned that up, and the poor kid continued to blow out diapers all night. We quickly went from cloth to disposable, I assure you. There were several middle-of-the-night bed changes and I was doing laundry at midnight. I figured it was a stomach virus but like an idiot, I continued to feed him and did not call the doctor.

Saturday night we went to a wedding and left the kids with my parents. AJ was the same - listless, wouldn't play, just wanted to be held and cuddled.

Sunday morning my body started trying to turn itself inside out. AJ was still a wet rag. We called the doctor.

Pedialyte to the rescue!

After replacing two feedings he was just about back to his normal self. No more yucky diapers since yesterday morning. I have had zero food for over 36 hours as I write this, but I seem to be coming around. Yesterday afternoon Hubs started with the same symptoms. AJ and I are up this morning, Hubs is still down.

We left Daughter at grandma's house all weekend thinking it would protect her. Just got a call from my mom that my poor girl started vomiting at 3:30 AM. And the saddest part is, she has never done that before and had no idea what was going on. Mom is taking care of her right now because I'm pretty weak and can't care for a baby, a sick husband, and a vomiting 4 year old.

This one comes on HARD AND FAST, friends. Keep washing your hands, don't let your kids put anything in their mouths if you can help it. And maybe stock up on pedialyte and ginger ale just in case.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



Ok, not everything, exactly. But lots and lots of fabric must go.

(sorry for crappy quality...trying to use natural light in Buffalo in fall is futile at best)

I want to unload a bunch of my quilting fabric (100% cotton), and I thought I would offer it here to you sewists and crafters who will give it a good home under your presser foot. It is just languishing here. My poor son needs his closet so I really do have to get rid of a bunch of stuff. It is just clutter to me right now.

I don't even know how many people come here and read these days, but I am hoping this might bring lurkers out of the woodwork. Please feel free to tell your friends who sew!

Here is the deal:

This is NOT a scrap sale. Some cuts might have a corner hacked out that I used for a project, but they will still be large enough for your use.

All fabric is first quality from either Joann Fabrics or a quilt shop.

Cuts may be anything from a fat eighth to a half-yard.

I will ship to US addresses in US mail priority envelopes. This will cost me $4.95. I would like to make just a little bit of money. Therefore:

******FOR $15 I will pack it nicey-nice.

******FOR $20 I will really jam that sucker full and you will get several yards.

I think that is fair pricing because much of my stash is quilt shop fabric acquired when I worked in a quilt shop!

Now, as for selection, I will sell according to color. That's the best I can do. Choose a color (red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, off-white, white) and I will send a selection of that color, or choose several colors and I will pick from each group. I also have several cuts of homespun available.

I'll do this until the stash is pared down to a comfortable amount for me.

Interested? Send me an email at momwhoknits AT yahoo DOT com, with QUILT FABRIC SALE in the subject line, and let me know what you might like. I will reply with payment instructions (paypal only please). I will pack and ship as requests come in, so it will be quick!

I promise, these envelopes will be generously packed. I am looking to get rid of stash here, not make a fortune. If this goes well, I have even more specific items I will offer for sale, such as Nancy Halvorsen fabrics and patterns, larger cuts, and notions up the wazoo. This is just not the season of my life for a lot of sewing around here, and I'd much rather all this go to a good home where it will be used to decorate your home, dress your little girls' dollies, be made into quilts to warm your family, etc.

I hope to hear from you. :)

More Stuff!!

LAUREL BURCH Christmas fabrics - one panel, 23" X 44", and four 1-yard cuts of coordinating fabrics. Two are border prints. Unwashed, purchased several years ago at a quilt shop. I won't lie to you, I paid a lot for these. I believe it was $9 per yard for 5 the math, then please do not tell my husband. Laurel Burch died in 2007, so there won't be more designs coming...these are some of her last fabrics.

I am offering all 5 pieces for $30, including the priority mail shipping.

ADVENT CALENDAR panel - these two photos show both sides of one folded piece of fabric. Directions are printed right on the side of the panel (on the left in the photo above). You will need to supply backing, batting and binding. This makes an absolutely adorable advent calendar!! I made one for Daughter a couple of years ago and we adore it. Because I am greedy, I bought two. Now one can be yours!

This is just one piece so I will stick it in a regular padded envelope. $5 includes first class shipping to the US.

PETER RABBIT panel, backing fabric, and extra fat quarter. Bought this to make for a friend's baby boy. He's in first grade now, I think. Woops!

The panel (34" X 39.5") and backing have been machine washed and dried. The fat quarter has not.

All three pieces $10 including priority shipping.

Just email me if interested! momwhoknits AT yahoo DOT com

More to come!

Friday, October 16, 2009

the start of holiday knitting

Dear This Week,

Please slow down so I can catch my breath. Thanks!



Wow, whoa, hang on there! It's Friday already? I feel like I'm spinning in circles. Things got better after my wee breakdown the other morning, and the week was actually pretty fun. I didn't yell at my kids too much, the house is in relatively good condition even though I feel like I've done nothing, and I even had a friend over with her sons yesterday to bake Halloween cutout cookies. Not only that, but I managed to get Daughter signed up for a library activity next week (Barnyard Bash...stories, songs, and a craft! Whee!), for which I feel I deserve applause. Because I generally stink at that kind of stuff.

I've been working up an Etsy order, but before that I finished up a Christmas stocking to send to my sister.

It is from Christmas Stockings: Holiday Treasures to Knit, which, oh my goodness, would cost you about $120 to buy just now, wouldn't it? Wow! And I am going to go ahead and admit that I'm not even positive who gave this book to me. April, perhaps? I just know for sure I did not buy it, and I believe it came in a big, generous package of knitting books and patterns several years back.

I sent this one stocking to my sis along with the book so she can choose what she wants for herself, her new husband, and her future children.

Knitting a big ol' Christmas stocking is actually pretty satisfying. It goes quickly at a large gauge, is simple to execute, and once you're finished, there's no "second sock" problem.

I'm excited to see which stockings she chooses. They all look like fun to knit up!

And then, because I am not already drowning in yarn or anything, I ordered this:

Please, nobody tell Hubs.

(Sorry for the upside-down-ness of the yarns in the picture...I was working quickly to take the photo and stuff the whole shebang under the bed before anyone could see...)

Yes, it is the Knitpicks ornament kit. I do not even know what my problem is. I barely have time for the things I truly need to make, but this kit was simply irresistible to me. I have the idea in my head that it will come in handy for years, making a few ornaments at a time for people like therapists and teachers. I mean, the wee sweater ornament is the perfect size to hold a gift card! How could you go wrong?

Oh man, listen to me rationalize.

I'd better go finish up that etsy order.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the things that get to me

On Sunday we went grocery/general needs shopping as a family unit (never happens), so we could get something like 5 stops accomplished more quickly. If I go alone I can go fast, but then the kids are stuck watching TV all afternoon and AJ sits in the pack 'n play forever and ever. So we all went! Whee!

At the grocery store, the nice deli lady gestured to my two children and asked, "a slice of bologna for each?" I turned to Daughter and asked her if she'd like some and she said yes, so I said to the woman, "just one for her, please." And I didn't think much else of it. We had groceries to gather, after all.

But yesterday morning that moment came rushing back to me as I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, and before I could control myself a big, choking sob came from my throat and I cried hard. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was intense.

I don't know when or if my son will ever be able to eat a slice of bologna.

So like I said, there will be days when I navel gaze a bit and feel really, really lousy. Today is one of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

rite of fall

I had hoped to have this quilt finished up over the weekend...but it's sitting under my sewing machine needle with just one seam quilted. AJ has decided that taking two naps each day no longer works for him, but he keeps switching back and forth between not sleeping in the morning, and not sleeping in the afternoon. I was able to get the quilt completely pieced and bordered Saturday night after everyone went to bed, but on Sunday afternoon when I tried to begin quilting it, my darling son kept standing up in the crib and hollering. I tried laying him back down several times, but to no avail. quilt today.

We did have a great weekend, though. Saturday morning Daughter, AJ and I met up with my parents to go apple picking.

It was sunny but quite brisk, so we donned many handknits (total count: 4 pair socks, 4 hats, two sweaters, one pair mittens, one scarf, one baby afghan), and luckily I ran back into the house to grab extra fleece jackets just as we were about to leave! We wouldn't have lasted long without them.

We brought our little red wagon, but it turns out the farm has their own fleet! They tow one out behind the hay wagon as you ride to the orchards. It was so cool.

So many apples still on the trees. It was ridiculous.

We ate ourselves silly (it's ok, they tell you to!)

We went home with A LOT of apples.

It was simply...

Friday, October 09, 2009

little helper

I think I mentioned over the summer that I am trying hard to tackle the WIP problem. Yes, it is a real many projects I started and sad, really! It is starting to make me quite uncomfortable to have all these half-finished projects laying around. What a waste - of time, of materials, of my efforts.

I made these schoolhouses the winter before last, and was planning a bed-size quilt (as ask me how many bed-size quilts I have actually made...) but the blocks are fiddly and I don't enjoy making them. So they got shoved in a pile and ignored. I think I will just take the 5 completed blocks, put them together with solid cream setting squares, and call it a wallhanging, yes?

Daughter helped me lay these out. Again...

And again...

And again.

In all she must have made every possible iteration of these 5 silly blocks. And I guess I must have said it first, otherwise I don't know where she would come up with it, but she kept saying, "I'm just not sure how this is going to work out with the red."

Oh, how I love her and love her and love her.

I think we'll need some sashing between those houses, though, don't you? Maybe red!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

our first mother/daughter sewing project

It's funny how a child's interest in certain toys ebbs and flows, isn't it? Daughter has had a beautiful doll cradle, handmade almost 30 years ago by Hubs' grandfather, sitting in her room gathering dust for months. Yesterday she asked Hubs to bring it downstairs so she could put her baby to bed. (Interestingly, this baby has been at the bottom of the stuffed animal bin for ages as well.)

Hubs brought it down and it looked pretty sad and empty sitting there. Daughter looked at me and said, "it doesn't look very comfortable like that, does it?"

She was right. It did not.

So we set to work remedying the situation for babydoll. Daughter chose an old fat quarter and we cut 2 rectangles to size (18"X8"). She sat on my lap and guided the fabric as I pushed the sewing machine pedal. We stuffed it with two layers of cotton batting, and topstitched all the way around the edges. Then I cut two rectangles about 8"X6" to make the pillow, sewed them right sides together, turned it out into a little bag, and had Daughter stuff it full of polyfil. We stitched it closed together. Now we had a mattress and pillow! But wait, what about a blanket?

Off to the bag of leftover yarns! Daughter chose a soft pink wool-ease left over from a winter hat I made her several years ago. I chose this pattern (yes, it is for a dishtowel, but it is crocheted which means it is fast for me to do), and worked on it throughout the day. I finished up at 11:00 last night.

Voila! Doll bedding!

My understanding is that baby is resting quite comfortably. Bunny has also taken a nap in the cradle, but not Daughter's Beaker doll, because "Beaker doesn't care for cradles."

I love that kid.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

3 scraps of paper

The other day, Daughter came downstairs first thing in the morning and went straight to the family room for her art supplies. She came back into the kitchen (where I was slouched over my first sips of morning coffee), and presented me with 3 scraps of construction paper, green, orange, and yellow, which I had placed in her art bin the day before. (We are trying to focus on not wasting things these days.)

She asked me if she could use them, and then asked what we could make with them. I think I said the colors reminded me of the changing leaves, and we were off to the races!

I slurped a bit more coffee and started free-handing some leaf shapes on the scraps. Daughter got her scissors and began to cut. Before long we had dozens of little paper leaves.

I suggested we draw a tree trunk on construction paper and paste them on to make a fall tree decoration, but no, that was way too static an idea for Daughter. Over the course of the morning those paper leaves were petals thrown at a pretend wedding, leaves falling from trees, gifts for her brother, daddy, and me, and finally food for a bunny.

Bunny liked the green ones just fine.

But she liked the orange ones better.

Then Bunny got tired of eating one at a time and went for the whole plate.

I couldn't believe how much creative play we got out of 3 scraps of construction paper.