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March 2015

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I have other hobbies aside from knitting.

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Tart

Hard to believe, I know.

I used to say cooking was a hobby. I am over that now. Partially because cooking is messy and basically means doing dishes is required as a side-hobby, and, frankly, who needs doing dishes as a hobby?

Not me.

Also, I am too good at cooking…which means I eat what I cook (or bake) and then spend way too much time trying to lose weight, not gain weight, and generally wish my pants wouldn’t be so tight. In a former life, I had a blog called The Skinny Chronicles (true story) where I blathered on and on about trying to lose ten pounds (among other things). I am over that now.

More to the point, my other hobby that I really do enjoy is gardening. Particularly flower gardening, although we do have a vegetable garden that is way too large for a small family of three (we could feed an army!), but I will refrain from ranting on and on about how canning tomatoes really isn’t that fun after all and basically all that back-t0-the-earth being the greatest-joy-of-life stuff is just a big pile of crock because really it is just a TON of work and slaving over three boiling pots of water inside the 100 degree kitchen all day leaves something to be desired.

Like a spa day…

Now, where was I?

Oh yes. I love to garden.

The good news is my toddler loves to garden too! Last year, I was lucky to get 45 minutes of yard work in per day. This year, I can garden for hours…and he is just as happy to “help,” play in the dirt, and generally plod along behind me and “push” the wheel barrow to this spot and that. It’s amazing. I can get so much done, especially in this lovely mild weather! (This is where I knock on wood as I have probably just jinxed myself into some horribly catastrophic accident involving a full leg cast or something else tragically inconvenient.)

Sadly, I have found knitting with my toddler to be less productive unless I am distracting him with a cartoon or some other inappropriate parenting method.

But I haven’t let that stop me!  After Reed finally fell asleep Saturday night, I cast on a new cowl pattern (still in development) with Madelinetosh’s Tosh Merino Light in the Tart colorway. So far, I am loving it.

A Cowl to Gift

I live in the middle of nowhere. Rural. Remote. An hour’s drive to a respectable grocery store.

More on this another day.

Thankfully our small mountain town is home to lots of other young families, and I have been fortunate to meet other new moms with children similar in age to my own dear son. We rendezvous at the park from time to time and watch the kids play. We bring picnic snacks for the kiddos and, sometimes, champagne for the mamas.

Because what is a play date without champagne?

I knew you would understand.

One of these mamas had a birthday the other day. I love gifting my hand knits to my special girlfriends for birthdays and other special occasions. My Twist Cowl prototype seemed like just the right fit. I am still working on a final version of the pattern with edges that don’t curl quite so much (a pet peeve of mine), but the prototype offers a sneak peak of the overall look. The pattern is themed after my Twist Shawl pattern.

Knitting March 15 006

For the most part, I adore this new cowl pattern. Simple yet graceful. Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light is one of my absolute favorite yarns. So soft and buttery. This particular cowl is in the Golden Hickory colorway.

Knitting March 15 001

Stay tuned for the final pattern later this spring.

Many thanks to the birthday girl for being such a super fabulous cowl model.

More Garter Stitch Ear Flap Haps

There is nothing in life like close friends–the kind you can call when everything has gone wrong and it was probably all your fault…but they don’t judge and make you feel better anyway just by listening…almost as if they have reached through the phone and handed you a mojito. Suddenly everything is better. Those kind of friends. I have a special friend like that, and she lives so incredibly far away. Nine hours by car. If you don’t stop. Or an expensive, indirect plane ticket with layovers in all kinds of inconvenient places. We are plotting to retire in the same nursing home when we are old ladies. Thank goodness for Facetime. That’s all I can say. As you might have guessed, this particular friend is about to have a baby girl in the coming month. Her second. I am so excited for this growing family. I pondered knitting a baby blanket. But that would have been ambitious, plus I am not sure how much use it really would have gotten. Thus a baby hat it was. Plus a second hat in a slightly larger size for their first daughter. I really loved Purl Soho’s garter stitch earflap hat when I made the first two earlier this month, so I decided to make another two. Originally I planned to make them both out of the Classic Elite merino/silk blend in two separate colors. Matchy but not matchy. Plans went askew when I found a scrap of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light leftover from my Twist Shawl that looked like just enough yarn for the smaller infant hat. I just couldn’t pass up a perfect use for a small ball of super soft yarn in a feminine-but-not-too-girly color.  For the larger hat, I stuck with my original plan and used the grass green shade of Classic Elite (in real life, it is brighter and grass-greenier than shown in the photo). My friends are always looking for non-pink girl clothes, and grass green seemed like a good fit. Reed loved to model the toddler hat. I told him he could watch an episode of Little Bear if he would sit still and say cheese. Too bad it was so rainy out, and we were stuck with icky indoor light. Knitting March 15 042 The second pair of hats came out truer to pattern than the first two, only because I finally figured out the correct way to knit the sskp. Apparently slipping stitches left to right as opposed to right to left really does make a difference. Who knew… Sometimes my continental knitting style makes the instructions for decreases read opposite of what they should be…or something confusing like that. It’s an ongoing process to figure it out, but I will save that for another post. Or another mojito.

No Nap, What???

When you have an infant, they sleep all time. Scrath that. They sleep all the time during the day. Nights are another story.

Then, Year 1 passes and three naps turns to two naps…And then, suddenly, you are down to one mid-day nap. Two precious hours of peace and quiet in the middle of the day to think and…if you are lucky…knit.

Precious.

Then Year 1 turns to Year 2 and suddenly the nap disappears. Just. Like. That.

Absent a well timed car drive of respectable length at just the right time, the mid-day nap is no more. Which I am okay with, honestly. Because it’s 7:30 p.m. and my dear child is Sound Asleep. If he had taken a nap, I would still have two more hours of figuring out what in the hek to do with him.

No, we cannot watch Bob the Builder.

No more markers.

No, we cannot do anything that involves making more messes I have to clean.

Yes, you can have a snack.

No, it cannot be a cookie. 

Yes, I love you.

Of course I love you.

And so it goes.

Truly the trickiest thing is trying to figure out how to take  a reasonable photo of yarn and other knitted notions during day light hours when a photo is more apt to, you know, look good.

No, don’t touch that.

Stop. Stop. Stop. (Very frantic voice)

If you just give Mama two minutes to take this photo without absolutely otherwise destroying this lovely and perfectly would ball of Brand New Yarn, we can eat a cookie.

And watch Bob the Builder.

But just one episode.

How is it possible to be a successful parent and accomplish anything without resorting to bribery? That is what I want to know.

I finished knitting Version 2 of my Twist Cowl pattern (still in development) last night…Just need to wrap up with some grafting and blocking (next weekend, most likely). In the meantime, I am getting ready for the next pair of Purl Soho’s garter earflap hats for a new baby and toddler pair. I have yet to knit with Classic Eilite Yarn, so I am excited to give it a whirl.

Here we go.

A Second Twist

Hopefully you are reading this (a) snuggled up in the coziest of throws on the sofa, (b) from the white sand beach of a remote tropical island, (c) holding a sparkling bubbly cocktail, ideally one containing fresh fruit and lime, or (d) something else Super Fabulous (possibly involving chocolate?)

Question: what should be my policy on eating chocolate pudding for breakfast. Do or Don’t?

I say Do, right?

Of all the patterns I have designed so far, the Twist Shawl has been the most successful in so many ways. The original Twist was knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (which I love!), but I had two skeins of the heavier Tosh Merino DK  in the  William Morns colorway in my stash for a couple of years now. I decided to use them up for a second Twist.

[Side note: Isn’t William Morns kind of a dark name for a colorway? I wonder…]

DSC_0048 Twist #2 came out lovely, if do say so myself. The yarn is a bit heavier (obviously) and not quite as soft as the Tosh Merino Light, but definitely feels good to drape over my shoulders on a crisp evening.

DSC_0049 If you are looking for a simple but not boring crescent shawl pattern to knit, I do hope you will give the Twist Shawl pattern a try.

Baby and Toddler Garter Ear Flap Hat

I have a couple of friends that are going to hatch soon. As in, the stork is not coming and you actually have to go through labor.

Again.

Sorry ladies.

Hopefully these cute baby hats will ease your pain.

But probably not.

In both cases, my friends already have toddlers. Naturally this means I must knit toddler hats to accompany the new baby hats. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out.

Just saying.

Mom Number One had her shower this past weekend. Nothing like a deadline to put the knitting into high gear. I always do my best work under pressure.

I used the Purl Soho Ear Flap pattern that I had been desperate to knit for some time and raided the stash for some reasonably suitable yarn.

The first knit was for the toddler. I used Sublime baby cashmere merino silk dk (with size 7 needles) left over from Reed’s baby blanket in the Froggy colorway. I love Sublime yarn, but my LYS recently stopped carrying it…something about no representative in the U.S.? Odd.

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The hat came out super cute. I am slightly biased, having used my own dear child as a model. I think I may have done the sskp stitches incorrectly. Hard to say. I plan to play around with those a bit more for the next duo of baby hats.

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The second go around was for the new baby. Of course Mom Number One is waiting until the baby is born to find out if I will soon meet a little boy or a little girl. It absolutely kills me when people do this. How is one supposed to know what color to knit the hat? When I was pregnant, I basically stalked my doctor until she would let me have  an ultrasound at 19 weeks to see if I was having a boy or a girl. Looking back, it is truly miracle that she didn’t call the cops on me.

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The most gender neutral yarn in my stash was Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light fingering weight in Grey Garden. I chose a size 4 needle. I first used this yarn for my Winterspun shawl…which was a lady thing…but the hat came out looking possibly more suitable for a little boy.  I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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I have another month or so until hats for Mom Number Two are due. Wish me luck


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