Friday, March 30, 2012

Garden Party

We are so happy to finally have real space to garden, but at the same time this may not be the year. Having a new spring baby right around planting time might put a little bit of a damper on Mama being out in the dirt on her knees.

I mentioned to the boys the other day that we should take a tour of the yard and write down some ideas of what we'd like to do out there.

Of course, Ender wanted to take pictures of the barren-ness.

I've always wanted hydrangeas, and I love the idea of having a certain amount of flowers planted with the intention of being able to cut some to bring inside.

Ender has plans for tulips somewhere,
and Ezra only cares that the color red is involved at some point.

And I know there will eventually be vegetables somewhere- maybe this year, maybe not.

Still thinking and planning...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FO: A Little Hat

Project: Baby Blue Hat

Pattern: Lacy Julian Hat

Yarn: my new favorite- Berroco Vintage DK

Needles: Size 6 DPNs

For: My soon-to-be-born nephew #5 Levi

Cast On to Cast Off: about 5ish hours.

Notes: I wanted a quick little hat to partner with the Puerperium Cardigan I knit up for Levi and this was just the thing. I used size 6's to size down a little bit since the hat is intended for Levi as a newborn. The lacework was really simple and super easy to memorize a line at a time.

Things I Learned: Nothing new, though I did have a realization that I really don't love working on DPNS above a size 3 or so. I definitely need to check out the whole magic loop idea. I've given it a few half-hearted attempts in the past, but I think I need to give it a serious attempt on the next item I knit in that round on bigger needles.

Overall: Nice clear pattern, simple and quick knit. Loved it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn Along

I hit finishing mode this past week. I tend to run in phases as a knitter- I spend a week or so casting on far more projects than I can realistically work on and then I spend several weeks picking through them and working a little bit on each one knowing that one of them will grab me at some point and I will race through to the finish.

Then that little bit of success inspires even more finishing because when I really look at my big basket of "in progress" knits I usually find that I'm not that many hours off from finishing more than just that one.

In the last 10 days I've finished 3 baby cardigans (one here and more pics later this week as I finish blocking and photos) and a little hat and I'm ever so close to finishing two more little hats (read: needs seaming) plus I began a few little knitted monsters for the boys.

But my focus right now is on the Hemlock Ring Blanket that I started two weeks ago. I know, I know- it doesn't look that much different than the last time you saw it. I promise it has indeed grown by a bit, but all the finishing of other knits got in the way. I promise I'm working in great seriousness on it now, however, after spending much of last night with semi-regular contractions.

 Baby Girl *will* come home with this blanket!

My reading has been mostly baby/crafting focused lately as we get so close to her arrival. I had a look through Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings when it first came out and loved several of the sewing projects found there. I'm hoping to get to a few of them before Baby Girl arrives now that my sewing machine has been unearthed. 

And now that I'm closing in on a nearly empty knitting basket, I'm looking for more suggestions on improving my sock knitting. I've been savoring the Knitter's Book of Socks as I plan my next pair. It has been such an educational read for me as I work on this sock knitting thing. I already have a few changes in mind that I hope will further improve the fit, but of course that blanket is taking every last knitting second right now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Little Geography

We read Maps and Globes by Jack Knowlton last week and it started a little bit of a map craze around here.

I hadn't intended to start map work until next fall, but that's the great thing about homeschooling- sometimes the opportunity presents itself and it would be crazy not to take advantage.

I've always loved the geography program presented in The Core by Leigh Bortins, so I showed the boys the 5 circles and where they were on the world map and how they could use those to place their continents. I demonstrated continent "blobs" to them and they were not impressed- Ender and Ezra love to draw (and recently to copy directly from book illustrations) so the fact that the "blobs" weren't the real shapes of the continents just didn't fly. They insisted on going at it getting as close to the real continent shapes as they could.

Ezra thought the latitude and longitude lines were really cool, so all of his continents have grids.

And what would a map be without color?

Ender memorized the continents and oceans and their locations last year during Kindergarten, so his first continent drawing was a little more accurate than Ezra's.

He did decide that he should add countries (and even made a passing comment about how drawing maps would be a great way to learn the names of all the countries, haha!) and I think he at least drew in boundaries for some of the larger countries.

I told Ender we'd practice drawing all of the continents for a little while until they got to be about the right size (as compared to the atlas we're using) and then he could pick just one continent to draw for awhile. And he announced that he has a lot of thinking to do so he can pick "just the right one". I'm curious to see what that will be!


Monday, March 26, 2012

FO: Nephew #5 Puerperium

Yarn: Berocco Vintage DK

Needles: Size 8

For: Another nephew, this one due in May!

Cast On to Cast Off: 8 days, mostly because I was also trying to finish up another knit, so I spent two or three evenings on that one.

Notes: This was a super easy knit (as in I could read/talk/look at pinterest while knitting) and I love a project like that in between lace and socks.

I especially love the detail of the buttons down the left side of the body, and that was what I was drawn to when I picked this project. I know this is a pretty well-loved project according to the Ravelry project list (almost 1000 projects on Ravelry)  and there's a good reason why- simplicity, practicality ('cuz who wants to cram a sweater over a baby's head and make you worry that you're going to break their little neck?) and a lot of room to try cool things if you want to. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee knit a cool striped one, and there are more interesting stripes on this project page.

My only modification was that I chose to do short sleeves since this is for a spring baby but didn't jump straight to the garter section. When I picked up the stitches on the sleeves I knit 5 rows, purled 1 row, knit 1 row and then cast off.

Things I Learned: Nothing new this time around, but that was just what I needed.

Overall: Good project, quick knit, and I think this may go in the rotation of great baby gift knits.

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