Friday, November 16, 2012

Summer in a Glass

It's when it gets cold that I'm so glad we put up a little bit of food over the summer months. And my favorite thing right now? 

Strawberry syrup.

When I put up strawberry jam, butter and preserves in June I decided to try a bit of syrup too. And let me tell you, my friend- best pantry addition ever! 

Mix it with a little bit of sparkling water and you have summer in a glass. It's the perfect bit of sweet to enjoy with popcorn or while I knit at night.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knitting Along as a Family

Knitting along with Ginny...

Since finishing Ellie's Christmas cardigan it seems like a lot of my knitting time has been devoted to helping this little dude with his own knitting:

Knitting has long been on his list of skills to acquire, and we have indeed tried in the past two years to start truly knitting... it just didn't click and he lost interest quickly. Each time I'd tuck everything away until he'd say "maybe I can knit now..." and we would try again.

Every try yielded the same result until this time, when everything worked just right on the first try and the little phrase he uses to remember the order of motions required for each little stitch came easily from his mouth. A row here and a row there, and a few stitches while we read together all adds up to something that actually has some mass and a definite shape. And this time he keeps coming back for a little more.

And because Ezra can't let anyone upstage him he asked to learn to crochet. I showed him how to make a chain and he quickly brushed me off to do it all on his own. This one rarely wants help and his chain showed it. But Ez is always quick to smile and take pride in his ability to work on his own, no matter the actual results.

Not sure what exactly was going on with the yarn here, but I'm sure sticking your tongue out helps a lot!

We are reading together each night through some of our older classic picture books that we haven't seen since they were packed about a year ago. It's lovely to go again through beautiful books like The Story of Ping (my favorite as a child) and The Little House. On my own I'm reading The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan and Gods of Night (requested reading by my husband- he's desperate for someone to read this particular Star Trek series so he can discuss with someone).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FO: Helena Cardigan

Project: Helena for Ellie 

Pattern: Helena by Alison Green Will

Yarn: Knitpicks Swish DK in Dove Heather

Needles: Size 6 for the larger needle, size 2 for the smaller needle

Size: 12 month

For: Ellie (6 months old)

Cast On to Cast Off: October 4-November 2. It's actually a very fast knit, but I was dividing my time between it and 2 other projects with gift deadlines, so this one was often neglected in favor of the gift knitting. I would estimate I had about 15 hours in it if you include the time I spent sewing up the folds for the bottom edge and sleeves.

Notes: I knit this as one of Ellie's Christmas gifts so I chose to knit up a size so she can definitely wear it January-March. The fabulous thing about knitting for babies? You can try the gift item on your baby and they won't remember it at all when Christmas comes around! With the boys I have to have them close their eyes and tell them, "It's not a sweater..." over and over in an attempt to brainwash them into believing I'm NOT knitting for them for their birthday/Christmas/whatever.

I really enjoyed working with this yarn. It's another go to for baby gift knitting, since I really dislike giving a new mom anything but superwash yarn. While I personally don't mind hand-washing wool for my baby, I don't really want to give a gift that says "Please take extra caution in handling me while you're sleep deprived and your brand new baby pukes or leaks on everything they look at for more than 5 seconds.

Things I Learned: I had never done this kind of edging before and it is a very nice finish. I'm slow at stitching by hand though, so it did take me a bit of time to stitch up the edgings.

Overall: A+ for me on this project. Well written pattern, nice yarn, and the project didn't complain or go on strike at any point. I would definitely knit this again and probably will for future baby gift knitting.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back to Podcasts

I'm sure you already know this, but The Knitmore Girls rock.

See, I've been away from their podcasts pretty much since Ellie was born due to circumstances somewhat beyond my control and I've spent the last week listening at pretty much every available moment in an effort to "catch up" with them.

I'm sure you're thinking that there is absolutely no good excuse for missing their podcast for so long, but I'll make an attempt:

1} A certain son of mine decided months ago that his need for an ipod far exceeded mine and since I'm not made of money (and neither is he) we've been sharing my florescent pink ipod in an epic battle for listening time.

2} My computer died** and I had to redo everything on a new computer and I messed something up with all the podcasts I usually listen to while I knit.

3} I did that whole "move to a new house and have a new baby with 2 months" thing and generally forgot about knitting and knitting podcasts for awhile... and well everything else too. Baby Elle is a giant distraction from all things fiber.

Are those good enough reasons? 

Yeah... I didn't think so either.

But last weekend I spent much of my time making some baby food for The Girl (she's so ready for food, y'all... she growls at Brian when he eats in front of her!) and I thought about how nice it would be to have a great podcast to listen to. So I wrangled the ipod away from my 7-year-old and loaded up with eleventy-billion episodes of Knitmore Girls.


I missed so much! I so enjoy listening to Gigi and Jasmin that I've spent every available listening minute with them. My house is completely spotless right now- not because of high standards or anything- but because it gave me more time with my ipod to listen to the Knitmore Girls. They choose awesome projects and actually finish them, though not at inhuman speeds that make me feel like I suck as a knitter. It doesn't hurt that they reference pretty much every geeky thing I enjoy in passing, and the way they include a variety of fiber topics along with bits of gardening, reading, reviews... it's just a beautiful and wonderful podcast.

I'm caught up to episode 193 and I'm already worrying about what I'll listen to when I get through my Knitmore binge.

What is your favorite knitting/fiber podcast?

** Brian swears I have magnets in my body that destroy the hard drives of every computer I own. I have owned a variety of brands over the years and I have decidedly killed every single one.This is why I religiously back up to 2 external hard drives every week, so that I never lose more than a week's worth of studio and design work at a time. I never know when my computer is going to kick the bucket.

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