Busy, busy bee!

I’m proud to announce that I finished all 3 birthday presents BEFORE the party this time…but less than proud to admit that the blankets were meant to be last year’s presents — last year was “the year of the blanket” for my nieces/nephews/second cousin…I finished 4 of the 6, but crapped out on these last two!

haley's blanket
for my 2 year old niece

Mikey's blanket 1

Mikey's blanket 2
Notice the crazy crooked trim? That’s to make the ridiculously uneven squares look purposeful. I have NO idea what happened here — I must have had one too many glasses of wine when cutting these squares last year! But it ended up fun in the end, & I’m sure my 6 year old niece will like it. It’s crazy & BRIGHT — just like she is, lol.

Alleysha's Harry Potter socks finished
Here are my sister’s socks — she loves Harry Potter…and is turning 21 — maybe I should have made her HP beer cozies? lol

Just a couple random links — we have a triple birthday party to attend in about 13 hours! Twist Collective‘s fall issue is live (and beautiful, as always), and here is a hilarious cosplayer outfit my husband came across in his online ramblings…g’night!


It’s almost gone!

Where has the summer gone? We are fast approaching our last week of summer, and I’m still wondering where all the time went!

We’ve had some fun, so it isn’t terrible, but…wow! How quickly these Michigan summers go – you would think I’d be used to it by now. My favorite summer trip was last weekend — the annual family camping trip with all 5 of my siblings, our mother & her husband, and all of our husbands & kids — we numbered 20 in all, this year. I forgot to take many pictures, again, but I pulled out the camera during our afternoon on the beach in Frankfort. This is some of my favorite beach weather — cloudy with a breeze, but not cold…perhaps Michigan is the perfect state for me, after all! πŸ˜‰

camping 11

camping 10
Aiden (those are temporary tattoos on his head)

camping 12

camping 6
Harry Potter sock (see the lighthouses in the background?)

camping 7
My flip-flops (Ian did this & I thought it looked pretty cool! It’s currently my Ravatar) πŸ˜‰

It truly warms my heart that my sons are growing up enjoying camping in the same places I did growing up. πŸ™‚

I may have created sock monsters…

harry potter sock 1 done

This is 1/2 of (one of my) sister’s birthday present (Harry Potter Opal colorway – Ron). I may have made a mistake when I brought up to our family reunion to custom fit the length, though. Her gushing about the comfort caused my Mom to try it on…and I noticed a gleam in my Grandma’s eye…I think I might have to get crackin’ on the sock knitting!

As soon as I finish some other things, of course…like the first of my five Christmas stockings; this was supposed to be finished in July — and can I just say…stranded knitting across a 16 stitch pattern SUCKS! I’ve reknit this half of the argyle portion no less than 5 times. Ugh! Still love the pattern, though — this will just be the “product” knitting portion, rather than the “process” knitting portion.

ian's stocking

Sorry about the lousy pic! My camera doesn’t always play nice (I’m sure a certain 3 boys dropping it way too often has nothing to do with that!). But hey, they’re cute, aren’t they?

spencer & rowan 4

Okay, so the one on the left doesn’t belong to me, but the pic was too cute to pass up! My friend and I realized we both needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home from the yarn shoppe (where, I am sad to say, I bought nothing…), so we decided to make it a joint trip as well. The boys had such a great time, the giggles & squeals drew smiles from patrons all over the store — and great big ones from their two mamas — I hope they keep getting on together so well!

I’ve a couple more projects, but only one more that I can show right now — it’s a diaper soaker (cover).

audra's soaker

Thanks to Facebook, I’m getting the chance to chat with high school classmates, and discovering neat things I have in common with some of them. Among other “crunchy” leanings, this old friend had a homebirth with her little one and is now making the switch to cloth diapers. I was telling her about wool & before I could say “boo” was volunteering to knit her a few covers — it’s been a while since I’ve made one, and I’m loving the ease of it — yummy Briar Rose yarn, 16inch circs and a pattern I’ve pretty much memorized…zoommm.

Did I mention how pretty & yummy the yarn is? The next time I’m shopping for sweater yarn, it will be at Briar Rose — the last time I ordered from there they were super friendly and also answered the phone after hours (I thought it would go to voice mail!). I know there’s beautiful dyed yarn to be found out there, but this Michigan based company’s is some of the best I’ve seen (Malabrigo and 100purewool come to mind, although the latter doesn’t always deliver the colors they advertise).

I’ll leave you all with the random links that WordPress ate the other day…

Knitting links: I’m still in love with Netherfield — I really hope I get the chance to knit it soon. If you peruse Twist Collective you’ll doubtless find many more fabulous (very knittable AND wearable garments) items. I just came across a ravelry member who knit the Sylvi coat cables onto an afghan — gorgeous! Speaking of gorgeous knit coats, the Interweave Knits fall preview is up! And if you live in the New Jersey area, you are very, very lucky! A traveling yarn shop…can you imagine?! Be still my heart!

This may be a duplicate link from months ago, but I forgot to add it to my blogroll so I thought I’d give it another shout out. Norah Gaughan is one of my top 5 favorite designers — which is quickly making Berroco a company whose designs I drool over the way the Mason-Dixon girls do Rowan. I may have to move this next designer into the running, though — I stumbled upon her while researching KnitPicks new City Tweed. I wanted to make sure the yarn was hardy enough to use as one of the diaper covers for my friend, and found this amazing, squishy, cabl-icious cowl…I’ve already plotted how I’m going to manage to buy the yarn to make myself one when I order the yarn for my friend! I’ve learned that when I like one pattern by a designer, to look at the other patterns, so I was delighted (but not surprised) to find a few other great pieces. Yesterday, a funky, fun purse/bag, and two other great patterns for purses.

Non-knitting links
: I only have a few tonight. The first is one my LLL leader forwarded on to me — a “breastfeeding” baby doll. The concept is great, of course, but I’m a bit puzzled about the necessity of the halter for the “mommy” to wear with flowers on it (in place of nipples). Why can’t the girl just use her own (gasp) nipples to pretend to feed the baby? It’s a bit like handing a girl a fake foot to put her dress-up shoes on… Really I think it just reinforces that breasts are for sex and shouldn’t be messed with (even to practice/pretend about what they’re REALLY for). Unfortunate.

Last (no really, I will stop! lol), I stumbled upon the official site for Janet Evanovich — it’s just as clever and fun as you would expect! I realized that I haven’t read the newest book so I’ll have to see if I can get it from the library tomorrow. Of course that reminds me that Diana Gabaldon‘s latest book will be here in just 7 short weeks!!

Okay, really, I’m done! Back to knitting!

It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood…

…not to rip off a beloved child “entertainer,” but it really has…

thrune park 5

This is my favorite neighborhood park.

thrune park 4
(there’s actually a sand pit there)

thrune park 3 - spencer thrune park 2

thrune park 1

Fenced in all around, a nice little wading pool, a sand pit, great shade, a restroom & a water fountain…what more could a mom & 3 little goobers ask for? Oh, did I mention it was within walking/bicycling distance? Yea, we’re spoiled like that. πŸ™‚

My little ones have been manning the camera of late, so I’m heavy on pictures of matchbox cars & cute little boy toes, and light on knitting pics…but there are a few!

tea cozy
Pattern: Vine Leaf Tea Cozy
For: My (half) sister’s Mom (she sent me a bunch of crochet cotton!! So I’m warming up some of her tea pots!)
Needles: Boye size 11’s — it was kinda fun knitting with huge & fat metal needles
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable 100% acrylic worsted weight (held double) — this stuff actually did *squeak* it wasn’t pleasant to knit with, but I got used to it — plus, it’s such a quick pattern that I finished it in less than 1 day. I think I want to check my acrylic stash & maybe use this pattern as a blanket — I’d need bigger needles, though — this cozy is a bit…stiff? lol

housewarming gift 1
Look! I finally knit a ballband dishcloth…and loved it! It took me an entire pattern repeat before I “got it,” but after that, I was off. This was a wee housewarming gift for a friend in my knitting group. The basket looks pathetically empty…what can I say? I ran out of time, lol.

housewarming gift 2

After much putting off, I finally tried out the library in the next town that my friend has been bugging me to visit. Turns out it’s a wonderful place, very young child friendly…and they have a different knitting section! lol I checked out a couple “Knit Lit” books (which have moved me both to tears, and to bouts of snorting laughter), and also “25 Beaded Knits” where I found this blanket:

blanket - 25 beaded knits
I don’t know that I’ll ever knit the exact blanket, but I love the color play & the squares combination & don’t want to forget it!

I have several projects going on right now (4 within arms reach), but not many photos — I keep forgetting to take pics…so I’ll update you later on those. I now intend to flood you with cute kid(s) pics. Feel free to skip to the random links at the end for knitterly links. πŸ˜‰

ian at home
Ian chillin’ on the…dining room floor?! The boys took this picture;

and I took this one

aiden long hair

before Aiden’s haircut

olivias bday 6

after Aiden’s haircut. The bangs came out pretty bad (badly?), but otherwise it’s okay. He likes it, and it doesn’t look so dirty/unkempt…but I miss the shaggy do! Ah well, he likes it (which is a miracle), so we’re good.

Even Spencer got his bangs cut

spencer & truck

though he almost didn’t. Luckily, he *thinks* he can negotiate. I said “please, can mama make just 5 snips?” he responded with, “NO! [insert image of hand being held over head here] TEN cuts!” lol. I think it took 4 — we just wanted his hair out of his eyes, really.

Can I just say that I adore this photo? Or maybe it’s the outfit? White t-shirts are so cute on little boys (I know, you’re laughing, and I know, you’re right — see the big brown stain in the middle of it?)…especially if they’re with jeans. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for more yard sale ones, so my pocketbook doesn’t suffer!

I snapped this shot a few days ago…cute, aren’t they? I always wanted to have a dress-up chest for my kids…I’m glad to see they enjoy it!

…I think you’ve all been spared — I just lost over 1/2 dozen “random links,” more pictures, and more chatter. Ugh — some days! πŸ˜‰ Talk to you all again, soon.

All For Me: A Felted Ice Cream Pint Cozy

ice cream cozy
We all do it once in a while…eat right from those handy little pint containers, right? I know my Grandpa considers ice cream to be one of the essentials in life, so I created this quick little felted cozy for him! Now to make one for myself…

Needle size: 10 1/2
Yarn: Cascade 220 or any worsted weight wool

CO 6 sts
Join for knitting in the round
R1: *Kfb* =12 sts
R2: *Kfb, k1* = 18 sts
R3: *Kfb, k2* = 24 sts
R4: *Kfb, k3* = 30 sts
R5: *Kfb, k4* = 36 sts
R6: *Kfb, k5* = 42 sts
R7: *Kfb, k6* = 48 sts
R8: P all sts
R9-34: K all sts
R35: BO

Felt until all stitch definition is gone, pull over empty ice cream pint (Tofutti’s pint is plastic so it’s great for this) to shape & allow to dry.

So Many Things…

I’m not sure where my blogging mojo has gone…I’m still knitting, but lately stringing together more than a single sentence for a facebook update is just too. much. work. It could have something to do with my sweet, dear 2 year old boy, who is NOT sleeping in his own bed, as we speak.

spencer in his new bed!

It isn’t a space issue:

our room

We have 2 full size beds with a frame built around them…it’s the…invasion? of my space. And the nursing. Yes, I have a 2 and 1/3 year old child who still nurses. At night. And most nights, it’s incessant from 2 or 3 am until morning. This has actually started in the last few months, and my ability to sleep through it depends on how exhausted I am (read: whether or not I simply pass out, or have enough fight in me to be uncomfortable). With my first two, they had to learn nursing limits/manners because another child was on the way/here by this time in their lives. I’m finally getting over my guilt that I want him to night-wean (at least!) just because I. don’t. like it. It’s wearing — I keep telling myself that he’s the last one, I’ll miss it when it’s over, etc. etc., but really? I’m just starting to not care anymore.

I hope this isn’t too ridiculously depressing, because my life isn’t that terrible — I know I need to enforce some of the limits I’m starting to set with him (although when not allowed to nurse last night he proceeded to be awake from 2:30 until 4:45, when I gave in and nursed him for less than 1 minute & he passed out until dawn (when he’s “allowed” to nurse again). It would probably get better quite quickly, at least that’s what I tell all my Mom friends when they need advice! I’m also going back on the (cow) dairy-free diet, to see if that is causing his night-waking (it’s a suspected “minor” side effect of food allergies). That would make a lot of sense, actually — since the amount of dairy he gets through my milk is quite small…still — I’ve been (with the exception of the occasional cheat) completely dairy free for most of his life, and I was just beginning to enjoy eating cheese on a regular basis again (and pizza…oh, pizza, how I missed you!).

Anyway, there are good things (many, actually!). I’ve had lots of visits with friends & family (the pic above has a few of my nieces in it), lately, and I’ve made it to every knit night this summer, with the exception of last week’s. Here, these pics will make everyone smile — my nieces taught my boys a few things about mugging for the camera!

cousins visit 4 cousins visit 3

cousins visit 2 cousins visit 1

cousins visit 8 cousins visit 7

cousins visit 6 cousins visit 5

I’ve also just received a(nother) Knitpicks order that included a pattern book & yarn for my first ever (concretely planned) knit top for myself!

french girl knits -- delphine
French Girl Knits: Delphine

french girl knits french girl knits -- wrenna
Wrenna is on my short list, too. πŸ™‚

Here’s a sneak peak at the “secret” project my friends and I are working on:
blanket squares

Although I had a bit of a false start on my own first square…see the needles sizes? Doh.

I also got a hair cut! Once every 2 years is my norm — then I try to get it chopped enough to donate — Wigs For Kids this time (please research Locks of Love before you send your hair to them — there are many, many allegations to be found about them selling hair instead of making wigs with it). This time I went shorter than I’ve ever had it before (except at my own birth, as my husband insisted on pointing out *rolls eyes*).
new haircut!

I’m knee deep in knitting a kitchen ensemble for a family friend who is getting married in September.
kitchen ensemble
In addition to the above, I have 3 plain washcloths planned (stockinette center with moss border), as well as a couple scrubbies & maybe some pot holders as well. Of course I’ll knit up a market bag or three, too! I hope she likes it, but I’ll admit that I’m being careful not to put myself out & put too much into it — it’s just too sad to have your knit/homemade items less than loved. So I won’t be making 2-3 hand towels, just the one you see, and I’ll only sew matching napkins if the mood strikes. I’m trying to keep my crafting to things I want to do — not things I “have” to do.

When visiting Knitterella & meeting her new little one at our LYS (sooo sweet & squishy!), I picked up a pattern booklet I’ve been lusting over for, well, years — I cannot believe I’ve been knitting long enough to say that, but I saw this thing at least 2 years ago, and I’ve been knitting for about 4, now!
great american aran afghan

Then I (slightly guiltily) sneaked over to Hobby Lobby (for my first time ever!) and bought some sock yarn I’ve wanted since it was released:
finally! sock-ease!
That place is amazing! It’s like Michaels & JoAnn’s all rolled into one. πŸ™‚ I also picked up the square basket that the kitchen knits are going to go in for $6 (they had an entire aisle of clearanced out baskets — the awesome square ones, not just the (pretty much useless, imo) shallow oval types, either!), some fabric that was inexpensive to begin with & marked an additional 30% off…AND they had retracting tape measures for $1 each!

In other happy news, the sweater I knit for my Florida friend, Jaimee, fit her baby!
jaimee's baby sweater again
He’s already wearing (or did she say out of?!) 6 month clothes, so I was certain that the arms would be too snug for him. I was so happy to be wrong! This sweater was also a good reminder on gauge differences for me. Notice how the stitches seem to lean to the right? It’s actually bigger at the bottom, because when I joined the sleeves (this was knit bottom up with raglan sleeves), my gauge went down! Knitting on double points and magic loop I knit much tighter — especially when doing raglan decreases — I’m always worried they’ll be sloppy, otherwise. The only reason the sleeves weren’t also smaller is that I knit them on 2 1/2’s instead of the 2’s I knit the rest of the sweater on!

How’s everyone doing? Give up, yet? Because I have MORE! lol I recently ripped out the Chevron Scarf I started knitting last year:
frogged chevron scarf
I couldn’t figure out why it was all bunchy, with the vertical lines running down it…then I checked Last Minute Knitted Gifts out of the library again (probably my favorite knitting book that I will never buy because I can always check it out! lol), and noticed that I was doing the kfb/k2tog row every OTHER row instead of every FOURTH row! *smacks forehead* That scarf was over 3 foot long! Oh well…the colors were gorgeous together, but they weren’t “my” colors, so I wouldn’t have worn it as often as it deserved, iykwim. Bye bye, scarfie…

Hello Socks!
happy feet socks 1

happy feet socks 2 happy feet socks 3 -- riding bike!
Pattern: stitch pattern from the Harris Tweed Sock pattern, although I knit them toe up with a short row heel over 64 sts.
Yarn: Happy Feet
Needles: size 1 (not 1 1/2) magic loop

These poor socks rode around in my knitting bag for months! I just didn’t have the mental brain power to turn the heel of the 2nd sock (how pathetic is that?!); thus, the 7 market bags were born. So far I’ve withstood the urge to cast on anymore (although it was a close thing once last week); I’ve been keeping to my list of things to do so far. Now I just have to undo the bind off on the 2nd sock & do it more loosely — I have to fold the sock down because the top won’t fit over my calf, right now! It did come in handy when I needed a way to secure my pants for the bicycle ride home after knit night at the park, though! πŸ˜‰ Spencer is also waiting, slightly less than patiently, for his second sock. I’m sure I’ll finish it up quickly, as I won’t let myself start a knit-a-long with some Ravelry friends until I finish his sock!

Whew…I think that’s all the updating…I have started on one other project, but I don’t have any pics, so I’ll tell ya’ll about that one another time! I do have a bunch of random links for you, though!

Summer Knitty is up (and has been for weeks — see how behind I am?!) — Elenka is my favorite, I think. I also stumbled upon another knitting patterns site — Petite Purls. It’s devoted to young child knits & I believe this was their premiere issue. Someone on Ravelry posted a great site filled with knitting charts for popular cartoon characters…a mother’s dream! lol On a current events note, someone had this link about a dangerous new form of “prank calling” called “swatting.” The caller uses internet services to make it look like they are calling from someone else’s home, then they call 911 and claim to have just killed someone, which of course, lands Swat at the door of unsuspecting innocents. There’s also a “call to action” regarding an important mom/breastfeeding friendly bill being considered nation wide (as opposed to the hodge-podge of individual state bills). Also on the parenting front, I did a little research into corporal punishment and the Bible, again. It’s good to find my beliefs in line with the Word! lol To be clear, all three sites have to do with explaining that God does not command that we strike our children, among other things.

Okay folks. That’s all I’ve got! It took me so long to write this that it’s actually “the morning after” now! Spencer woke up a little after 2, which is the norm, and I told him he could nurse, but then “all done ’til morning.” He did, then slept until just before 5am. We had about 15 minutes of his obnoxiousness, then I noticed enough light coming in the window for me to call it dawn & give in. I drew his attention to it & told him that, but I don’t know that he cared, lol. Ah well, we’ll make it, right? And on that note, my friend is on the phone — playdate!

Life as a Mom

You find strange things in your pocket — with no memory of putting them there…


You get way too excited about ketchup sales…


And eventually, you lose your last remaining brain cells, and the only thing you can knit are mindless bags in pretty colors…

market bag V

market bag VI

Yes…number 7 is on the needles already…

My only redeeming knitting project is the new group project I just bought the yarn for:

new blanket

No more details as it’s a surprise for someone!

Just a couple quick random links — a video of one woman’s disturbing journey through anti-depressants/postpartum depression (or the lack there-of), and the danger of a new law to do with not so voluntary testing for postpartum depression. And then a cute shark attack hat that is an offshoot of the knitty dead fish hat from an issue or two ago…my husband actually found this — I think he wants me to knit a few for the boys…