Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dear blogger, It is time we break up. You just aren't the one for me, what can I say? Every time I try to change our relationship it fails. I see you have a new look. You're trying to get me to stay, aren't you? I'm sorry, but I just can't do this anymore. I've found someone else. You can find me here:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mittens and Morning Sickness

Why am I up at 5 a.m.? Because I've got pregnancy induced insomnia. Actually my son woke me up at 4 a.m. and while he fell back to sleep easily enough I became wide awake and aware that I was hungry. I tried to ignore it and then finally I couldn't anymore and dragged myself downstairs to find something to eat only to find that I had ignored the need to eat too long and then got blessed with a little bout of morning sickness. Lovely. It passed and I've eaten toast and a little bowl of cereal, but now I'm wide awake and browsing mitten patterns on Ravelry.

It isn't like I currently have 3 WIP mittens. Oh no, not at all.

I've just been obsessed with mittens lately! The bad part is that you have to knit two of them, and I've also been suffering from second mitten syndrome.

But anyway, I just found a new group on Ravlery: the NaKnitMitMO KAL. (That would be the National Knit Mittens Month Knit-a-long) I can't believe I didn't discover this group earlier! So January is the KAL month. I'm not sure what pair or pairs I will make then, but I'm in anyway!

Anyway, Blogger is being kind of weird about pictures this morning. Below are my recent mittens. The first pair is the pair I cast on for on Thursday. I think they'll be a birthday present for someone. There is also a single mitten that I'm going to need to order more yarn to complete.

There is a pair I knit for E and a pair I knit for Mark last month too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More hats in progress

My 16" size 7 needle sure is getting a workout! I'm on to my 4th hat with it in the past week!

I just finished A Better Bucket (details to come at a later date) for my mom and am casting on this year's pumpkin hat now that I have worsted weight orange yarn leftover from the Goldfish Hat.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Hats

Mark and I both took vacation last week. We didn't go anywhere other than the pumpkin patch and a state park but that is ok because we both really needed some down time.

I had a lot of things I could have (and perhaps should have) done but I concentrated my efforts on knitting.

E has one hat from late last winter that fits but it was time for new hats and here is the trio I completed.

First up is Miles' Goldfish Hat. This was a fun knit and a different construction than I've done before. E was really excited about this hat. I was working on it in the car and showed it to him after I had duplicate stitched one goldfish (at that point it was just the orange band) and he took it from me and insisted on wearing it at that point. In fact, it escalated into a little tantrum when I asked for it back. I could have done without that, but I guess it is proof that he thought it was cool.
Inspired by a discussion on Stash and Burn I was listening to on my way to the yarn store, I picked up a skein of Noro and subsequently knitted Quynn. I just bought this pattern on its own, but now I kind of wish I had bought the whole ebook. I really liked this pattern, it took a few rounds to get the idea of what I was doing but then I was able to see what was going on and set the pattern aside. I like patterns like that because I was doing something that wasn't boring, but I didn't need to stay chained to the pattern either.
I actually really love the way the earflaps work on this hat too.
E seemed to really like this hat, as soon as I was done blocking it (and it did need washed and blocked to become wearable because the fit is snug) he took it from me and put it on.

Now of the three his least favorite seems to be Cozy but I'm not really sure why. I don't know if he doesn't like the strings or what. I've had this in my queue for awhile now and finally sat down to work on it. Despite my almost-2-year-old's opinion, I like this hat. Maybe I just need different colors for him?
The pattern was actually written for cotton but I think it works well with wool anyway. I think I will knit it again in this cotton/alpaca blend yarn I've had for 4 years now and never know what to do with. Knitting this again I might consider some small changes. I think I may do some garter stitch edging on it instead of the single crochet border and see how that works out. I think I will also use a different cast-on for the main body of the hat. I've never been able to get the backward loop cast-on very even.

The other big accomplishment I had this past week was organizing my patterns. I finally went and bought some more binders and page protectors and set about printing off some patterns and organized them by alphabetically within pattern type. I also ended up pitching some absolutely hideous patterns I had received for free over the years because I really didn't need see-through lace ruffly or super chunky cropped cardigans taking up room.

I've been kind of neglecting the organizational tools on Ravelry for awhile now and since I have a computer that is working correctly, a little more time, and more knitting mojo I decided to get on the ball with it again. I have to say I am thrilled with some of the enhancements that have occurred! Now that I can link stash yarn with patterns in my queue I am finding that so much more useful to use. If you haven't played around with it for awhile try it out. I also took a peak at The List and noticed that a lot of really wonderful features are on deck so I'm very excited!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Early Harvest

The other week I planted a new crop of radishes and some beets along side them. They were a bit slow coming up, but they are coming along nicely now.

Between last week and today I've pulled all my turnips in the back garden. Last Thursday I roasted some with some chicken. Now the remainder are sitting in my fridge waiting. I did a second sowing this afternoon.

I also finally planted the little swiss chard plants in the ground that my mom started. We'll just have to see if they do anything or not. I had actually bought some swiss chard from the greenhouse and planted it along side the house. That is looking nice but I haven't used it yet.

My zucchini have started to produce as well. Last week before we left I picked a couple small ones. I just didn't want to come back to huge zucchini. Instead I came back and found one small but definitely havestable one.

I was working out there this morning (on vacation this week!) pulling weeds. I can never believe how quickly they grow! Anyway, while I was at it I started to thin the carrots a little. They were really baby carrots, but I save them anyway and brought them in with the zucchini and a couple onion leaves I accidentally broke while thinning the carrots. I chopped them all up and made an omelet for lunch. It was pretty good.

Now I'm waiting to see if I can get a 3rd good sized salad for dinner sometime this week from the window box lettuce I planted.

If I'm lucky and we actually get some sun I think before too long we will have some cherry tomatoes too!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Like I said in my last post, it is mittens and socks.

I finished a pair that I had started a long time ago for M in time for Father's Day and presented them to him yesterday. I told him they were Father's Day socks because the one had been sitting on the floor by his closet when E was born. We brought it out early on in active labor so I could do something to keep calm and my blood pressure down but I never really got to knit it because my contractions were too regular and strong to think about knitting.

Then I resurrected another pair I had started while pregnant. These were for myself out of leftover yarn I had used to knit my mom a pair of socks. Word to the wise- don't knit a second pair of socks out of yarn unless you really love it.

The yarn is OK, but the colors don't thrill me and I find the yarn split and difficult sometimes. I had finished that first sock awhile ago. Amelia had made a huge mess of the yarn one night. I stuffed it all in a bag to worry about later.

So then I got that finishing bug. I must have spend AT LEAST two hours untangling that damned yarn, but I did it, only to find that I couldn't find the first sock which I had to use to figure out how many stitches I had used. Of course once I finally found it I also found it was the very rare 64 stitches on size 1 needles. Arrgh. I blame the pregnancy for making me do something silly like that. I have now cast on that second sock and am chugging away at it. I only have about another inch until I can turn the heel. At least they are short socks, so once I do that it won't be too long before I'll be done with those too. Once I am done I am sure I'll appreciate the socks, but they are definitely a bit tedious.

When I finished my last pair of lace socks I decided to cast on another pair. This pair will be out of a silk/wool blend I bought two years ago from Creatively Dyed. Last summer I tried to knit a shawl out of it (my original intention for the yarn) but it just wasn't working out so I frogged it.

Well now the toe of sock #1 is finished and that is it. This is mostly because I need the chart for the lace on this sock and didn't get it printed out until today. I'll come back to this eventually or it will be frogged. At this point, who knows.

The big reason: I distracted myself with a new pair of socks.

We were at Chatauqua this past weekend with M's family for father's day and probably the closest store to us was a craft store advertising knitting supplies. I wasn't sure exactly what I was in store for, but when I walked up the steps and saw a sign on the door advertising them as an authorized Addi dealer, I figured it had to be decent!

It was. The selection wasn't too big, but what they had was nice. This was perfect for me because I'm not really a t-shirt/mug/etc. souvenir sort of person. My idea of a perfect souvenir is yarn. I picked out a couple of balls of Mini Mochi. I have heard a lot of praise for this yarn so I wanted to try it out. I like the long Noro-like repeats and the colorway I chose is kind of similar to some Noro I once used to knit a felted bag. I am a little concerned about how it is going to wear, the yarn is so soft and not tightly spun, but it is 20% nylon so I guess I'll take my chances.

Anyway, I couldn't resist casting on yesterday before we left. I should have knit the other socks on the way back, but I have a hard time doing heels on two circs and didn't have the right DPNs with me to do the heel and really I can only work on those socks so long, so I knit for awhile on the old socks and then went into knitting the new ones.

If I keep up at this rate I am going to have a nice hand knit sock selection this winter!


Well not only am I knitting socks lately, I'm apparently back on mittens.

It all started about 6 months ago when the weather got cold enough that I needed mittens again. A few years back I had knit a pair of Icelandic mittens from Folk Mittens. Not only was the pattern Icelandic, the wool was too. I used Lopi yarn. At first I was really taken back by how rough it was. I knit on, figuring I could line the mittens if needed. Once I was done, however, I found I didn't really need the lining. They were a bit scratchy, particularly at the cuffs, but it wasn't that bad and wow, they were WARM and very waterproof. Plus they were white and red and black so they went with a lot of my red hats. I like red. Anyway...

They had been in my car since the previous winter. I knew they were there, but when I looked I could only find the one. I checked under seats and in pockets, I checked in the closet that housed most of my knitted outwear. Nothing.

I wasn't willing to go without the mittens, so I did the only thing reasonable. I knit another pair exactly like the first. Fortunately I had ordered two skeins of the white way back when )the first pair used just under 1 skein) and had enough black and red for another pair.

Or more accurately, I started the first pair, knit until a few rows above the thumb, set it down, and didn't return to it. For various reasons. mostly I was busy and I kind of forgot.

In the meantime, right as winter was letting up we did some carseat switching and low and behold, the missing mitten had been underneath the carseat the whole time.

So then I had a decision to make. Did I rip out what I had begun (keeping in mind that a) colorwork is always kind of a pain to rip out and b) ripping out Lopi is sort of like ripping out mohair) or did I continue and make the second pair anyway. I couldn't really decide what to do so I put off making a decision until the other week.

I got the finishing bug (I really love it when that happens!) and decided there was no reason not to finish them. I was never going to make a matching hat from the yarn like I originally planned. It hadn't happened in 5 years, it probably wasn't going to. If I lost the mittens again I would be in the same situation. Why not have a backup pair? Or a pair to give as a gift if I could find someone who could appreciate the scratchy wool?

I finished the first mitten on our way to visit family the other weekend. I cast on the second right away and got the thumb started by the time we got home. Last week I pulled it back out when I remembered it and finished up that thumb.

Then I cast on another pair. I debated awhile. I thought maybe I would use the yarn I bought at the fiber show and a pattern from one of my newer mitten pattern books.

Instead I opted for another pattern from the Folk Mittens book. I decided to knit Mittens from Turkey- Anatolian Mittens in red and white like they are shown in the book.

Normally I change yarn colors around a lot, but for some reason I really like to use a lot of the colors that are shown in the Folk Mittens book. Perhaps because I like to keep them a little more authentic? I'm not really sure. Anyway, I did change one thing.

The pattern calls for worsted weight wool. It ends up being 62 stitches. Normally I used between 54-60 stitches in fingering weight and small needles for socks, so I thought that at that stitch count I was going to end up with too-large mittens. I pulled some Dale of Norway Baby Ull out of my stash (conveniently red and white) and cast on. I finished the first mitten this weekend and have started the second. I've enjoyed knitting it, but I do have to admit this a pattern I really need to used the chart for. That makes it a bit more difficult, but not too difficult.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

From the Garden

Now that I have a back yard I am experimenting with vegetable gardening. Tonight I went to check on how things are going and much to my delight I found that the radishes I planted on May 11 (that will be 3 weeks ago tomorrow) are ready for harvest. Here are a few I pulled up tonight.

I've never really been a radish person, but I find I am more willing to try something I grow myself! These were pretty tasty with some hummus.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great Lakes Fiber Show '11

This year I reigned myself in a little more. I actually made a list of rules about yarn I could and could not buy. For example- no brown yarn. I have a ton of brown yarn in various weights. Sock yarn was on the OK list- but it needed to be solid or semi-solid. No single skeins without a purpose!

So here is what I ended up with:

From Knitting Notions (a perennial favorite) I purchased a skein of Classic Merino Supersock in Redwood. This skein had the added bonus of being on sale.

A new vendor for me: Grouse Ridge Farm:
These 4 skeins are for colorwork mittens. The greens are all naturally dyed.

Then a sort of purchase for me: roving. These small balls were $1 each from Valhalla Acres Fiber Farm (whom I have purchased from before). I bought six total for thrummed mittens in two different color ways.
While I have plenty of wool to use for the thrummed mittens, I decided to get one skein specifically for the purple thrummed mittens. I chose this gray wool/mohair blend from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers:

This was my last purchase at the Fiber Show, but not my last purchase of the day.

My sister and I left the fairground and went downtown for a bite to eat for lunch and then stopped at Calla Lily to look around. I ended up getting another skein of sock yarn. This is Cascade's Heritage Silk sock yarn in red. I really don't have enough true red socks considering how much red is generally a part of my wardrobe.

Overall I think it was good show. It seemed a little different this year. I'm not sure if that was because I was more restrictive about what I was OK to purchase or if it was because I went on Sunday which I usually don't do. Not that it felt picked over today- but the atmosphere is different and definitely less crowded on Sunday than it is Saturday. I did kind of think there was less yarn and more fiber this year. Maybe it only seemed that way, but it was a sense I had. I think for sure there was less sock yarn than I usually see. Then again, maybe I was just overlooking a lot because I was looking for more solid colors so that I could knit socks with lace patterns. Then I kind of ran into the problem that a lot of colors I liked were colors that I already have. A lot of yarn was really expensive too. That isn't a complaint I usually have. I am used to what I consider the usual price range of $20-25 for sock yarn, but really unless it has super special fiber content, I don't want to pay more than that. It seemed like I came across a lot of yarn that was pretty and nice, but not super exclusive fiber content or lots of extra yardage that was in the $35-$45 range and that is just way too much for me.


I did it! I knit a pair of socks in under a month. Adult socks. Not exactly "full size" because I decided I don't really have any reason to make my sock legs so long, so why bother, but they aren't exactly anklets either.

I'll take pictures when it is light outside and post if I remember.

I'm just so excited I actually did this again. The last time I did that must have been before E was born.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cloth Diapering: 18 months in

Well, 17 1/2 to be exact, but close enough.

So what does cloth diapering look like for us now?

It is a mix. We still use prefolds but in the last four-six months we have added a dozen pockets and half a dozen fitteds into the mix.

About six months ago we started doing pockets at night instead of prefolds. E was staring to sleep better and only waking up once or so at night so we needed to get something that would keep him drier and have a bit more absorbency. I had been putting hemp doublers in with the prefolds, but the pockets were all around easier at night. Mark always does the middle of the night changes and pockets are more streamlined than snappi-ing a prefold and putting on a cover.

The pockets were working out so well I wanted more, and over the next few months with some sales I ended up with a full dozen, three of them that I got for free!

A few months later we got into the impossible-to-change stage. As soon as his back hit that table he was turning over and on his hands and knees and trying to stand up. Trying to do a snappi on a prefold while dealing with that is too much. I tried just doing a trifold with the prefold, but I'm just not a fan of how the diaper fits that way. I have enough pockets that about half of them are used for nighttime and the other half for day, but I wanted to try something else so I decided to try fitteds.

I have now been able to try 4 different types. The first were two Play All Day fitteds I bought on clearance that E was just starting to fit into. I only have one now, the other one had snap issues and was lost when I sent it back for repair. Anyway, the one I have is ok, but I wish it had overlapping snaps on the one tab for a better fit. The one I had to send back did :-( but this one doesn't. It works pretty well but E is still on the small side for it so I think it will fit better down the road. Then I tried a Mother Ease fitted. I liked it because it was trim. Really, other than a flat, this is the most trim diaper we have. So I bought another one and tried 2 of another Mother Ease design- Sandy's. These appealed to me because the snaps are on the side and so the diaper can be pulled. Which is great when you have a child who will not lay still for more than half a second. These are a lot more absorbent, but the thing that I don't like as well about them is that they are really big. I have a hard time making sure all the edging (which is a little ruffly) stays inside the cover, and if it doesn't then of course we end up with wicking leaks. Lastly, I just got a Thirsties Fab Fitted as a replacement for the lost diaper. We used it for the first time today and so far, so good. Being that it is Thirsties it fits great under the covers. It is really soft and velvety! I kind of wonder if it will stay that way.

Now all 6 fitteds are snaps, and 3 of the pockets are snaps. I also ended up getting 3 new covers (in snaps) a couple months ago because I think the Bummis SuperBrites and fleece cover are on their last legs. Besides that, they are sized and aren't meant to fit as long as the Thirsties Duos. Why all the snaps? Well, because E figured out how to undo velcro and when that happened I decided I better make all future purchases snaps instead of velcro. It isn't that straight forward though.
First of all, the little boy who can unvelcro his diaper in 2 seconds can unsnap a diaper in about 5 seconds, so I only gained a few seconds of time if he makes up his mind to take it off.
Second, while I like the snaps on all these a lot better than I liked the snaps on the Bummis Whisper Wrap I had when E was newborn, they still aren't as user friendly as velcro. Mark will use them, but I know he doesn't like them as well. I do think they take longer to put on and it is still slightly more difficult to be sure I have the best fit. On the plus side, I think snaps will hold up a lot better than the velcro does. The velcro looks ratty after awhile and on our Bummis it has lost a lot of its sticking power. So while I concede that snaps have their place, I am still not sold that they are superior.
As for the diaper bag these days:
Well, first of all I only bring the diaper bag if we are going to be gone for awhile (like more than a couple hours). Otherwise I put E in a pocket or fitted before going out and just wait until we are back home. When I do bring it, pockets go in and if I am running low then maybe a fitted and cover. I am DONE with prefolds and a snappi when we are out and about.
Thankfully the last few weeks have been better and only a few diaper changes a day are struggles, so I've been reaching for prefolds again. I still like them, but it is really nice to have some simpler options when I need them.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year and a New (Old) House

Well here it is, January 1 and we are officially in our house and out of our apartment. We actually turned the keys in over our lunch break on Thursday. I cried. It may be silly and sentimental, but it was a good home for us. We had a lot of happy memories there and very significant life events happened there. But it was also a huge relief to turn in those keys and be done moving and cleaning in there.

We are slowly getting settled in here. Little by little boxes are getting unpacked, pictures are being hung up on walls, things are finding new homes, rooms are becoming functional. Not having internet or TV for a few days was probably not a bad thing!

I tend to not really set too many New Year's resolutions, but I do have some goals for myself. I think of them more in connection with the house than the new year, but they do coincide.

Most importantly, I want to get organized and try to stay free of clutter. In our house mail becomes a huge problem. Mark and I are both prone to making piles of things, and then those piles start adding up and creating a huge mess. My idea for dealing with this is to get a very simple writing desk and a few colorful file boxes where important papers can go and everything else gets tossed or shredded or filed away.

I also really need to purge my closet and dresser drawers. I have a lot of pre-baby clothes that I just need to get rid of. They were bought pre-baby and even if I lose these 15 lbs that won't go away, I don't think they are going to fit me right anymore. Even if they do I'm not sure they are going to be in style anymore. I just need to clear them out and buy some new clothes that fit the way I need them to.

Also, and I was doing pretty good with this the last few months, I need to menu plan and cook most of our meals. The kitchen being in boxes and the moving threw a wrench into December, but I can get back to this now and it is time I do. Mark got me a new cookbook for Christmas so I have a new source for recipe ideas, I just got another box of frozen local meat, and I have a new kitchen to cook in.

About that kitchen: it is small. It isn't the kitchen I always dreamed of, but it is actually really nice. For being small I still have a lot of counter space. The appliances are all relatively new (even the older ones are MUCH newer and nicer than what I've used in past apartments) and the space is totally functional. I'm having fun cooking in it! I even like the red counter tops.

Anyway, it is so good to finally have a house and be in our home. It is a work in progress to make it really ours, but this does feel like fun!