Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Friday, December 17, 2010

sentimental

I have the worst memory.  I don't remember much of my life, actually.  I remember big moments, like getting married, graduations, some key horribly unpleasant social encounters that shaped my childhood and adolescence... But I don't have great memory of the things that I did every day- games I used to play as a child, toys, places I went.  Even in high school and college my memories are vague and blurry for the most part.  There is a part of me that really hates this.  I had a conversation with a friend of mine whose grandfather had perfect memory and that seemed equally unpleasant, perhaps moreso.  But I do really wish that I remembered better the life that I've had.

As a result, it has been really important for me to document my girls' childhood as much as possible.  There are many times where I have been too busy and insane to take photos for weeks at a time and I always regret it.  One thing I'm hoping to do with this blog is to keep a record for myself so I can try to bring up the memories of our daily activites.  I live in hope that my brain keeps those memories, I just don't access them that frequently.  I hope these images will work as triggers to bring them to the surface. 

For the holidays my sweetie helped me get a new camera that will hopefully inspire me to take even more photos.  I have a lot to learn, this is my first ever non-point & shoot camera, but the experimentation has been so much fun and I've had it for less than 24 hours!  Here are two of my favorites from this morning.  How did I end up with such beautiful children?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

finally finished

and waiting for Zoë to get big enough to wear it (soon)  I love the monster buttons.  They make me so happy!




I'll start the next little pea soon.  It turns out, knitting 5 of the same sweater back to back is not as much fun as it sounds.  So I'm breaking it up with some other knitting.  If you're super anxious for the pattern, you can test knit for me.  I would love it!  Just let me know the size and I can send you the pattern!  I also am planning an adult version in chunky yarn, and I would be happy to let you test kit that one, too... ;)

Luckily we spend the week between christmas and new year's in Maine, the land of snow and many grandparents, so I have great hopes of knitting massive amounts in front of various wood stoves. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold Toes

One of the great things about being a knitter, and particularly a knitter with a yarn shop is that when the need strikes your family you can pretty much make anything on short notice.  Last week we had a serious cold snap here in Rhode Island.  We had temps in the teen's, highs not reaching the 30's and WIND!  There wasn't a lot of playing outdoors for us this week, as you can imagine.  But poor Zoë was still cold.  Even in her footie pj's, the fleece ones, with monsters on them, INSIDE.  One morning her thighs were even cold, and that just sent me over the edge.  She needed wool!  Now!

So I went into my ridiculous stash (that I cleaned out this summer and have been replenishing to about 4 lifetimes of yarn every since, sigh) and pulled out the most cheeful color of Hacho that I had and set to work.  Thank heaven for Car Bordhi and the miracle of the baby coriolis.  Best. Baby. Sock. Ever.

A trained eye may be able to tell that they are already pilled and felted a little.  They were finished thursday and spent the next few days on Zoë, next to her skin and underneath her jammies or her new faux shearling boots.  Together the boots and the socks do the trick and her toes have been toasty warm!  We are back to unseasonably warm, so all of our warm clothes will get a wash and a fold and be ready for the next snap!

I have plans for a pair of matching baby leggings that are like the yoga socks we have in the store.  It turns out that I usually keep her leggings over her heel to keep them down and it would be super convenient for her to just have a stirrup so she could have better movement with her feet. Seeing as how she spends most of her time standing and trying to climb things ;)  I've cast on, and they are trucking along. 

I also thought I'd show you the socks I'm working on for the girls out of the Madelinetosh that I wound up with my nostepinne a couple of weeks ago.  They are gorgeous so far:


These are Clara's socks. I would have whipped up Zoë's out of this, but those were emergency socks... so I found something DK weight so they would work up in a jiffy.  This pattern is from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush.  Infant's Fancy Silk Sock.  I've in fact knit this sock for Clara before, out of Misti Alpaca Laceweight handpaints doubled on a 00 needle.  This time I'm on fingering weight with a 3, and they are perfect for her.  I think I'll do the same thing for The Zone, but on much reduced stitches.  It's such a lovely little lace pattern, and Clara is really keen to match her sister.

So we're in the middle of operation warm toes right now.  I have been finishing up a few things for the shop and a few designs, and I hope to have updates for you soon.  Maybe when the sun comes back I'll get some adorable shots of these socks in use! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Imperfect

It's little things, because I'm a mother and a knitter that make me really happy.  This morning as little zone (as clara has recently nicknamed her) was rocking out at the music table

I noticed something about the sweater she is wearing.  You see, it's a sweater that belonged to Josh when he was a little and I love it desperately.  For some reason I didn't steal it from Josh's mom when Clara was born, only this past summer when we were looking at clothes she had picked up at the awesome resale shop in Blue Hill.  Maybe it was too boy-ish?  But who are we kidding, I dressed Clara like a boy most of the time.  I don't know, but I love this sweater.  It is incredibly soft and very easy on and off and for some reason, just perfect for zoë. 

Anywho, I was admiring how she was finally happy for a moment (after some ibuprofen and a few extra layers... teething and cold weather a bad combo for zo zo) and I noticed this:


A little mistake.  The person who made this (I'm assuming it was Josh's mom, but I have to ask her) did a little absent minded purl 4 on the right side or knit 4 on the wrong side.  Of course, this is on the back, just a few rows past the ribbing so the knitter was still getting the hang of the pattern.  This is why we start most sweaters with the back, so if you screw it up, it's less noticeable!

One of the many things I love about knitting is that it is a person making something for someone.  Whether it is for themselves, for their family or friends, or to donate to someone in need, it is a human spending time to knit each stitch.  One by one they make something that can be (hopefully) cherished by the recipient.  I love the idea of Josh's mom, in the haze of pregnancy (hers were difficult) or in her baby moon knitting away for this little love that became the love of my life.  When he was wee, and cold (or tucked safely inside her) she knit each stitch, one by one, to make him something he could wear and I could treasure.

I remember when Josh and I were ordering our wedding rings I was very specific to the jeweler that I wanted him to make them by hand.  He told me that if he did that they wouldn't be perfect, that it would be better to have a machine make them.  But I want those imperfections.  Life, marriage, these things aren't without flaws.  It is the imperfections that remind us of our humanity and, for me, make these objects special.

These little mistakes are what make these items real to me and they send me through the roof with joy.  Of course, if it were me, I probably would have ripped back to fix it.  I think I'll reconsider in the future.  Maybe one day someone just like me will find the mistake and it will remind them of the person behind the sweater, knitting each of those stitches, one by one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays and Memories

Sometimes it's unbelieveable to me how much has happened in the last year.  This year has been hard for so many reasons and so joyful for many others.  Last year at this time I was pregnant with Zoë, just past my first trimester.  I was still working part time in the store and by January I had switched to working from home for the store.  Big changes were coming. 

Every year since she was born, I have made an album for Clara with photos documenting her year.  I am by no means a scrapbooker, so get the glossy images out of your head.  These are really just snapshots of her doing stuff and some captions.  I've been going through photos recently to get ready to have the magic ones printed for her next album, and to get a good head start on Zoë's.  It has been quite a journey down memory lane, looking at the images that show our transition from working outside of the home to inside and becoming a family of four.  It's amazing how much you forget in the haze of the babymoon, and how drastic the changes in your little ones are when you can see the timelapse photography.

Just look at the difference in Clara... Most of the time, I honestly can't believe it.  Last year, decorating our tree:

And now this year:

okay, not the best photos... how about this for a difference.  Making bread last january:



And just this week eating dinner:



Really, the difference between 2 and 3 is so huge.  She's a big sister now, she uses the potty, she can climb in and out of the car and hook up her own carseat.  Her language development is insane, most folks can understand her fully now.  The decision to not work in the store was as much about her as it was about the store needing me to move to a new role.  She has always been introverted and being in the shop was just too tiring for her.  It's amazing to me just how much she has blossomed this year now that she doesn't have the stress of talking to strangers every day.  It has freed us up to get her involved in some activities, she's in the world's most adorable martial arts program for young children and she's now learning to swim! 

This year the holidays are also really different for Clara.  She knows the deal with hannukah and christmas and our weird little family traditions.  She's very excited about this tree... last year was the first time she had one, and she remembers it.  She's super excited for all the wrapping of presents and the, well, unwrapping of presents.  She is very excited for the giving of holiday cookies and cards and presents for the people she loves.

Which transitions nicely to the knitting news...We really wanted to do something for our amazing babysitter, Shayna, who has become one of Clara's favorite people.  Of course I had to knit something because, well, it's me.  So last weekend on Sunday we went down to the shop for Clara to pick out some yarn for her present.  I had in mind a pair of fingerless gloves and a hat in Misti Chunky Alpaca because that stuff is so warm and soft!  I pointed Clara to the appropriate area and told her to pick what she though Shayna would like.

She did a great job!  She picked out a lovely fuschia and a hot pink that really looked nice together.  I'm not the best at combining colors and my mom-in-law gave me a few ideas.  I worked up the Maine Morning Mitts from The Knitter's Book of Yarn in like 4 hours:


Then I found a slouchy hat pattern on ravelry and whipped that up in no time (I think 2 episodes of x files...)


But the piece I'm most proud of is the cowl I decided to make to tie the whole ensemble together.... I found a little scarf pattern that I thought would look nice in two colors.  It began as a really wide scarf, but I decided after watching some college students walk past one of the parks we visit that it would be better as a cowl.  I really geeked out because I didn't want a seam so I grafted the ends together, in pattern, on the wrong side.  It took several tries to get it right.  Since I'm used to grafting toes, in stockinette on the right side, it took a bit to get the back side (the non-pattern end, oddly) right.  But it turned out lovely and I'm super proud of it.  Here's a shot of the graft:



A close up of the pattern stitch:


And then what it looks like on me:

I'm very pleased with the results.  More importantly, so was Shayna.  It turns out her winter coat is the exact shade of hot pink Clara chose.  Good job, Clara!  The pattern for the cowl (including grafting instructions) is forthcoming.  I want to work up a version for me (single color in heavy worsted) and I'll take photos of the grafting then.  I'll post proper entries at ravelry as soon as I can get Zoë to nap again this afternoon.  The teeth appear to be moving again and hopefully when they finally arrive we'll all get some more sleep!  It's so hard to see her suffer when she has been through so much already.  She's usually so good-natured and she's been so upset!  Keep your fingers crossed for us that this one pops out soon and we have our happy little boo boo back!

Happy Hannukah!