Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yarn Along

I've been in somewhat of a knitting frenzy for the last several days. There's something about the cold, wind, rain, and general dreariness that has enveloped this eastern side of the US that makes me want to plant myself  in a chair with a cup of hot tea and knitting and not move for the entire day!

And so that's mostly what I've done. Four knits in as many days. This first knit is to be Finn's Christmas stocking hat, although I admit it's an act of will not to just give it to him now.

One of his favorite autumn books is Elsa Beskow's story of Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip. (You can see the Woody and Little Pip project we did with last year in this post.) Once I saw the Little Pip Acorn hat on Ravelry, I knew it would be Finn's Christmas hat this year. The hat is knit in Knit Picks City Tweed in Tabby, which I think lends the perfect amount of nubbiness and texture to accentuate the acorn cap ribs.

The other knitting I've been working on is a bit tinier.  Paulie and Philip are expecting a baby sister in December.  When they first found out, back in the summer, the first thing Paulie asked me was if I would knit something for the baby.  Well, of course!

Both boys were thrilled to come back from their mom's house on Monday to discover that I'd made several baby things over the weekend. This 5 hour baby sweater I first saw over at Hullabaloo Homestead and thought it would be perfect. It really is a super sweet sweater, although it took me closer to 8 hours to knit, I think. I used Knit Picks Swish DK in Sugar Plum, which really looks closer to lavender than it does in my photos. I wanted a yarn that would be soft and easy to care for. This yarn definitely fits the bill!

With the leftover skein, I thought I would make a little hat and booties, but I settled on this aviator-style hat, which used most of my skein. It's completely adorable and, with the little chin strap, will stay on well.  I thought the garter stitch lines in both pieces matched nicely. Unfortunately, both of these knits are still waiting for buttons.

The first hat I made for the baby is a decidedly newborn hat, although I didn't use a pattern or even write down what I did. It turned out perfectly newborn size with a cozy waffle weave.  And I was able to use some scrap cotton yarn to boot!

All this leads me down to the fact that I have no new projects to show you.  I finished up the last hat just yesterday evening so I haven't started anything new yet. (And I'm still ignoring the 2 unfinished projects upstairs, ahem.)  Since I didn't have enough of the sweater and hat yarn to make booties, I though I might use this leftover bit that I found it my stash.  It was a sweater for Elizabeth last year.  I just can't decide if the striping will help or hinder in the bootie departement.

Monday, October 29, 2012

pumpkin moonshines

One of my kids' favorite books to read during the month of October is Pumpkin Moonshine. The Tasha Tudor classic is beloved almost as much as the season.  I think it's usually the first book that sees action when the autumn book basket appears.  

Likewise, one of the favorite activities of this season is making our own pumpkin moonshines. Unfortunately, this month is typically very busy for us with 2 birthdays and our anniversary.  Last weekend, we threw in a camping trip too.  And we found ourselves, over the weekend, mere days from Halloween, with no pumpkin moonshines.

Even though Finn was the only little guy around this weekend, as our other kids were with their other parents, we tackled the annual pumpkin moonshines.

Finn's favorite part, of course, was the seed and pulp removal.  In fact, he happily played in the bowl of seed goop for the better part of an hour while daddy carved the large pumpkins.

He attempted carving his own pumpkin with "triangle eyes, a triangle nose, and a 'big grinning mouth with horrid, crooked teeth'".  (He borrowed the mouth description from the book.) Finn quickly realized how tough those pumpkin walls can be!

No matter!  Daddy helped him with the "horrid, crooked teeth".  Soon our kitchen table looked like this: a whole family of pumpkin moonshines!

We impatiently waited for the darkness to descend, lighting them at least an hour before sunset.

Eventually the chilly darkness fell and we ran out to the driveway in our sock feet to take a quick peek before dashing back for the warmth of the house.

We didn't wait "to see how terrified the passers by would be", but I'm quite certain they were.

Friday, October 26, 2012

{this moment} - raking

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

she's sewing

I have a long and complicated relationship with sewing. As a child, I remember admiring the ease with which my grandmother sewed so many of my clothes and the simple appeal of the handmade curtains that flew off of my Mother's machine. But I don't remember having much of a desire to learn that particular skill myself. I made a mostly wearable dress in Home Ec in high school, but then the sewing machine and I spent many years apart. One of the things that I find particularly beneficial in having a mother and grandmother who sewed, canned, gardened, and crafted many things, I never had a fear of just picking those things up and trying them myself, even if it took me well into my adulthood to do so. 

And so, once I decided that I wanted to sew some things, I borrowed my grandmother's old ancient machine in a built-in desk and sewed a few things. I just didn't bank on how temperamental that machine might be! After I nearly swore off sewing altogether, Paul bought me a rather basic Kenmore a few years ago, and sewing and I have maintained a respectful truce since then. Not that I'm much of a seamstress, even now, but you can make a surprising number of things with just straight lines.

Much like myself at her age, Elizabeth never showed much interest in the sewing machine, until recently. Of course, she started by asking me, "Can you show me how to make a shirt?" Uh... "Can I interest you in some straight lines?" I thought in my head.

Fortunately, with our upcoming camping trip, her interest was sparked by the mention of a need for camping pillows. A simple, quick, useful project. She was hooked!

After she had a couple of pillows under her belt, we realized that some of our sleeping bag stuff sacks were too small to squeeze in a pillow as well, so we added a loop onto a couple of the pillows. This way they could attach to the stuff sack with a carabiner clip.

She's already working on another project now: a small quilt for one of her brother's stuffed animals as a Christmas gift to him. I have to say I'm glad that Elizabeth didn't wait until adulthood to pick up on sewing. It's a delight to watch her creativity and skill grow in this way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

camping in autumn

Four parents, nine kids and a dog.  It sounds like the beginning of a joke, and at times, during our camping trip it felt like a bit of one.

We just returned yesterday from a camping trip with good friends who also have 4 kids (and we brought an extra kid for good measure).  The leaves up in the mountains of NC were glorious and full of every autumnal hue.  When we weren't staring in awe at the foliage, we hiked, carved, gathered wood, chopped wood, gathered leaves, jumped in leaves, washed dishes (with a great amount of singing), dunked heads in waterfalls, endured a 28 degree night, drank hot chocolate, shared secrets with friends, played with a baby, whittled branches, and so many more fabulously fun activities. I think the pictures do a better job telling the story.