A puppy for Ellie

One of our little friends has a birthday coming up, so I dusted off my copy of Itty Bitty Toys and cast on for a little brown puppy this weekend. The pattern calls for a cotton wool that my LYS doesn't carry, so I chose Rowan Handknit for this project instead. I'd forgotten how much I dislike knitting with 100% cotton wool until now. I find it stiff and hard to make the increases, and my hands constantly ache from knitting. Thankfully it's a quick project and the bulk of it is done, so my hands won't be aching much longer.

As I flipped through the pages of the book, I was reminded about how much I like knitting toys and wonder why I don't do it more often. I'm thinking I need to cast on a few more toys for other special little people in our lives - after all, Easter is right around the corner!


Not ready to say good-bye to cute

It seems as if though almost overnight my little guy has become a big boy. Complex, well-thought out sentences have replaced the short, choppy ones of just a year ago. His pronunciation has vastly improved, and gone are the days of guessing what he had just said. I no longer need to dress him, and he's such a good little helper. He spontaneously tells us that he loves us and compliments us on our clothes (so funny and terribly sweet). 

But the most drastic change (or at least the most noticeable, since the other ones were gradual changes) is his new love for all things boy.

At not-nearly-4, I thought I had at least another year before he would discover that kind of play. I thought we had another year of trains, dinosaurs, wild animals, planets, and bugs. While he still enjoys all those things, it is super heros, ninjas, and Star Wars that have taken over the pretend play these days. I gather they were introduced by the older kids at his school, so his understanding of each is a little questionable (he keeps talking about Darn Vader.. heee!). But he knows there's good guys and bad guys, and at almost-4, that seems to be a fascinating concept. Last Christmas, while out shopping, I took a stroll down the super hero aisle at the toy store. I was not impressed - these action figures were too bulky, too angry looking, too grown up.

So I returned home, ordered some wood peg people from Etsy, and started planning. I dug up my cheap acrylic craft pain and started googling images of my favorite super heros. By the time the wood peg people arrived a couple of days later, I had a plan. It took me probably 4 hours to paint all 5 of these guys - the hardest part was waiting for them to dry. I love how cute they are, and I especially loved how happy my little guy looked when he unwrapped them at Christmastime. Since then, I've had to spray them with a sealant/varnish to keep the paint from getting damaged. It seems these super heros have a tendency of flying into each other. Or the wall. Or pretty much anything. 

I love watching him play with these guys. I'm really not ready for big boy toys - and this lets me hold on to "cute" just a little bit longer.

Of course, he did ask for "a Spiderman with arms" for his birthday. Ahhh, well...


Green Tea Leaves

Last Friday, my Green Tea Leaves cardigan finally dried and I could wear it. M, who is now home with me on Mondays and Fridays, "helped" me attach the buttons by handing them to me one by one while reminding me that "needles are very sharp, so please be careful, Mama!". It was very sweet, but it slowed down the process significantly. I had held off putting the sweater on until the buttons were all in place, and I'll tell you, it was really really hard not to rush it. 

Once the buttons were finally in place, I put the cardigan on, and my first thought was how incredibly soft the yarn was. It's so soft, in fact, that I've been wearing this sweater with tank tops (it is pretty warm here now, after all). I used Knit Picks Swish Tonal, and I guess it's not a very popular yarn to knit adult sweaters with, because a search on Ravelry yielded few adult sweater projects using this yarn. Anyway, yes, the yarn is very, very soft. But having said that, after just 4 days of nearly around-the-clock wear, I'm starting to see some pilling on the inner sleeves.

Knitting up this pattern was a delight. I made a size 36 thinking I wanted this sweater to be an everyday sort of sweater, comfy and roomy. I should have made the next size down, and it would probably still have been roomy enough. The yoke is just a teensy bit too deep, so the arm holes feel a little too big. I prefer my sleeves to be on the long side, so next time I'll definitely be adding to their length. I've heard folks complain about the wide neck of this sweater, but I think it's lovely. I've been wearing mine in place of my much worn black fleece jacket. Luckily, it appears my outfits mostly consist of jeans these days, so it works perfectly.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with how this sweater turned out. I'm feeling pretty pumped about finally finishing an adult sweater (poor Mike is still waiting for his, and I started his 5 months before this one!), and I've already cast on for my next one. Errr... wait, maybe I should go finish Mikey's sweater first.



Last year, Mikey asked me to knit him a sweater. At the time, I hadn't knit much more than baby and toddler wear, mostly hats. He bought me the book Knits Men Want, and even picked the sweater he wanted me to knit for him. I even took him to the yarn store to pick out non-itchy yarn.

And then the yarn sat, untouched, for months.

I finally cast on for his sweater last August. The knitting went pretty fast, and was enjoyable. I blocked the pieces of the sweater back in December. And they have sat, untouched, since then.

I feel really bad that this poor sweater is being neglected. But the truth is that I really do not enjoy seaming. It's, without a doubt, my least favorite thing to do, and that's probably why I gravitate towards seamless sweater patterns.

Ahh.... winter is pretty much over in our neck of the woods, but I must finish up this sweater in the next few weeks. I must. Or it will never get finished.


From our weekend

cast on for a new project

moved the creating outdoors to enjoy the sun and mild temps

swatched, planned, and painted in the sun

We had a lovely, low-key weekend together. The weather was delightful, and we made sure to spend plenty of time outdoors, even moving the creating and painting out to our back patio. M has been really into drawing, painting, and coloring these days. I wore my Green Tea Leaves cardigan all weekend long, but managed to get no good pictures of me wearing it. You'll have to take my word for now that it's delightfully soft and comfy (but a little big). More on that later this week.

Hope your weekend was a lovely, restful one, and that your week is starting off right.


This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama:
This Moment:  A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. 

Just love those busy little hands.



Blocking is an exercise in patience. I feel like I keep checking my cardigan to make sure it's dry... and it's still not. 

I have to admit that blocking makes me a little bit nervous. I know that it can make your garment look so much better, but... still. I always worry something unforeseen will go wrong and all those hours will be wasted.

But nothing went wrong. In fact, aside from the incredibly long time it's taking to dry, all is good. I've knit a few baby and toddler sweaters before, but this is the first adult sized sweater I've finished. I'm feeling pretty good about it - and can't wait for it to dry to actually put it on.


What's for dinner?

I try to plan ahead and know what I'm feeding my guys for dinner so as to avoid the last minute rush that ensues if I don't have a plan. The (sad) truth is, more often than not, life gets in the way and it's 20 minutes before dinnertime and I've got nothing. I try to keep things on hand that can be quickly turned into a tasty dinner that we will all love, but lately my family has been turning up their nose at my black bean soup.  So it was time for a change.

My life saver this week has been a batch of bread dough from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

I usually keep a half batch of the master recipe on hand in my fridge (a full batch is just too large for our little family of 3), since it makes such delicious bread. One glimpse through the cookbook, and I realized it would also make delicious pizza crust and pita bread. Both have been part of our last-minute dinners this week.

Mini pizzas topped with left-over roasted veggies and caramelized onions, some salami and kalamata olives, and whatever cheese we had on hand baked in the 15 minutes it took to make a salad. The crust turned out amazing, and the best part was there was absolutely no whining from M. He even helped to make these!

Two nights later, we used the left over dough to make pita bread to accompany the last of our salami and capiccola, white cheddar, and apples. Probably not as balanced a meal as I would ideally like, but we all gobbled it up and enjoyed every bite. And it sure beats getting take-out.

What do you keep on hand for last minute dinners?


From our weekend

first swimming lesson

fun with friends

picked out buttons for my Green Tea Leaves

finished up my first cabled knit

Our weekend flew by, as all good weekends do. We managed to fill it up with friends and good times, but surprisingly little crafting time for me. M had his first swimming lesson scheduled, but it was unfortunately canceled. No matter, he still enjoyed a good hour in the pool before we made our way home. Between playdates, I snuck away to find buttons for my (now finished!!) Green Tea Leaves cardigan and wove in the ends to my Snappy hat, which felt good. I never made it to my sewing machine this weekend, so the quilt will have to wait. 

I love weekends like this one: full of fun times and laughter. I feel refreshed, ready for the week ahead.


This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama:
This Moment:  A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. 

a little monster keeping me company while I work. Ahh, toddler love notes.


Around here...

Life is back to normal at our little house. We're returning to our routines, getting back into the swing of things, and getting projects out and worked on again. Our guest bedroom doubles as a craft space of sorts, and whenever we have visitors all my projects get put away in a mad dash to make the room comfortable and... well, tidy.  (I am not the tidiest when crafting, and since my projects tend to take a long time to get completed, the room is messy more often than not).

About a week or two ago, I started cutting some darling (very girly) fabrics to make very pretty pink, blue, gray, and red quilt (with lots and lots of white, of course!). The piecing is going slowly. My seams are rarely accurately 1/4" and I need to pay a lot of attention as I piece to ensure that the finished block looks just right. I am not usually so fussy about piecing and the finished product, but I really want this quilt to be something that I'll be happy to display on our bed come summertime.

In preparation for my Mom's arrival, the cut fabrics were tucked away last Friday in a spot where little M wouldn't find them (he loves to mangle cut fabric these days with his toddler scissors).  I took them out again last night, and am so looking forward to carving out some time to sit down at the sewing machine and see the blocks come together. This is one project I am not rushing, and will savor... hopefully the end result will be as lovely as I envision it.