Sunday, February 28, 2016

Losing and Gaining

My youngest cousin and his wife will soon be having a baby.  And so – predictably – I'm knitting a baby sweater.  I did the same for his brother's first baby, and have knit one for the arrival of each of my nieces and nephews, so it's really a familiar practice.

There is something a little different about this though.  This is the first time we're welcoming a new member of our family without the presence of either grandparent.  This sweet girl will be the first of her generation to miss the opportunity to be held by our epically kind and baby-loving grandfather or our grandmother who was strong and so proud of her family.  And I'm not just a little melancholy about that.

I love the color palette of
Nature Spun wool
But the silver lining of this family loss is that I feel now that there is a renewed bond between us – the grandkids.  I had a lightbulb moment where I realized that we're all old enough to maintain our family bonds independently, and maintain our own relationships, and maybe take some ownership of some new family traditions.  And I think that's a good thing.

So this new girl will be welcomed by all of us. And maybe we can flood her with enough love that she won't sense an absence at all.  There's nothing like a sweet new person to remind us of the wonderful cyclicality of life.
Anyone want to come over and weave in
some ends?

So I knit on... and can't wait to gift this warm and stripey pullover to some new family.

The sweater is the Nils pullover designed by the Swedish brand Millamia and the ravelry details are here.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Snowy Valentine's Day

Foreground and background entertainment
We are blissfully "snowed in" here.  Not the legitimate kind, where it's impossible to go out, but the kind that is self imposed.  We did go a short distance to celebrate a friends birthday for a couple hours, but have returned and quickly picked up where we left off.

Sought after "glowing screen" time
Watching the snow fall
It's been a hectic week, and this weekend has been great.  We've done just enough socializing, only the mandatory weekend prepping for the week ahead, and just hung out in between.  These girls, at this moment in time are interested in learning to tie shoes,  eating chocolates that were gifted to them, playing with legos and reading books...  it's hard to believe how the time is going.  It's so cliched – but I ran into someone with the Peanut who said "weren't you just pregnant?".  Only about 3 years ago...  But then again, wasn't I just a college student?  I guess not.  I wouldn't change a thing. It's nice to have a few days to soak in a little of these girls while they still think we are okay to hang out with.

It's hard to be still
In between reading "Wild Boars"* and building lego masterpieces, I did manage to finish a long-in-the-making sweater for the peanut.  The details are all on ravelry here.  But I will share and say that this yarn was delightful, light and smooshy.  And the pattern is one I had made before... in a much smaller size.  And our girl wouldn't take if off after our "photo shoot" so I guess that means she likes it.  (Either that, or I need to turn the thermostat up.) 
Progress, months ago.
July impulse buy

Have a Happy Valentine's Day, and enjoy those you love.  We'll be here enjoying this dusting of snow and rummaging around the stash to find something new to cast on.

* If you know a little book enthusiast who is strangely drawn to things that are borderline gross, do check out Meet Wild Boars.  For whatever reason, the girls love it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mondays in February

This winter so far has been kind of a bust.  I love this season.  I don't mind the cold, can appreciate the stark landscape and – being a bit of a homebody – I welcome the occasion of being snowed in.  This winter we haven't had any real snow to speak of.  It's been warm-ish.  And we had record breaking rainfall in December.  And the wind... today it's like the lake effect in downtown Chicago. Brutal. It's the kind of thing that makes me scurry from back door to the garage and then silently curse having to get out of the warm car and make the trek into the office from the salty, windy tundra that is the parking lot.  There are tiny snow flurries blowing around out there, but so far, not much is sticking. Fingers crossed that today is our day for some legitimate snow.

Fondant experiment. Turned out
pretty well.
To stay warm and cozy, we've been drinking lots of coffee and tea.  Throwing birthday parties and making thinks like crazy.  We made the small fry a gi cake, for her karate-themed birthday party, and she asked that the party favors be peppermint bark.  We made those less Christmas-y by adding a little pink food coloring and sprinkles instead of crushed candy canes.  They were delicious.  And we've got our handmade birthday thank you notes out the door.  This is the first year that she is writing her own notes.  They are perfect in all their barely decipherable phonetic spelling.  I love them.  I was tempted to keep one for myself.

Party Favor Assembly Line
Valentines day is fast approaching.  This is the first year we've be given the chance to make a valentines box for school.  And I am so excited!  (I'm keeping myself in check though, this is the small fry's project, not mine.)  And 24 valentines to make too. 

Valentine's and the beginnings
of the Valentine box.
I have such fond memories of school Valentine's day parties. My favorite valentine was always from my best friend Kristen, whose Valentine always included one of those cherry vanilla Life Saver swirl lollipops on it.  Do you remember those? I haven't seen them in years.  Anywho, we'll see what we come up with... we have until Friday.

My finished sweater... which fits SO well.
In other making news, I've finished my sweater, it is blocking now.  And I've picked up another half finished project that is coming along nicely.  It's a McDreamy jumper in the softest fingering weight single that wanders from green to blue to purple and back again.  It's knitting up as a 2T, but I have a strong suspicion that our resident 2T is already too big for it.  ho hum.  It will make a good gift for some worthy recipient.
In progress

In the meantime, stay warm while dodging from one toasty place to the next.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Not so much a resolution...

...more just something to be mindful of. This year, I've been thinking about maybe being a little more intentional about using and enjoying what we have. Not just our things, but our life as it is right now, these girls, these jobs, our family and friends. It's a pretty broad idea, but intentionally so.

It seems that it is so easy to get caught up with keeping up.  And not in the luxury-items way so much for me, but in the "that's beautiful, I should buy the materials for that" kind of way.  Or, "why doesn't my home look pristine and as if it's self cleaning"? This year I think I'm going to be a little more mindful of starting projects that are already in the queue, be a bit less of a consumer, and waste less in general. And I'm going to do my best to try and enjoy the fact that a house full of little bodies and active imaginations means that sometimes there are chalk marks on the wall, and the bath water is rarely confined to the tub (among other things).

With that in mind, I'll share what is in the works at the moment...

Scrappy Log Cabin
and again.
I've got a quilt top nearly finished for the peanut, that is literally all from scraps... most of this was a remnant from a baby garment or some other project.  So far the only thing I've purchased is the twin size quilt batting and I still need to get a piece of yardage for the backing.

"Parker Head" Pullover by Amy Herzog
The other project, which has been coming along at a really fast pace (for me) is this sweater.  I took a custom fit class with Amy Herzog over 18 months ago, and have had this yarn stored in a box for 4-ish years... they were of course not originally intended to be used together, but nevertheless, here they are, with a shared fate.  (Good news, I've tried it on without the neck knit, or the blocking done and it's definitely going to fit... alert the media!)

I'd share the state of disorganization of the bathroom or the total chaos that is the toy closet (that I'm allegedly coming to peace with) but that's probably best left between these walls.

And next on the docket?  I'm not exactly sure.  I have a play room to paint, which I have most of the supplies for, and a piece of paper cutting in mind for the office wall, and another plan to make a wall hanging for the peanut's room, and then there is the fact that neither girl has curtains, and the yarn stash, well, that's a whole other blog post.  But see... this isn't going to be so hard.  There is more than enough to keep me occupied.  Have a wonderful weekend friends.