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Super Quick Mittens

12 Nov

Have a couple of hours of spare?  Some spare worsted weight yarn?  A pair of small hands that need warming?  Then you have to knit these.

While snow still seems a long way away (it’ll prove me wrong) the days are getting chilly enough to warrant gloves and mittens.  Desperate to use some of my Cascade 220 stash these extra-toasty mittens use yarn doubled, and are so quick that I finished them over the course of one movie.  Talk about instant gratification.

These are his first mittens and his first truly snowy winter.  He seems to approve of them too, proudly wearing them (and nothing else) and demanding a trip to the park.  They will be perfect for those sledding, snowballing, and hot chocolate days to come.  I enjoyed autumn immensely but am equally excited for winter to come this year.

(Um, take 2?)


Simple Pleasures

9 Nov

The first week of November has been a rocky one for all of us.  Despite the nearly T-shirt weather and clear skies there has been a dark cloud of stress plaguing the family.  Perhaps hardest hit has been our sensitive little boy who has some very stubborn teeth.  I am trying my hardest to get us all to breath and enjoy the simplest pleasures.

Breakfast with egg and soldiers (buttered toast fingers)

Early sunsets in the warm autumn evenings

New favourite stories from the library (Berenstain Bears Classics)

And an early birthday present from Mama and Daddy: Charlie

Charlie is a fairtrade Camden doll made by a hearing-impaired womens cooperative in Peru.  He is a little smaller than a traditional Waldorf doll, but well made and sure to be well loved.  They already share naptimes, cuddles, Mama milk, and a love of nudity.  I can’t wait to see what mischief they get up to.

And can’t wait for the day all those teeth come in.


Modeled Drive Thru

19 Oct

I am pleased to say that the temperature has finally dropped enough here in Wisconsin to pull out the sweaters again.  With a choice of either fair trade cardigan or the drive thru my little boy proudly chose “Mama knit jumper!”

It still takes a little sleeve rolling but otherwise it fits like a charm and should last him through the winter into spring.  We’ve already received a few nice comments on it, but what I love most of all is how he runs around shouting “Mama knit!”.  What more could a mother ask for?

If I made this again I’d love to use something a bit softer against the skin, like Rowan Cashsoft Aran since he does complain a bit about the itchy collar.  Not annoying enough to stop him running around, playing in leaves and having toddler fun.  I am so looking forward to many cooler days to come, just so we can put this on.

A Child’s Wonderland

18 Oct

One of the things that I absolutely love about the Madison area is the wide range of spaces for children.  We are surrounded by parks, zoos, libraries and museums that cater to young ones, and one of our favourite spots is nearby in Monona.

Monona library has been awarded Wisconsin’s best library 2010, and it truly deserves it.  A very modern airy building surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, a great book collection, quiet reading space filled with green plants, and an almost overwhelming children’s section.  I love taking Dougie to libraries, they always have a plenty of things to do.  Puzzles, toys, and of course lots and lots of books (our current favourites are “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “If You Give a Pig a Pancake”).  Monona also lets you check out play packs which include a book and accompanying toy or game.  An absolutely brilliant idea, we’re saving ours for the two hour long car trip down to Chicago.

As if a fantastic library wasn’t enough, just across the street is this.

A huge fantasy playground, filled with climbing frames, mazes, towers, slides and locally crafted art.  We were worried we would lose him in there.  Most of it is for older children, but the “tot lot” was perfect.  A real child’s wonderland, we will be back very soon, with pack lunches to eat by the lake under the trees.

We’ll be heading down to the Windy city for the next few days visiting family friends, and enjoying a bit of city and country.  And plenty of yarn, I’m sure.

Autumn Heat Wave

10 Oct

There must be some sort of inverse square law where the hotter it gets the less knitting I do.  While this probably means I’ll finish an entire sweater when it gets to 30 below, it’s bad news now that the weather has inexplicably reached the 80s here in Wisconsin.  Am I in Wisconsin still?  This is October right?  Some days it feels more like the twilight zone.

And I thought our beach days were over for the year.  We found ourselves back in the sand when I refused to resort to turning the air conditioning on again.  Some of us didn’t mind so much.

I have started on this little guy’s Drive Thru, which would be a nice easy and quick knit normally, but my hands are protesting at the feeling of hot sticky wool in the warmth.  I have managed to finish the body and am well on my way on one of the sleeves.

Strange to think that he might just need this in another week or so.  I hope the mercury drops because I am keen to finish this up and get going on my Socktoberfest project.

This is Knit One Crochet Too’s Ty-Dy sock yarn, a little gem I found at the Knitting Tree.  It has a wonderfully soft hand, much softer than most sock yarns I’ve come across and I was enchanted by the bold green colours.  My plan is to knit a pair of gift socks using the Jaywalker pattern.  I’m a bit unsure as to how the colours are going to stripe, but the pattern should help bring out its best side.  If I can finish a complete pair (that’s TWO socks) this month I will consider Socktoberfest a success.

For now, I am going to have to sit here, sweat, and enjoy a cold beer.  Happy Indian Summer to all.

Fairtrade Treasure

2 Oct

I think anyone who knits would agree that you become a lot more critical of shop bought knits once you know how to make them.  I very rarely buy knitted items, so when I do, they tend to be pretty special.

This is a cardigan we bought for Dougie while we were visiting Door County.  When stopping at Sturgeon Bay we stopped at a fabulous fairtrade shop.  They had a delightful range of children’s fairtrade knits in bright colours made by a women’s cooperative in Ecuador.  The hardest part was choosing a palette for my fair haired little boy, but D and I both fell in love with the retro colouring of this one.

It has such sweet details like double knit hems and sturdy seams, making it feel like a real hard wearing cardigan for a busy boy.  The bulky yarn is a slightly felted tweeded mix of cotton and wool, warm, but machine washable.

While in an ideal world I would have the time, yarn and inclination to knit all of my son’s jumpers I feel happy to put my money towards something handmade that we will treasure and last to pass down to children to come.

Mad About Pumpkins

23 Sep

Today ended up being one of those days where everywhere we wanted to go was closed.  What a shame, because I was so looking forward to sharing my favourite Mad City yarn shops.  Nevermind.  Remember this little guy?

Somewhere along the way he got decidedly un-little.  Two months away from his second birthday and I am still reeling from this whole mother business.  Things change so quickly that I can barely remember a time when running was not his primary form of movement.  He is such a character and I often shake my head wondering “are other toddlers like this?”  In a totally good way of course.  For instance, all boys have a pumpkin fetish right?

I have no idea where this started, but while we were in Door County we could not walk fifty paces without cries of “Pompom! Pompom!”  He has a terrible desire, no, NEED, to touch, caress, count and compare pumpkins.  His favourite are when there are big and small ones next to each other.

You should see his eyes light up as we go to the co op or Trader Joes as there are just so many pumpkins.  He doesn’t discriminate, any shape or size will do.  I am trying to prepare him for Halloween because I’m afraid he might just short circuit from the whole experience.  It’s virtually a whole holiday devoted to them.

He now has his own collection to admire, which occupies him for most of the day.  He notices that I have a particularly large one on my counter and loves giving it tea and cuddles.

I’m not sure how I’m going to break it to him that it’s destined for pie.