Saturday, July 28, 2007

American Gothic Eats a Popsicle

Have you ever seen two kids less enthused about eating a popsicle?

Luckily, their mood improved. They were pretty excited to discover their new red tongues.

Also, in cute kid picture updates, we went to the Mall of America today to return some fancy shoes that I accidentally bought. They had some seriously high heels and would have gone with a number of outfits that I have no occasion to wear. It's amazing how few of my days require Kung-Pow shoes and dressy clothes.

I have nothing to report on the Knitting Front. I have been excessively lazy about weaving up that sleeve for my friend's baby sweater. I have no other excuse. I'm trying to feel bad. But I don't.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I'm a big girl. When I make a mistake, I admit it. And, boy, did I ever make a mistake with this sweater. But I'm not sure my misstep is anything compared to the crime committed by the woman who designed this sweater in the first place. I know exactly where I went wrong, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say, I've knit myself backwards into a sweater that was designed by someone recovering from a bad weekend in Vegas. I myself could have found two other ways to knit this thing and it would have been vastly improved from the octopus-like monster that it is.

This, my friends, is a "seamless" baby sweater:

Seamless, indeed. I fully admit to having knit the left sleeve on the wrong side of the front. That mistake was mine. I had no earthly idea what the designer was doing when I started out, and was following her directions in blind faith. I made the mistake when I came to an ambiguous part in the instructions. Having no idea what she was having me knit, I made an educated guess that turned out to be wrong.

HOWEVER, I came to the end of the sweater only to discover that this "seamless" baby sweater involved GRAFTING the 31 stitches on the tops of the arms and SEAMING the 21 stitches on the bottoms of the arms. I can kitchner stitch with the best of them. I'm not put off by that so much as the fact that this sweater is not what I signed on for. I imagine the National Guard is feeling the same way right about now. But without the wool.

When you tell me that the sweater I will be knitting is seamless, it leads me to believe that I will not be doing anything like seaming and certainly nothing as involved as Kitchner stitching.

I ripped the wonky sleeve back and am now in the proess of re-knitting it. I discovered my mistake after having grafted the top of the first sleeve. I was SO CLOSE to being finished. It's like getting to the last two chapters of a book only to discover you have to re-read chapters 5 & 6 because the author didn't know what the heck she was doing. It's the stubbed toe of knitting.

I'm not done yet, but I'll post pictures when I am. And eventually I'll stop shaking my fist in the general direction of the pattern's designer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sweater for a Friend

This is a sweater I knit for my friend's daughter. Kate is one of my oldest and most special friends. We had our daughters two and a half months apart. We have grown into motherhood together. Her friendship has been one of the most important things in my life. So, I knit her daughter this sweater.

I used a KnitPicks sport-weight cotton/modal yarn. It's so soft. I'm excited to see how it washes up. I used my first ever Addi Turbo knitting needles and let me tell you--I've never driven a Porsche before, but this is how I imagine it to be. Wooosh!

The pattern is Tater's Cotton Cardi. I think it was free from The Garter Belt website. I think I must be learning impaired because I had some problems interpreting the pattern. I've knit the whole thing and I have no idea where I went wrong. I know I must have because when it came time to knit the lace pattern I didn't need to do stitch increases to get the number of stitches I needed to knit the body. I may have used some rather unbecoming language. In fact, I know I did.

I am very happy with how it turned out, though. I rather wish I had knitted it for Anna! I think I will order some more yarn and see if I can find a similar pattern in a book like Top Down for Toddlers that I can adapt with some lace. I just got too lost trying to knit this sweater to attempt it again. It took some of the fun out of knitting it. But I know that nothing's going to be better than seeing Claire wearing it!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

There's a Moral in Here Somewhere

My family always treats me like I'm some kind of Nervous Nellie when it comes to my kids' safety. They seem to think that I'm the worst kind of worrying, helicopter mother. If you were to ask my husband, he would probably tell you that I am always fixated on being careful of every possible and improbable accident that could happen to the kids. You might get the idea what I spend my evenings paging through the One Step Ahead catalog, inventorying the safety devices we already own and making lists of products we still need to buy in order to prevent any bumps and scrapes that could happen. Germ Guardian Nursery Sanitizer? Check. Tub-Time Bath Bumpers? Oooo, still need to get that one. Can't have Jr. loosing teeth on the side of the bathtub, should he happen to free himself from the Secure Transitions Baby Tub.

The truth is that before I had kids, I spent a lot of time watching other people's children for a living. Part of my job was to maintain a safe play environment. A large part of how you achieve that is to anticipate accidents. Going to our neighborhood playground gives me a tick simply because it is NOT SAFE, especially for small children. At our playground I do, in fact, hover. And when I am watching the kids with someone else, like P, I will often tell him about possible dangers. I'm sure that it comes across as Apocalypse Parenting, but I simply want to make him aware of things like gaps in the railings that our 20 month old could fall through. I know she's not going to be careful. I want to make sure he is. Maybe he thinks I'm being obvious, but I feel like if I don't say anything, and something does happen, I would feel even worse knowing I could have prevented it by simply making P aware.

Anyway, tonight P was playing with A at the playground. He had her holding on to a bar, dangling her feet. She was having a great time and P was, of course, being careful not to let her fall. But as he was helping her down, she got hurt. I could tell that she was hurt and that it wasn't a small owie. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. We started walking back, but when she wouldn't stop crying, I told P to take T and get the car. I would sit under a shady tree on the curb and wait with A.

He came back and got us. We stopped briefly at home, but then we went right to After-Hours care at a clinic in a nearby town. P didn't see much point in all of us going, but I said I needed him there to tell the doctor what happened. After all, I hadn't seen it. The truth of the matter is, I knew that she shouldn't have been hanging from her arms. I knew she was too little and I was mad that P always does things with the kids that they are too little for and now A had gotten HURT. I wanted him to have to be the one to take her to the doctor, explain what he had been doing, and then have the doctor tell him that what he had done was WRONG. So we went.

We told the doctor what happened. He examined A and fixed a dislocated elbow. Then he proceeded to tell ME how the ligaments in small children aren't very strong and that you should always pick them up under the arms and never by the hands or wrists.

That's right. I got The Lecture.

I felt like telling him that perhaps he hadn't gotten the story straight because it was P who was holding her by the wrists and therefore merited The Lecture. I wanted to tell him that I brought P in special just so he could hear The Lecture, just once, and let's not waste this moment. But, no. Perhaps he was trying to be non-confrontational with another Male, maybe I really was To Blame since I was there and as The Mother I should have stopped it. Either way, I let a Safety Infraction slide and someone got hurt. And I got The Blame.

Worry: Damned if I Do, Damned if I Don't.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Classic Tale of a Boy and His Hat

I know this isn't the highest quality picture, but the patience of a young boy having his picture taken is limited.

The hat seems a bit big, but I think that means that it will be a perfect fit by winter . T loves wearing it, which makes it as good as gold. I am especially pleased because this was an improvised hat. I cast on 90 stitches and followed the basic hat recipe found in Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book "Knitting Rules!". I didn't do a gauge swatch. I used wool from sheep raised near Bemidji that I bought at Three Kittens Yarn Shoppe the week before I delivered A. I was in early labor, so it was the perfect time to do some yarn shopping. I'll always remember that when I look at this yarn.

Most of the patterns came from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann, although I came up with the top, transitional color pattern myself with some graph paper. It's not original nor unique, but I figured it out by myself. I am ridiculously proud of this fact. I used odd ball yarn for the hat and ran out of the darker yarn towards the end (as expected), so I finished off with the contrasting color. I even had enough dark wool left for the pom-pom.

So, yea! One head will be well-covered this winter. I love wool.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Our vacation wasn't so bad after all.

It was quite nice, in fact, due in part to the copious amounts of toys and gadgetry we bought to distract the kids on the drive to Colorado. The drive went as drives go--slowly, with many stops. We stayed in a hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska and it was one of the nicest hotels I think I've ever stayed in. We opened the door to our room and I actually stood, stunned for a moment before leaping into action, "No! Don't touch! Don't get anything sticky!" The kids should have had a bath before we were allowed in. The beds were nicer than our bed at home.

There was some kind of national Teen Miss pageant being held at the hotel that night. Groups of teen and pre-teen girls floated around the hotel dressed in evening wear, full make-up, and prom-hair. Miss Nebraska was there shaking hands. I almost believed that it really was all about poise and scholarships. Of course, I felt supremely underdressed for the hotel, even without the Young Ladies, who were a little overdressed, as I walked around in my baggy denim shorts and sloppy traveling T-shirt. Gladly, our room seemed to be far away from the pageant excitement so there was no one to bother us or be bothered by us.

The second day of driving, however, was a little more desperate and about halfway through Nebraska I realized that if we didn't find a Walmart soon the rest of our trip was doomed. The kids had burned through all of the toys the first day and we needed reinforcements. Battery operated reinforcements, that is. We stopped and bought the noisy, digital toys that never seem to get old and met up with P's sister and brother-in-law who were traveling in the same direction. They had left Minneapolis around 3 am and were able to catch up to us in time for lunch.

Notice my brother-in-law? He's such a hipster. And he's picnicing. In Nebraska. Does he still get to keep his hipster passcard?

But wait, here is a cute picture of the kids.

We're from Minnesota--you wouldn't think that a haybale would be worth a picture. When you put cute kids in front of it, suddenly, it is!

But we made it to Estes Park in good time, mostly because the kids were such super travelers. I really shouldn't have worried. But I did. I even got a hat knit on the way. I'm sure all you knitters would love a picture, but I want to photograph it with T wearing it, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow. He's sleeping now and, as they say, let sleeping babies lie. Or is it lay?

Anyway, here's a sleeping baby for you.

More Later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


We're back, finally, from our long-winded vacation out West. I'm sure I have more stories to tell about our vacation, but right now the biggest thing on my mind is that my computer has decided to revolt, somehow, during our week away. I really have no idea how this happened. How does something break when you're not even using it?

I blame the iPhone.

Friday night before we left P went to the mall to stand in line to buy an iPhone. He brought it home and tried to get it all "formatted" or something like that by connecting it to our big computer--the one with everything on it. I don't know. Everything seemed to work out fine, except that he was having problems importing music onto the thing. The details are fuzzy to me. But P assures me that it has nothing to do with the Glowing Ray of Holy Moonshine that is the iPhone and that it is, in fact, a problem with our big computer. Big Computer is fine, I say. It's never given ME any trouble. But now it is the focus of an intensive search and destroy mission involving my tech-husband, a small handful of Apple Help Guys in California (or India, again, what do I know?), and possibly some rookie CIA agents. And now it doesn't work. Even my blog reader doesn't work and as far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the iPhone. All I know is that it worked before we introduced it to the iPhone.

In any case, it has made blogging difficult since I haven't been able to get P's head out of the hard drive since we've been home. It's even been hard to get instructions on Picture Posting to my blog since the computer tends to muffle his speech.

So, stand by. I'll be back and I hope to bring pictures of knitting and vacationing with me. As long as the iPhone doesn't eat the photos.