Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Son, the Knitter

It finally clicked for him. He has been wanting to knit since he was four. I took him to the local yarn shop and he picked out some bright green yarn. "I'm going to knit a hat for you, Mommy!" I would have worn it, too.

From time to time, he would express a desire to knit and would sit on my lap with my hands over his. We would knock off a row or two on his little swatch before either he or I would loose interest.

This time, however, I sat with him through two or three stitches and then he was knitting--by himself! It was so exciting, like watching the first real steps, or the first real smile. I couldn't believe it.

He has so much patience for the process of learning to knit. Usually he gets overwhelmingly frustrated when he can't do something well the first time he sets his hand to it. As he learns to knit, though, he will patiently stab his needle through his knitting, through the stitch below his working stitch, then finally through his intended loop before carefully wrapping his yarn around the needle. He will allow me to correct him and to assist him to re-do a stitch. He will work slowly and patiently toward his goal (which now appears to be a woolen washcloth, according to Thomas). He is so proud to be learning.

Most amazingly, when his patience began to wear out, he actually took my suggestion to put the knitting aside for a while.

I am so proud of my little knitter.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How It Gets Done

Problem: I don't have much time to knit any more.  But, I really want to finish Rachel's mittens.  Usually I have a little time at the end of the day to work on a project, but when your Knitting Hour collides with Baby's Angry Hour (read: 2-3 hours) something has to give and it's always the knitting.  

Solution: Thank goodness Henry likes my fleece pouch.  Thank goodness it's so simple to use a sleep deprived mom can use it!

Forgive my sullen immigrant expression.  I resemble my great-grandmother who was an immigrant and she never looked so sullen.  Really, I was simply intent on getting the greatest quantity knit while the baby was content (Commando Knitting).  I'm sure that's why our ancestors looked like that in the old photos.  They had many more babies and much more to do.  My particular ancestors had to do it on a diet of cabbage and corned beef on top of it, too.  I pity those moms!  I bet they had to knit while standing over a wood burning stove and frying bacon--and no fleece pouch for the babes.  Times have sure changed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


We've been busy as usual around here. I've been encouraging Thomas and Anna to play outside more, but it's hard to know when it's too cold to send time out, even in full winter gear. I can't even rely on their judgment since five minutes after they go out they want to come in. How is it that some children can stay outside for hours in the icy cold, but others spend more time getting ready to go out than actually playing in the snow?

Here's a picture of Henry swinging with Anna's dolls. I guess he must have looked lonely.

In knitting news, I spent the greater part of two days knitting Anna a balaclava. She needed something to keep her face warm during her Compulsory Outdoor Rec time. My first thought was to knit her a scarf, but as I thought about it more it occurred to me that this would be more comprehensive. Also, scarves tend to fall down and this would keep her face warmer.

I couldn't find anything on Ravelry in a toddler size so I had to improvise. I used the concept in Homespun, Handknit: Caps, Socks, Mittens & Gloves book by Interweave Press. I cast on fewer stitches and made everything else proportionally smaller. Around the face opening, when I picked up stitches, I k2tog across the top for a snugger fit across the forehead. Anna wore it outside this morning and said that it worked fine. I felt her cheeks and they were still mostly warm. If she continues to wear it and to be able to see out of it I will consider it a success. Now Thomas wants one so I'll have to whip one up when I have time.

Mostly I've been test knitting a pattern for Rachel. She has an etsy shop where she sells, among other things, her own original patterns. She's working on a kit for a felted mitten that she developed. There is a bunch of striping on the backs of the mittens (which are knitted flat, lightly seamed together, and then felted to make a solid mitten) and it's taking me some time to work through it because of the little interruptions running around the house. She's being patient though. She even gave me some homemade Irish Cream to drink while I knit them. Hm. Maybe that's why it's taking me so long to knit them. Since I'm running out of Irish Cream, I'll probably finish the last mitten in a couple of days. If Rachel says it's ok I'll post pictures to show you.

I also plan to post pictures of the little shrug I knit for Anna. I'll get a picture sometime today. Henry calls so I have to say good bye!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


We have an older house with older windows. It's not usually a warm place in the winter with the leaks and drafts that usually accompany an older home. This winter has been feeling a little chillier than usual though.

I finally figured out why our house has been feeling so cold this winter.

Henry and I were sitting in the nursery, rocking and nursing (yea!). I'd been noticing that the baby's room was cold these days. Odd, since it's usually the toastiest room in the house. I could hear the wind bowing outside and I noticed that with each gust the shade and blinds on the window would sway back and forth a little. You don't suppose. . .

Yup. While I was away this summer someone opened the storm window in the nursery, which I don't usually do since the sound of the whistle at the train crossing can be a little loud for a nappy baby. I've been so distracted that it didn't even occur to me to go around shutting the storm windows like I usually do which would have caused me to give the nursery windows a cursory glance at least.

A quick tour of the upstairs revealed an open storm window in our room and the bathroom. I didn't check the windows in Anna's room yet (I'll bet at least one of them is open) since Henry was sleeping by that time. Now I'm going to go around and check the windows downstairs. I'm just hoping that the storm window in Thomas's room are closed since we already put plastic up. The storm windows in his room hardly count anyway, though. Often in the winter you can see tiny drifts of snow blowing in around the edges of them and the wind will blow the curtains inside the room.

Minnesota. God, I love it here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Hands, They Are Full

I think that recent sleep deprivation has left me a little punchy. I was washing potatoes for dinner tonight, imagining what I wanted to say, and all that came to mind were stupid, corny jokes that would barely be funny if you were in the same room with me. Luckily I realized how silly I was being before actually writing anything down.

Tomorrow Henry has another weight-check. I want to make sure that he's still growing, I guess. Babies seem to grow all of a sudden. Days and days can pass with no apparent change and then you're trying to fit them into a wee sleeper before you realize that they really should be wearing a 5T.

There have been many challenges with my oldest child lately. It's hard to know where to find help sometimes. I worked in daycare and school programs for years and he still has me up against a wall. I've been reading Love and Logic and Raising your Spirited Child. I'm not sure how much help books will be, though. I'm fairly convinced that when he's grown you'll be hearing about him on the news--either because he's discovered a cure for the common cold or because he's raised up a small army to conquer a small country. I wish I could look ahead to see how he's going to turn out. It would take a lot of the suspense out of my daily life.

I'd like to just boot the kids outside, but they are both (understandably) reluctant to go out and play in 20 degree weather. We aren't able to see many people since Henry needs to be protected from illness. Already both Anna and Thomas are climbing the walls.

It's only been cold here for a few weeks. Sometime mid-winter you may see PLEH DNES etched in my frosty windows.