Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unisex baby attire explained

I think I know the reason why throughout history babies wore unisex clothing: no ultrasounds and no ready made clothing! It's one thing to be able to send your mum or sister out to the Target after the baby is born to buy blue sleepers and return the pink, but it is an entirely different proposition when every piece of clothing must be hand sewn or knit beforehand. No wonder there were no "boy styles" or "girl colors."

This evening, I'm attending a baby shower for a friend who has chosen not to know the gender of her baby. I not so subtly asked her several times if she'd changed her mind because I really wanted to make something for the baby. Not knowing whether I should be knitting in blues or pinks or violets or greens, I have been at a loss over what to make. I know I could do a white blanket or sweater, but I just don't want to. I want to do something unabashedly girly or something totally boy.

So I settled on a white hat, in a boy style. Once the baby is born, I will make a sweater or something. Whatever it is, it shall be made in a gender specific color and style.

Of course the baby needs a sock monkey of his/her own!

Why there are so few photos of Jebediah

You've probably noticed how often Trixie appears in photos. Maybe you have wondered why the same is not true for Jeb. Here is your answer: usually he runs off when I try to photograph him, but this time he was too tired, so he hid his face.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hats are my favorite things to knit

In case you haven't noticed, I love hats. All sorts. For myself and for others. I finished this one today. The pattern was a free one I found on Ravelry, called Ring of Fire, if you feel like searching for it.

This hat has the added benefit of attracting dog kisses, or maybe that is the natural appeal of the boy wearing it.

The thing I love about knitting hats, beyond a hat's ability to keep one warm, is that they are small, varied, and low cost.

By small, I mean they are both portable and not long term knitting commitments. By varied, I mean that there are so many patterns for hats - there is always something new capturing my interest. Cabled hats, fair isle hats, intarsia, different construction methods. Endless variety, at an affordable price.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My baby got his first cavity filled today.

The end of his perfect teeth era. He's seventeen.
He also needs to have all his wisdom teeth out, but that will wait until school break.

It needed a new handle

I made this bag last winter. Much as I liked its capacity, looks, and washability, it did not get used because it is so big that when full, it dragged on the ground. The handles were not long enough to be worn over the shoulder. So it mostly sat in the car, last of the reusable shopping bags to be chosen.

When we were driving up to visit my son yesterday, I grabbed the leftover yarn and added a longer handle to it. It's just one simple strap that is long enough to go over my shoulder, wide enough to be comfortable.

Now this bag can finally get used!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who misses him?

My husband thought it would be nice to make a quick visit to our son this afternoon. We took him some supplies (Doritos, ramen noodles, chocolate milk - the essentials), walked around the campus a bit, then went to a local drive in for lunch before driving back home.

We were all happy to see him, but none in quite the same way as his little sister. She had been vocal in her opposition of the "going away to college" plan all along, and his being there for a month with "only 2!" visits has not changed her mind about the foolishness of this arrangement one bit.

At least this time, she knows she'll see him again next weekend. We have big plans for the Toy Story 3-D double feature.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yes, a beret

I should have made it a size smaller, but she seems to like it. Unless it turns out to be unwearable later, I will leave it be. In this yarn, which we both find beautifully colored, the beret is not a hat for very cold days. It is a hat for those days you think, "I wonder if I need a hat?" The fabric is soft and fuzzy, but not tightly knit. She can pull it down slouchy style to cover her ears when needed. I think it will be a hat she could wear often in our climate, which has weather that likes to change and hover between needing serious winter wear and not.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Little updates

My daughter began ice skating again today. She reports that her teacher is not nice. She makes faces when the students make mistakes and calls them "dude." The teachers in the previous four levels all made favorable impressions, so I hope this one improves or we don't encounter her again.

After Monday's no beret day, I began one today with yarn I know will look good. This one will be for the girl child. I love the subtle color variations in this yarn, which was a give-away at my last knitting group meeting.

Tuesday I knit another tiny sweater ornament.

Speaking of sweaters, we had a cold snap earlier this week. It's always a shock when the temperature drops suddenly and drastically. Apparently it is a shock to small dogs, too, because Trixie was very whiny on Tuesday. When I finally realized she was cold, I pulled out her red sweater. She literally ran over to me and pushed her head inside it. Then she took a nap.

No photo of her in her sweater, because I forgot to take one, but I noticed it was looking a bit shabby, so I may be knitting a new one soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not a beret

I knit a beret today. I started it yesterday, and finished it today. It looked ugly. The yarn's colors looked splotchy when knit up. It was not something I would wear or ask others to wear. So I frogged it.

Then I came home and knit the tiny blue sweater so that I would have some sense of accomplishment today.

So far, the tiny fuzzy pink ones are my favorites.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More good reasons to have a son or two

They know things that you don't. For example, if you watch the X-Men Wolverine movie and are confused by the opening scene, not knowing if Wolverine really was a sickly child or whether the "medicine" being given to him by the man he thinks is father was poison instead, you could ask your son. Then you would know and can move on to thinking about other things.

Or, if you cannot figure out your cell phone, even though you've had one almost a decade longer than your son, you can ask him to show you how it works. On this one, you have to be careful not to let him "do it for you," because if you do, you will never learn. Not that you might not have to ask him several times, but sons are patient teachers, so that is okay.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Swim Season?

My daughter spends less time swimming in the summer than any other season. We have a neighborhood pool, but she rarely goes to it.

The rest of the year she swims on Friday afternoons at an indoor pool which hosts homeschool swim. Today was the first of the season.

I generally stay home and do my Bible study homework during those couple hours while my husband swims with her and/or relaxes in the hot tub.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Moving right along into autumn

My personal autumn has begun. My children have been in school for a few weeks now, but until this week, I was still on summer hiatus from my regular Bible studies. As I mentioned way back in June, I spent the summer reading the Bible using I'm not done yet, but I finished the Old Testament by the end of August. I highly recommend It is so easy to use.

Last night was the first of my Precepts class on Matthew. I have been looking forward to this all summer! Does that sound crazy? Maybe, but I've never "studied" one of the gospels before. Read them, yes, of course, but not really slowed down and studied and discussed them. So I'm excited! Every Precepts study I've done has deepened my faith because the more I learn about God, the more I adore Him. Truly it is that simple.

Tonight my community group met for the first time since May. The community group is a more relaxed, no-homework gathering of a few people from my church. This year, we are meeting at my house, because our evening schedule is the wackiest, being the only ones with children. Also, this way my son can participate and not have to stay home to keep his sister safe. I like this group, too, but in a totally different way. We always enjoy getting together with these friends! We discuss the Bible passages from Sunday's sermon, and tend to go off on tangents both serious and goofy. I love that none of us feels like we have to act religious when we are feeling silly. We can talk about movies, zombies, work issues, bad neighbors, whatever is on our minds.

I feel so blessed to have both of these groups in my life. I hope my readers are blessed by their churches and study groups as much as I am.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Curls and Christmas

Two unrelated topics today.

My daughter slept in curlers last night, and doesn't she look pretty today? Not that she ever does not look cute, but the curls really turned out well. Her hair needs no spray or such, so it is all bouncy, touchable loveliness.

Today I started making Christmas ornaments: tiny sweaters. It was so quick, maybe an hour total. I'm going to gather up any little odd balls I have around and knit more of them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cap Sleeved Vestie Done (almost)

I still need to weave in the loose ends, which I'll do tonight or tomorrow during those service hours at school.

I am so blessed to have such a cute daughter who likes having me make things for her. I think she is beautiful, inside and out, and it is so fun to knit things that she will enjoy wearing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All kinds of fun today

Now that my son lives at his school, it seems like a special occasion that he is here. Special occasion = junk food consumption at our house, so last night was both ice cream and chips and this morning was donuts.

We dropped the kids at an amusement park mid-day. The boys have been there many times, but this was their sister's first visit. The weather was overcast, cool, threatening to rain (and then raining), which meant really short lines. She loves rides, probably more than they do, so she went on everything.

While they were there, my husband and I hung out at a local bookshop reading magazines. He read about sailing, hacking, and computer things while I looked at pictures of knitting and home decorating. It was a fun date, which I immortalized in yet another of my infamous self portraits.

Afterward, we picked just our daughter up at the park. The boys had plans for the rest of the day with friends. Then we had a fun surprise - my husband took us girls to a store that sells used "amusements." Pinball machines, video arcade machines, pool tables, foosball, all those sorts of things. The fun part was that all the machines were turned on so they could be tried (for free). The girl had never played pinball before, and she and I had a blast doing horribly at almost every machine in the shop.

All in all, a great day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Geek Beacon

Now that I've given my son his new hat, I can show it here. I call it the Geek Beacon because I wish that when he wears it, other fans of MST3000* will see it and maybe introduce themselves to my son. Isn't that what we look for in friends - people who are the same kind of geeky as we are?

Of course, my son is really tall, and unless the other fans are really, really tall, they won't be able to see the robots well enough to recognize them. Maybe they'll spot him when he is sitting down, wearing a hat - like that ever happens. Oh, well, he likes it!

*MST3000 = Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show where a guy and two robots watch bad B-movies and heckle them. In case you didn't know.

(What do you think of my self portrait? I've discovered that in the bathrooms, I can look at the camera viewer in the mirror and get a better framed shot.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things that grow

This is the little tree which we did not plant growing in our front yard. He has grown a good two feet this year. He was a little stick in the spring.

This is one of the three knockout roses we planted in the spring. It was about the size of the daisy next to it when we planted it. These are our greatest gardening success thus far. The usual survival rate for our plantings hovers around 50%.

And here is the cap sleeved vestie I began yesterday afternoon. It's now eight inches of a tube. Lovely, mindless knitting it has been.

My daughter herself has grown 3/4 of an inch since June, putting her just over 5 feet tall.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My not so creative process

I don't really consider myself a creative person. I'm more of a direction modifier. I like to make things or do things, but I'm not one to start from scratch and build a better mousetrap. I like to have a pattern or at least an idea from which to start.

Yesterday was a search day. What to make next. I saw these hobby horses at the farmer's market in Aspen last weekend. They look easy to make, and I want to make one at some point, but I don't have a broom handle handy at this time.

I want to knit a new sweater for my daughter, so I asked what she might like. She would like a cardigan. However, I want to use the yarn I bought last winter for her and did not use, and there is not enough for a cardigan unless it is striped, and neither she nor I are interested in stripes right now. (Last year, she liked stripes.)

That magazine shows the leading cardigan contender, which I could make sometime later, but not with this yarn.

So I spent quite some time at Ravelry looking for something she might like, using the yarn on hand. If you knit or crochet, and have not heard of Ravelry, you are missing out on a very good thing. It is an enormous site with the best search engine for finding patterns. Go register and enjoy, but be warned - once you start searching for patterns, time warps occur. It also has forums where you can learn and discuss whatever you need or want to know.

We found a cap sleeved vest there that she would like to wear and I would enjoy knitting, so I am now ready to begin. I wish I could show you a photo, but I don't feel right stealing someone else's photo. If you do go to Ravelry, it is the Lett-Lopi vest.

Monday, September 7, 2009

No-labor day for some, labor day for one

I spent the day knitting. I can't show the finished item yet because the recipient may read my blog. However, this is the in process photo. It looked just like that - a tangled mess - most of the day. Intarsia is a pain in the butt. All those little balls of yarn, all those ends to be woven in.

My daughter spent the day reading Narnia books.

My younger son visited my older son.

My husband was the only one of us who used his day off to work. He spent the day fixing things around the house - the grill, the fence, a good but unsuccessful attempt at the dishwasher, and he mowed the lawn.

Yes, I do see the irony in the fact that the only one of us who is gainfully employed was the only one who worked on Labor Day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Aspen in summer

We took our dogs to Aspen today. Mountain towns tend to be very dog friendly, and there were dogs everywhere. Jeb and Trixie liked that, but at the farmer's market, Trixie was overwhelmed by the number of people. She was like a toddler to whom every pair of legs looks the same, and panics that mom is missing. So she got put in the bag so she wouldn't be trampled. That was her worst moment.

Jeb's worst moment was on the gondola going up the ski slope. We knew he would not like it, because he does not like elevators. He hid behind my husband's legs the entire ride up. Coming down he was only slightly less terrified.

At the top of the mountain, my daughter and I hula-hooped. We were pretty good at it, too. All that time on the Wii has paid off for us. My daughter also climbed the climbing wall. We all enjoyed the views.

Now, since I showed you Jeb at his worst, here he is at his favorite spot in Aspen, the little stream that runs along the pedestrian mall in town. He usually avoids running water, but he loved this little stream and kept drinking out of it. Trixie was just watching him. She finds everything Jeb does interesting, but not always worth repeating.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Belonging to a girl

Belonging to a girl means you will be dressed up. You may or may not enjoy this. It does not matter. Your role as mannequin has already been determined.

A girl may or may not outgrow this amusement of dressing others. If you do not, I recommend having a daughter to use as a mannequin.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to school

We are a couple weeks into our school year.

My eldest, as you know, is living on campus at his school. I know he is taking five classes, but I don't know what they are. I asked if he had any mean teachers, and he told me they all seemed reasonably nice. That is good. One never wants their child, no matter how old, to be stuck around meanies.

My younger two both take classes at this school, located in a strip mall. The girl goes on Mondays and takes writing, esl, art, p.e., and music. Her brother is taking French and chemistry there, which meet on Mon and Wed. We suspect French will be dropped.

On Tues and Thurs, he takes classes at our local CC. There he will be taking music history, English, algebra, and psychology. Then on Friday, he is taking a jazz improv class. He'll be very busy. (He has no mean teachers, either.)

I will be busy, too, running my own little taxi service.

My daughter and I do all her basics at home. She is gaining independence this year with her studies. For science, she is studying flying creatures, and for history, the USA. She prefers science to history. I think whether or not she considers her teacher mean depends on the day, maybe the minute, you ask her.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sampling at Costco

We went to Costco for the white flesh peaches which have been my staple food all summer. My children always like the samples at Costco.

Lumpy does, too, but he has a different idea of sampling. For him, it's not the food. It's all about what can be climbed, examined, and experienced.

The polar bear was fun to climb. The telescope did not see all the way to Switzerland. The wool rug was very cozy, perfect for daydreaming.

The keyboard was pleasingly loud. The ladder was an easy climb, but still worth climbing a dozen times. The bike was only slightly too big.

All in all, a good outing for Lumpy. He enjoys getting out and exploring the world.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hat pins and hair cuts

I had my hair cut today. I forgot to take before pictures, so you'll just have to believe that I had about 6 or 7 inches cut off. I think it is a little short, but it will grow. I also think it looks a little choppy, but I can trim the front myself if I want.

After I came home, I began to wonder if I'd still be able to use my fabulous new hat pin. New to me, we bought it at an antique shop in Ouray a couple weeks ago. This is something I have needed for years, but only began to actively seek this month. I wear hats a lot, because I burn so easily in the sun, but the hats are always blowing off my head. (Those of you who've met me may have witnessed this.) So I needed a pin and thought about it every time the wind was blowing my hat off my head, but never a moment in between those occasions. However, recently, I said something about it out loud, to my husband. He remembered this and suggested we look for one when we were in Ouray.

My hair is, happily, still long enough for a quick French braid or very short ponytail, which is all I need to hold the pin and hat in place.

I had a flash of understanding while I was test braiding my hair. I suddenly understood why the cloche hat became popular in the 1920's: bobbed hair could not hold a hat pin, so the hat styles needed to be close fitting without a wide brim that would catch a breeze. Fashion rarely makes sense to me, so this was an almost exciting realization that I just had to share.