November 30, 2012

morning sparkle

We had about five inches of snow last night. Which, if we were still in Virginia, would have cancelled school and probably been labeled by the news as some kind of end of the world storm, but here, the radio weather guy called it "some light accumulation." So, ya, business as usual. And also beautiful.

I am thiiiissss close to finishing another Christmas gift. They are so soft and squishy that I'm tempted to keep them, but I wont. Besides, I have lots and lots (and lots!) more gifts to get on the needles, so the sooner I finish these and get onto the next (and stop petting them) the better it will be for everyone. A weekend of snow and fires and sledding and knitting sounds pretty good to me. 

I've been making fried apples in the mornings for my breakfast (ok, second breakfast. First breakfast is coffee as I'm throwing snow pants on children and shoving snacks and homework into backpack) When I was growing up, my dad used to fry apples to pile on our oatmeal or eat with eggs and bacon (sounds strange, but it's good, I promise). I'm sure that it wasn't just a cold winter morning thing, we probably ate them all year long, but for some reason, waking up to below freezing temps outside makes me crave them.

So we are snow suited up, full of crispy apples and ready for a some sledding and yarn and maybe some more apples. Because why not.

Happy weekend.

November 27, 2012


I'm sure there will come a time when I am sick of snow. Because if it's snowing now, in November, it will be a long time before it's not snowing, or at least before there is no snow on the ground. So, yes, the moment will come when I declare that I hate snow. But not for the moment. For the moment, I love snow.

There is a lack of sound when it snows. Unlike rain, which pelts on our metal roof, drumming or pattering, depending on how much there is, or wind that howls and pushes the trees against the windows, snow has an absence of sound. It is so quiet outside. Silent.

This morning there was sledding before school. Because they could. The snowpants and boots and, yes, ski goggles (why not) were donned before breakfast and they ate with their bottoms only half in their seats, ready to go.

When everyone is off for the day, I wander though the house, making beds that were forgotten and turning off lights before sitting down to work. There is enough light from outside, reflecting off the snow, to make the house bright inside. Or bright enough. I like the cool light from the windows better than the yellow light from the lamps. We have a new shag rug in the living room that is getting much love from the animals, although this morning it's all about the chair next to the fire it seems.

As I said, I know there will come a time, probably not too terribly long from now, when I hate the snow. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the quiet and the light and the crunch underfoot and sleds in the driveway and snowpants on the floor of the mudroom. Anyone with me? Or do you hate the thought of snow? Maybe I'm the only crazy one (although, clearly not, since there are other people up here in snow country with me, right?)

November 26, 2012

Five days is, I think, the perfect length for a vacation from school. Just enough longer than a three day weekend to be able to feel really lazy some days while still having time to get a few crucial (or maybe not crucial, but fun) things done on others. Plenty of stay up late nights and sleep in mornings, but not so many that routines get royally messed up. And just about the time that it becomes obvious that it's time to get back to the grind (for us, that was at 7:13 last night, complete with melt downs and a small sibling argument over...something...I'm not sure what) it's time to go back to school.

We had a really lovely, wonderful, restful Thanksgiving break. And it was exactly what we all needed. Friends over to play and playing at friends houses. A date (oh my!) for the grownups, dominos and knitting and Risk and chess and cross stitching. And snow.

The snow held off till Thanksigiving was officially over and Christmas (at least at our house) had started. It fluttered down prettily while we hunted for our tree and then built up enough over the rest of the weekend to enable some light driveway/dog-aided sledding. Perfect.

And you? How was your Thanksgiving Break? Ready for Christmas? (I'm not! So many things to knit, so little time left!)

November 20, 2012

in thanks

We've had a rough few days around here. Not because anything specific is wrong but because sometimes being a parent is just....hard. So it seems like a good day to remember what we are thankful for.

For kids who love you (even when you are so MEAN and make them do homework and...wear pants, and mean things like that). And husbands who keep you sane when you are MEAN and make them wear pants.
For good food and a good house and a good community.
And for wood stoves to keep us warm. And cuddly pets. And new hobbies. And being together. For friends and family.

And for warm boots. Warm boots are good.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

November 16, 2012


This week, Evelyn has been working hard to learn to tie her shoes by herself. Her class is having a party for all the kids who learn the skill before the winter holidays so she has been a very determined girl. Last night we had a breakthrough on the shoe tying front (Yay! Party!) which left her feeling mighty confident. So when I sat down to work on my embroidery project, she was full of "I want to try's!"
I've used stitching cards and felt and that plastic grid stuff for little finger sewing and I have to say, burlap was a far superior material for her to work with. Being able to put the fabric in a hoop was very important (because we need to do things like mom!) but having holes ready to go so that there was no hard pushing and poked fingers made things nice and easy for her. She has all sorts of plans for making Christmas gifts for the family now that she's got the hang of it. I have a feeling that I'll need to replenish my embroidery floss supplies before long. I wonder if I could convince her to do a sampler. I've always had a soft spot for samplers. And for little girls who want to sew with their mamas.

November 14, 2012

fuzzy bunny (slippers)

(Slippers) because she had decided that, first and foremost, they are new friends, and then they are slippers. They have names already, of course, even thought it's only been one night and one morning since they were fully felted and dried. Glitter and Twinkle. I'm not entirely sure which is which, but she seems to know. I *think* Glitter is the one with the floppy ear.
These were a super quick knit, which was wonderful after tho very protracted Will sock project and the Solstice sweaters still in progress and the hat that never seems to end. Whipped up in an easy evening out of the angora yarn I spun last winter which has been sitting around waiting for a project that needed to be particularly warm and fuzzy.
The pattern is from Tiny Owl Knits, home of the Beekeeper Quilt and my new favorite place to go peep at knitted eye candy. I want to make them all! All! But first probably this fox scarf for my girl. To go with the bunnies. Although the Where the Wild Things Are hat is pretty awesome too.
Because the directions were for adult sizes only, I had to make some adjustments, winging it a bit since I knew it would be felted anyway. If you are interested, my Ravelry notes on changing the size can be found here.

So now our feet are cozy and warm. Very necessary when it's 21 degrees out in the morning and not officially winter yet.

November 13, 2012

socks for we two

Cozy, chunky socks. A pair for him and a pair for me. Finally done! Mine are, you may remember a save from the first pair I made for him. The yarn, although warm and delicious looking, is not at all stretchy, which is a problem when your feet are huge. Even all that ribbing and cabling did not give enough for his long foot to make the turn at the heel. So they were unravelled until they were the right length for me. The toe is a bit abrupt, but they aren't for wearing under shoes anyway. They are house socks through and through. And much needed now that it's getting colder.
Will's pair were found in the lost knitting bin with one sock 2/3 of the way finished, a second ball of yarn stuck through the needles and no pattern to be found. I'm sure I had a photo copy of it at some point, but it's long gone. I finished the first sock using my pair as a guide and then used that sock as a guide for the second sock. The yarn is Cascade 220 and is squishy a stretchy and warm. So now he has house socks as well. Although he declares they are good under shoes as well. And can he have another pair please? I'm thinking these look like fun. But first, oh I have some bunny slippers that need to be knit for a little girl who can not find her slippers anywhere. Too cold for bare toes!
It's knitting weather out there, indeed. I seem to trail yarn these days, always a project clicking along. That also means I usually have kitties trailing after me who love to chase the yarn and bat at the needles, and then I have a girl trailing after the kitties. Which is not a bad thing at all.  *See, as soon as I hit publish I looked up to find Miss Finn attacking the bunny slipper yarn! It's just too much for them to resist!
My favorite project, a guilty little treat, is the beginnings of a BeeKeepers Quilt, which may end up being a Bee Keepers Bench Cover for the pew, or maybe it will be a quilt. All knit up from odds and ends of sock yarn. So I suppose it depends on how many odds and ends I can find around here. We'll see. I'm not in a hurry and it's the perfect project to keep in my bag at all times. A few stitches here, a row or two there, another hexi-puff done and tossed in the basket.

November 12, 2012

bonjour canada

Handy thing, living just a few hours from the border. You can, say, wake up and decide to go to Canada for the day and still be home by bedtime. Which is what we did, hitting Montreal just about the time everyone was ready for a second breakfast, which gave me a chance to use my terrible high school French to order coffee, hot chocolate and donuts (I only got tripped up over the fact that the donut holes came in 10's instead of 12's- because, duh, metric - so I survived) and then wandered around town for the day.

Will wanted to see the bio dome, which we thought was one thing but turned out to be something else. But that was OK because it meant we inadvertently went to the Olympic Village and the crazy dome thing on the island (ahem, I mean the Musee de l'Environment). Evie wanted a to go to a toy store in France (she was a little confused). Briton wanted to go somewhere where he could order a ham and cheese sandwich with pickles and lettuce, because that's what he's learned so far in French apparently. Everyone went home happy.

November 9, 2012


The pew I bought a few months ago has been sitting up to our dining room table in it's half spray painted brown state ever since I brought I home. Much as I disliked the brown splattered white look, I couldn't decide what color to paint it. So it sat while we stacked wood and painted the book nook and did plenty of other little jobs around the house.
But this weekend, with nothing particular to do on our list and dropping temps outside, I decided to try yellow.
I'm not totally sold. I like it, a lot actually, but I'm not sure I like it with the black chairs. Or maybe it's the table. Hummm.
Right about the time that I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for the umpteenth coat to dry (cause it took a lot of them) on the pew, a package landed on our porch with some funky fabric I ordered for pillows. (Modeled here by the lovely Pebble) So by the end of the weekend, we were pillowed and yellow pewed and a little bit brighter and yellower.

November 8, 2012

fuzzy and warm

Last week a bright red, slightly felted sweater arrived in the mail from my grandma. When she was here she mentioned it, wondering if I wanted to for legwarmers for Evie, which I did. So I was excited when it arrived and I left it on my desk for a few days while I pondered what to do with it. Legwarmers were a must, of course. Evie loved the pair I knit for her last year, even after they ended up felted and a little tight, but after the sleeves came off there was still going to be lots of lovely red and white, thick and cozy sweater left over. A vest sized chunk of sweater really.
I felted it down quite a bit more, until the wool was very thick and the width around the waist was about what a sweater for Evie would be, and then I got snipping.

First, of course, I but off the arms for the legwarmers. This sweater had nice long cuffs so I folded them down and stitched them in place and then hemmed the raw end. Simple and sweet and super cute on. She'll be toasty on the playground today.
The neck and shoulders were too big still, and also one was cut where someone (maybe my grandma but it could have been like that when she got it) had started to cut into it for a project. I cut straight down the remaining sleeve from the neck  and narrowed the sleeves and shoulders by lining up the ends of the raglan decreases (the diagonal lines where the sleeves meet the body of the sweater). I also cut the sleeves at more of an angle, instead of having them end straight. This way it's a a little more "vest" and the holes are roomier for thicker shirts or sweaters underneath. The sleeves I rolled into a hem, which I may embellish a little, or maybe not. I can't decide. I kind of like them rolled and simple.
Once the sleeves were done I cut up the center front of the sweater. Because it was so thick, I wasn't going to be able to double over the fabric to hem it so instead I took a cue from my knitting guru friend Carol, who showed me once how she stitched grosgrain ribbon along the hem of a cardigan that was gaping. I sewed ribbon along the raw edge and then turned that and stitched down the front. Originally I wanted to put button holes in but the fabric is still so thick I'm not sure her little fingers could deal with getting buttons in. And also I don't think my sewing machine could make button holes though that much wool. So now I'm thinking buckles. Or maybe a heavy zipper. Or maybe I'll just leave it because she went off to school today with it as is. What do you think? Frogs? Buckles? Zippers?
I have to say, as a devoted vest wearer, I'm a little (a lot) jealous of this thing.I'm going to have to look for a huge Nordic sweater to felt down and make my own.