Showing posts with label Knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knitting. Show all posts

April 9, 2023

Rabbits and Shoulders

Have you ever had to function without a hand? Or a leg? Or a hand? Or an eye?  Parenting takes everything you can give physically, but this week I'm muddling through with one arm.  Stupid me popped my shoulder out of place on Sunday, while painting the upstairs hallway. 
It popped back in (I know, SO gross!) so my arm works, albeit poorly.  I did this once before during a field hockey game in high school, and the possibility of an injury like this happening again is pretty likely.  Wonderful.

I'm pissed at myself for not being careful or mindful (despite my reminders to the boys about being careful all day long).  I was standing on a kiddie chair, talking with Chris and it slipped out from under me.  I grabbed the doorway and there it went, arm stuck at an unnatural angle.  It's my fault: I was too lazy to lug the ladder upstairs and relied on an easily available but poor substitute.  I've probably seriously messed up my yoga practice, which really sucks. I can't imagine doing Down Dog with my arm, but I'm trying to practice other poses so I'm not entirely un-limber at the end of all this.

Thankfully, I'm much better today than Sunday, but wrangling Jude for clothing and diaper changes is difficult.  And I still can't fasten or unfasten my bra.  For one moment, I wish I was a guy, able to handle the job with just one hand. :)

I also thankful that I am still able to knit, and have been furiously trying to finish these two rabbits for the boys' Easter baskets.  It helps that I can catch up on the latest season of Mad Men on Netflix while doing so.
I am giddy about how adorable this rabbit is.  I'm knitting it from a free Ravelry pattern if you're interested.  It needs some button eyes, but I haven't found the perfect ones yet.  Wooden ones would be perfect, huh?  I'm still working on Jude's, which is going to be a darker brown than Soren's and with a green bowtie instead of blue.
It requires a lot of sewing, which I hate, and some blocking to make the pieces flat, but the result is so worth it.
I think they'll be really excited on Easter morning when they see these guys.  They loved the sock ones from a few years ago (made from a Lil Boo Blue tutorial)
So my week of one-armed wrangling is going better than I expected.  I'm trying to enjoy the benefits, like not having to cook much or carrying a 50 pound someone to the bathroom at night for a potty break.  Hopefully I'll be back in the groove by the weekend--I don't want to have a compromised birthday dinner!  Thankfully, we're going to The Melting Pot, so I just need one arm to poke those cubes of bread into cheese.

February 4, 2024

Warm Hearts

Winter is still in full force around Pennsylvania, in fact I can't recall a snowier, colder winter in my experience.  While I mostly appreciate the snow, I'm tired of being snowbound and having so many interruptions to our routine in the form of snow days, cancelled play dates and the like.
On the bright side (or more appropriately, the snow blind side), my knitting needles have kept my fingers and heart warm, as they should this time of year.  I'm 2/3 of the way finished with the Color Affection shawl, which has been a pleasure to knit.
All that knitting and purling have kept things quiet around this blog for sure.  I would have thought that winter would have made me more inclined to write on my blog, but it's been the opposite.  I've certainly been making and doing lots of things, cooking up a storm (this recent Shepherd's pie was delicious)
but I've not felt like mustering up the effort to photograph, edit, watermark photos, write and edit posts.  Though here I am again, because I do miss sharing things with readers. 
I'm revisiting my Valentine banner this week, taking a break from knitting my shawl to knit some warm hearts.
We've just been plowing through the ordinariness of days, some spent baking and eating Skywalker Sugar Cookies
and playing in the snow.
I'm trying to inhabit these days and really be awake with the boys.  I'm a work in progress on that, but we've been enjoying our time together, mostly.  We're all craving more outdoor time, but who isn't?  I hope things are well for you too, dear readers.

September 18, 2023

My Hands Have Been Busy

If there was ever a journey I'd like to document, it's the activity of my hands over one day.  Between cooking, cleaning, wiping butts and noses, and of course giving hugs, my hands are always doing something.

I got back into a knitting groove this week, both because of the cool, autumn weather and my desperation to do something creative that I could tote with me around the house and on outings.
I just can't seem to get a chance to work on other crafts, having no dedicated work space, and for a creative person like myself, I feel like I'm drowning if I go to long without making something (dinner excluded).
A version of my Polish grandma's cabbage and noodle dish served with homemade refrigerator pickles
This week has been challenging, to say the least.  With taking care of 3 kids, two of which have been sick along with myself, I've felt myself spiraling into depression, having had very little alone time to recharge, either through writing on this blog or making something.  I've been having headaches, my face has been breaking out, and I just haven't felt right.  Ugh.

I started working on an afghan, just to have something to settle my thoughts.  The meditative rhythm of knitting often calms me, all the while allowing me to be creative.

Having been a knitter for 15+ years, starting a new project usually comes easy to me.  However, this afghan has caused many hours of frustration.  I don't blame the pattern, but blame my state of mind.  It's been interesting to watch how foggy my brain is, despite the cursing about having to rip out stitches repeatedly, and even having to unravel the entire project once.  As you can see from the photo, taken this morning, I still am not very far.

But like this week with the kids, I just kept starting over despite my mistakes.  As a parent, you really don't have a choice; you get up, take a breath, and begin again.  Somehow I just knew with my knitting that once I got into a rhythm, it would be worth it and I'd enjoy the process.  I've finally gotten into that groove (stitch markers have helped), and am hopeful that things turn around this week in the parenting domain.  Either way, I'll just keep trying, maybe even unraveling my negative thoughts in the process and hopefully starting anew.

Hope your week is off to a better start!

January 3, 2024

On the Needles, On the Stove

We were spoiled the last few months here in Pennsylvania with milder-than-usual temperatures, but with a winter wind blowing outside the last two days, it was a perfect time to throw on a pot of beans, catch up with Breaking Bad on Netflix (surprisingly, I'm intrigued by such a dark series) and pull out the knitting.
My kind sister-in-law gifted me with an interchangeable needle set for Christmas this year, something that's been on my list for a while.  I'm sure when it showed up at their door, she and my brother were like "what the heck?".  Chris says the box looks like some sort of biblical book on cassette tape set.
Anyway, I just finished a hat for myself last night and it was perfect timing for that frozen walk to school with S this morning.
It looks great with my scarf, and is made from Lion Brand yarn I found at the craft store.  I'm now working on yet another hat (total hats knit thus far this season=7) for Soren, per his request.

On the stove, I finally got around to learning how to cook beans from scratch.
It's pretty incredible that as a fairly accomplished home cook, I rarely soak and cook beans and mostly rely on canned ones.  However, that has changed my friends!  It's super-simple and the beans taste soooo much better.
With all the concern about BPA in canned goods, it's about time that I started soaking my own.  And it is well worth it.  The downside is that I have to do some planning and start them overnight. It's hard because I'm such a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-chair kind of cook, so rather than deciding to make black bean soup at a moment's notice, I have to prepare the night before.

I ended up making Harirra, a Moroccan bean soup with a few varieties of beans (in my case, turtle beans, red beans, red lentils, cranberry beans and really pretty red and white anasazi beans).
It's often used during Ramadan to bread the daily fasts in the evening, but I make it often during winter. I've shared the recipe in a previous post HERE if you'd like to make it yourself.

Paired with a loaf of homemade oatmeal bread, it's delicious on a cold winter day.  So what's on your stove?  Or on your needles, if you're so inclined to be a knitter?

April 18, 2023

Sewing, Knitting, Building, and Pot Bellied Pigs!

Not a bad weekend, in my opinion, thanks to all of the above things.

On Saturday, S and I braved the cool, rainy weather for an egg hunt at Easter on the Farm.
Waiting for the race to begin
In addition to the egg hunt, we got to see baby chicks, and Pee Wee, an adorable pot bellied pig.  If we had a bigger yard and were looking for a pet, I'd definitely have adopted him.  And probably been forced to return him by the Mister.
We didn't stay long, due to the weather, but still enjoyed our time there, and of course the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch faschnauts sprinkled with sugar.

Check out the chocolate bunny that S won on Saturday's egg hunt at Easter on the Farm.
I couldn't keep that out of his hands when we got home, understandably so.

While we were out, Chris was working away in the garage, trying to finish off the upstairs space.  He and his dad had re-sided the building last summer, and Chris has been itching to finish the second floor to be a play space for the kids.
It's slowly but surely coming along, as Chris rebuilds the interior walls so that he can hang drywall (the old walls are wonky, and the studs are not set on 16" spaces).  We think it's going to be an amazing space, just a large open room with lots of windows, great for toys and friends, and maybe something creative or meditative, depending whether or not we steal back the space from the kids.
 The room last summer, when installing the windows.
We have this half-baked idea of starting a "School of Lost Arts" to educate people about forgotten skills like sharpening knives, tying knots, and darning a sock.  This could be a great space for that.
As with all renovations, they don't usually mesh well with kids, hence this has become the project that just doesn't end.  Thankfully it's not inside our house, and we don't have to step over boards and hammers all day long.
Soren's boy-nature is drawn to the allure of the hammer and sawdust, so of course he loves to be in the space with his daddy, "helping".
On the home front, I finally finished the baby pants, 2 pair! 
I followed Rae's instructions, which were super-simple, and I intend on making a few more pair over the next few weeks.   Thanks Ammie for sharing the link to the post!

I was able to recycle an old shirt of Chris' too.
I loved the pattern on it, and hated to donate it to Goodwill, even though it was way too big on him.  So it was perfect for the baby pants, and the fabric is light and soft.

I also started working on a vest for Soren, from the book Natural Knits for Babies and Moms.
I'm not so good at knitting to size, so even though this is a baby pattern, my bulkier yarn and loose knitting yielded a sweater vest large enough for a 3 year old.  I've also adapted the pattern to knit it in the round, since I hate seaming sweaters--I suck at neatly sewing the pieces together.

All in all a busy but satisfying weekend.  The nesting instinct has definitely kicked in over here!

February 12, 2024

From the Archives: Knitted Valentine's Day Garland

I posted about this knitted garland last year, and thought I'd dig it out from the vault to share again.  It was simple to make (probably took an evening or two) and looked lovely.  I ended up auctioning it off last year for a the Heart for Haiti relief effort, and just didn't get a chance to knit up another one this year, though I did knit a little heart or two just to have around.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Though I love holidays and decorating, we don't really go overboard here with decorations.  I like simple, homemade things that can be reused each year, and I adore garlands of all kinds.  While putting away the last of the Christmas decor, I realized that I don't have anything for Valentine's Day.
Not that it's a big holiday in our house (we almost never do anything anymore), but that blank space above the doorway was driving me nuts. I miss my recycled book paper garland!

So I decided to knit up a heart garland that I can pull out each year before V-Day.
I had lots of yarn remnants in pink and red from other projects, so it was a perfect way to use up those bits.
This garland would be equally cute in a girl's bedroom after celebrating St. Valentine.  The project requires basic knitting skills, but is very simple to whip up.

St. Valentine's Knitted Heart Garland
  • yarn in various shades of pink and red (any weight is fine, though your hearts will vary in size)
  • knitting needles (I used size 6, but you could use any size you'd like to get the gauge you want)
  • double pointed needles for making i-cord (again, whatever size you'd like, depending on how thick your yarn is or how thick you want the i-cord to be)
  • yarn needle

Step 1
For making the hearts, cast on 3 stitches
Knit across those stitches.  On the next row, knit one stitch into the front, and one stitch into the back of the first stitch.
then knit the center stitch, and knit into the front and back of the last stitch.  You'll now have a total of 5 stitches.
Knit the next row.  Continue like this, knitting into the front and back of both the first and last stitch of every other row (knit the other rows) until you have a total of 17 stitches.
Step 2
When you have a total of 17 stitches, knit 10 rows even.
Step 3
Now you're going to divide the knitting into the two tops of the heart.  Knit 7 stitches, then K2Tog (knit 2 together).  Pull out a long piece of the yarn (like a yard) and cut it there.  Then reattach the yarn ball to the next stitch, and knit across.
You will have 2 sections now, which both have their own yarn.
Step 4
Knit across, making sure to keep each section separate with its own yarn.
Next row: SSK (slip first stitch onto right needle as if to knit, slip second stitch onto right needle as if to knit, put them both back on the left needle and knit them together), knit 4 stitches, then K2Tog.  Do the same for the other set of stitches on the needle (SSK, K4, K2Tog).
Knit the next row.
Next row: SSK, K2, K2Tog, SSK, K2, K2Tog.
Next row: SSK, K2Tog, SSK, K2Tog
Bind off.
That's your heart!
Weave in the bottom yarn, and save the top two for sewing onto the garland.
Step 5
Now onto knitting the cord for the garland.  This is called an i-cord, which looks like a knitted rope.
Pick up your double pointed needles and cast of 4 stitches in whatever color yarn you'd like.
Knit across, and instead of turning the work to purl, slide it back to the right side of the DPN and pick up the yarn around the back and start knitting again.  You're essentially making a long tube and knitting in the round.
Continue in this manner until you have as long of a cord as you need.  Mine was 45" long.  This was the most tedious part of the project. The hearts were much more fun to knit.
Step 6
Once your cord is done, bind off and sew in loose ends.  Then sew each heart onto the i-cord with a yarn needle, using the threads at the top of each heart.  Weave in or snip any loose threads.

Hang and enjoy!

You could also make individual hearts and hang them as ornaments throughout your home.
It's a bit addicting!  For a cute crocheted heart garland (I need to learn how to crochet), check out Skip to My Lou's post.
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