Sunday, November 16, 2014

toddler mittens

These mittens lasted all of 10 seconds before he pulled them off, placed them neatly on the ground, and then ran off to play. So it goes.

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If you'd like to make a pair of mittens for the toddler in your life to toss aside, find my notes here.

P.S. I'll have more about his coat in a future post, but if you can't stand the suspense, check it out here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

november socks (in progress)

I've been knitting away on my November socks during nap time. After I put Jude to sleep, I rush through any chores that must be done and then hurl myself into bed to work on these socks. That brilliant pink offers a warming contrast to our increasingly gray days here. Today we heard on the radio that we might get a few snow flurries, and Jude squealed! He has been enamored with snow books for most of this year, and just last week he tried on his snow boots and toddled clumsily around the house on his suddenly heavy feet. He is ready for the snow!

At night I've been getting lost in Not That Kind of Girl. I've been wanting to find a book to fall into. You know that feeling you get when you become so absorbed in a book that you forget about everything else and just keep turning pages late into the night? I wanted that. I used to get that feeling all the time as a teenager. I'd live in books then, identifying with characters as much as my friends. As I get older I find that kind of escapism harder to achieve, so anytime a book does that, I let it take me. Not That Kind of Girl, though nonfiction, lets me escape to New York for a few hours each night. My favorite quote so far speaks to the inability to be completely absorbed in a moment:

"A night of carousing never passed without me stepping outside the experience to think, Yes, this must be what it is to be young" (p. 184).

I read this and immediately thought about the time in college that some friends and I ordered Avon. The whole time we were discussing lipstick shades and which nail polish to buy, I couldn't help feeling like I was doing anthropological fieldwork. "So this is what college girls talk about," I thought. I just wish I'd made some field notes.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014


These are more photos taken in Hunt Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan, one of the final stops on our Michigan road trip a few weeks ago. We started in Mackinaw City, visited Mackinac Island and the Upper Peninsula, then made our way back down to a yarn mill in Frankenmuth, and finally hung out in Ann Arbor for a few days, drinking lots of coffee and eating Japanese food.

I love these photos of my boy, his toothy smile, and of course how sweet he looks in his mama-made cardigan. Gramps is a timeless sweater, and that shawl collar keeps my boy cozy. When the wind picks up, we flip up the collar to keep his neck extra warm. We've been rolling up the cuffs this fall, which I think means he'll be able to wear it again next year. And after that? I'll just have to knit another one.

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P.S. My hat is Snowflinga, a fun knit and one of my favorite knits to wear. It was designed by Jenny Gordy, whose simple aesthetic I just love. Did you see Joanna's post about her beauty uniform

Saturday, November 1, 2014

october socks

My October socks remind me of an overcast day in Maine when my husband and I walked a short trail at the top of Cadillac Mountain in grayed out conditions. A cold mist settled over the mountaintop that morning, and we were the only ones crazy bold enough to be out walking on such a dreary day. Droplets gathered on my eyelashes and dripped mascara down my cheeks, and the wind tangled my hair. At some point our walk became more of a frenzied hunt for the car so we could get out of the cold, wet weather. We headed back to Bar Harbor smelling of wet wool and looking like wild animals. Lucky for us, there were plenty of warm coffee shops for us to dry off in, and a shop selling this pretty gray yarn that I bought to commemorate the day.

I'm joining in Liesl's sock challenge to knit a pair of socks a month for a whole year (though I'm taking it month by month). Find more notes on my October socks here.

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Sock Challenge Inspiration

I loved Jesse's faux cabled socks so much that I cast on a pair as my November socks.

I've had in mind to make gray socks with cream heels and toes, so when I saw Ine's Drizzly Day socks, it felt like a daydream come true for me. I've already got yarn lined up for a pair, but I keep wondering if I should throw in a little colorwork pattern on the leg.

Casey finished her October socks in a dizzying five days! Now that's motivation.

One more from Ine: Her Chamomile and Honey socks for November are so beautiful. I want to knit a pair just like them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

shawl weather

A Shaelyn shawl, rich and red, kept me cozy for an impromptu breakfast picnic with my boys. We sat on a bench and watched the leaves fall as we spooned yogurt straight from the carton, took giant bites of fresh baked bread topped with almond paste, and sipped hot coffee with milk. It was one of those moments I could just live in: the sun still rising, the air cool with morning dampness, the trees ruddy with fall, the three of us together.

All photos taken in Hunt Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan, where we last visited four years ago. I wouldn't at all mind making an annual fall pilgrimage to that bench.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby

down by the sea, on a blanket with my baby socks

I bought this yarn nearly four years ago when I was a freshly minted knitter determined to knit socks. I remember walking into the knitting shop shyly, as I always did then, because it seemed everyone there knew one another--I was forever interrupting the jovial shop conversation by being a stranger among them--and even more importantly, they all seemed to know what they were doing. I had only this semi-abstract notion that my knits and purls could somehow form socks. Of course I pretended I knew what to do and picked from among the few skeins of sock yarn I could find, which were in the sale bin, and now I realize there were probably whole shelves full of the stuff if only I had known where to look or, you know, just gotten up the courage to ask. I picked this blue variegated yarn, which is not my style at all, so I must have been pretty desperate to make socks to have picked it up in the first place.

I took the yarn home and excitedly cast on a sock, but being a new knitter meant that even though I wrangled those double-pointed needles, I had no idea about laddering, so I ended up with tell-tale loose lines down my sock and had to rip out the whole thing.

I tucked the yarn into my stash and forgot about it until earlier this year. I decided that even though it's not my style, I wouldn't mind it if I toned down the variegation, so I paired it with a dark blue yarn for the heels, toes, and cuffs.

These socks were months in the making, simply because I tossed them aside for other things and then when I finally finished them I couldn't be bothered to weave in the ends. They sat in my knitting basket* until my knitting frenzy, when it became an urgent matter to finish these before the cold weather set in.

I'm glad I finally did finish them because they're warm and I actually do like them. Sure, they aren't really my style, but the yarn tells the story of the knitter I once was--unsure and shy but daring enough to try--and I'll wear that as a badge of honor.

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What yarn tells your story? 

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*I imagine it's somewhat like the Island of Misfit Toys in there, only a basket of almost-finished things.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

marigold harvest

Inspired by Liesl, I decided to harvest my marigolds to try some natural dyeing. The marigolds were ready just before we were to leave town, so I picked them to freeze for dyeing at a later date.

The harvest was a thing of beauty in itself, with those oranges, rusts, and yellows all heaped together. I enlisted the help of my son, who loves to pluck marigolds from their stems and sprinkle petal confetti all over the garden. He was less enthusiastic about harvesting marigolds than I thought he would be, though. Turns out that part of the appeal to him is doing something I tell him not to do. It seems as though I have a little rebel on my hands. He did join in once I'd filled a bowl with marigolds. He just couldn't resist emptying the bowl for me!

We are still enjoying the garden here for a little longer. We planted some sunflowers late and they are just now blooming. Jude has been pestering me about the box of bulbs on our dining room table, so this week we'll plant tulips, daffodils, and irises for spring. I'm excited to have his help, and I think these bulbs will be just the right size for his toddler hands to hold. Let's hope he agrees to help!

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What have you been doing outside these days? Planting, harvesting, hiking? 

I'm hoping to have a few fires in our fire pit soon. The smell of woodsmoke and wet leaves is one of my favorite parts of fall.


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