Alas, poor Armas….

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So today on the third day of our Thanksgiving break, I grabbed my knitting as we headed out the door, hoping to take advantage of a thirty minute trip to make progress on chart row 42 of this fun sweater. Why did I ever fear it?! Part of my concentration went toward enjoying my first peppermint mocha of the season, but then I did get a little farther through the round.

When we arrived at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for their Jolly Days, it was already crowded although it was thirty minutes after opening. We were told our van wouldn’t fit in the garage today so to use one of the outside lots. We chose the one closest to the parking garage and within sight of the attendants and went in.

This is related, stay with me.

We enjoyed our trip to the Museum. Dino had a blast (predictably) in the dinosaur exhibit. Trooper loved Scienceworks. Everyone enjoyed the Jolly Days and really just everything. Sunshine enjoyed the water play in Scienceworks so much that she got a new shirt in the gift shop because her dress was soaked. After four hours we returned to the van tired but triumphant.

To find a window busted out.

My passenger side window, to be precise. And before I looked I knew what I wouldn’t find, and didn’t. They stole my knitting bag! I suppose at a glance it looked like a purse. It had handles, it was up front. So was Haus Meister’s coat but they left it, and so was a grocery sack full of snack food. Our stereo was fine!

So on the one hand, the looks on their faces when they learned what they took the effort to break in and steal is pretty amusing to imagine… I’m betting they didn’t intend to steal my w.i.p., including Jane Austen themed stitch markers, and three more balls of Istex Alafoss Lopi.

But then I want to cry, because all that is sitting in a dumpster now somewhere in downtown Indianapolis. I’ll never see it again. And now we’re sleeping in a hotel with our van slated for an early morning repair.

And Sunday or Monday night I’ll pick up the balls of yarn I have at home and cast on the collar of Armas for the fourth time.

Blast. I would actually have been less hurt if they took the stereo.

Yarn Along for the end of October

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Mellow greetings!  Please bear with me as I continue my search for a new background look to ye old blog.  I think I’ve changed it three times since the summer.  Ah well, it’s that time of year for Fall cleaning, and I’ve been repainting, so it’s just par for the course I guess. 😉

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Weird glowy aura effect, pumpkins look pale and dreadful…. wow, what a lousy project picture! Why am I even compelled to post this?

Meanwhile, the knitting. Oh me oh my, I’ve had to redo the yoke for Armas three times.  I think I’ve finally got it.  Now I’m treading uncharted waters… or rather, charted waters, because this is the first ever project I’ve done that has a chart but no line-by-line written instructions to translate my way safely through it.  I’ve found some tips from Ravelryers who have gone before me down this road, and I’m grateful for them.  However, I’m alternately confident and petrified about continuing!  But continue I will because 1) I haven’t found a sweater pattern for my husband that I liked better and 2) I have 16 balls of grey Icelandic wool yarn in my stash and if I use it up, I’ll have an excuse to buy more yarn!  Because as we all know:

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 Meanwhile, I have been doing some reading besides mulling through pre-Christmas magazines and catalogs, since those seem to come starting mid-October.  I read Hannah Fowler by Janice Holt Giles, and really enjoyed it.  Since Leila explained it admirably I’m linking you there.  Another gem of the fiction world I read cover-to-cover and back again (same with HF) was The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer.  It toppled The Reluctant Widow for my favorite Heyer novel. What a lark!

In between times I have actually done some serious reading and bought Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child.  It was written by a homeschooling mother of severely disabled twins and describes how a classical based education helped the children (now grown) and emphasizes why these people society deems useless still benefit from and indeed deserve the best education we can offer them, even if we are tailoring great art and fine music to a basic level.  Although we use a different style of homeschooling than the author, it was a breath of fresh air to read this book.  It reminded me again why we chose this road for Trooper (and Sunshine, too).

So there we have it for this week!

Yarn Along & P, H, F, R for week without my phone’s camera

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So, I had a blogpost in my mind and I had pictures for it.  Then, the preschooler accidentally tossed my phone into the loo for reasons beyond my comprehension.  The benefit for me is that I am learning to use and definitely love our standard camera again. This is what I’ve come up with for today’s post.

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 Mulled cider candle: the answer to the question, “Can anything good come from Wal-Mart?” 

Hot Cinnamon Spice tea… liquid autumn?  I put that on my Amazon subscribe and save list.  Next month I might just have to get two tins.  Haus Meister and I will be done with this one well before October.

Yes, I was in total denial of summer that night.  Why do you ask?

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My Princess.  “Did you get my picture yet, Mom?”

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 I am still waiting for an excuse to open this.  The wrapper is too hilarious, the thought too funny.  I would hate to use this prematurely.

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My knitting for the past two weeks.  Now I’m back to where I was two weeks ago when I had to restart the project.  But the cold nights are coming and as you can see I’m getting ready for it.

Actually, after Littlest arrived I went on a parenting binge-read, brushing up on all my special needs mommy reading and reading up on babies who didn’t gain weight right away and would formula use damage her, etc etc etc and officially burned myself out of any serious reading for the nonce.

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The flowers that replaced the dead tomato plants on our porch.

I am still in utter denial that it is 84 degrees out there.

Yarn Along & Tasha Tudor

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August 28th is the 99th birthday of the late Tasha Tudor.  This must be nostalgia week for me because I’ve been hashing out memories with people for the last few days.  Today I’m remembering the time when I was in the midst of my first readings of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series.  I was around 8 or 9, and we were at my grandma’s house.  My mom brought me over to the bookshelves–the same ones we used now to make our Tasha Tudor-esque dollhouse for our daughters–and pulled A Time to Keep off the shelf. 

“This is a Tasha Tudor book,” Mom said in a hushed and reverent tone, or at least so it seemed to me then.  It was before the days of Amazon and eBay, and the local bookstores so rarely carried anything by Tasha when we were by.  This meant the book was extra incredibly special, irreplaceable at the time.  She opened it and handed it to me and I was instantly transported into Tasha’s world of the 1830s.  I was fascinated at the rhythm of her seasons, at the costumes and the corgi dogs. I often returned to the book when at Grandma’s, and now I’m just as much a collector as my Mom (in fact, probably more, for books are my guilty indulgence). Haus Meister even found me the coveted Tudor-illustrated Little Women for Christmas one year. If you think I exaggerate that it’s coveted you didn’t have the ill luck I did over several eBay bids. Still, I must confess, A Time to Keep is my favorite.

So, a happy birthday to dear Ms. Tudor and I’ll drink my nighttime tea in her honor tonight.

Now for the knitting. Armas hasn’t gotten very far, mainly because I misread an instruction and only discovered my error 3″ into the collar. Out it all came and now I’m just trying to catch back up. Getting there, slowly but surely. I do not think it will be a birthday sweater at this rate. 😉

 

 

Yarn-Along: Finally Finished (more or less)!

 

 

 

On Sunday I bound off the Follow-Your-Arrow shawl. Whew.

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I’ll soon be wet-blocking it, as soon as I can figure out where I hid my lace blocking wires from the Mischief Squad….

Meanwhile, on to the next large project! Meet Armas, a pattern that I picked out because it was made with the very brand of Icelandic wool yarn that Haus Meister bought me for Christmas almost two years ago. I joked that if I had enough knitting time I could finish it by his September birthday. Or Christmas. Or realistically, our anniversary next May. 😉

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I have 16 skeins of this yarn waiting to be used. What a spree I’m going to have when they’re out of my cupboard, just trying to fill the space again!

Yarn Along: Completed WIP!

 

I called this my frivolous project because it’s not something I plan on wearing all the time. In fact, I mainly thought of fall and winter. At home. With my morning coffee or nightly tea.

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But back when I received the 2011 issue of Jane Austen Knits, I saw the picture of the “short stays” and thought of one of my favorites–a vintage linen nightgown with crochet yoke, decades old but wearable still, and I wanted to pair these together.

And today, I finally did!

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The lighting makes the yarn look dark, but it’s really a lovely wine color. I can hardly believe I began the project a year ago and, picking it up again for the first time since October or November, I couldn’t believe how quickly I was able to finish it.

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Sunday on the way to and from Mass; in the speech therapy office waiting for Trooper and Sunshine; at the pool with Rascal, Dino, and Princess; and a little last night after they were all in bed and again this morning and voila! All I have left to do is block it, which I will begin after signing off.

back view--and yes, it's supposed to be off-center.
back view–and yes, it’s supposed to be off-center.

That was all! I wish I had finished it last year. I do not like having WIPs hanging around and am glad to check another one off the list. 🙂

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Plus, I finally completed a project out of one of the Jane Austen Knits magazines and, as I’ve collected them all, I no longer feel guilty if they publish another to ask for it since yes, I do intend to use it! 😉

P, H, F, R and Yarn Along

 

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 I missed last week’s link up by 4 minutes, so I’m adding it to this week’s lineup as we scramble around cleaning up for the 4th of July holiday and grandparents’ visit! Have a wonderful weekend if I don’t tune in again before then!

Pretty

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This is the “Ordinary Time” look for the foyer dry sink top. I decided to make it an icon place so that it didn’t become a dump spot for all sorts of junk, which is what had been happening. The shawl doesn’t stay there normally. 😉 I put it there for the picture and also because The Little Oratory is one of the books I’ve been reading lately, as well as some Wodehouse and Heyer and the latest issue of The English Home and Piecework. I like taking The Little Oratory a chapter at a time and absorbing it that way, rather than my usual speed read.

I’m only on row 13, Clue 5A of the shawl. Swim practices have been rained out, babysitting schedules change. Ah well, that’s life. At least I’m still getting some knitting in!

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Ice cream was buy 1 get 1 free last week. We got two of the vanilla and then the flavors. That Blueberry one is terrific. I could eat a whole tub of it, but I’m being good at the moment.

Funny

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One afternoon as I changed Littlest, Posey Pie came in my room and decided to play in this square of sunshine for a while. She literally didn’t budge from that square, standing, sitting, rolling, laughing, for about ten minutes.

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Have you discovered ThredUp yet? Please allow me to invite you. (Of course, if you’re as avid a reader of Ginny’s blog as I am, you’ll already have gotten her invite–in fact, that’s how I got on the bandwagon) I’ve been having a blast updating my postpartum wardrobe here (and ebay), because I’m frugal/a cheapskate/ parsimonious / whatever and I like getting deals on clothes. I can shop here for the kids and myself and get pretty good deals. The problem I find though is that when I do get a good deal on something, I balk when I have to pay full price on something else–like an accessory item. This week I was bemoaning the price on scarves because of a deal I got on a dress. Haus Meister was laughing in his sleeve at me, but later I texted him that I’d raided my fabric stash and thrifted the hem of a worn out pregnancy blouse and created an infinity scarf out of it.

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That was the one time I got it to work on my hair. It works better worn around my neck.

I think I’m just a nut.

🙂

Yarn-Along, poolside week 1

 

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Last week I turned the corner. I made it onto the Clue 5A page! Huzzah!

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Right now I’m working on row 7, Clue 5A. This is where I’m going to be doing most of my knitting this summer, I hope. 🙂 Our neighborhood pool opened up and I have three swimmers signed up for the neighborhood swim team. This means practice nearly every day, and this year we have a reasonable chance of making most of those practices. I simply pack up the knitting bag, the towels, the water bottles, remind the kids to put on SHOES, bundle Littlest into her carseat and pop that onto the double stroller and then we head to the pool. I could so get used to this. The toddlers stay home, by the way, which is why I get some time to knit. Keeping Miss M from trying to join the swim team three years early partly prompted the decision. 😉 An Aunt home from college desperate for spare cash and willing to babysit was the other factor. 😉

Reading-wise, I’m joining in on Summer in the Little Oratory.

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And on an unrelated light reading topic, I enjoyed Return of Zita the Spacegirl. I so needed that bit of humor during the ups and downs of Littlest’s first weeks home. It was a welcome relief from all the internet research I was doing on topics like Is It Thrush? and How Not to feel like a Heel because You’re Having to Formula Feed Your Baby. Fortunately the thrush is clearing up wonderfully and she’s been finally packing on weight so I’m breathing easier and haunting the internet much less.

Much less, of course, unless it’s an ambitious topic like this. 😉

Yarn-Along: Baby edition

Dusting off the cobwebs that settled here during my blogging absence.  Ok…..done. 🙂

I didn’t expect to stay at the hospital when my friends brought me on May 1, but I grabbed my Follow-Your-Arrow shawl as we headed out the door, just in case. How fortunate I did so! Not only was Littlest on her way, but we would end up being at the hospital all day May 2, 3, and then unexpectedly May 4 when she had a problem with jaundice. Now the beauty would be if I were able to tell you that I had finished the shawl, but alas, such is not the case. On the other hand, I got quite a lot more done than I would otherwise have been able.

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First, though, there were yarn balls that had unravelled/been unravelled by The Mischief Squad. And there were four podcasts from the Restore Workshop that I had been unable to listen to at home, so part of that Saturday in the hospital was spent untangling the yarn while listening to them. What a blessing in disguise that was–I had felt so bad that I couldn’t listen to the podcasts at home, as I never seemed to have a whole hour free to enjoy any of them after the first one. Now I had ample free time and gave myself a mini-retreat! Later in the day our parish priest stopped by to give me Holy Communion as I wouldn’t be out of the hospital for Sunday Mass. I considered it a day of grace, let me tell you.

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I took this picture especially for Yarn Along. There’s Ginny’s podcast, my Jane Austen puzzle book, my shawl & the bag, and on the chair in the background are two issues of Tea Time that my dear friend left for me.

Unfortunately, in the euphoria of the day (or postpartum mama brain freeze), I wasn’t reading my knitting chart correctly. Up to row 16 there was the general instruction to purl a certain amount of stitches on the WS row. At row 16 that changed. Meanwhile, I blithely went along not seeing this, added an unnecessary purl row in between rows 15, 16, and 17, and didn’t realize my mistake until I had started row 18. This was Sunday at that point, and so I had to take out everything back to row 15! That was painful but had to be done, after all. The cloud had a silver lining because I was able to stretch out the shawl on the hospital bed and see my progress better than I had ever been able to before.

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Excuse blue glow from bilirubin lights. I have made many a small mistake in my progress but overall I am pleased with the shawl. I was able to get it all back on the needles and knitted rows 16-19 before leaving the hospital. I couldn’t make more progress on Sunday than that, as someone was not fond of her bilirubin “tanning bed” and liked having my hand near for comfort.

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How could I blame her? She spent most of Saturday swaddled and sleeping on my chest while I knitted. Sunday she had to lay unswaddled under blue lights. We made up for that, though, and since she’s come home she gets held quite a lot by many eager and loving arms. Miss M is the loudest in proclaiming it’s “her turn.”

With a few more doctor visits to check bilirubin levels and weight (for her), and the start of the return to normalcy (for me), I’m afraid my knitting went by the wayside for a week. On Sunday I sped through row 20 and yesterday began row 21. So close to the end here, so close…

Meanwhile I took a return to childhood for my reading over this past week. While my sister was here staying with us she drove me around and twice we had the indulgence of going to our favorite bookstore in town (the buy/sell/trade used variety, where treasures can be found for as low as 25cents sometimes). As Rascal’s reading skills have improved incredibly since last year, I wanted there to be a ton of choices for him to while away the lazy hours of our humid Southern summer, so I found myself going back in time to my own summers between grade school years and brought home some Beverly Cleary books and various other titles that I will expand upon in another post. And of course, I read many of them to see if they were as good as I remembered, back in the days of Chef Boyardee lunches and fig newton snacks, taking a break from riding my pink bike with the neon colored popping things on the spokes of the tires, the hum of the window air conditioner in the background with Kool-Aid in my cup. And oh yes, they were every bit as good. Even with my grown-up cup of coffee.

Yarn Along–End of April

Yesterday at my weekly appointment the midwife gave me the warning that it could be this weekend, it could be next week, but “take it easy.” That command never fails to bring me to laughter, even if the laughter is inward. 😉 So I took the precaution of packing my hospital bag, thus ensuring I’ll hang in here until 41.5 weeks.

So, in my hospital bag rests the yarn for Littlest’s blanket. I’m on row 15 Clue 4B on the Follow-Your-Arrow shawl, and I’ll bring it to the hospital too. Here’s also a fun book I found that I’m going to finish during our stay. I wanted to link to it in case you dear readers needed a Mother’s Day gift for an Austen fan.:)  It’s a great little collection of puzzles.

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Now for the blanket. Here’s my yarn:

“Clarity”
“Sagebrush”
“Gosling”

 

This is the pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/happy-place-baby-blanket

That originally called for four yarns, and I do have a few skeins of Lichen that came with the others in a bundle,

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but I wasn’t sure whether to add it or just make a combination of those three colors. What do you think?

AAANNNND if you want to know why I like these colors for my baby girl’s blanket, even though it’s neutral enough for a boy, just read the last lines of Sarah, Plain and Tall.