Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Green day!

Is it really already the end of May? How did that happen? So I guess today's the last day to get in all of the Project Spectrum Green shots in. So here we go...

Julian got to experience grass for the first time on the weekend at his grandparents' house. It was so cute. He kept trying to pull out individual blades of grass. Of course he had never sat in grass before because our own house sits in a sandbox! So imagine our delight on Monday morning when our landscaper showed up to lay the grass. It's so exciting!!! Here's what our front yard looks like now...

And part of the back:

Any thoughts on what this is?

It's a leaf canopy above Julian's crib ($10 each at Ikea).

I thought I'd show you Julian's nursery since it is green. The colour is called "limelight" from Behr and we all love it. It is very light but has and enveloping presence in there especially in the morning glow.

Here is a picture of Julian's future big boy bed. It is actually Stephen's childhood bed so it has an extra sentimental quality to it. You might recognise the quilt as the background for all my FO pictures. Like I said, the light is amazing in there ;0)

And for the grand finale: the official colour of the month book shot:

Goodbye green. Hello blue...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

An annypurls original

I've been dreaming about having a knitting related business for sometime, but it's been one of those dreams that seems so big and so out there that I feel silly even mentioning it. But there. I said it. I'd love to have an annypurls label someday. I'd knit beautiful baby garments and blankies and toys of my own design and sell them in a beautiful swanky online shop programmed by my dear husband. And all while staying at home and raising my family (I'm destined to have 6 kids, y'know!). I wouldn't be looking to make a living this way to be sure, but perhaps a few hundred dollars here and there to help my husband support our family.

The first step in making this dream come true is to design my own babywear. It just wouldn't feel right to be making money off of somebody elses' creative work (it is perhaps even illegal?). This is why this little kimono and cap, which may look like not much to some, means a lot to me. You see, it is my first original design! I worked it out all by myself. From scratch. I sketched. I swatched. I whipped out the calculator. I winged parts of it. And I learned so many new techniques to make sure that it would live up to everything I would hope annypurls to be: cute, classic, simple, thoughtful, and impecably finished. It's a glimmer of hope about what's possible...someday.

In the process, my husband and I learned to hem. All the edges (sleeves, neck band, and bottom edge) have all been hemmed. Above is a picture of the inside finishing and a close-up of the raglan detail on the front for which I learned a new increase (knitting into the back of the stitch below the next one). Oh, and did I mention the whole thing is seamless? I even learned to weave in ends invisibly for this one (I've been doing it wrong this whole time). I learned how to do a tubular cast-on for the cap (see below) which is wonderfully stretchy and impecable. I learned how to do it from Amelia Raitte's brilliant tutorial.

Perhaps the most terrifying thing I learned (and also the most genius thing I've ever heard of) is Elizabeth Zimmerman's afterthought buttonhole. I didn't know how I would fasten this baby as I was knitting it up and when it was done I got the idea for the toggle button (plus I had just one left over from Julian's paletot jacket so I think it was meant to be) but I had not inserted a button hole anywhere to accomodate it. Elizabeth's technique (from her Knitting Without Tears book - if you don't have it yet, you simply MUST get it!) saved the day.

The idea is to snip the middle stitch of where you want the buttonhole to be (very scary), unravel about 3 loops on the top and 3 on the bottom (I ended up unravelling 4 on each side to accomodate my oversized button), cast them off and weave in the super tiny 'ends'. Above is a photo of the front post-snip and below is a photo of the reverse side with the teeny ends I speak of. Scary, eh? It's like open knit surgery!

I even think I improved on the technique - I just pulled the loops over each other in order all the way around the 'buttonhole' picking up a stitch on either end to finish it off, pull one of the tiny snipped ends through the last loop to secure it and then wove up the teeny tiny ends by inserting the needle in and out before threading it (the ends were about an inch and a half long!). The resulting buttonhole is very sturdy and pretty...definately doesn't look like and afterthought! Neat, eh?

Can you tell I'm proud of this one? Now if only I can remember the pattern ;0) I didn't take any notes while actually knitting the kimono so all I have are rough sketches and tension figures! So my next challenge is to actually write it up. And of course, I'll share it with you when I do.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

He's taken, ladies!

A very smart lady* once said "If you find a non-knitter who thinks what you do is clever, beautiful, and artistic; who never asks for knitted stuff but wears it with pride when you give it to him; and will help you carry home a whole fleece or a stack of stitch dictionaries without once implying that you might want to get a grip -- marry that person."

Well, I did! Even without prior knowledge I might add since I started to knit like a crazy person after we said our vows. He also reads Harlot, knows what all my knitterly blog friends are working on at any one time, enables pure Olympic craziness and has memorised grafting instructions which he recites as I graft my socks closed! But yesterday, he did something even more astonishing.

Yup, he's sewing up a knitted hem! I was lamenting that it was taking forever, showed him what I was doing and he volunteered to finish it for me. And he did. And he did a really neat job too! Astonishing, eh? Back off ladies, he's spoken for ;0) I watched in awe for a little while, but had to go feed the little guy who was starting to literally eat my skirt! What a cutie! When Julian and I were done, so was the finishing on the baby kimono! What a great trick.

I finished knitting up the sleeves during Conan O'Brian late last night and hemmed them. Then this morning as I got ready to photograph it for you all I noticed this:

Darn photos! Notice the shorty sleeve? Of course I noticed it after sewing it up hem and all and super neatly weaving in all the ends. Argh! I took a little break from it and was able to fix it during Julian's afternoon nap. It wasn't as frustrating as I expected it to be. Now all I need to do is think of a way to finish up the neck band and to fasten it. I need to "cute-ify" it. Maybe a bunny ear hat?

I'm on it ;0)

*The Yarn Harlot herself on page 8 of her latest book, Knitting Rules!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Upside down!

It's like my boss used to say: "If your nose runs and your feet smell, you must be built upside down" ;0) I have a cold. Boo. Julian woke up with congestion in his chest on Saturday and was all better yesterday...after passing it on to me of course. He's really getting good at sharing! I'm usually a very laid back, easy going, happy go lucky person. Except when I have a cold: then I become very whiny and complainy. It's a good thing I don't get sick very often. Daddy was marvelous (as always) and really pampered me yesterday and I'm starting to feel better. So I started working on this last night.

It's my first original pattern and I have no idea if it is going to work yet. I've been looking for a top-down, seamless pattern for a baby kimono and haven't found one to my liking yet. Oh, and I also want to knit it in worsted weight. And I want it to be cute (of course) and gender-neutral for baby shower gift-giving. Since I couldn't find it anywhere, I decided to try to figure it out on my own and so far so good! Well except that I just ran out of white yarn (maybe daddy'll pick some up for me on his way home). Did you notice my new stitch markers? They arrived all the way from Scotland this morning and I love them. They're so cute and very cherry. Here's a close-up:

Since I'm out of yarn, perhaps I'll start a new pair of socks. Is it wrong to buy shoes because you think they match some of your stash sock yarn? Well they also match Julian's stroller ;0) Plus after some diliberation, Stephen and I both thought that they were "good" weird!

They're so nice and comfy and are actually legit sports shoes by Ecco. I've never heard of that brand before so just figured they were sporty looking street shoes but apparantly not. They actually offer the right support for athletics. Wow! That's pretty cool. Of course I don't exercise anyway but now that I have Mary Jane runners...


Friday, May 19, 2006


Is Sesame Street big in your house? It's huge in ours. Julian and I watch it together in the morning while we eat our Cheerios and then when daddy comes home from work, he'll often put it on and we all watch it together, again! Julian loves Slimey, Oscar's pet worm. He'll stop and drop everything as soon as he hears Slimey ask Oscar to "read! read!" It's too cute. So I decided to try my hand at knitting and felting a Slimey hand puppet to read with us at bedtime. It was my first felting experience and it turned out better than I'd hoped. Julian and daddy like it too!

I started out knitting a 50 stitch tube on US6 DPNs using Elann's Peruvian Collection Highland Wool starting with orange and alternating with a yellow stripe every 10 rows. After 9 stripes (ending with an orange stripe), I put 25 stitches on a holder and worked back and forth in stocking stitch with the orange on the other 25 stitches casting off stitches on the either side as follows: *cast off 1 stitch on either side of rows 11, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22 and 2 stitches on either side of rows 23 and 24. Cast off remaining stitches.* Repeat with the 25 stitches waiting on the holder. Using red yarn, make 2 semi-circles for the inside of the mouth by casting on 25 stitches for each and following the instructions between the asterisks above. Make 2. Note that I knitted in a tongue one on of the red mouth pieces using the intarsia method. The tongue is basically an upside down heart with a rounded bottom. I totally winged it. Then I sewed it all together and ended up with a 14 inch long Slimey hand puppet. Easy peasy!

Now for the fun part, I decided to try my hand at felting. I filled a bathroom sink with piping hot tap water and some dish soap and let the puppet soak for a minute or two while I raided the kitchen for impromptu tools to help with the felting process.

I found two winners! I was really impressed with how well the inside on the salad spinner worked. Ours is made by Oxo and has rounded plastic circles that don't snag the yarn but have great felting ability. I rubbed the wet puppet on it repeatedly for about 30 minutes. The other winning tool is the strainer perfect for the inside of the mouth and other smaller bits or when you get tired of using the salad spinner insert.

Every once in a while (when my hands got tired, I would wring the puppet and put it in the other sink (having two bathroom sinks is great for felting!) which was filled with ice cold water (and ice!) to shock it. I have no idea if this made any difference in the felting process but it did give me poor hands a bit of a rest every once in a while.

Tada! It's a Slimey! And it actually looks like Slimey! But it's a tad too small. It works fine but would be a little more comfortable for daddy if it was a tad larger. I made the eyes by casting on 14 stitches of worsted weight black yarn (I used acrylic for extra shine) on the tiniest needles I could find (US 2) using a provisional cast on. Knit 9 rows of stocking stitch. Cut the yarn, weaved it through the stitches with a needle and pulled them tight, seamed up the side, pulled out the provisional cast-on and weaved the end through those loops as well, filled the eyeball with as much black yarn as possible for a nice round sphere, pulled the end really tight to close and sewed it on to the puppet. Repeat for the other eyeball and voila!

Reeead! Reead!

PS: Ever get a Sesame Street song in your head but don't know the words? If you're like me, you need to learn the words to get the song out of your head so here's a great resource and sanity saver for you: Sesame Street Lyrics ;0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Warming Justin

I finished my square for the Warming Justin (Grace's way future husband) project on Monday night and mailed it off yesterday. I was inspired by the Mason*Dixon washrag pattern for the igloo and then the finger puppet penguin was a natural fit from there. I hope Cynthia can use it and that Justin likes it too ;0)

Yesterday was a no knitting day for me (not even a little bit). It was my sister's last day in Montreal. She was leaving today to go spend the summer with her in-laws in Algeria. Her 5 year old has been there since Christmas and she just couldn't wait any longer to be reunited with him. My brother-in-law is staying here with my 14 year old neice until school is out for the summer and then off they go as well. They'll all spend the summer there and return at the end of August.

I'm really happy and excited for them all, but will miss 'em lots. I'm really close to my sister and will find it hard to not be able to just pick up the phone and call her with a billion quick questions. We're all going to miss that I think. She's like the glue that holds everything (and everyone) together in my family and I really don't know how we'll make it through the summer without her.

We had a great last day together though. She shared her hair-dresser with me and what a find! I hadn't had my hair cut in a really long time and though I didn't really see it, I now realise that I was starting to "let myself go" as they say. Mommyhood has a way of doing that to you. The stylish new hair has had such an incredible impact on my state of mind already. I feel much lighter and hipper and energetic.

And as if that wasn't enough, I had an awesome shopping day too. You know the kind: you find lots of cute stuff, it actually fits right and happens to be on sale to boot! Needless to say my card is still smoking from all the action. Then we hit the cosmetics aisle at the drugstore and bought lots of fun new make-up. I dolled myself up when I got home with my new duds and do and was surprised to find the old Anny staring back at me! And I liked it. I've spent so long in my mommy uniform of khakis, tees and loafers with my lazy air-dried hair that I actually didn't remember what I used to look like back when I actually put some care and thought into how I presented myself to the world. Imagine that ;0)

It's great to be back!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday, eleven thirty pm

What a day. What a glorious day! Ever have one of those days when everything just feels right in the world? Like it's a good place? And life is wonderful? And you are so grateful? So so grateful? Well I'm having one of those days. First, meet my yarn tribute to Shmootzy, my husband's beloved family kitty who sadly passed away just a few short weeks ago.

I knit her from this pattern using some Peruvian Alpaca I've had in the stash forever. The gray leftovers were sent to Darla who has just realised that she is going to be one ball short of the stuff for a sweater she's been knitting for her husband. Turns out the stuff is no longer available and luckily, she found it in my stash through a google search since I had flashed my entire stash for Flash your Stash Day way back in April.

How cool is that? So I sent it to her wishing for some good knitting Karma in return and I feel I got it in knitting Schmootz. She was fun and quick to knit, is a perfect use for the stash alpaca, cheered up my husband and is cute to boot ;0) And now I don't have to worry about what I'm gonna knit with 1 ball of the stuff now that it's found a better home.

This was my first official mother's day and boy did daddy treat me. I sent him out to run some errands yesterday and he returned with an lunch and an ice cappucino, a dozen cream roses and a red one from Jujube, some yummy strawberry turnovers, and all of the supplies for rigatoni with meat sauce and garlic bread...which he made! He also let me pick out some fancy stitch markers which we ordered last night. Aren't they great? Oh, and I also picked up a bunch from this place ...soooo cuuute! What a guy! I hope I can make him feel as loved and special on father's day ;0)

After church today, we went to lunch with Stephen's family which was great. I was really glad we made it to church because we got to see a family friend before she left for South Africa. She is a nurse leaving on a one year mission to an ophanage to care for children living with AIDS. Her compassion is so inspiring. The priest gave her a special blessing at the end of the mass and then parishioners kept coming to see her to offer money from their pockets, suitcases, supplies, offers to pay for shipping if she couldn't fit all the donations in her suitcase, etc... Really, it was a beautiful thing. People are kind and generous and giving when moved to do so.

Speaking of which, Cynthia urgently needs blue 5 inch squares for Warming Justin (Grace's friend at the Alberta Children's Hospital). Justin has liver cancer and is living on borrowed time. Cynthia wants to put together a blanket for him and needs to get 63 blue squares this week. Wanna help? Go see her!

Finally, I thought I'd show you what the floor next to our bed looks like at 11:30pm on a Sunday night. What a mess! The background blue fabric is a giant japanese mat we put down there in case Julian falls out of our bed again (yup, he still sleeps with us), then there's tons of knitting books and magazines, the knitting bag I use to carry stuff from the living room to my room and back again throughout the day which currently contains my planned igloo square for Cynthia, the white project is a rooster idea I had (the red and yellow yarn will hopefully cement the idea), then of course my purse, yesterday's jeans and belt, Peter Rabbit and the new Martha Stewart magazine. And to my right lays my sleeping beauty (see photo above).

Now if I could only keep the slumber at bay long enough to figure out how to turn a dishrag into an igloo!

Oh, and last thing, for real this time: how cool is this? Sure made me feel really special. Thanks Beth J., whoever you are ;0)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Lemon meringue shoes

Remember the tiny little daisy mary janes I knit last week? Off to the gift pile they went since I didn't know anyone who was expecting a pink!

Well it turns out I did know someone expecting a pink: Froggie Meanie! So naturally I've got to send them her way. I'm considering it part of Julian's dowry. You see, Renee's got two baby girls and they're the only 2 I know of Julian's generation so I figured it would be a good idea to get in there early and try to woo them on his know, until he can do so on his own. LOL!!! Just kidding. He's staying with his mama forever and ever ;0)

I thought I'd try knitting a bigger pair of shoes for Claire too, the new baby's sweetest older sister. I used the same pattern from She's Crafty but used worsted weight cotton tots at a gauge of 19 st/4" instead of the recommended 30 st/4". The finished shoe is 5.5 inches long which according to this site is how long an 18-24 month old's feet are. They seem huge to me though, but I'm really bad guesstimating what will fit a growing baby. Everytime I go shopping for clothing for Julian, it seems so ginormous, like he'll never fit in them and yet sooner or later he can't fully extend his legs in those sleepers and getting onesies off is sometimes such a challenge that I swear he's grown up a size while wearing it!

Okay, back to the booties. It's really a feat that I didn't eat them. Yup, you read that right. I happen to have a thing for lemon meringue pie (my favourite). We bought a great new handsoap at a local discount store on the weekend and it has the sweetest, creamiest, freshest lemon scent I've ever had the pleasure to sniff and I've been washing my hands a frillion times a day since just so I can indulge in the sweet smell.

So while I was enjoying the scent and knitting up the bigger booties, they started to actually look like lemon meringue pie and it took and incredible amount of focus and self-restraint to keep from ripping out the needles and eating them whole ;0)

But I made it and so off they go to Claire and her baby sister. I hope they fit okay and that they like them as much as I do.

I hope I have the pleasure of a girly girl of my own someday. They're so fun to knit for!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Do you kazoo?

Jubilee Bubilee learned lots and lots of things last week. He learned to clap, drop balls in his toy behive, wave bye-bye, blow in a recorder, play castanets and perhaps most impressive off all, he learned to play the kazoo! Daddy showed him how to blow and vocalise at the same time in the kazoo and he just did it! Mozart composed his first piece at the age of 3 (I think) but has nothing on Julian, he's only 10 months old ;0)

Oh, and he eats cheerios too!

Wayne Dyer: Week 2

Today is Tuesday so no knitting here, but instead chapter 2 of Wayne Dyer's What do you really want for your children, our selection for the parenting book blog along. This week, Krista's provided some talking points. So here goes.

I loved reading this chapter. I found it really enlightening and helpful at the same time. I felt the author did a good job at describing the traps we can fall into as parents that lower our children's self-esteem and self-confidence.

My little guy is 10 months old so I don't have that much parenting experience yet but was pleasantly surprised that somehow, naturally, both my husband and I have managed to do lots of things right in this regard. This chapter also helped me understand and forgive myself for my own lack of self-esteem and self-confidence at times and motivated me to change those things by using tangible tools and strategies. To me, this chapter alone was worth the price of the book because though everything he says is common sense, he was able to describe it in a way that is tangible and meaningful and relatable. The relatability made all the difference for me.

Okay, so what are we doing right? We never deny Julian attention. We relentlessly hold and squish and hug him and we encourage him to try new things (like the kazoo) and praise him for trying. We tell him we love him everytime the thought crosses our mind (which is all the time) and also say things like "good job", "what a smart boy you are," "you are so clever," "you are beautiful to me," "you are a special little boy," etc. So lots of positive reinforcement. We also believe that a baby cannot be spoiled and have been quick to respond to his cries. But there are many other things that we could be doing better.

I found the tools for building self-confidence really useful. I like that he gives specific examples of what to say in certain circumstances. I have to be careful of falling into the "bad boy" trap. I've read and heard this one lots of times before so I've never told him he was a "bad boy" because it is not he who is bad, but rather the bahaviour.

The other thing I catch myself doing is speaking for him. Granted he can't speak for himself yet, but when we meet new people and he is unsure, I always feel band and make excuses for him saying things like "he's tired" or "he just woke up" to explain his lack of enthusiam when strangers come up to him and coo. I'll have to be careful of that as he gets older.

To sum up, I already do many little things that lower self-confidence and self-esteem and am motivated to changing those. I think I'll need to come back to this chapter often as he gets older because I know I will fall into some of these traps and just won't know how to get out of them. Luckily there are great strategies for avoiding them altogether.

Now for the hard part. Stephen and I need to work on becoming better role models of healthy living and a more active lifestyle. I think we need to do a better job at being positive and enjoying life more. We've both caught ourselves "coasting" at different times in our lives and I want Julian to have a greater lust for life than that. I know that we have to be those things so that he can learn to adopt these attitudes himself.

Krista asked if there was anything the author said that we disagree with and indeed there is. He talked a little about children not being apprentice people in the intro and touched on it a little in the first chapter. I didn't really get it then and though he went into more details in this chapter (p. 60) I still don't really understand this. They are apprentice people. Aren't they? Isn't that why they need parents? To teach them and help them fulfill their potential? I agree with him that we shouldn't expect our children to act as adults or reprimand them for doing things that are age appropriate. No arguments here.

So love and appreciate them as they are (I get that part) but I disagree when he says they are fully developed people. They're not. Julian is a complete 10 month old. But I don't think of him as a complete person. There are still many things to learn and much psycho social development to occur before I can begin to think of him in those terms. In the meantime. He's an infant that needs our care and guidance to grow and learn and I see all this learning and development as a means to a very necessary end of becoming a fully functioning adult who is successful, loves God, and serves humanity. I feel he is our apprentice in that sense. So what am I missing?

Maybe it is just me!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday miscellany

First, I feel I should warn you that my recent knitting projects are BRIGHT! I'm talking day-glow bright. Check out these socks:

Remind you of anything? Oh, I don't know, how about Newfoundland? The rock? The yarn is Regia's Canadian line. Each province has it's own colourway and this one, well this one is Newfoundland. Granted, I've never been to Newfoundland but if I had to describe it as a colour, this carnival and bubble gum colour would not be it! Dontcha just love it though? I predict that these will be my new favourite socks. I love how the stripes are of different widths and there's nothing I love more these days than orange and pink together so: Go Newfoundland!!! Oh, why didn't I get the Quebec colourway and show some provincial pride? Quebec sucks! Well the Regia Quebec anyway. Newfoundland is much better! (Nova S cotia is nice too ;0)

Speaking of orange and pink. Here's my finished Mason*Dixon washrag. I was so eager to finish it that I cast off a full repeat too soon. Oops! It's still a good size though so it's fine. Just like I thought, there's lots of Sugar'n'cream leftover...probably enough for one or two more of these.

We participated in the Bell Walk for Kids yesterday and had lots of fun. Julian even met the CFCF12 mascot (though he was asleep in the stroller for all the other mascots). Stephen and I have been participating in the walk for 4 years and are really supportive of the cause, esapecially now that we have a child of our own. The walk is in support of Kids Help Phone which is an anonymous counselling service for kids and teens of any age.

I saw a lot of colleagues there too (I work for Bell) and it was really nice to catch up with everyone. I'm really sad to be going back to work and will greatly miss spending all this time with my Jubilee Bubilee but would be lying if I said I wasn't also looking forward to going back to work.

Of course, the whole return is being made easier by my mother-in-law who is taking a sabbatical from her gradeschool teaching career to care for Julian next year. She is just so excited about it. My father-in-law is retired and will also enjoy spending time with the little guy. It's going to be great! She's even going to pick him up in the morning so we won't have to rush him in the morning and he can just wake up when he pleases. We're really lucky. And also very grateful!

Well, tomorrow is Parenting Book Blog Along day so I better go find a quiet spot and read the next chapter in the book. It's a long one too ;0)


Friday, May 05, 2006

Daisies and Mason*Dixon

Ta-da! I finished my daisy last night and adorned it with daisies this morning. I stopped myself at 3 and am happy with it. I also machine washed and dried it and gave it a good steaming and turns out that the cotton tots is pretty okay afterall. It's still a little numbly but the softness and easy care make up for it.

I finished the hood late last night after my husband fell asleep with the little one and had to wake him up (the hubby) extra early this morning to help me with the grafting. Yup, that's right, my husband is my grafting secret. Just can't do it without him! He reads the instructions to me as I graft and totally astonished me at 6 am this morning when, after grafting about half of the stitches, he put down the book and continued to give me instructions from memory! He's actually figured it out. I think that now that he understands the grafting logic enough to instruct me from memory, he should get started on a little grafting help program so that I can manage to finish my socks on my own without waking him up extra early!!! I could tell the wheels were turning so say tuned...

I started knitting my first dishrag this morning. It's the ballband dishrag from Mason*Dixon Knitting and it's knitting up so fast and the slip stitch pattern is so clever. I bought the day-glow orange and pink Sugar'n Cream from Mary Maxim (see sidebar for link to shop) specifically for this dishrag and since I have no other purpose for it, I'll keep making dishrags 'til its gone.

I bought the book as soon as it was available (I had it on pre-order) and must say that I was a little disappointed when I got it because while the writing style is so puny and great and the patterns and ideas are so original, there's not much in there I'd actually knit. And the things I think are cool are just so involved that I don't think I could commit to them long enought to finish them. Case in point, the mitered square bed cover.

How cool is that? Maybe I will be tempted to knit it someday because I really love it, but what I really want is for someone else to knit it give it to me as a present! And this, of course, would only happen in my alternate universe! I love the caption on the bottom of that photo in the book though. It says "don't be shy about letting company see that you've knitted an entire bedspread. (They already know you're crazy.)"

Another really cool idea I may work on if ever I'm pregnant and on bedrest! Is the aptly named 'moses basket - ambitious grandmother version'. I do have a basket though that I got for Julian which would be perfect with a handknit liner. Hmmm. If only time stood still!

Have a great weekend ;0)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Daisies everywhere?

Okay. I really have to get serious about stashbusting. So many projects, so little time! I've had two balls of Bernat cotton tots in the stash from my 'learning to knit' days and I searched and searched and searched for the perfect project to use it all up. Then I found Daisy (from knitty). And it's just right for the cotton tots. Right gauge. Right quantity.

I've finished the body and sleeves and am now knitting the hood. I'm knitting the smallest size and think that two balls will be more than enough to finish it. I was able to knit the body and one sleeve with a single ball of the stuff so I think I'll make it. Now I have to decide whether I like it plain, which is nice and gender neutral, or whether I want to embroider on the daisies?

This is another one for the gift pile so gender neutrality would be a big plus. But how cute are the daisies? They would add so much sweetness to the otherwise very plain and boring hoodie! What to do, what to do? Did I mention I have just a few yards of white cotton tots left from another project which would be just enough for subtle daisies? Oh, and also, I have the cutest little daisy buttons. Hmmmm...

I'm feeling so much knitting pressure these days because my days at home are counted. My maternity leave ends just a week after Julian's first birthday so I have less than two months left to enjoy my little bundle of joy and to knit my little heart out during naptime. Once I'm back at the office, I'll still get to knit on the train and in the evenings after we put the little guy to sleep but projects will take longer to complete and so there will be much fewer FO's.

And my stash is huge!

Ps. I never do enough of this, but wanted to thank all of you commenters out there. You are always so encouraging and supportive and make my day, everyday. Blogger doesn't collect e-mail addresses for commenters (if you've found a way to do that please, please, please let me know how) so I don't often respond, but wanted to acknowledge and thank you for taking the time. Like many of you stay at home moms out there, I really appreciate the interaction with grown-ups! So thanks ;0)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Flying woman

What a dreary week it's been so far. It's all rain all the time around these parts. And Julian is especially clingy so I haven't had time to do much, but I did finish these adorable little mary janes.

I bought the pattern is from They are a quick and easy knit though I did have some issues with sizing. Either I garter much more tightly than I stocking stitch, Julian's feet are ginormous so it's hard for me to judge, or there's something wrong with the pattern!

I made the little daisies out of rick rack and I adore them. The instructions are from an old Martha Stewart Baby magazine. Basically, you cut a piece of rick rack with 16 points on the bottom, run a stitch in and out of each point, tighten, sew the first and last edge together, seal with fray-away and trim. Then sew a coordinating button in the center and voila! The most adorable daisy. Have you ever? I love it! Now I just have to wait for someone to expect a baby girl!

And now for a complete change of pace, my first entry for the parenting book blog along. Warning: no knitting content ahead!

Chapter 1: What do I want more than anything for my child?

I want him to know love (and self-love).
I want him to be happy.
I want him to feel valued.
I want him to embrace life.
I want him to take his place in the world.
I want him to be the change he wants to see.

These are the things I thought of when pondering the question posed by Wayne Dyer in the first chapter of What do you really want for your children? (the book I am reading as part of the parenting book blog-along).

I was amazed when I kept reading to find that in his experience, these are the same qualities all parents want for their children. And I wondered, is this new? Did our parents want this for us too? When I think of everyone I know, I don't see many no limit role models. Does this mean that our parents failed us? Or did they simply have other definitions of success?

My mother was a homemaker. And she was very unhappy. Most days, I came home from school to find her sitting at the kitchen table with coffee and cigarettes talking to someone about how horrible her life was, what a jerk my dad was, and how she really needed to win the lottery. She would see us come in (I have two older sisters), would tell whoever she was talking to to hold on a sec while she instructed us to vacuum or do laundry or start supper. Then my dad would come home, we'd eat supper quietly, do the dishes and retire to our rooms.

Her definition of parenting success (and she still prides herself for this parenting 'feat') is that we didn't become drug addicts or prostitutes and that we know how to clean house (my mother is an obsessive cleaner, at 60 she still cleans her kitchen floors with a toothbrush every other day despite being the only one in the house)!

I learned to be the almost no-limit person I think I am from TV. Since my parents didn't model no limit living for me, I learned most of these things from the tender moments at the end of the shows I watched as a child. You know, the end of every episode of The Little House on the Prairie or Full House or The Cosby Show when the sappy music starts and the main character learns an important life-lesson? I also learned this from God. And from my friends (and their parents) and teachers.

I am happy. I feel that I make my own luck and can savour the little (and the big) things that life has brought me. I am resilient in the face of troubles and manage to get through them quickly. I know that hard work will be rewarded even if it is just the self-satisfaction. I am proud of myself and of my accomplishments. I am confident. I believe that I can do anything and be whoever I want to be if I set my mind to it. I don't look to others to make me happy. I lead a simple life. I married a great man. A loving, caring, supportive, brilliant and fun-loving man. I am not petty or pretentious. I don't seek riches. I enjoy the things I have and am grateful for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. I make my own luck.

I said I was almost a no-limit person though. I have a flaw. I'm the flying woman.

I discovered this wonderful Brian Andreas verse before Christmas after coming across one of his prints on Krista's site. I instantly recognised myself in it when I saw it and sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. It says "For a long time she flew only when she thought no one else was watching." That's me. I can fly. I know that about myself. But I'm afraid to let others see for some totally irrational reason I don't know of yet.

So here's my big flaw: I live in a cocoon, a safe happy place I've created for myself ever since I was a child. This is where I exhibit all of my other no-limit characteristics. In my cocoon, I am self-loving, able and confident. But all of that fades away when I am in a social situation, especially if there are a lot of other people around. In those situations, I do a lot of smiling and nodding and count down the minutes in my head until I can go home to my cocoon. There are others in my cocoon. My husband and son, my family, my in-laws, a few colleagues and dear friends.

I've often tried to venture out of my cocoon but I really don't feel at ease there. Outside of my cocoon I freeze up, I worry about not knowing what to say, I feel like I have nothing to contribute and am in every way a shrinking violet. So I don't go there. My husband is the same way (though perhaps to a lesser extent). So I am worried that we will pass this on to our children, that we won't be able to model outgoingness (is that a word?) This I know is something we'll have to work on ourselves. I believe it is a gift that we give ourselves and our children.

I don't know what I am afraid of really, but for now I am perfectly happy flying around my cocoon. Brian Andreas' verse is also full of hope for me though which is the silver lining. "For a long time" implies that she eventually allows herself to fly even while others watch. I hope to be able to do this too as a gift to myself and to my children ;0)