more things i knit for other people’s babies: pumpkin hat!


So, knitting 2×2 rib over 120 sts on size 2 needles for 7 inches turns out to be…a lot of knitting. But I was determined to finish this hat as quickly as I could so that I could get the package in the mail to my friend, who is due in just a few short weeks! I knit at the playground on Saturday morning…

Knitting at the playground on a gorgeously cool summer morning :)

and while M played with her daddy on Saturday evening…

Still knitting. (goodness, 7" of 2x2 rib over 120sts on size 1 needles is...a lot of knitting!)

and while her daddy rocked her for her nap this afternoon…

Switching to green (for the "stem")

and then I made a little leaf…

Little leaf (to be sewn onto pumpkin hat)

…and now there’s a finished hat to go along with babyStripes!

pumpkin hat on babyStripes!

And yes, I know there are pumpkin hat patterns that look more like pumpkins, with wider stockinette ribs and narrower purl ribs, but in this case, I’m trading verisimilitude for practicality: 2×2 rib is CRAZY stretchy, and with the brim folded up a lot, this hat will fit a newborn, and with it folded up not so much, it’ll probably fit all the way up to 6 months (depending on head size and all that, of course!).

I’m so excited to put this package in the mail for my friend tomorrow!

babyStripes! plus pumpkin hat

If there’s a more deserving recipient out there, I’m not sure who it could be. It makes me smile to know that her wee one is going to be able to wear handknits that match the ones I knit for my own wee one. Hooray!

things i make for other people’s babies: babyStripes! #3!

babyStripes! for K's baby, all finished

It’s all done! I opted to leave it zipper-less, partly out of “OMG I don’t want to screw up this gift!” fear, but mostly because I’ve always been happy with these sweaters as open cardis, and stiff zipper + floppy newborn just doesn’t seem like a cozy combination to me. It’s not quite ready to ship up to MN though, because something else needs to tag along…

pumpkin hat beginnings

When I asked K if there was anything I’d knit for my M that she’d like for her fall baby, she said she’d love a babyStripes! and a pumpkin hat…so of course I’m obliging! I’d thought I had leftover pumpkin-colored sock yarn from M’s that I could use, but if I do, it’s buried so deep in my stash that I’ll find it five years from now (seriously, my stash is kind of frighteningly enormous at the moment). Thankfully, one of my dear Twitter friends came to the rescue and sent along a skein of pumpkin-orange sock yarn for me to use.

This will be my focus, knitting-wise, for the next several days (until it’s done), and then I’ll turn my attention back to Elle Melle. I misinterpreted the instructions for picking up and knitting the raglan-sleeves top-down and ended up with something very strange and not raglan-like at all, so I need to rip rip rip! Best to take a break with a simple ribbed hat before I tackle that job, I think :)



We’ve gotten into the habit of “saying our thank-yous” before meals with M – it’s something they do at her school, and it goes like this: “We are thankful for our food, we are thankful for our water, and most of all, we are thankful for each other. Bon appetit, now we may eat!” It’s sort of our secular way of “saying grace” before meals. Anyway, gratitude. It’s a good thing. And I was overwhelmed with the feeling of it, yesterday, as I walked with M on our usual “two playground walk” route, which takes us through Highland Park.

3D map of Highland Park. I love this park so much.

We were walking along Pinetum Drive, and I was looking up through the towering pine trees at the blue sky overhead, and…goodness, how fortunate I am to have THIS, this beautiful place where I can spend time with my amazing daughter and it’s all right in my neighborhood! (Well, in the next neighborhood over, really, but I love to walk, so that’s nothing!)

(One of my favorite things about Highland Park: the lilacs!)

A couple of weeks ago I had an interview for a job in the writing program up at the University of Minnesota. You know, home. I didn’t get the job. I’ve been feeling a bit down about it, because gosh, it’s so hard for us to get home to visit my family and that would’ve been so great, to live so close. But you know what? I’m not sure the job would’ve been the best fit. It was a faculty development position, and while I think I’m good at the work I’ve done in that area and would probably enjoy doing that work, my heart really sings when it comes to working directly with students. My new job in the writing program here is primarily a student-facing job (I mostly teach freshman writing classes, but I also do workshops for both students and faculty). And the thing that really helps get me over my “but I could’ve moved home!” gloom is to think about all of the wonderful things that are true of my life HERE…not just the job that I have, but my LIFE here.

And on that front, gosh: we live in a lovely little neighborhood, and we’ve finally been getting to know some of our neighbors thanks to our neighborhood social network (on Nextdoor), and we now have a reliable cat-sitter who we pay back by taking care of her cats and chickens, but it’s not really paying back since she lets us keep the eggs the chickens lay while she’s away! At the end of our street, we have an Indian restaurant (the smell of their lunch buffet cooking is delightful when I’m working at home with the windows open!) and an Ethiopian restaurant, whose owner lets us (over)fill a carryout box on their vegetarian buffet nights to take home because he knows M doesn’t do well sitting in a restaurant with us. We can walk to M’s pediatrician’s office. We live within walking distance of 4(!) playgrounds, and M and I consistently visit two of them – Ellwanger-Barry Park (which M calls “the Linden playground”, since it’s on Linden St.) and Highland Park.

Took a detour into highland park. This is gonna be a LONG walk!

We love walking through Highland Park, and stopping to rest on THIS bench (M is very particular about it!). There are so many great paths for M to run on in the park:

"I'm gonna run away from you, mama!" (Kiddo, mama used to be a competitive runner. I can catch you!)

There are lovely shaded grassy spots to just sit and relax:

Hanging out in Highland Park.

There’s a wonderful little playground there with a climbing wall for my little monkey…


…as well as some great trees for climbing!

She wanted to climb trees today.

We are both just so happy when we’re at Highland Park!

Smiley M!

There’s so much to do in Highland Park, but since M always wants to do a “2 playground walk”, we often pack up after the playground and walk to Linden, where there’s an amazing playground, with so many great climbing apparatuses…

She worked until she could do this without holding my hand. She was so proud of herself!

…as well as M’s favorite spot, the communal sandbox, where people donate toys for everyone to use:

Having fun in the sandbox at playground number 1.

We also sometimes go to Cobb’s Hill (a long walk in the OTHER direction from Highland Park) and walk around the reservoir while daddy runs laps around it:

Me and my girl at the reservoir

And lucky us, if we don’t want to take a walk, there are still great things to do – the Museum of Play, in particular, is something I feel SO fortunate to have here (and actually, it’s within walking distance for us, too!). M gets SO much out of it…she loves the trains…

Maddy does "train work" at The Strong.

…and loves to “buy” peanut butter (JUST peanut butter) at the kiddie Wegmans:

Scanning peanut butter at the strong. #latergram

(To my mom and dad: the Museum of Play membership was seriously the BEST Christmas present ever! Thank you!) And there’s a zoo that’s easy to drive to, too!

At the zoo with my girl.

And we could even drive up to the beach at Lake Ontario, though for some reason we haven’t done that yet!

We’ve been so fortunate to find a wonderful school community for M, where she’s happy and thriving, and we’ve made some good parent/family-friends there, too!

I doodled her school logo in orange chalk.
(I doodled her school logo in chalk the other day)

The friends that we have here are another thing I am intensely grateful for. It’s not particularly easy to make connections and become part of a broader community when you move someplace as a graduate student – the whole idea is that you get your training, finish the degree, and then move away. So I’m incredibly grateful for the connections I’ve made with the folks in the Writing Program here, where I now work full time, and for all of those “outside” connections, too – my friends through knitting guild, our friends through M’s school, my friends who I met through a Meetup group, who just welcomed their second baby into the world…all of them! This weekend, we’re going to be doing a tour of the Wegmans Organic Farm with M’s school, and since we’ll be down in Canandaigua, one of my friends (who I met in the Writing Program and also see through knitting guild) who moved down there will be taking us out on the lake on their boat afterward! And this fall, we’ll see even more far-flung friends when we drive down to Rhinebeck for the sheep & Wool festival.

I mean, seriously – this life we’ve made for ourselves here is pretty amazing. I’m so grateful for all of it. (Ok, maybe not the brutally grey winters, but they wouldn’t be THAT different if I were up in Minnesota! And yeah, our basement floods when it rains really hard, and our backyard is a disaster of weeds. It’s not perfect. But it’s pretty darned nice.) Would I like for it to be easier to visit my family? Oh my goodness, definitely. But where I am right now? This is home, too. My home. And I’ve put in a lot of work these last few years to make it my home, and I’m just so grateful for how that’s all turned out.

elle melle all the time!

Elle Melle!

Unsurprisingly (to me), despite casting on for a billion (more like 3) new projects at once, I pretty much instantly reverted to my monogamous ways. It’s been Elle Melle all the time, here! I’m almost up to the underarm split:

Elle Melle

I just can’t get enough of these awesome striped ridges:

purple ridges

And the Beaverslide 2-ply Sport/Sock yarn is just so delightfully wooly I want to snuggle it all day:

Beaverslide Sport/Sock is so delightfully wooly!

As I’m knitting this, I’m even more convinced that I want to make myself a grown-up Elle Melle. We’ll see if I ever get around to it! For now, I’m still glad I’ve got those other projects on the needles, because getting started is always the hardest part for me (you try finding the right yarn and then counting cast on stitches while a toddler climbs you!) and I’ve got that part out of the way, so I’m ready to go-go-go whenever the time is right.

i DO have affection for Lopi, it turns out!

this is how much sleeve I can get...

This, dear readers, is how much sleeve I can knit from a single skein of Lett Lopi. Gosh, I enjoy knitting with Lopi. It’s just so delightfully wooly. And I’m pretty darned excited to be creating a Lopi Affection cardigan for myself, because gosh, garter stitch + stripes + yokes = perfect, as far as I’m concerned.

This will probably end up being my “Rhinebeck Sweater”, since the odds of me finishing any OTHER sweater in addition to it before mid-October are pretty much nil. I have this weird hangup about not wearing something I designed myself, though. Even if it’s going to be an awesome sweater. There’s just this…sense in which I don’t feel anywhere near as proud of the sweaters I knit from patterns (there aren’t many of these, actually), and feel very awkward accepting compliments about them and whatnot. Even when I think the sweaters turned out great. I mean, all I did was KNIT them. (Well, I also chose colors, and often did make modifications, but still.) But…way to discount the effort put into knitting and doing quality finishing work, eh?

I guess it comes of knowing how much goes into actually DESIGNING a sweater, and also of feeling a real ownership over the design, when it’s one that came from my head. That’s just very different from what I feel about the sweaters I knit from other people’s designs. I know the work they put into creating the pattern, and so when someone compliments me on a sweater that someone else designed, I feel like the compliment is really owed to them. It’s a little silly, I know. Anyway, I’ll probably be wearing my Lopi Affection cardigan at Rhinebeck, and M will probably be wearing Elle Melle, and I’ll still be the same knitter and sometimes-designer I’ve always been even if I’m not wearing direct evidence of my design efforts on my body. (I had hoped to knit M and I matching Stripes! cardigans, and/or to reknit my Vahtralehed and knit M a toddler-sized one, but alas, there’s only one of me!)

another set of mitered crosses?


As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been casting-on like crazy (for me, at least – I tend to be fairly monogamous in my knitting projects…I just don’t know how to make progress on projects if I’m working on a bunch of them at once). The other new project since defending my dissertation:

i appear to have contracted start-itis

Another set of Mitered Crosses. This time, in Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport, from a ZigZag Mitten Kit that’s been sitting around in my stash, stubbornly not turning into mittens. See, I’ve got this long, skinny window in my office door at work, and I’ve been wanting to make something to cover it, and a chain of rainbow-colored mitered crosses seemed like a good idea. Except maybe crazy because seriously, when am I going to have time to knit them? But whatever – they can be my “at the office” project that I knit a few rows on here and there, and if I don’t finish it until the end of the semester, whatever!

nature spun sport

I love the colors of Naturespun Sport (I mean, of course I do, or I wouldn’t have bought the mitten kit to begin with). I’m using a random neutral color dk/sportweight yarn from my stash for the edgings. We’ll see how this all turns out. I do love knitting these squares ever so much.

making an elle melle!


I appear to have contracted a powerful case of start-itis (and, um, also a nasty respiratory bug, alas) since defending my dissertation. First up, an Elle Melle for M:

Elle Melle

I cast on for this on Wednesday while M was at her Montessori morning-camp, and even at the fairly small gauge (6sts/inch) I feel like I’m flying! Stripes do that to me. I’m knitting this in size 4, which will be big on M, but that way it will fit her for a long time. She’s been asking repeatedly for a “purple cardigan” (and yes, she’s VERY particular about the distinction between “cardigan” and “pullover”!) and I’m hoping this fits the bill! She saw me knitting it yesterday and told me she wanted it to be done “RIGHT NOW!” so that she could wear it, so I’ll take that as a good sign. (And sorry, sweetie, but a sport-weight sweater’s gonna take some time to finish!)

Elle Melle

The yarn is Beaverslide’s 2 ply Sport/Sock weight, in Mountain Lupine (the darker blue/purple) and Wild Geranium. I adore this yarn! It’s working SO well in this pattern, too…it’s so perfectly wooly. And the colors are lovely together.

Elle Melle

I can’t get enough of this two-color ridged texture! So great. Right now I’m in the middle of ridge number 7 (I did some more knitting after snapping these photos)…11 more of these to go before I separate fronts and back!

I kinda want to knit myself one of these after I finish this one, in blues or greens or something. I’d actually fit in the largest size of the pattern (which is a 35″ chest measurement – I’m more like 34″), but raglan sleeves are kind of the worst for me (I’m broad-shouldered for my size). So if I did make myself a grown-up Elle Melle, I’d modify it to have set-in sleeves, and probably a scoopier neckline, but the handy thing about being a sometimes-designer is that I actually have the skills to do that. So…who knows!