Elle Melle goes to Rhinebeck


I said I had some great “real camera” photos from Rhinebeck to share…so here’s M in Elle Melle and her new red hat at Rhinebeck:

miss M in her handknits on a glorious day at Rhinebeck!

We always try to take photos on the wooden benches on the hill, usually right before the Ravelry meetup at noon. This year was no exception, though SOMEBODY was not feeling especially cooperative…

maddy, the monster, and me

We did manage to get ONE shot of just M and her monster, though:

somebody didn't want to cooperate

For reference, here’s her’s from last year:

Maddy and the Monster

(And to think I thought her hair was “long” last year! She was such a baldie up until recently.)

After the bench photos, M ran down the hill (away from the Ravelry meetup, which I never got to actually visit as a result) to play in the piles of leaves (and get closer to that pan-flute music that she loves so much). I got some amazing (to me, at least!) photos of her in Elle Melle and her new red hat, one of which was at the top of this post. Here are some more:

looking contemplative in elle melle and her new red hat
Looking contemplative – aren’t her brown eyes striking?

(She's checking out the pan-flute band in this shot)
Checking out the pan-flute band

Dancing to those rockin’ pan-flute tunes :)

still just jammin'
Still dancing away!

her grin!!
Her grin!

a girl and her leaf.
A girl and her leaf

she really didn't want to put this leaf down.
She really didn’t want to put that leaf down

I know, I know – so many photos of the same kid in the same knitwear, but I can’t help it, she’s so cute in all of them!! I’m so glad I knit Elle Melle for her – it looks PERFECT on her. The combination of purples from Beaverslide worked out so nicely, too. For anyone who is wondering, the colors are “Mountain Lupine” (the darker blue-purple) and “Wild Geranium Heather” (the brighter purple), and I used less than one skein each in their 2-ply sport/sock weight, and I knit M a size 4 cardigan with a few minor mods (just added short rows to raise/shape the back neckline, and contrasting elbow patches).

I’m still plotting a grown-up Elle Melle for me – and another Elle Melle in a larger size for M to grow into. It’s such a great sweater!

Rhinebeck, 2014 (in Instagram photos)

On my lap right now.

Rhinebeck weekend, as always, starts on Friday after I get finished teaching, when we hit the road for the 5-6 hours it takes us to get to our hotel down in the Rhinebeck area (this year, in Fishkill, which is pretty far out, but we didn’t know whether we’d be able to go early enough to get a room anywhere closer!).

I managed to do a bit of knitting in the car while M napped…

Casting on for square number nine (we're driving through Syracuse right now).

…and we once again stopped at “my” rest stop:

At "mama's" rest stop, on the way to Rhinebeck!

It was very windy. Also, do I just have freakishly long upper-arms, or are the “elbow patches” on this plaid shirt from Target placed too high? (I think it could be either – I do have disproportionately long, and perhaps oddly proportioned arms, which I first learned while taking violin lessons as a kid!)

After a night of fairly poor sleep (oh, travel with toddlers!), we made it to the festival Saturday morning, and after her initial refusal to wear anything handknit, M finally decided it was chilly enough and asked for her hat and sweater:

At Rhinebeck with my girl!!

She was pretty tired and grouchy for most of the day, so spent a lot of it on my back (which was a WORKOUT – this kid weighs over 36 pounds!)

On my back.

We got to see SO MANY friends, which was wonderful! It makes me so happy to be able to give my usually online-only friends a big hug in the real world. I have no photographic evidence of any of these meetups, though, because I’m terrible at remembering to do that. (We’ll put a positive spin on it, and say that I’m so enjoying the moment that I want to experience it rather than capture it…that’s basically true!)

We also got to visit some sheep (and llamas, and alpacas, and angora goats), and after one of them proved that sheep really do say “Baaah” by bleating VERY loudly in M’s face, she decided that she’d rather interact with them from the safety of my arms (which were getting very tired):

We met some sheep, and M learned that they really do say "Baaah" (quite loudly!)

M’s favorite activities at Rhinebeck included “walking the line” (there are lots of lines painted on the paved areas at the festival grounds)…

"I walk the line, mama!"

…finding excellent maple leaves…

She found a good maple leaf :)

…and listening to the pan-flute band that always plays there:

Listening to the music in mama's arms. She LOVES this pan flute band that plays at Rhinebeck every year.

She really rocks out to them. It’s kind of hilarious! We got her a bird whistle from their table of wares; it is LOUD and of course, she loves it (it is being declared an “outside only” toy, however!):

We got her a little bird whistle from the pan-flute band folks. It is loud. She loves it.

That evening, we went back to the hotel and relaxed in the hot tub before M’s bedtime. It felt good on my aching muscles – according to my phone, I walked over 5 miles, took something like 13,000 steps, and most of them were either wearing or carrying a 36 pound kiddo!

We sadly can’t ever stay for a second day at the festival – we’d have to either pay for another night in the hotel, which wasn’t an option this year because I teach on Mondays, or get home ridiculously late. As has become our tradition, on our way out of town on Sunday morning, we stop at the Walkway over the Hudson. This year, it was absurdly windy, which made it hard to get any photos at all!

Me and my girl on the Walkway Over the Hudson on a VERY windy morning!

M also wanted to be carried most of the time, which was rough after having done so much of it the previous day. Look how she’s grown since when we visited the Walkway in 2012!

How she's grown!

(I’m further away from the railing in the 2014 shot because I’m basically terrified that M will climb out of my arms and over the railing into the Hudson. It’s the sort of thing I have nightmares about on a regular basis!)

The drive home was…well, let’s start with the good part. We drove through an absolutely gorgeous state park (Minnewaska – the name sounds like something from my (Minnesota) neck of the woods!)

We're driving through an amazingly beautiful state park (Minnewaska).

And M was quite charming during the early part of the trip, declaring it naptime while throwing a cauchycomplete scrappy mini-quilt over her face to block out the sunlight:

Taking a car nap (with a @cauchycomplete scrappy mini-quilt to shade her eyes).

But once she woke up…oh, I don’t even know if I can write about it. I’ll try, though, because I make an effort to be honest about the less-lovely sides of motherhood; it’s easy to think that nobody struggles, that you’re absolutely alone in the hard-stuff, because almost nobody writes about it and everyone pretends they’re fine. And maybe they aren’t pretending, I don’t know – that’s the thing that’s maddening about this, is that you don’t know whether you’re truly alone, or if you’re just the only one willing to say anything about it. So I’ll say it, and hope that it makes someone else feel less alone.

The drive home was awful. It makes me worry that we will not be able to travel to visit our families over winter break; she is THAT awful in the car. I have bruises and scratches from how many times she grabbed my arm and dug her nails in, and kicked me in the face while swinging her legs over the side of her carseat (she’s tall, so she’s got REACH). See, I sit next to her carseat in the backseat (it’s not comfy, because she has to be in the middle because of the setup of our old LATCH-less car, so I’m between a carseat and the door…good thing I’m small). I do this because if I sit in the front, then I end up having to turn around every minute to do something relating to M (she is just not even remotely good at handling car trips or self-entertainment), and that makes me super duper carsick and hurts my lower back (where I have spinal stenosis – twisting repeatedly is just not a great thing for me to do). Plus, she’s a thrower, and it’s better if I can be in the backseat to stop her than to have her chucking stuff up at A while he’s driving. (This would be one of several reasons why the “just hand her an iPhone with video on it” approach is not one I care to take. I don’t exactly relish the idea of a $600+ piece of technology being thrown!) But omg, do I ever have to stop her. A lot. The physicality of this age is so hard for me – I can’t just tell her no (she’ll do it anyway – she’s at a very boundary-testing age), I have to physically restrain/redirect her. Dealing with her crazy antics all day long takes a lot out of me, and when I’m stuck next to her, so can’t take myself away when she’s not treating me kindly and thus serving as her punching/kicking bag…well, there’s only so much of that I can take. I ended up sobbing in our backyard in the cold for half an hour once we were home before I could face the idea of going inside and being around her again.

I’m just not sure that the joy of Saturday and of Sunday morning was worth the misery of Friday and Sunday afternoon/evening. And I was kicking myself for not doing a little more shopping while I was at the festival. That bird whistle is actually the only thing we bought, even though I REALLY wanted a set of Bartlettyarns miniskeins – it was just too crazy in there when I first saw them, and I never got a chance to go back and pick up a set. And I don’t know, somehow the combination of not having anything (but the experience, which, at the festival at least, was wonderful, so there’s that!) to bring home plus the abject awfulness of the drive left me feeling incredibly guilty and regretful about making the trip.

Gee, that’s not a fun note to end this Rhinebeck 2014 post on, is it. Sorry! I have some wonderful “real camera” photos from the festival, mostly of M wearing Elle Melle and her new red hat, and I’ll put those in a separate post, probably tomorrow.

8 squares down, 4 to go!


Assuming I set this up correctly, I’m currently traipsing around Rhinebeck with my lovely family…hooray for the scheduling feature! Say hello to us if you see us there! Also, wish my husband a happy birthday :)

wearing square number eight

I finished (well, not quite…I still need to weave in the ends) square number eight at knitting guild on Monday, which means I’m now 2/3rds of the way done knitting squares for this blanket (since I am aiming for 12 squares, for a 3×4 square blanket).

8 squares down, 4 more to go!

I laid them all out on our porch steps (which DESPERATELY need to be repainted!) and oh, this blanket is going to be beautiful!

so many squares

The Noro colorway (which is discontinued, sadly!) is just amazing paired with the neutral grey of the Eco Wool.

looking down the row of squares

I just love seeing this stack of squares grow!

stack of squares

I’ve been hoping to be able to give the blanket to M for her 3rd birthday, but if I’m going to do that, I’ll need to seriously buckle down, because that’s 4 more squares, plus all the joining, plus an i-cord border to do, all before November 26th. Maybe it’ll end up being a Winter Solstice present instead…we’ll see!

a new hat!


As I mentioned in my last post, M’s “car trip hat” from last year had gotten too short to cover her ears, so I knew she’d need a new hat. Traditionally (if one can call something that’s been done twice a tradition) I knit her a hat on the way down to Rhinebeck, because it takes just about perfectly the length the drive (which is between 5 and 6 hours, because NY is a huge state!) to complete one, at least at the rate that I knit while in a car and somewhat carsick. But I decided to cast on early, after receiving the gorgeous red Malabrigo leftover from a friend’s project:

Making a red hat for my girl.

See, M has recently become obsessed with red. She wants a red everything – a red bag, a red potty, red shoes…and of course, a red hat. The problem was that I am, well, not a fan of red. At all. It just looks horrendous with my coloring (which M mostly shares, though not quite, with those striking brown eyes of hers!) and I associate it with the obnoxious football fans of the school where I did my undergrad and first Masters, and, well, suffice it to say that reds are in short supply in my yarn stash. So I was asking about good shades of red Malabrigo on Twitter (hoping to find one that would play nicely with the purples and teals that make up most of M’s wardrobe), and ended up buying Grumperina’s leftovers. The color was perfect – red, but also hot pinkish, in a way that looks nice on my girl, I think.

I finished the hat on our drive to the orchard last weekend for apple picking, and M immediately put it on:

I finished M's new red hat on our way to go apple picking with friends from her school.

She wore it while sampling the goods at the apple orchard…

Sampling the goods during the MSR apple-picking trip!

…and pushing the wagon around, too.

Managing the wagon.

Taking the wagon to meet her friends.

And in this super-adorable photo I took of her on the wagon with a beloved friend:


The hat is the same top-down, short-rowed garter stitch hem with i-cord bind-off hat that I’ve made for M each year, with a mini-cable hiding the place where there’d be a jog with the garter-in-the-round. I just made it ever so slightly bigger around, and almost an inch longer, than the one I made last year. One of these days I’ll write up a pattern for it (though seriously, you can probably figure it out yourself from the pictures and the description I just gave!).

While knitting the hat for M, I realized that *I* actually do not have a non-hole-ridden hat; Ren got his teeth into my Doppelmossa last spring (so I either need to fix or replace it), and I’ve actually never had a lighter-weight hat, though I’ve wanted one. So, on that note, I cast on for a Bronntanas hat for me:

bronntanas beginnings

I know, knitting one for myself is kind of contrary to the point of the “Knitworthy” collection (intended as a collection of patterns to knit as gifts), but whatever…I’m knitworthy too! I’m still not sure whether I can pull off a slightly slouchy hat, but we’ll see. Also to be seen: whether I can successfully follow a cable pattern, since my ability to do even remotely complicated knitting seems to have evaporated upon becoming a (terribly sleep-deprived) mother!

last year’s sweaters


Last year, when I made sweaters for M, I deliberately aimed for “slightly too big”, on the hopes that they’d fit M this year, too. I knew that growth tended to slow down after those first couple of crazy growth years (and boy, did M grow then!), and I seem to have been moderately successful in my endeavor. The sweaters that were on the edge of being too big last year are now on the edge of being too small…but definitely still wearable, as M will attest!

Throwing leaves into the lake at Cobb's Hill

Two weekends ago, M’s school had a 5k fundraiser, and it was a chilly morning, so I bundled M up in knitwear when we walked to Cobb’s hill to help with the race (A ran it, and actually won his age group!) and take part in the very short “fun run” afterwards. Her Garter Rib cardigan from last year still (kind of!) fits! And of course, I had to wear my matching sweater!

Us, after finishing the "fun run" (M's school had a 5k race today, which A ran, followed by a 1/4mile fun run, which M and I ran, holding hands)

(These photos make it pretty obvious that last year’s hat, unlike her sweaters, simply ain’t gonna cut it this year. No worries, though – if you saw my last post, you know she already has a new one. I’ll post it about it later in the week!)

This kid.

The combination of too-big race shirt and slightly too-small sweater just cracked me up. She had a blast climbing…

Colorful climber.

…and jumping…


…all over the playground after the race in her colorful knitwear.

The Garter Rib cardigan isn’t the only “last-year’s” sweater that’s gotten some love already this fall:

Cutie patootie in a handknit from mama

“Cobbler” (so named for its inspiration, the Cobblestone Sweater) has also come out of the sweater chest on a chilly morning. I just love the way that garter yoke looks on her!


(And also the braids! Oh my goodness, the braids!) Not to be left out of the yoke party, babyStripes! the second also gets worn despite the ever shortening sleeves ;)

She turned on the light and said "take my picture, please!"  Yes, ma'am!

And so does the “Extra Yarn” sweater (along with pajama bottoms on her head, because, why not?)

Just wearing her pajama bottoms on her head. As you do.

She wore the “Extra Yarn” sweater (along with her new hat, and a cowl that I actually originally made for my mom) to go apple picking with families from her school last weekend:

On the wagon with her apple bucket.

We visited a pumpkin-patch, too:

Into the pumpkin patch.

I’m so lucky to have such a grateful and willing knitwear model :)


Gosh, this kid. I love her so much.

elle melle gets lots of love


Elle Melle is finished!

elle melle, all finished

Actually, Elle Melle’s been finished for several weeks, I just haven’t found time to post. Catching up where I left off…

Stitching on the buttons. (Elle Melle will be the "something to wear" part of M's Equinox gift tomorrow!)

I stitched the buttons onto Elle Melle the night before the Autumn Equinox, so that it could be the “to wear” part of her gift. (We celebrate each turn of the seasons with “something to do, something to wear, and something to read”.) She wanted to put it on as soon as she opened it the next morning, and wore it while enjoying her other gifts (an alphabet stamp set, and two Gail Gibbons books about seasons).

Enjoying her Autumn Equinox gifts!

The buttons, which M picked out herself at Joann, turned out to be a perfect match to the brighter/lighter purple in the sweater:

elle melle, shiny purple buttons

She’s worn the sweater several times since the Equinox, because it’s actually been chilly enough to merit woolens. Most recently, she wore it while running errands this weekend – among other things, we wanted to get our tires rotated before our drive to Rhinebeck next weekend.

Keeping busy while we wait to have our tires rotated.

(She’s also modeling her new red hat, but that’s a topic for another post!) I love the elbow patches (which are not part of the pattern; I added them because while I love Beaverslide yarn to pieces…well, I actually have literally loved it to pieces, so I know that some elbow-reinforcement is not a bad idea!)

Elbow patch!

I really love how the sweater turned out; the combination of purples is absolutely perfect for M, and it’s just so cute on her. That said, the sizing is fairly weird – I knit her the size 4 sweater (because my girl, despite not even being 3, is solidly 4T in size), and the body is plenty wide and long, but the sleeves are oddly tight. This may just be a matter of M’s proportions (she’s a SOLID kid), but I find the snugness of the sleeves relative to the fullness of the body a bit odd. I still want to knit myself a grown-up version of Elle Melle (with set-in sleeves, because raglans are NOT flattering on my broad-for-my-petite-figure shoulders), perhaps in dark and light grey for maximum versatility, but we’ll see if I ever get to it. Time, time. It’s no surprise that I’ve not posted in awhile – turns out being a full time faculty member (even if not on the tenure track) is a very, very busy job.

almost done…and just starting.


I’m very nearly done with Elle Melle…

just the button bands left to go!

It took me several tries to get the picked-up stitches for the raglan sleeves (which are knit top-down) to not look ugly, and if I were to make another one (and I probably will, because I adore this sweater!), I think I have an idea for a selvedge that’d be neater to pick up from, but ANYWAY, the sleeves are done, and so is the neckline.

finished neckline

I modified the neckline slightly from the instructions. For one thing, I added short-row shaping to raise the back neck, because it drives me crazy when patterns don’t include something like this – it makes SUCH a difference for fit! I find that without it, the front neckline “cuts in”, and just generally sits too high. I mean, store-bought shirts all have lower necklines in front than back. We’re just built that way. And because this added some extra length to the collar along the sides and back, I also added an extra set of raglan decreases. The finished sweaters I’ve seen all looked pretty wide at the neckline, anyway, so I figure going a little smaller can’t hurt. So now, all that’s left is the button bands, and M will have an ADORABLE purple cardigan to wear, just like she requested.

almost done!

I am seriously so madly in love with how this sweater is turning out. The Beaverslide 2-ply Sport/Sock yarn is utterly perfect for it, and the colors I’m using just work so nicely together, and gosh, I really want to make a grown-up Elle Melle (with set-in rather than raglan sleeves) for myself with their yarn, too – maybe in Woodsmoke and Charcoal? I’m kind of a Beaverslide evangelist, after all. Such gorgeous yarn.

So anyway, Elle Melle is almost finished…but something else is just getting started:

getting organized

Today was the first day of Fall Semester! I’m teaching 3 sections of our extra-supportive freshman writing class (which is mostly international students, but not entirely), and there is no rhyme or reason to the order in which the classes occur relative to their recitations, or the classrooms they’re in, and I’m also running workshops for a bunch of other classes, and it’s really hurting my brain! Color-coding to the rescue! The first day went ok, though it’s going to take me awhile to learn all of their names and to get used to the weird computer classrooms where I’m teaching this year, and to just generally get into the routine of being full time instructional faculty, rather than a grad student who’s also teaching a class or two. Speaking of which…

My new ID says "faculty" instead of "graduate student", so that's nifty :)

…I got an updated ID card. So exciting to see the word “Faculty” where it used to say “Graduate Student”!

Here’s hoping I can still keep knitting this semester!