first week of spring wasn’t very springy…

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Oh, Winter, you just don't want to let go, do you?

…but I did get some knitting progress in, so there’s that. M’s school had their “Spring Celebration” on Friday, so I got some Seraphim-knitting time in during the time between drop-off and the event itself (since there was no point driving elsewhere only to not be able to park when we returned).

Knitting while waiting for the Spring Celebration to start. (Just like last year, except a different project!)

I love that this photo almost perfectly recreates the one in my blog header – same outfit, same background…just a different project! I’m so delighted with how Seraphim is turning out so far, but before we get to that, how about some cute pictures of M in her Spring Celebration outfit?

Cutie patootie with her duster.

She loves having me braid her hair and clip it up behind her hair (kind of like how I used to wear mine, back when it was long), and it looks SO cute on her! The only way I could get her to sit still was to give her a duster to “work” with…and eventually I actually got her to look at the camera!

Finally, she looks at the camera!

But back to Seraphim…I’m almost finished with Chart 2, and it is looking AMAZING in this turquoise angora yarn!

Almost done with Chart 2, backlit. #seraphim

I’m so, so excited to finish it so that I can wear it, although it’ll probably be awhile yet, since every row takes quite a long time now.

So happy with how this is turning out. Excited to finish it (eventually...each row takes forever now!)

Oh well – I’ll have it for next fall/winter, at least!

I also made progress on the stripey socks I’ve been knitting for M. I present Stripey Sock the First:

Stripey sock number one.

I am SO tickled with how perfectly the stripes worked out for the garter stitch short-rowed heel and toe! The heel seems to stay put a bit better on M’s foot than the heel-flap on the purple socks does, so I think I’ll stick with garter short-row heels (and toes) for her socks for now. And now that I know how many stripes make for a sock that fits M (over 52 stitches – the heel and toe were knit over 26), knitting Stripey Sock the Second should be a breeze!

Beginnings of Stripey Sock number 2

Here’s hoping the weather warms up in time for my birthday (2 weeks from today) – I’d love to be able to spend some time outside to celebrate!

long lost WIP

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The other day, while I was digging through a drawer looking for something else, a bright blue knit caught my eye.

So unbelievably soft

It turned out to be Seraphim, which (according to that Ravelry link) I cast on for back in May of 2009! How’s that for a long-lost project? Once I spotted it, I knew I had to finish it – the bright blue angora yarn was just too deliciously soft and I want to be able to wear it on my shoulders NOW!

So unbelievably soft. I'm excited to finish off this Seraphim that's been languishing in a drawer, forgotten since 2009, apparently!

I wanted to get knitting right away, but couldn’t find my copy of the pattern – I bought it pre-Ravelry, and didn’t have a digital copy. But fortunately, I was able to ask the designer (who I’m friends with on Twitter) and she helpfully supplied me with one. Upon reading it, I figured out that I was only about 20 rows from the start of the lace charts! So I took off:

Shawl-in-progress, in a sunbeam. This is the long-forgotten Seraphim shawl, and I'm only 3 rows from starting the charts now. This bright blue angora yarn is so lovely!

Except I actually was only 10 rows away, it turned out…but I was able to fudge the charts enough to make up for my mis-counting. I’m really delighted with how it’s looking!

Seraphim-in-progress

I can’t wait to add this shawl to my neck-adornment collection of 2015! (You know, only 6 years after I started it!)

things i make for maddy: socks!

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Somebody is pretty happy with her new pair of socks!

Showing off her new socks.

I finished them this weekend, and she’s already worn them around the house and gotten them completely embedded with cat hair. (This says more about our poor housekeeping skills than anything else, really – goodness, our floors are gross!) To her chagrin, they lack the “grippies” that are on the bottom of her Day of the Week socks from Old Navy, so she’s already wiped out on our wood floors a couple of times. I don’t really want to paint the bottoms of these handknit socks with puff paint, so I think she’s just going to have to live with slightly slippery socks (or, she could actually take my advice and wear her slippers over them – but what 3.5 year old actually wants to listen to her mama’s advice?).

Finished!

I’m pretty pleased that I was able to remember enough to knit a passable pair of socks despite not having knit any in AGES! And these were perfect for using up the leftover yarn from my own socks. M likes the picot/eyelet detail at the top of the cuff, which I used to mirror the detail on my own socks. And I really like the way the slipped-stitch “arch support” section worked out!

For anyone who’s curious about the details, here they are:

Shoe Size: M is currently wearing size 10 (wide) shoes, and her foot is ~6.5″ in circumference.

Cast On: 52sts on size 1 needles using backwards-loop cast-on.
Picot Cuff: Knit 5 rounds plain, then *yo, k2tog* around, then 5 more rounds plain, then knit each stitch together with the corresponding cast-on loop.
Garter eyelets: purl one round, then *yo, k2tog* around, then purl the next round.

Then I knit plain for a few inches, and did a heel flap over 26 sts and 20 rows:
RS: *sl1, k1* to end
WS: sl1, purl to end

Then I did a heel flap (about which see below – I wouldn’t do it this way again!):
RS: Knit to center stitch, k1, ssk, k1, turn.
WS: Purl to the stitch before the “gap”, p2tog, p1, turn
(Continue in this fashion until all the stitches are used up, then pick up stitches around and rejoin for gusset – I did the standard every-other-round gusset decreases until I was back to 50sts – I meant to go to 52 but I goofed up on the first sock so replicated it on the second)

Then I did the slipped-stitch “arch support” over the central 12 sts of the sole, for 14 rounds:
Round 1: starting 6 sts before the end-of-round marker in the center of the sole, *s1, k1* 6 times
Round 2: knit all stitches

Then I knit plain until the toe, where I did the standard toe decreases:
Round 1: knit 9, k2tog, k2, ssk, then knit until 15 sts remain, k2tog, k2, ssk, knit remaining 9 sts.
Round 2: knit all stitches
(Continue decreasing on either side of those central 2 sts until 22 total sts remain, then distribute them as evenly as possible over 2 needles and kitchener the toe – now you have a finished sock!)

New socks!!

The one part I’m not totally happy with is the heel flap – I don’t think I quite remembered how to do the turn right (it ended up weirdly pointy), and they don’t actually stay in place on her foot very well, either. I think the heel flap might be ever-so-slightly too long, but I’m also curious if a different style of heel would fit her better. On her next pair of socks (oh, yeah, there’s a next pair – I already cast on for them last night!) I’m going to try a garter-stitch short-rowed heel, just to see if that works better.

After I finished M’s socks yesterday, we went to an organ recital at my church. We brought M with us, because she loves music, and we thought she’d enjoy hearing an organ. She was…well, not really THAT well behaved, but pretty decent for a 3 year old at classical music concert! She did love the organ, and the viola (they played a Bach piece that was originally for harpsichord and viola da gamba, but worked beautifully with organ and harp), but got too wiggly and had to hang out with A in the lobby during the part with the Mezzo Soprano singer (who had a lovely voice). We were by far the youngest folks at the concert, but we got absolutely no judgement, and in fact got lots of props (and compliments on our “bravery”) from everyone there for bringing a little one to an organ concert. I figure that I want to cultivate her interest in music, and going to low-key concerts like that is the only way she’ll learn how to behave at a more formal concert. So, we’ll call the concert a success!

spring “break”

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It’s Spring Break at my university, which means my students are getting a break, and I’m spending my time giving them feedback on their midsemester portfolios! Them’s the breaks, once you’re the instructor. It is nice to be able to work at home, though on Monday, I had company from a sick M, which made working not exactly possible. Poor bug had a nasty fever along with the DST time change, and let’s just say that’s been a BRUTAL combination and we are all very tired. Oh well. C’est la vie!

It hasn’t been ALL portfolio-feedbacking – I’ve finished one of M’s socks, and have made a good deal of progress on the second. Here’s a photos of her trying the in-progress sock on:

Hey, it's looking like a sock! (I was afraid I'd f forgotten how to knit a sock!)

And here’s the almost-pair:

Almost a pair.

I decided, kind of on a whim, to try adding some slipped-stitches for the arch, as a sort of “arch support” similar to some of my storebought socks. M’s got crazy high arches (no surprise there, since A and I both have them, too), and I thought it might improve the fit. Here’s a closeup:

Closeup of slipped-stitch arch section.

It seems to work nicely, so it’s something I might do if I ever knit socks for myself again. The “pattern” for these, by the way, is what I remember from my own socks that I knit from this yarn, but over 52sts instead of 64. Just basic stockinette socks with a heel flap, and some decorative stuff at the cuff.

I also cast on for a new project today:

Cast on for a Zuzu's Petals cowl today. In MadTosh Pashmina, from a GMDS swap package.

The pattern is Zuzu’s Petals, and the yarn is MadTosh Pashmina in “Cousteau”, which I received in a Good Mail Day Swap package. Isn’t it lovely? I think this will make a very nice addition to my “neck adornment device” collection that I am working to build up this year. You know, just as it’s starting to warm up and I won’t need warm things around my neck. I’ll have them for next year, at least!

It has become more Spring-like in time for spring break, but the end result of that had actually been pretty terrible. The rapid melting of the deeply-frozen (and insanely deep) snow resulted in ice-dams that pulled our gutters off on Monday:

This just happened. Our entire gutter got torn off as enormous boulders of ice fell from our roof. Luckily (mostly) missed the car. Should've been better about clearing the roof, damn.

Thankfully, our car was mostly spared, but what I’m truly grateful for is that WE were spared – A and M had *just* come inside before this happened, and would’ve been crushed. Those ice boulders weighed over 50 pounds. It’s terrifying to think about. Then last night, at 3am, our next-door neighbor’s gutters (and, um, a good chunk of their eaves, too) came crashing down on the other side of our driveway – we didn’t really get to sleep again after that. It’s been a rough week on the sleep front. Here’s hoping for some sweet dreams tonight!

because she asked me

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A sock for M, because she asked, and I am putty in her hands when it comes to requests for handknits.

I cast on for a sock last night, for the first time in YEARS. I’d been rummaging through my knitting supplies, and finding partial skeins of sock yarn, and M happened to be watching me (oh, who am I kidding…I can’t do a thing around the house without her “happening” to be watching me!). And I was explaining that the yarn was leftover from socks that I’d knit for myself, and then she asked if there was enough to knit leftover to knit her a pair, since her feet are smaller. And, well, I am putty in that child’s hands when it comes to hand knit requests. Your wish is my command, love.

Trying to decide how long to knit before doing the heel flap (I traced M's foot yesterday).

I measured her feet last night, and since I had such good luck using a tracing of her hand as a reference when I knit her mittens, I decided to trace her foot, too. Both in “profile”, as in the above photo, and around the bottom:

The other foot-tracing.

As you can probably tell. I knit a little bit on the sock at work today. Not much, though, because I had a writing workshop to help with today, classes to prep, as well as another writing workshop that I’ll be running tomorrow (on my favorite topic: cohesion and flow!).

Folders filled with stacks of handouts for my two classes and one workshop tomorrow. #preparation

It was a productive day. And now it’s time to knit a heel flap while I watch an episode of Parks & Recreation with my husband. We’re WAY behind the times – just on Episode 13 at this point!

squares eleven and twelve

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Ends woven in on squares eleven and twelve.

This morning, I wove in the ends on Squares Eleven and Twelve of the Mitered Crosses Blanket.

The last two squares.

And with these two squares, the knitting for the blanket is DONE!

Beautiful stack!

And now I have a beautiful stack of squares. They make me very happy.

Yay, 12 squares!

Such squishy soft garter goodness!

Squishy garter goodness.

Perfect to wear on your head, while your daughter looms over your shoulder?

Being silly with squares while M looms over my shoulder :)

Yeah, we’re weirdos :)

Yeah, we're weirdos.

I suppose the next step, before I turn them into a blanket, should be to block each of the squares. I can probably only block a couple of them at a time, given the space constraints of our house (and the naughtiness of our kitties), so it might be awhile before I actually get around to turning these into a blanket. But it’s going to be an AWESOME blanket. For now, I’ll just revel in my beautiful stack of squares…

Stack of squares.

…and in the fact that the worst February EVER is now over! Hello, March!

valentines!

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Happy (now-belated) Valentines Day, friends!

Happy Valentines Day!

We took a break from the misery that is February to celebrate love this past Saturday. Of course, we love each other and the world every single day, but the holiday was at least a good excuse to bake some cookies :)

We had a bunch of leftover gingerbread dough from our Solstice cookie-making antics (which we’d frozen in anticipation of using for this very activity!), and I was able to find a set of heart-shaped biscuit cutters (which seem to have doubled in price since I got them!):

<3

So we made gingerbread hearts. M, as always, was our sous-chef, helping to roll out the dough:

Getting ready to make Valentines cookies! (With the leftover dough from our Solstice cookies, which we had frozen.)

And cutting out heart shapes:

Little cookie cutter <3

She…struggled a bit with her listening ears during this process, and kept cutting cookies that partially overlapped with either the edge or another already-cut-out cookie, so we had some deformed hearts going on for awhile. But she got better and better at it!

Gingerbread heart-maker.

As with the Solstice cookies, we dusted our hearts with powdered sugar after they’d baked. So pretty!

Valentine's Cookies!

And of course, M delighted in sampling the product she’d helped make:

Enjoying the fruits of her labor

I hope you got to enjoy some sort of sweet treat this weekend, too!