things i knit for other people’s babies: hats!

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Oh, Koigu, you are so squishy and speckly and wonderful.

I’ve reached the age and stage of my life where many of my friends are having babies, and I like to be able to welcome those babies to the world with a handknit gift if I can. The Cossett pattern has been a really useful one for this purpose – a basic 2×2 rib hat is pretty easy to knit, even while I’m walking home from campus:

Knitting while I walk home from the bus stop.

I got 2 skeins of a gorgeous green speckly Koigu KPPPM, which looked to me to be both slightly autumnal (the babies in question are fall babies) and gender-neutral (also appropriate for the babies in question!). It’s enough yarn to knit three hats, though at this point I’ve “only” knit two:

I knit a pair of baby hats :)

They look so tiny, but the 2×2 rib is amazingly stretchy, as I’m demonstrating here (along with a totally goofy face, because that’s how I roll!):

Demonstrating the stretchiness of 2x2 rib (and the goofiness of my face!)

One of these hats has already made its way to the intended recipient, who is expected to make an entry into the world sometime very soon! The other will go to another friend’s baby whose arrival is slightly less imminent. And then there are several babyStripes! sweaters (one of which is nearly finished, but has had no photos taken of it yet) for babies arriving in November. And a bigger one for my own “baby”, who is getting impatient that mama is knitting for children who are not her. I…may have bitten off slightly more than I can chew on the “knit wee baby things for people I love who are having babies” front, but hopefully not!

The semester has started and OH BOY I AM BUSY. Turns out teaching 4 classes in one semester doesn’t leave you a lot of time for, oh, anything else, but I’m hoping I’ll adapt and feel slightly less TOTALLY FRAZZLED ALL THE TIME than I’m currently feeling. I’ll close this post with a bit of “knitting” I discovered on my walk into campus one day last week:

These tire tread marks look just like stockinette stitches!

Don’t those tire treads look just like stockinette stitch? Happy September, everybody!

What we’ve been up to this summer

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Fishing for "seaweed".
Fishing for Algae at Lake Ontario

I had grand intentions of keeping the blog updated regularly throughout the summer, but life had other things in mind. This summer was quite a bit more emotionally taxing than I’d anticipated, especially on the parenting front. We now have a much better understanding of how our sweet daughter ticks, though, thanks to a series of assessments she’s had; she’s incredibly bright, and very sweet and thoughtful, but has some fairly major sensory processing issues, as well as some fairly extreme delays in executive function (think: stuff like impulse control, attention, emotion regulation, frustration tolerance – we’re probably heading towards an ADHD diagnosis at some point), including some retained infant reflexes that ought to be interfering with her motor abilities, but she’s such a smart little cookie that she compensates incredibly well for them – so well we’d never have noticed if it weren’t for a very observant OT. I’m learning a lot about how to work with a kid who is as smart as a 6 or 7 year old, but has the impulse control of a 2 or 3 year old, but it ain’t easy, and it’s definitely emotionally taxing (and sometimes physically so – I nearly got my jaw busted open at one point this summer, and I’ve had to forcibly carry all 46lbs of her out of group violin class several times). I’m always torn about how much to talk about this stuff, because it’s M’s story, too; I want to be very respectful of her and her right to tell her own story while still being open about my reality as a parent, and that’s going to become an ever-more-challenging tightrope to walk as she gets older.

And another card! I'm feeling very loved :)
Sweet child, I’ll never tire of the cards you write for me!

I do want to recommend a really great book called “The Explosive Child”, which offers wonderful strategies for helping parents work with children who have some “lagging skills” (to use the book’s language) that make it so that they cannot handle challenges adaptively, but instead have maladaptive explosive meltdowns. You can find more here on Dr. Ross Greene’s “Lives in the Balance” site. He advocates a respectful collaborative problem solving approach that I think would work well for any child, but especially for those on the “not-neurotypical” end of the spectrum.

One example of the “collaborative problem solving” approach in action for us has been the “ticket” approach that M helped come up with for violin practice. She actually really likes playing violin, but switching tasks is a huge “lagging skill” for her, and so she needs an extra push to actually practice when it’s time to practice. We’d been “pushing” by taking away her breakfast time TV-watching (she’s REALLY into “Puffin Rock” right now!) if she didn’t practice, which caused massive meltdowns, and which, when we talked about it, she quite rightfully called out as being unkind and punishing. She told us she’d rather earn something than lose something, and so the tickets were born:

This was M's solution to the battles over practicing.

She decided her first ticket would be for a small item at Target. The next one, which will require more “dots” be filled in (her idea was to make each ticket require one more dot, which was something I was planning to push for if she hadn’t come up with it!), will be for a book she’s been wanting, and we also plan to create tickets for movie days and things like that. So far, it’s making it much easier for me to get her to shift gears into practice mode and stick with it once she’s there, and she’s even suggested practicing without my prompting (just the one time, but hey!).

We’ve also worked together to set her up for success, which has included pulling her out of group violin class (ability-wise, she’s actually ready for the “Suzuki Book 1” class, but she simply does not have the ability to stand still in one place for 50 minutes while taking turns and not interrupting – we got kicked out every single class this summer, and though I think that bothered me more than it bothered her, it has to be discouraging for her). She’ll keep going with her individual lessons, though, because her private teacher’s so very good at working with her.

Suzuki Score! (I love Ms. Kathy!)
Suzuki Score!

It’s been an interesting, occasionally joyful, but not always pleasant or easy ride, this summer. I also lost my grandpa a few weeks ago; this wasn’t unexpected, as he’d been slipping away with dementia for the past several years, but it was still sad. M and I flew to Missouri for the funeral, and then drove back here with my parents (who had been planning a visit anyway, but that wasn’t how we’d planned it).

Me and my travel partner, in the O'Hare restroom :)

A lot of travel, but with good preparation on mama’s part, she handled things like a champ, even after she burnt her arm on a coffee pot at my grandpa’s visitation; fortunately my cousin’s wife is a pediatric nurse who knew how to treat it and we got her all patched up.

With her grandparents, all dressed up.

As we left the visitation that evening, M gave my grandma a kiss and said “Gute Nacht. Schlaf gut. Süße Träume. Ich liebe dich.” (“Good night. Sleep well. Sweet dreams. I love you.”) She’s used to these as our good night words, but what she didn’t know is that my grandpa grew up speaking German, and this was incredibly meaningful for my grandma. It was wonderful to see M interacting with my grandma for the first time since she was a baby, even though it was under sad circumstances.

So that’s where I’ve been since I last posted here. Not really in a knitting headspace, though there has indeed been some knitting, including at the beach!

Knitting at the beach.

I’m working on several things (baby hats and rainbow babyStripes! sweaters) for various friends of mine who are having babies this fall, so that’s my focus for the moment! I’ve also been making progress on my Stripes! cardigan and my Imogen cowl. I’ll probably post about all of those things at some point!

But my knitting (and violin-playing) time is about to mostly-disappear, because the semester’s starting soon! Last week I took on my role as Pre-Major Advisor (and did a bit of coloring on the nifty cover of this year’s Freshman Handbook):

I colored one quadrant of my handbook cover :)

And this week, my class start. I’ve got a busy schedule ahead of me, but I’m excited to meet my students!

summer time = sweater knitting time

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This Prisma app is pretty fun!

My last post was wishing goodbye to May, and now it’s halfway through July! I’ve been busy this summer – mostly in a good way, but still busier than I’d anticipated. I have been getting some knitting in, though, and this year, my focus is on me-sized sweaters. I’m trying to knit DOWN my stash, and in the process, knit UP some sweaters to fill out my collection, which sees a lot of wear in the wintertime, because I have terrible thermoregulation. I love all of the sweaters I’ve already knit, but I’m craving some variety, after wearing the same ones day after day (after day after day…our winters are LONG here!) for years on end. I hadn’t actually knit a sweater for myself since the Garter Rib cardigan (I’ve GOT to write up that pattern, and find a better name!) that I started knitting while pregnant with M…it’s been all baby/toddler sweaters since!

This summer, mama’s getting (at least) two new sweaters – a Little Wave (which I’ve already mentioned here on this blog, and which is basically finished already – it really just needs to have a few more ends woven in, and a good blocking) and the one at the top of this post…a new top-down Stripes! cardigan. I bailed on the white+rainbow version that I was knitting last summer because it was coming out with just a bit less ease than I’d wanted, and I just didn’t actually see myself wearing it. I wanted something a bit “earthier” – still colorful, but not quite so bright and garish. Thankfully, I had quite a big set of leftovers from the stash of Noro from which I’d knit the Mitered Crosses blanket, and a couple giant skeins of a nice brown Cascade Eco Wool, and so I did some math and went from there:

New sweater in progress! Brown Eco Wool, plus the Noro Kureyon leftovers from the Mitered Cross blanket.

I’m just letting the Noro scraps do whatever they do, and I’m pretty tickled with how nicely it’s turning out; there are some dark earthy greens in the colorway that almost blend in with the brown, but there are also some bright pinks and teals. At this point, I’m nearly finished with the body, and I’m using the technique I perfected on the babyStripes! cardigans I’ve knit in the past 2 years, and creating pockets as I knit. Here’s what they look like in progress:

Making progress on my Stripes! pockets.

I knit a flap down from the body, with a P1, K1 edge on either side, and then cast on (with i-cord) new body stitches over the front of that flap. Then I pick up a leg from that K stitch at each edge and knit it (or purl it, on the WS) together with the body stitch as I knit each row of the body.

I pick up a leg from the edge stitch of my pocket flap and knit it together with the edge of the front as I go. (It's an SSK with the picked up stitch second on RS, P2tog with picked up stitch second on WS)

Because of that P1, K1 edge (which is a K1, P1 edge on the WS), it looks really nice and neat on the WS as well:

I did a P1, K1 edge on the pocket flaps when I knit them down from the body so it looks really nice and neat from the back as I knit the edges in.

To make the pockets even more fun and contrasty, I’m doing each Noro stripe as a garter stripe just over the pocket stitches. Doesn’t it look nifty?

I'm doing garter ridges just over the pocket for each Noro stripe because I think the contrast looks awesome.

I have quite a few other sweaters that I’d like to knit soon, some of which are other people’s patterns (e.g. Reverb and Winter Traveller, both of which would use stash yarn) and some of which are my own ideas (e.g. a me-sized version of M’s striped pocket pullover, and a whole bunch of other stuff). I keep forgetting, though, that my pre-parenthood rate of sweater production is a thing of the past, so I need to remember to keep my expectations realistic, and to enjoy the process on the way to the product.

I hope everyone’s summers are going well, and that you are all holding tight despite all of the awfulness in the world right now. I wish I could hug everyone and wrap the world up in love. Consider yourselves hugged and loved, dear readers!

Her two hearts kinda looked like UU, which was appropriate given who we were marching with!

goodbye, May! #mayreboot

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Well, May is done and so it’s time to check in with the goals I had for my “reboot”. Here they are, with my commentary:

1. Exercise (more and better) I can’t give myself a particularly high score here, but I do think I’ve made progress. Just having this as a goal in my mind has, for example, encouraged me to take the stairs more often at work (I used to avoid them because the stairwell is super smelly, and it still is smelly, but I do like the way I feel after I’ve walked up 3 flights of stairs). I’ve gone on lots of long walks (a favorite is to walk from my house to the Cobbs Hill reservoir, then around it, then home), though there have also been plenty of days where, for whatever reason, I’ve been totally sedentary.

Took a walk around Cobbs Hill and my neighborhood as a grading break. So grateful for the beautiful weather today!

Some of this I couldn’t do a thing about (e.g. the days I was stuck in the car on our drive to and from Ohio), but some, I could’ve. And on that front, we’ve decided to join the Y, which I’m hoping will make it easier for me to get exercise even on days where circumstances conspire against me, since the local branch is less than a mile from our house. I’m dropping my membership at the campus gym (the pool hours are just stupid awful there, and when I’m trying to exercise during my time at work, it means I’m bringing work home, and I’d rather “bring home” exercise than work) so that I’m not double-paying for gym/pool access, and belonging to the Y makes sense because it will save us money on swim lessons for M. So…progress. Hoping to keep improving throughout June.

2. Eat better Well, this certainly wasn’t the case during our trip to OH, during which every single meal was eaten out – my guts still haven’t really recovered from eating that way! But I have discovered a new salad dressing from Wegmans that I really like (“Spicy Citrus Ginger” or something like that) and have brought salads back into my diet, and that’s something. Again, hoping to keep improving throughout June.

Mmmm, salad. #mayreboot

3. Sleep better Oh my goodness have I ever NOT made progress on this one. Summer is kind of brutal for both M and me on the sleep front, because daylight hours overlap with the hours we’d like to be sleeping, and it just messes us up because we are both intensely daylight-sensitive. Add to this a messed up neck/shoulder, and I’ve been a disaster on the sleep front this month. I’ll try again in June.

4. Make things Yes! I cast on for a Little Wave cardigan for me, and I’m just about done with the second sleeve, so soon I’ll have a new cardigan! (You know, just in time for it be in the 80s every day).

The best thing about her being able to get and keep herself going on the swings? I can knit instead of pushing!

I’ve unearthed some of my other craft supplies (embroidery stuff, and watercolors, though I need paper), but have not yet made any other projects a reality, but I’m really happy to be knitting a sweater for me again…it’s the first time I’ve done this since just after M was born! In June, I hope to do some watercolor and embroidery, too. I’d also really like to get my sewing machine fixed up so that I can sew a Dress No. 1.

5. Make music Here, I can give myself all the gold stars! I’ve been playing my violin nearly every day (mostly Bach solo stuff), and succeeding at connecting with people for music-making; a friend of mine at church is a fellow violinist, and we will be getting together this summer to play the Bach double together and I’m very excited about it! I’ll also be playing in the orchestra this Sunday at my church’s special choir service. I’ve not played in an orchestra since I was 8 months pregnant with M, and I can’t wait! I definitely want to keep this going through June.

I got to play for over an hour today! I'm a happy lady :)

6. Clean up Hahahahahaha. Total fail, here. I…still don’t even know where to start. And our yard is in worse shape than I thought at the beginning of May, and it all kind of makes me feel hopeless. I’m definitely open to any and all advice as concerns decluttering and cleaning a house, and managing a yard that is overgrown with highly invasive, virtually unkillable weeds.

7. Be a good friend I’m not sure I can really judge this one, but I have definitely aimed to be mindful about maintaining the friendships that I have.

8. Read good stuff I’m doing great here. I recently read a collection of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is possibly my very favorite author at the moment. This followed Octavia Butler’s “Lilith’s Brood”, which was AMAZING! And I also read Naomi Novik’s “Uprooted”, which I ended up liking quite a bit, though it took awhile to grow on me. You can follow me on Goodreads if you want! I’m not always great about writing reviews of the things I read but I’m pretty good about logging them, at least.

9. Write I actually just wrote a long piece of reflective writing yesterday, which I posted on Medium because it didn’t feel right to post it on my knitting blog. You can find it here. I was a little scared to post it in a public place like Medium – not that my knitting blog *isn’t* public, but I feel like I have a sense of who is reading this thing, at least. But hey, it’s out there now.

10. Be patient and present with M Oh boy. Some days this has been great, and others, less so. It doesn’t help that I’m reflecting on this right after traveling with her, when travel does not turn either M or me into our best selves. But I think I’m actually doing pretty well here.

I'm so glad I get to be this kid's mama!

So that wraps things up for the #mayreboot check-in. Overall, I wouldn’t give myself a particular high “score” on my progress, but I’m glad to have had these goals in mind, and I think it has been helping me to shift my focus and priorities a bit. So I’ll hang on to them through June and see where it takes me.

hello, may! #mayreboot

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Pretty tulip on a rainy day.

 

What a cold and dreary start we’re off to this May! But May, for me, is a magical month. Well, really, it’s more like mid-May through mid-June that’s magical…by then I’m done grading, but M’s still in school, so I have time to catch up on things and even maybe relax a little bit. It’s also magical because everything is springing back to life during that time, and it’s just so lovely to be able to spend time outside, enjoying the flowers (even though they make me sneeze), making my clumsy efforts towards establishing a garden, just going on aimless walks through Highland Park, that sort of stuff. There’s a pretty real sense in which May is the month for “rebooting” after a busy year of teaching. This year I’ve ended up feeling really depleted – my usual “February funk”/seasonal depression hung around through March and I feel like I’m just ending Spring semester on empty, though my classes all went very well and my students seem to have grown a lot and all that good stuff. I definitely need a reboot.

Along with a few friends of mine, I’m going to follow Wil Wheaton’s lead on this idea of “rebooting”, and use May as a time to think about the way I’d like my life to be and actually set to work making it that way. My hope is that if I can get into good habits this summer, I’ll be able to carry them over into next year even during the school year, where so far (in my two years of being full-time faculty) I’ve had a relatively low success rate in terms of maintaining healthy habits throughout the entire year. With this in mind, here are my goals for my “May Reboot”.

First, the tl;dr version:
1. Exercise (more and better)
2. Eat better
3. Sleep better
4. Make things
5. Make music
6. Clean up
7. Be a good friend
8. Read good stuff
9. Write
10. Be present and patient with M

But for more on WHY these 10 things, see below:

1. Exercise (more and better): for various reasons (schedule challenges, sickness, and depression) I’ve gotten out of my good exercise habits this semester. I’m not a happy person when I’m sedentary, and vice versa. Lack of exercise is both a symptom and result of depression for me – these things feed into each other like a vicious cycle. Exercise has been hard for me since I had to give up running (and all high-impact stuff) because of my connective tissue disease, but that’s nearly a decade ago now, so c’mon, self. I’m not sure whether or not gym/pool exercise is a thing that makes sense now that the semester is over (I don’t really want to go into campus JUST for that!), but I definitely want to do a LOT more walking. I’m not sure what to aim for in terms of steps/mileage. Maybe at least 5k/day? And I want to get back to strength and flexibility work – push-ups, sit-ups, the mix of yoga/Pilates stuff that I used to do. I’ve gotten very strong carrying M around (she’s ~45lbs at this point!), but she’s getting to an age where that’s going to be completely out of the picture soon, so I need to maintain this strength somehow! Make time for it, self! If I can somehow combine this with podcast-listening, that’d be awesome, because I’ve got quite a backlog of Radiolab and OnBeing and others I’d like to try.

2. Eat better: I’ve gotten into a rut with food, and in particular, I’m not eating as many veggies as I do when I’m happiest and healthiest. So, eat more veggies, and more variety, period. Get back to some sort of meal planning.

3. Sleep better: I had successfully weaned myself off Unisom at the beginning of Spring Semester, but then the time change came around and messed everything up and I’m back to it. Insomnia is a huge problem for me, and my biggest problem is that I just don’t know how to fall asleep (this is what the Unisom helps with). My mind won’t shut off, no matter how tired I am. I used to be dependent on falling asleep while A watched TV (but only if he watched something that wasn’t too interesting to me or too scary, which limited his choices a lot and also just isn’t fair to him – he and his TV-viewing habits can’t be my sleep crutch). Then I switched to being dependent on unisom, when trying to get my sleep back to something resembling normal after the havoc M wreaked with her first two years of nighttime issues (and these still persist on occasion, which is part of the problem). I don’t want to be dependent on Unisom forever (for a lot of reasons – it seems to be in the list of meds that can contribute to Alzheimer’s, for one), so I need to work on developing a better strategy for falling asleep. This will probably be the hardest goal, and also the most likely to backfire if I put pressure on myself about it, so I need to remember to tread lightly and be kind to myself here.

4. Make things: I’m a maker. I’m happiest when I can be creative and actually make things. When I’m depressed, that part of me shuts down – at least, the will to actually MAKE things does. Unless I’m severely depressed (like when I was dealing with PPD a few years ago), I don’t usually completely stop coming up with ideas, but the problem is that I end up with my head in the clouds, dreaming things up but not following through, and this is a very unsatisfying place for me. I’ve been in that place a lot lately with knitting (designs of my own and other people’s patterns that would work well with my stash yarn), sewing, embroidery, and watercolor art ideas and I need to just DO them already.

5. Make music: I’ve gotten reconnected with music quite a bit this year through M’s Suzuki violin stuff at Hochstein, and being her at-home violin teacher. This has been great but also kind of painful to me, to be this close to music again but not really making it myself. I have a lovely violin (which I should probably take in for a tuneup; at the very least, my bows need to be rehaired, and I maybe need new strings, too), so I should PLAY it. Maybe I can work through some more of the Bach solo stuff this summer. I should also revisit my old etude and scale books, because I’m rusty. Maybe I can also ask about playing at church sometime?

6. Clean up: our house and yard are such freaking disasters! Seriously, we weren’t doing great on this front before M came into our lives and we’ve gotten WORSE since then and it’s BAD. I don’t even know where to start here. I’ll give myself one concrete goal: tackle my clothes situation, konmari-style. And clear out the things that don’t fit M anymore. Decluttering and cleaning on a larger scale HAS to start though!

7. Be a good friend: I have such great people in my life right now and I need to remember to make maintaining these friendships a priority.

So that I end up with a nice even “10”, I’ll add these 3 things I’m already doing and want to maintain:
8. Read good stuff: I love my Kindle Paperwhite! I’ve got a Lightspeed magazine subscription on it (which I got on Wil Wheaton’s recommendation awhile back), which means I’ve always got good sci-if/fantasy short stories, and I also check things out from the library regularly. I also read the things posted on Aeon, Nautilus, Brainpickings, and OnBeing regularly – I get so much from all of these sites.

9. Write: I used to write almost incessantly in my livejournal, and while I think it’s actually for the better that I let that journal die (in that mostly-private space, it was too easy to wallow in a whiny, resentful, self-loathing headspace – I’m actually someone who’s much healthier when I do my reflective writing “in public”, so to speak), I do miss regularly doing reflective writing. I’ve been doing some of this on Facebook and some here on this blog in the past year or so and I want to keep it up.

10. Be present and patient with M: I’ve been learning a lot about how to be a good support person for M given the SPD issues she has, and I think I’m doing great here, but I definitely need a reminder to keep it up, because parenting my intense, awesome SPD kid is HARD! Summer will give us lots of time to connect and have fun together – beach trips, playground walks, gardening, biking…I hope to make this great time together.

And to reward you for making it all the way to the end of this post, here’s another shot of that tulip!

This tulip is different from the other ones - all spiky!

 

oh, right, i have a blog

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Didn’t mean to go so long without posting, but the back half of Spring semester’s been a mess of sickness and learning more about sensory processing disorder so that I can be a better mama for M, on top of the usual business of teaching and workshop-leading. But hey, do you want to see what one of those “backlit lace” swatches turned into?

One of my oldest friends (we met in 5th grade!) is now a father, and I knit this wee maple-leaf cardigan for his little girl. Now M wants one in her size! Maybe I'll write a pattern :)

A wee-tiny maple leaf cardigan! One of my oldest friends (we met in 5th grade) became a father back in February, and I knit this tiny sweater for his little girl. Here’s what the front looks like:

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I knit it from the top down, and instead of putting maple leaves all around the yoke like I did for Vahtralehed, I knit a single one centered in the back (this works quite well top-down, since the maple-leaf is taller than the yoke depth in the wee tiny baby sizes), and put the nupp-eyelet edging around all of the edges. It turned out really, really pretty, and now M wants one in her size, and I’ve got the Beaverslide Sport/Sock yarn to do that for her. I may use some of my time this summer to write up a pattern for it; it might even be fun to work up a top-down “Vahtralehed light” cardigan in sport weight for grown-ups, too. We’ll see.

Speaking of M wanting sweaters in her size, she saw me wearing my Bohus Yoke pullover a little while back and begged me to knit her one just like it. It turns out I still had leftovers from the original (which was knit 8.5 years ago!), so I dug them out and started knitting on the very day she made her request. Kiddo doesn’t know how lucky she is! I’ve been knitting on it here and there, and got a good amount of sleeve-knitting done on the last day we had playground-worthy weather (it has been a rollercoaster of a Spring here!):

Knitting a sleeve at the playground - FINALLY it is warm enough!!

It’s so funny to knit a mini-version of a sweater you still wear fairly regularly. I’m excited to be twinsies with M soon, though of course I’m going to finish this sweater just as it finally decides to STAY warm. I’m aiming big on the sizing in hopes that it will fit her in the fall.

It occurred to me recently that though I’ve knit many sweaters for M in the past 4 years, I’ve not knit a single sweater for myself since M was born, besides the blue garter rib cardigan that I started while pregnant with her and ended up lightly felting into a jacket because I’d made it so big. And I finished that one back when M was an infant. I can’t complain about the reception the sweaters I’ve knit for M have gotten…she wears them all the time:

Getting Happy Birthday wishes from my darling Superhero Santa girl. Hello, 33! I'm excited to be a multiple of 11 because those are fun numbers :)

And she’s a very appreciative recipient:

My favorite smile in the whole wide world.

But I want more sweaters for ME! So that’s a big part of my plan for the summer. I’m very much in a “use what I have” sort of mood with knitting – I’ve got the yarn for quite a few me-sized sweaters, and I’d rather have that yarn taking up space AS sweaters than as skeins. There are plenty of projects I’d like to make that would require new yarn, but I want to focus, at least for a little while, on working up the stuff I have (or getting rid of the stuff it turns out I have no interest in working up) because my stash is kind of crazy. This does put a little bit of a cramp on my ideas regarding sweater designs (because who wants to knit a sweater whose sample was knit up in decades-old stash yarn?), but let’s be honest, I’m not really a designer. Though my head is full of plenty of design ideas, I just…don’t have the entrepreneurial sense (or the time, frankly, given my full-time academic job). Which isn’t to say I’ve given up on my plans to put patterns out for some of the things I’ve knit (the garter rib cardigan for wee ones and grown-ups, the garter-edged hat and mitten sets, the top-down Stripes! cardigans…just to name the most obvious ones, the ones that have been waiting for literally years). I haven’t. I just can’t really figure out how to make those things happen alongside everything else. Perhaps I’ll get a clearer sense of the path forward once I’ve finished grading all of these portfolios and have some time to rest now that classes are finished for the semester.

snapshots: backlit lace

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I took advantage of the glorious sunshine that accompanied our frigid temperatures this weekend to take photos of a couple of lacy projects against our upstairs window. First, a swatch for a top-down version of my Vahtralehed pattern, in Beaverslide 2-ply Sport/Sock weight:

Swatching a top-down maple leaf nupp+lace motif in Beaverslide 2ply Sport/Sock.

I’m hoping to work up a wee baby cardigan with a single maple leaf running down the back, and perhaps a lace-version of those little maple-seed “helicopters” around the yoke, and then size it up to M’s size before writing it as a kids’ pattern. So far, turning the maple leaf upside-down (relative to how it was knit in the original Vahtralehed sweater) is working out fine, though (as in Vahtralehed) I do have a slight problem with the gauge expanding quite a bit from the yarn-overs, and I’m definitely open to advice on that front – are there good strategies out there for keeping the YOs small when they’re paired with directional decreases?

The second project is a new one for me – an Imogen Cowl in BFMA BFL Fingering (in the old 500yd, non-superwash put-up), in “Icy Wintergreen Awesomesauce”, which is pretty much the best color name ever. It’s going to be beautiful, I think!

I cast on for an Imogen Cowl yesterday. Using BMFA BFL fingering (in old, non-superwash put-up) in "Icy Wintergreen Awesomesauce". It's gonna be great!

The lace pattern is actually quite easy to memorize and read off the knitting, but it does require that I pay attention on every single row, so we’ll see how much progress I’m able to make on this. I’m loving my Sculling Cowl so much as a neck warming-and-adornment device that I’m really excited about the idea of another infinity-scarf style cowl!