Wee Envelope! And some other things!

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I blocked Wee Envelope this weekend, and it looks awesome!

Wee Envelope!

I am pretty darned pleased with how my little nupp-star motif came out…and it makes me so happy that nieceling’s Wee Envelope is personalized.

Wee Envelope in the window

It is so WEE!

Wee Envelope is finished!

The added star is a pretty obvious modification, but I made a few others (because I just can’t stop myself from modifying patterns – it’s how I roll). I ran a purled faux-seam stitch down each side, and then split it to form the hems, which I edged in i-cord:

another mod to Wee Envelope

I’m a sucker for a split hem, particularly if it allows me to knit garter stitch flat. I just think garter stitch hems look better when split (I think this is a preference I first developed back in my gansey-obsessed phased, several years ago). They lay better, to my eye. And I just can’t NOT edge garter stitch with i-cord. It’s like, a law or something. So I’m pretty tickled with how that mod worked out, too.

I have a decent amount of yarn leftover (since I knit the newborn size), and thinking about stars and nupps and eyelets got some gears spinning in my head, and, well, sometimes when I get a bee in my bonnet about something, I just can’t think about anything else (like, say, the stack of Portfolios I need to grade) until I try it out. And this time, the figurative bee was about a literal bonnet:

Sometimes I get an idea and can't think about anything else until I try it out. (Star, knit from center out, to become a baby bonnet, I hope)

See, I had this idea about knitting a star from the center outward, and how that would result in a pentagon shape, and how a pentagon shape was basically exactly the sort of shape you’d want for the back panel of a bonnet, and, well. It turns out I can knit a star from the center out by knitting completely by the seat of my pants, and it looks pretty cute! So…I think the niecelet might be getting a matching bonnet. We’ll see. Because there’s also a couple of hats for nieces in the works, one of which I cast on for this weekend:

Working on S's hat

This is the one for my older (4.5yo) niece, S, whose noggin (assuming the measurements her mama sent me are correct) is not that much smaller than mine! Here’s hoping that my pattern + the measurements in my email go together to make a hat that actually fits her! And ideally, a set of mittens, too, though goodness gracious, Christmas is not far away! And I’d like to knit a set for my younger (not quite 1.5yo) niece, E, too…but hers can be a New Years present, which gives me an extra week.

Have I mentioned the totally insane winter trip we’re making this year? It’s the same one as last year, except this time, after driving to visit my in-laws in Ohio for Christmas, we’re going to hop on a plane, fly to Chicago, and then transfer to a train to get up to Winona, MN to visit over New Years, and then we’ll come back through Ohio, and drive home to NY. We’ll be gone for two weeks. Last year, we drove the WHOLE way, and it was pretty much as awful as you can imagine 40+ hours in a car with a toddler would be, so I’m hoping that the plane/train leg will make things less awful. On the train, at least, we can all walk around, and I think that will help a LOT!

knitting for niecelings

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I have grand plans for gift knitting this year, at least as far as my nieces are concerned:

nieceling gift-knitting!

There’s the Wee Envelope-in-progress for the nieceling-in-progress, of course. I actually picked up the stitches for the body and started knitting it down from the yoke yesterday afternoon. Still tentatively planning to insert a nupp/lace motif in the center front, but I don’t have to decide for a few more rounds!

But I’m also planning to knit hat and mitten sets (from the pattern I’ve written based on the ones I made for M, of course!) for my other two nieces. I sent their parents a copy of the pattern, requested that they send me back the relevant measurements, and asked for the girls’ favorite colors.

Yarn for nieceling gifts!

The purple (Malabrigo Worsted in “Cuarzo”) is for E, and the blue (Malabrigo Worsted in “Blue Surf”) is for S. The two colors look so incredible next to each other, don’t you think? I’m kind of madly in love with them. So excited to actually knit the hats and mittens – they’re quick knits, though I’m a little nervous I won’t actually finish before gifting-time arrives…the end of semester push is here and it is INTENSE. (For example, this afternoon, I have 9 back-to-back meetings with students. I stupidly didn’t even build in bathroom breaks. It’s going to be…uncomfortable.)

Once I’m done with the gift knitting, I do think it’d be nice to knit something for me. And on that note, a very exciting book arrived last week:

knitting goodies

As the founding member of the (now defunct, I think – I’ve been an absentee moderator since M was born, at least) Society for the Appreciation of Yoked Sweaters, how could I *not* get Kate Davies’ new book on Yokes? I am absolutely swooning over the sweater on the cover (and a few of the others on the inside, along with all of the history she’s written about!) We’ll see if I ever make the time.

in which I am smitten with Cormo and a wee sweater…

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The second I saw Ysolda’s Wee Envelope, I was smitten. When I started plotting the sweater I’d knit for my newest niece (due early next year), it was at the top of my list. When I asked about colors, the request was for yellow, and lucky me, I found the perfect yellow in the exact yarn that’s called for in the pattern, “Mohonk” from Jill Draper Makes Stuff (the color is “Straw Into Gold”) – a minimally-processed Cormo wool. I’ve actually never gotten to knit with Cormo before, so I was pretty excited to try it.

yarn for nieceling's sweater

I cast on for the sweater on M’s birthday, and OMG, y’all, Cormo is amazing!

I started nieceling's sweater today. OMG OMG this Mohonk yarn is amazing! I <3 Cormo, apparently.

Seriously, this yarn…oh my goodness! It is just delightful to knit with…perfectly wooly and soft, but not so soft that it seems like it’s going to fall apart. I think it might be my new favorite.

OMG, I love Cormo

The pattern is pretty delightful, too. Such clever construction! I am completely smitten.

in which I am smitten with the Wee Envelope-in-progress

The sweater seems impossibly tiny, though! I can’t remember M ever being this small, but I know she was, at least for a little while. (Not for long, though, my little giant!). Last night, I was able to finish the back yoke, and began knitting the other sleeve. I’m really excited to pick up the stitches and knit the body downward from the yoke…and actually, I might end up “customizing” this Wee Envelope a bit, with a nupp/lace design in the center of the body, to go along with the sweaters I knit for this nieceling’s sisters, Emma, Adelynn and Abigail. There’s a teensy part of me that feels slightly guilty about using a pattern for this sweater instead of designing something bespoke for her, as I did for her sisters (I know it’s ridiculous, I just have this THING about designing)…so that might be a way for me to compromise. I mean, Wee Envelope is just a kind of irresistible pattern, and it DOES have that great blank canvas of a body, ripe for customization. So that’s the plan.

Speaking of plans, Madrigal saw me knitting this very wee Wee Envelope, and I showed her the pattern, and she said she wanted a sweater JUST LIKE it, except blue. Well, the pattern does go up to 4T (and heck, I think I’m clever enough to upsize it if necessary), and I do have a bunch of Knitpicks Telemark (sportweight) in a lovely teal blue…

plotting M's less-Wee Envelope

…so I just might be plotting a not-so-Wee Envelope for M after I finish this one. It’d be really stinking cute on her, don’t you think?

Thanksgiving, 2014!

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This year, we celebrated Thanksgiving at home. With M’s birthday being so close to Thanksgiving (in fact, next year, it will BE Thanksgiving), and the unpredictability of weather along the lake, and the absolutely horrendous timing of the holiday for those of us working in academia…we probably will have quiet Thanksgivings at home for the foreseeable future. I’m fine with that!

We made pretty much the same feast that I posted about years ago, but this year, we had the cutest sous-chef:

Helping us make biscuits.

She loves working with her new rolling pin! And she was good, if slightly impatient, at cutting out the biscuits, too:

Cutting out biscuits.

It was nice to have our simple, low-key Thanksgiving together…

Thanksgiving dinner.

And since we were only serving the three of us, we’ve gotten to have delicious leftovers these past few days. Yum!

Yum.

The remainder of the weekend, I spent giving my students feedback on their 8-10 page research papers. I had an “assistant”, since M wasn’t in school…

Toddlers: not conducive to getting work done :(

It turns out that giving useful feedback to 30 students, most of whom are non-native speakers, over a span of just 3 days takes an AWFUL lot out of a person, especially when combined with parenting an overstimulated toddler. Next year, I’ll plan my class differently, so that I don’t have to spend M’s birthday/Thanksgiving glued to a computer screen…

More feedbacking, this time on the couch. (Out-of-focus is appropriate; I'm having the hardest time focusing thanks to the sleep deprivation regimen M is inflicting on us).

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I’m so thankful for my life right now – my family, my job, the person I’ve become, my friends, my students…I am just so grateful, for all of it.

my baby is THREE!

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This past Wednesday, Madrigal turned three. I can hardly believe that I am the mother of a 3 year old – but at the same time, it seems like a lifetime ago that we brought our little bundle home from the hospital:

home from the hospital.

And in some ways, it is – I do feel like my life is so completely and utterly different now, as a mother, than it was before. In my darker moments after M was born, I sometimes felt as though “I” had died the moment she was born…and in some ways, that’s kind of true. The “me” who woke up after my repair surgery was forever changed – but that doesn’t mean it was for the worse. Having a child is undeniably, inescapably life-changing, I think. I am a different person now, but I think the me that’s emerged these last 3 years, after all the fighting for dear life I was doing with PPD and PTSD, is a stronger, more capable, happier, compassionate, more “ME” version of me than I’ve ever been before. And I would not be me right now without my beloved Madrigal.

hamming it up for the camera

This kid. Such an intense, curious, creative little goofball! She is growing and learning and becoming the most incredible little person. It is such a privilege to be part of her life.

smiling in the sunshine

Those beautiful brown eyes! I never imagined I’d have a brown-eyed child, given that my eyes are so light (and A’s aren’t brown, either – they’re hazel), but I just can’t get enough of hers. She’s still got those baby cheeks, but she’s looking so grown-up, too.

For her birthdays (and for our Equinox and Solstice celebrations) we follow a “Something to do, something to wear, something to read” system. To do, she received a snow shovel (a RED one, just like she requested) along with some child-sized kitchen tools (because this Montessori kid LOVES her Practical Life activities!). To wear, we gave her a new pair of snowpants and a new winter coat. And to read, we gave her a set of National Geographic books filled with facts about animals, dinosaurs, and the answers to “Why?” questions, because she loves learning about the world. (The facts, however, are a bit iffy. Dear National Geographic, humans are NOT carnivores. Seriously, how on earth did that make it past the fact-checkers??)

She LOVED her snowpants and her kitchen tools:

Birthday girl enjoys her new snowpants and some of her new kitchen tools. #mybabyis3

She even made us orange juice with her new juicer/shredder tool:

Enjoying her new juicer (which has interchangeable plates, and can also be a grater).

And later in the day, she helped to make her “birthday cake”, which was actually a set of miniature pumpkin pies (homemade crusts and all!). We put 3 candles on one of them and sang her the “Happy Birthday” song:

Birthday (Mini) Pumpkin Pie!!

I hope your wishes come true, baby girl!

Blowing out her THREE candles!

The pie, by the way, was totally delicious.

Yum!!

So, I now have a three year old. Wow. Happy birthday, sweet baby!

This was taken a couple weeks before her birthday, but I feel like since I started this post with our first “family” photo, I should end it with our most recent one:

family portrait attempt

Two out of three members of our family are smiling, so we’ll call it a win :)